Human trafficking is in the news a lot these days. Many of these reports follow the predictable storyline of sex workers enslaved in the back alleys of bleak, third world cities. India often features prominently in these narratives. For instance, Nicholas Kristof, the New York Times columnist and author of over forty-six op-eds on the subject of sex trafficking, recently conducted undercover raids in Sonagachi, Kolkata’s largest red-light district, along with U.S. abolitionist organization, the International Justice Mission.
Confronted with the question about what he liked to do in his free time, Gaurav Dalal promptly said “repeat.” He was quite sure he knew the answer, but the question didn’t sound familiar as the eighth grade student had become more accustomed to specific questions about his hobbies. Other children in the classroom on the second floor of SR Memorial School, an English-medium private school in Haryana that advertises its motto as “Pedagogy is not a profession but a mission,” retreated in the back.
As elections are held in Uttar Pradesh (UP), India’s largest state, attention has been drawn again to the question of whether the numbers and boundaries of India’s states ought to be reconsidered. In a move unthinkable sixty years ago when UP was presented as an indivisible “heartland” territory of the whole of India, UP’s incumbent leader Mayawati went to the polls calling for the division of the state into four parts. Of all federal systems in the world, India (along with Pakistan) has the fewest number of states or federal sub-units per capita.
This month, a great deal has been written on “criminals” in the electoral domain, as voters have been going to the polls in five states across India. It is perhaps a sign of the times that one of the most often quoted statistics on modern Indian politics is that more than a quarter of the sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) face criminal indictment (at the state level, that number hovers around twenty percent).
2011 was a landmark year for environmental litigation in India, a country with a rich history of environmental movements, grass-roots activism and a responsive higher judiciary. Although litigation on environmental issues has flourished for more than three decades, 2011 is distinctive for the establishment of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). It is not just the fact that it was set up, as earlier on, there was a similar tribunal, albeit a less powerful one.
In 2008, for the first time ever, the urban population of the world outnumbered that of the rural. This visible trend has escalated over the last couple of decades; projections suggest that by the end of the twenty-first century, 80 percent of the world’s population will live in cities (which occupy 0.05 percent of the Earth’s surface).
Primary wholesale markets, or mandis, are critical nodes in India’s agricultural marketing and distribution system. As such, they are key elements of contention in vital debates regarding the future of Indian agriculture, the challenges of ensuring food security and managing food inflation, and to growing questions about the character and control of the nation’s diversifying foodways.
Kerala is widely acclaimed for its achievements in social development as it boasts a near total literacy, comparatively higher life expectancy, and land reforms. Even though its per capita income has remained low, this phenomenon has famously become known as the “Kerala Model of Development.” However, the exclusion of Dalits who constitute 9.8 percent of the state’s total population, Adivasis, who constitute 1.14 percent, and fisher people from the success story of Kerala’s development, has gone relatively unacknowledged.
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom; it was the age of foolishness. While the current dynamics of coal may not match the intrigue and tumult of A Tale of Two Cities, the initial sentiments certainly reflect how things are shaping up in the sector. Recently, newspapers were all abuzz with Coal India’s emergence as the country’s “most valued company” in terms of market capitalization.
India has two diametrically opposed problems when it comes to antibiotics: many people die because they do not have access to antibiotics, while others contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance when they overuse these drugs in situations where antibiotic use is not warranted. Antibiotic resistant bacteria can withstand treatment with one or more antibiotics, and antibiotic use paves the way for these bacterial strains to spread by selectively killing off bacteria that are not resistant.