Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

Society & Culture

The Unanswered Land Question: The Nation as Real Estate

A.R. Vasavi
Monday, February 15, 2010

Despite only trickles of reports in the media, there is tremendous significance about what is happening to land in India. From the remote areas of Adivasi/tribal habitations to the centers of the metropolises, land has become the single most important commodity in India and the nation itself has become one big real estate. It is not a mere coincidence that the richest person in India, and one of the world’s wealthiest persons, is a real estate developer.

Unique Identity Numbers: The Enabler of Policy Reform?

Sudhir Krishnaswamy
Monday, February 1, 2010

The creation of the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) and the appointment of Mr. Nandan Nilekani (former CEO of Infosys) as its Chairperson, have generated a great deal of excitement around the Unique Identity Numbers (UIN) project. The Authority’s commitment to produce the first batch of UINs within a period of two years has prompted a celebratory round of applause in the media. It would certainly be a significant technological and logistical feat to meet this self imposed target.

India Between “Soft State” and “Soft Power”

Jacques E. C. Hymans
Tuesday, January 19, 2010

“India’s problem is that we have never imposed a price on any nation for action taken against us,” former Deputy National Security Adviser Satish Chandra said back in September. “We keep silent and accept whatever comes our way.” Chandra is echoing a feeling that is widespread among the Indian elite and even general public.

Social Labeling in Export Supply Chains: Can Voluntary Certification Programs End Child Labor?

Gay Seidman
Monday, December 21, 2009

In mid 2008, India’s National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) announced a new strategy for addressing India’s child labor problems: it asked state governments and export promotion councils to monitor supply chains, and to certify that no children had worked on products heading for export markets, clearly hoping to offer some protection from international consumer boycotts designed to punish companies that exploit children.

If the Constable Could Speak: Notes on a Continuing Failure to Secure the Masses and Reform the Police in India

Beatrice Jauregui
Monday, December 7, 2009

In 2007, a constable on duty in Allahabad remarked to me, “this job is exploitation in the name of discipline.” His statement summarized a litany of complaints about the job that I have heard from numerous constables: abysmally low salaries, long and undefined hours of duty, few to no avenues for promotion, little access to safe, clean, and affordable housing, dangerously inadequate equipment, and routine lack of recognition for “good work.”

Public Interest Litigation in India: Time for an Audit

Varun Gauri
Monday, November 9, 2009

Public Interest Litigation (PIL), which aims to use the courts to advance social justice, began in India about thirty years ago when procedures for expanding access to justice were developed. The judiciary, aiming to recapture popular support after its complicity in Indira Gandhi’s declaration of Emergency rule, encouraged litigation concerning the interests of the poor and marginalized. In doing so, it loosened rules and traditions related to standing, case filing, the adversarial process, and judicial remedies.

India’s MMRCA Deal: Muddled Rationale, Costly Adventure?

Vipin Narang
Monday, October 26, 2009

Although nowhere near as high profile or politically dramatic as the 2008 Indo-U.S. nuclear deal, India’s proposed $10 billion procurement of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) may have a much more profound impact on India’s strategic relations, particularly if a U.S. Platform – either Lockheed’s F-16 E/F or Boeing’s F/A-18 E/F – is selected as the winning bid.

The Challenges of Indian Higher Education: A View From Physics

T. V. Ramakrishnan and Shivaji Sondhi
Sunday, September 13, 2009

A massive expansion of the number of educated Indians is needed for Indian economic growth to continue at the desired rapid pace. This requires not just an expansion, but also a qualitative upgrading of Indian higher education. However, current trends – and the contrast with East Asia and China – cause a certain level of pessimism about when this will come about.