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

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Asian Connectivity

The idea of “connectivity” appears to be the flavour of the season in Indian foreign policy. Earlier this month, the Ministry of External Affairs facilitated a high profile conference on the theme of “Asian Connectivity” (Raisina Dialogue, 1–3 March 2016). The minister of external affairs as well...

Public Policy Research in South Asia

Evidence-based, rigorous, relevant and up-to-date research is vital to the public policymaking process; it enhances the effectiveness and efficiency of policy decisions. This article reflects on the nature of demand for such research in the South Asian region and contends that though the quantity and quality of evidence and knowledge for policy research is important, it is equally important to assess the factors that affect its demand. Hence, the preferences and requirements of the policymaking community should be taken cognisance of, otherwise the uptake and use of evidence and knowledge in policymaking would be impeded.

Deepening Regional Integration

In a major bid to facilitate cross-border transportation and trade, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal signed the landmark Motor Vehicle Agreement in June 2015. Is this agreement capable of unlocking the huge trade potential of these countries and deepening regional integration in a region known to be the least integrated in the world? This note attempts to address some of these questions, reviews the salient features of the agreement and discusses the challenges involved in its implementation.

Developing a History of Science and Technology in South Asia

The development of a history of science, technology, environment and medicine (HISTEM) in south Asia has not merely to draw on different disciplines, but also has to shape its concerns from unique and divergent regional traditions and histories that prevail in the region. The south Asian techno-scientific tradition has largely been a syncretic one, evolving as a result of socio-politico and cultural interactions through the ages; the colonial experience too played its part. The appeal of HISTEM is therefore wider, it belongs to the mainstream of social and cultural debates in history.

Community Radio

There are lessons to be learnt from the experiments in developing community run/owned radio in south Asia and outside. The Philippines has taken community radio to new heights and even tiny Nepal has opened up its community broadcasting, and in Sri Lanka community radio stations are owned by the state.

IMF Conditions Stunt Growth

The IMF-World Bank recipe for poverty reduction in Pakistan has been accompanied by stringent conditions that have often exacerbated the country's economic woes and failed to meet the lending institutions' own targets. Also, governments in Pakistan have always passed the blame for these harsh steps on to the Fund-Bank combine, thus ducking out of tough decisions on land reform, imposition of agricultural income tax and beefing up tax administration.

Causes of Fertility Decline in India and Bangladesh

Conventional approaches to studies on fertility decline have long assumed the primacy of the household as the prime decision-maker. Aspects of the household such as its economic standard of living, social standing, exposure to mass media, work status were some of the influential factors at work on a couple's decision on their number of children. However, individual and household level factors have been unable in several instances to explain the full course of fertility transition seen in some Indian states and Bangladesh, where in some regions fertility transition cuts across socio-economic and cultural boundaries.Gaps in understanding such trends have been as this paper suggests due to the conventional emphasis on household level variables. It argues instead for the need to look at the influence the community plays in south Asia and to understand the levels of interaction that exist at household level and at the community level.

Understanding Gender and Kinship

Shifting Circles of Support: Contextualising Kinship and Gender in South Asia and SubSaharan Africa edited by Rajni Palriwala and Carla Risseeuw; Sage Publications, New Delhi, 1996; pp 343, Rs 365.

Caste Discrimination and UN

The United Nations Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination, concluding its discussion on descent-based discrimination, strongly condemned caste practice in south Asia. This describes a new framework for moving towards the elimination of caste-based, descent-based discrimination.

Social Science Research Capacity in South Asia

A note on the issues of broad significance that need to be thought about and discussed in the larger community of social scientists in south Asia.

Possession and Deployment of Nuclear Weapons in South Asia

This paper examines some of operational requirements and the dangers that come with the possibility that in the foreseeable future India and Pakistan may deploy their nuclear arsenals. The authors first describe the analytical basis for the inevitability of accidents in complex high-technology systems. Then they turn to potential failures of nuclear command and control and early warning systems as examples. They go on to discuss the possibility and consequences of accidental explosions involving nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. Finally some measures to reduce these risks are suggested.

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