The rapid growth in motor vehicle ownership and activity in India – motor vehicle numbers have doubled every six or so years from 1980 to 2004 – has provided mobility to millions, and contributed to employment and the economy. This trend is, however, causing a wide range of adverse impacts. Perhaps the most serious of these impacts, in health and welfare terms, result from road traffic accidents.
Society & Culture
Contrary to popular fears, the Delhi Commonwealth Games, which ended on October 14, 2010, went off without too many hiccups and were attended by all seventy-one member countries. Though the Commonwealth Games, a competition held every four years for nations of the former British Empire, weren’t the spectacular success that India might have hoped for – to be placed alongside the 2008 Beijing Olympics or the 2010 soccer World Cup in South Africa – it wasn’t a disaster either.
In light of India’s 64th Independence Day, I am compelled to think about the idea of the country to which I am committed: a sovereign, secular, democratic republic, where what would separate independent India from the colonized nation would be the ethos of democratic constitutionalism; governance that would be according to procedure established by law, overseen by the people’s representatives in Parliament, adjudicated by an independent judiciary, and implemented by an accountable Executive.
Despite recent wide sweeping reforms in Indian education at the school level, reviews of India’s college education structure are clouded by endless controversies. The demands to “liberalize” college education have leaned on the need for new investments at a critical juncture of India’s growth. However, for one-fifth of the country’s population, the biggest challenge faced is the absence of quality in current standards of college education. The inadequacies in educating vast numbers of Indian youth far exceed issues of regulation or demand-supply deficits.
Paralleling the growth of India’s economy has been the concomitant increase in India’s global engagement. While this has been most manifest in the growth of trade and financial flows, the movement of people has also become more important. Since the 1830s, international migration from India under British rule comprised largely of unskilled workers from poorer socio-economic groups who went to other colonized countries. Between 1834 and 1937, nearly 30 million people left India and nearly four-fifths returned.
Later this year, the Bar Council of India will introduce an ambitious measure that modifies the qualifications required to practice law in India. Law graduates will now be required to take an examination after graduating to complete their enrollment to the bar. An examination that tests legal knowledge is a common prerequisite for enrollment in several countries, and the measure aims at creating a minimum standard amongst graduating law students. While the measure’s primary target is lawyer quality, it should also indirectly serve to improve standards in legal education.
Why is there so much opposition and anxiety among some sections of the Indian elite – particularly among its upper-caste intellectual class – on the question of enumeration of caste in the Census of India 2011? My answer is simple: India would legally become a caste society. The formal recognition of caste as a national category implies that the Indian state is going beyond the constitutional recognition of caste as a category to measure disability (i.e., untouchability, atrocity, and social backwardness).
Innovation is widely recognized and accepted as a key ingredient of sustained economic growth; an objective of policy that is today as salient for developing countries as it is for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The rise of Asia is as much about its domination of low-cost manufacturing as it is about its increasing strength in knowledge-based industries and ability to innovate new technologies and new business models.
The public discourse on school education in India is dominated by debates around textbooks. Here too, we find anxieties around history textbooks overriding other concerns. Perhaps it is natural; textbooks seem to be the only tangible object in the scheme of school education which can be analyzed or debated. The attitudes of teachers, children, parents, or the community are thought to be of importance but not as crucial as the textbooks themselves. Textbooks are considered the bearers of officially validated knowledge.
Prior to the 2009 general elections, the Indian National Congress promised twenty-five kilograms of food-grain per month, at three rupees per kilogram, to every poor family in India.Reports indicate that there are moves to deliver on this promise. Congress’ eagerness to make good on this promise can be traced to the widely-held view that the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) played an important role in the victory of the Congress.