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).
Society & Culture
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.
Of “Traitors” and “Angels” Abroad
Street vendors occupying public spaces such as pavements, parks, and thoroughfares, and thereby appearing to deny access to their “rightful” users has been, over the years, a highly contentious issue in major cities across the globe. Addressing the problem of “hawking” generally involves a range of complex and interlinked issues such as the informal economy, rural-urban linkages in commodity production and marketing, survival of the urban poor, urban renewal and middle-class politics, changing street cultures, shopping as well as selling behavior, and commodity circulations.
The 250 million forest-dependent people in India have been victims of major historical injustices such as continuation of repressive colonial forest laws and are amongst the poorest in the country. To empower forest communities, India has passed two historic laws in the last 15 years. However, their effects on the ground have been disappointing. While all of this sounds desultory, a number of “transformations” have been taking place recently, which if harnessed properly, could significantly better the lives of these communities.
The increasingly complex and elusive media landscape has thrown fresh challenges to an unsettled ecosystem of media policy in India. Advanced communications technologies have fundamentally altered the ways in which information and meanings are delivered, organized and received. These new advancements call into question the efficacy of existing policy approaches to media, including the still-dominant conventional media.
Twenty-two year old Manjula reached the radio station before daybreak one day in August last year and started broadcasting Tsunami alerts at 5:00 a.m. Early morning listeners were caught unaware as they are used to the community radio station, Kalanjiam Vaanoli, beginning its broadcast only at eight. By mid-morning, Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and the surrounding region were given the all-clear by the district administration, but Manjula had already done her job effectively and efficiently that day.