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

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Regional Lockdown Policies and COVID-19 Transmission in India

Do lockdowns and mobility restrictions contain the spread of COVID-19? Data was collected on district-level non-pharmaceutical interventions, using government notifications and news reports, in six major Indian states to assess the impact of NPIs on COVID-19 transmission and fatality in 2020. Findings suggest that NPIs slowed COVID-19 death rates in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. Interventions that were most associated with slowing fatalities were temple closures, retail closures, and curfews. Even with incomplete compliance, limiting mass gatherings in face of incipient viral waves may save lives.

International Migration and Caste Dynamics

The understudied nexus between international migration and caste in Tamil Nadu is examined. The findings indicate that the Backward Classes were the forerunners in benefiting from international migration opportunities. It shows that the trend has gradually influenced the Most Backward Classes and Scheduled Castes. Backward Classes have an edge over the other communities in achieving economic prosperity through international migration. However, left-behind wives who were engaged in income-generation activities were yet to overcome from the practices of caste-based occupation that are still prevalent in villages.

Inclusivity and Growth under the ‘Dravidian Model’

The Dravidian Model: Interpreting the Political Economy of Tamil Nadu by A Kalaiyarasan and M Vijayabaskar, Cambridge University Press, 2021; pp 260.

Women’s Work Participation in Rural Karnataka and Tamil Nadu

India ranks among a handful of countries in West Asia, North Africa, and South Asia to have the lowest female labour force participation rates in the world. The LFPR has further been declining for women in India in the last two decades. The article focuses on the south Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to understand the proximate causes for these shifts. We combine temporal trends from the Employment and Unemployment surveys of the National Sample Survey Office with the literature on agrarian studies in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to explain the changes in rural women’s labour force participation and summarise the challenges in studying temporal trends in women’s work.

Discourses around Stigma and Denial in the COVID-19 Pandemic

A widespread but underexplored aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic in India has been the prevalence of stigma and denial at different levels in the community mediated by state policy and actions. Based on a field study in three districts of Tamil Nadu between the two waves of the pandemic, this article explores the nature of stigma and denial and their consequence for health-seeking behaviour and access to healthcare. This is important not just to prevent further suffering of the affected people but also for formulation of more effective and equitable public health interventions in management of the pandemic.

Surviving Debt and Survival Debt in Times of Lockdown

This research has been made possible due to the financial support of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), through the COVINDIA project, which combines food distribution to villagers and a survey of villagers’ survival tactics and strategies. For more details, see https://odriis.hypotheses.org/projects#covindia . We sincerely thank Barbara Harriss-White, Judith Heyer, Solène Morvant-Roux, and Jean-Michel Servet for their helpful comments on an earlier draft.

Revival amidst Challenge?

Turbulent Transformations: Non-Brahmin Śrīvaiṣṇavas on Religion, Caste and Politics in Tamil Nadu by Katherine Young, Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan, 2021; pp 399, ₹ 736.

NEET: Eligibility for What and Entrance for Whom?

The NEET institutes an ecosystem of exclusivity and skews the composition of those who can access medical education.

Experiences with Government-sponsored Health Insurance Schemes in Indian States

The implications of expanding government-sponsored health insurance schemes in India are analysed from a fiscal perspective. The experiences of two of the earliest and largest GSHI schemes of the country implemented in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are examined. The results suggest that the expansion of the GSHI schemes may skew expenditure away from primary and secondary care towards tertiary care if the fiscal space is limited. A competitive public health system may help in containing costs and the corresponding fiscal burden. The effectiveness of public spending through such schemes is ambiguous.

A Partial Reckoning

Tamil Female Civil Space: Its Evolution and Decline in Tamil Eelam by N Malathy, Delhi: Aakar Books, 2019; pp 144, ₹ 395.

Women, Priesthood and Religious Rights in Tamil Nadu and Kerala

In light of the recent announcement by the minister for Hindu religious and charitable endowments for Tamil Nadu regarding the government’s willingness to facilitate resources and training for women who wish to be priests in temples, the article examines the debates regarding the right of women to Hindu religious realm by revisiting the political episode of women’s assertion of their constitutional right to enter the Sabarimala temple in the neighbouring state of Kerala as well as the gendered dimensions of situating the protests within the larger histories of the self-respect movement and navodhanam .

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