Discipline wise list of recent selected publications

Book Review: Why you must read Gautam Bhatia’s ‘Offend, Shock, and Disturb’ to debate Free Speech in India

The title of this fine book does its contents a disservice, for it is about much more than speech which offends, shocks, or disturbs. Its aims are two-fold: first, to provide a doctrinal analysis of Indian free speech jurisprudence; and second, to critically examine it from a philosophical point of view.

Bhatia notes ruefully that the pathologies of the Indian legal system may limit the impact of these theoretical explorations in practice. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to ask whether Indian free speech jurisprudence is internally coherent and compatible with democratic ideals.

Was Godse more patriotic than Gandhi?

A few days ago, Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament Tarun Vijay tweeted an appreciation of Indira Gandhi on her birth anniversary, calling her a “symbol of strength”. The appreciation of this kind of “strength” was puzzling because it seemed incompatible with Vijay's praise in the past for Mahatma Gandhi, and for his criticism of the Emergency.

A Nobel for the idea of well-being

Much of the work by Angus Deaton, the winner of this year’s Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, has been focussed on measurement issues. He has questioned the quality of data collected in large surveys and suggested ways of improving the surveys. He has also thought very hard about how these data could or could not be used, how to reduce measurement errors, and what inferences one can, or cannot, draw from data that might suffer from measurement errors.

Food Security

Food security: Bihar on the move
Bihar's public distribution system used to be one of the worst in India, but the system has improved significantly from 2011 onwards. The National Food Security Act, backed early on by the political leadership, enabled the state to include the bulk of the rural population in this improved system. However, there is still a long way to go in ensuring that the system is reliable, transparent and corruption-free.

Tackling India’s 'bare branches'

Both China and India have recently been in the global eye for their adverse sex ratios. China’s one-child policy has landed it in dire straits with almost 19 extra boys for every girl with the future implication that there would be close to 30 million excess males by 2020. India is in somewhat better shape with around 13 extra boys per girl. While India’s overall figure of excess males in the marriage market would not be quite as worrisome as China’s, the concentration of these males in the North and northwestern regions of India raises similar concerns.

Brides for India’s North

An interview about cross-regional marriage migration with Ravinder Kaur.

As marriage remains a social obligation in Indian society, desperation has led to an increasing number of cross-regional and cross- cultural marriages which challenge the rigid marriage systems and the notion of caste. States like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana are particularly affected by a lack of women, and in the last decades informal networks have facilitated the migration of brides from eastern and southern parts of the country to these northern states.

Eggs And Prejudice

Child nutrition is prime-time news only when a tragedy occurs. Child undernutrition is no less a tragedy but rarely recognised as such.

Attention to it, following the Madhya Pradesh chief minister’s rejection of a proposal to introduce eggs in anganwadis is significant and welcome.

In Conversation with Hans Joas

Interviewed by Dr. Sarbeswar Sahoo

Hans Joas, a German sociologist and social theorist, is Permanent Fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, Albert-Ludwigs University, Freiburg, Germany and a Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago, where he also belongs to the influential interdisciplinary Committee on Social Thought. In conversation with Dr. Sarbeswar Sahoo, Joas explains how he got into the discipline of Sociology and what has motivated him all these years.

Understanding Leakages in the PDS

In this note, we present updated estimates of PDS leakages using the latest data available — not only from the NSS but also from the IHDS surveys and related sources. For the first time, a relatively clear picture emerges. The decline is particularly clear in states that are known to have undertaken serious PDS reforms, confirming the effectiveness of these reforms
The decline is particularly clear in states that are known to have undertaken serious PDS reforms, confirming the effectiveness of these reforms

Elusive Empowerment: Price Information and Disintermediation in Soybean Markets in Malwa, India

Lack of information and multiple intermediaries have been seen as major obstacles preventing farmers from obtaining a higher price for their produce. Thus, providing information on market prices to farmers and removing intermediaries from the supply chain, have often been considered means to empower farmers. This article argues that intermediaries are integral to any market exchange and notions of disintermediation mask processes that are replacing one form of intermediation by another, usually a corporatized or more vertically integrated one.