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

PunjabSubscribe to Punjab

The Way Forward

The chair summarises background, main features, and addresses some of the issues raised by the articles in this issue.

An Important Step in Reforming Water Governance

While appreciating that restructuring two of the most important water institutions in the country is embedded in the alternative agenda proposed for the water sector in the Mihir Shah Committee report, this article asserts that new ideas and vision need new institutions.

Evolution of Irrigation Sector

Charting the historical evolution of irrigation in India, this article looks into the nature of shifts that have occurred over the years, and the major challenges it faces now. While the Mihir Shah Committee’s recommendation of creating a National Water Commission is welcome, it suggests that the new body operate on the lines of an independent think tank.

Water Crisis in Punjab and Haryana

After the Green Revolution, Punjab and Haryana have become water-scarce states due to the introduction of paddy as the main kharif crop, a massive increase in cropping intensity, and rapid urbanisation and industrialisation. However, the real issue--of reverting to sustainable cropping patterns and improving water-use efficiency--remains unaddressed. An improvement of 15% to 20% in water-use efficiency from the present level can provide each state with the increased water share it is demanding.

Milking 1984 as an Election Issue

Punjab is heading for an assembly poll with two new entities in the fray, the Aam Aadmi Party and theAwaaz-e-Punjab front. While the record of the ruling Shiromani Akali DalBharatiya Janata Party combine is shabby, the Congress still faces the uncomfortable task of answering for Operation Blue Star and issues related to the anti-Sikh violence of 1984. Though AAP looks like it has an advantage because it raised the 1984 issue early, it is open which way the votes will swing and 1984 could yet again be a deciding factor.

Religion and Scheduled Caste Status

The Supreme Court's judgment in the case of Mohammad Sadique carries disturbing implications for Muslim Dhobis, Dooms, Julahas, Mochis, etc, who face social disabilities similar to Hindu Dhobis, Dooms, Julahas, Mochis, etc, but are denied the same legal status. It seems to convey that the former could get the Scheduled Caste status provided they agree to convert to Hinduism, Sikhism or Buddhism. This judgment is in conflict with the basic tenets of the Constitution. There is thus an urgent need to review the relationship of religion and caste as assumed in the acts that deal with the question of the membership of SCs.

Arthiyas in Punjab's APMC Mandis

A critique of "Commission Agent System: Significance in Contemporary Agricultural Economy of Punjab" by Sukhpal Singh and Shruti Bhogal (EPW, 7 November 2015).

Punjab: Farm Household Income, Investment and Consumption

The significant early successes of the green revolution in Punjab have given way to stagnating farm household incomes and consumption since the 1990s. The low investment in education has also resulted in a failure to diversify into non-farm employment avenues in rural areas.

Nutritional Well-Being and Gender Differences

How much difference does economic growth make to the nutritional well-being of young children? What effect does it have on traditional child care practices, and specifically on the tendency to favour male children? A follow-up 30 years after a classic study carried out in 1971 in Punjab villages indicates changes that are dramatic, but also that rapid economic growth, while necessary, may not have been sufficient.

Caste Tensions in Punjab

The recent incidence of conflict involving members of the landowning caste of jats and the scheduled caste of â??ad-dharmis' in the Talhan village of Punjab is far from a typical case of caste violence or 'dalit oppression' frequently reported from other parts of India. Instead, it ought to be viewed as a case of 'dalit assertion' for equal rights and a share in the resources that belong commonly to the village and had so far been in the exclusive control of the locally dominant caste, the jats. Further, notwithstanding the rather peculiar and complex nature of the Talhan case, this could mark the beginning of a new phase in the history of caste relations in Punjab. Though the issues are varied, there seems to be an underlying pattern in several other cases of conflict being currently reported in the state.

Scheduled Castes in Sikh Community

An understanding of the distinctive caste hierarchy in Sikhism and the new pattern of competing hierarchies, parallel to that of the Hindus, calls for insights into the dynamics of political power and economic relations both at the local and regional levels. This paper aims at exploring the trade-off between the doctrinal principles of Sikh religion and the ruling social and political interests in the context of changes in the society and economy of Punjab.

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