ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Pandemic and Its Discontents in India

India and the Pandemic: The First Year, Essays from The India Forum by The India Forum, 2021; Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan; pp xvii + 335, ` 695.

Fifteenth Finance Commission Recommendations

While trying to balance the competing demands from the union and the states, the Fifteenth Finance Commission has done a commendable job, but has also sacrificed objectivity at times.

Burgeoning Edible Oil Imports and Price Shock(s)

The ever-increasing import bill of edible oil has become a chronic problem for India with edible oil being the third largest among imported goods in India, next only to crude oil and gold. There are structural issues in production, productivity, and trade of edible oils. These energy-rich crops are grown in energy-starved conditions where more than 70% of the area under cultivation is rain-fed and often cultivated with low-quality seeds in a fragmented landholding and outdated agri-management practices. It further studies the trade liberalisation measures of a liberal trade policy regime, lower import duties, duty-exemptions under free trade agreements, and changes that India has witnessed in consumption as well as retail of edible oil.

Quad and Quasi-alignment with the United States

The long-term costs of quasi-alignment with the United States need to be assessed by the Government of India.

The Need to Overhaul Wasteland Classification Systems in India

The term “wastelands” originates from land governance systems in the colonial period, and it has been criticised in academia and conservation for being ecologically flawed. Although wastelands have been redefined in the post-independence period, there has been little change in the assumption that they were unproductive, degraded, and in need of external intervention for improvement. The eradication of the term “waste” and a thorough revision of the wastelands atlas, which can then meaningfully address national and global targets of sustainable development, are argued for here. This article weaves together historical contexts around wastelands and proposes a new approach for their mapping.

Colonial Episteme, Political Forgetting, and the Quest for Decolonising History

The Loss of Hindustan: The Invention of India by Manan Ahmed Asif, London: Harvard University Press, 2020; pp 321, ₹ 599.

Identity, Indigeneity and the National

In the Name of the Nation: India and Its Northeast by Sanjib Baruah, New Delhi: Navayana Publishing (by arrangement with Stanford Univ Press), 2021; pp xiii + 278, ` 599.

Rescripting India’s Engagement with Afghanistan

The ways of rescripting India’s language of engagement with non-state armed groups like the Taliban are discussed. The engagement essentially does not accord moral legitimacy to acts of violence by the Taliban, but pushes for refashioning India’s image from being an “alien” other to a “differentiated” other.

Is AUKUS is driven by strategic concerns or entrenched interest of military industrial complex?

AUKUS—the new trilateral security arrangement between the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom has increased the chances of a split in the transatlantic alliance by making a clear distinction between the roles of the maritime and continental spheres. The military pact has reduced the military role of Quad in the Indo–Pacific. A ruptured West and a weak Quad are likely to make China and Russia happy.

Judas and the Black Messiah

Based on a Hollywood film about a member of the Black Panther Party, the author explores the history of deep-rooted racism in law enforcement and the structural and institutional continuities that persist.

Deconstructing India’s Negotiating Dexterity

Does India Negotiate? by Karthik Nachiappan, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2019; pp 238, ` 1,295 (hardcover).

Reliability of PLFS 2019–20 Data

The April–June (2020) quarterly data for the urban sector showed a massive decline in the workforce participation rate and a huge increase in the unemployment rate. Still, the annual average work participation rate rose sharply in 2019–20 compared to the earlier two rounds of the Periodic Labour Force Survey estimates, and the average unemployment rate declined somewhat. Given these patterns, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy data set, despite its own problems, seems to be casting a more realistic picture.

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