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Showing posts from October 8, 2014

ISRO's Mars Mission (EPW)

Download PDF version The Indian Space Research Organisation's Mangalyaan mission is a remarkable success story. Over the last five decades of its existence, ISRO has notched up many successes and has played a key role in indigenous development of various technologies. Its various programmes are also outstanding examples of its ability to successfully perform complex technological and organisational feats. However, one has yet to see any specifi c spin-offs in the civilian domain of these fairly advanced technologies. Further, the gap between running a dedicated, focused technological mission and improving the general level of manufacturing competence and quality is huge. ISRO was earlier closely involved in the development of dual-use technologies, that involvement continues though the organisation has tended to downplay its role in military applications as it seeks to obtain a larger share of the global civilian space market. Shobhit Mahajan ( teaches Ph…

Dynamics of Income Inequality in India

Download PDF version This article analyses the evolution of income inequality in India in the period 1922-99 using the World Top Incomes Database. Inequality decreased steadily in the planning period, driven by a fall in real incomes at the top of the distribution. This decline reversed itself in the early 1980s. The 1990s saw an increasing divergence between the rich (top 1%) and the rest of the country.

Logical Fallacies in Public Discourse and Law (EPW)

Download PDF version Using the framework of informal logical fallacies, this article looks at the link between prejudices and certain contemporary social debates involving women and gender, and analyses how the law accommodates these prejudices. Surya Binoy ( is an author and lawyer based in Kerala. We are all susceptible to prejudices as we are to diseases. We can only hope for better resistance, not perfect immunity, from either of these influences on our lives. A part of such resistance emanates from our recognition of the power of prejudice, which I define as preconceived notions of credibility, merit, character or culpability of another. This article looks at the link between prejudices and certain contemporary social debates involving women and gender, and analyses to what extent the law accommodates these prejudices. The analytical framework I use is that of informal logical fallacies. Informal fallacies, as distinguished from formal fallacies, are so becau…

The Debate on China's Existing Nationalities Policy ( EPW)

Download PDF version Scholars have, in recent works, sought to "depoliticise" the ethnic nationalities question in China and to reorient it around cultural and civic arguments. This has not been received too well by critics, including those favouring the status quo in China, which still derives its understanding of the "ethnic question" from orthodox communist doctrines on the subject of nationalities. Debasish Chaudhuri ( is with the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi. Alot of deliberations on the theoretical issues related to depoliticisation of China’s existing ethnic policy and the need for a second generation ethnic policy have been going on for about a decade. The debate began with the publication of an article1 in 2004 by Ma Rong, a professor of sociology and social anthropology at the Beijing University. Scholars from different disciplines of social sciences in China felt the urge for revisiting various aspects of ethnic polici…