Interviews

Maitreesh Ghatak, Professor of Economics at London School of Economics, interviewed by Tathagata Bhattacharya (National Herald)Maitreesh Ghatak, Professor of Economics at London School of Economics, interviewed by Tathagata Bhattacharya (National Herald)

-National Herald Maitreesh Ghatak, Professor of Economics at London School of Economics, in an interview to Tathagata Bhattacharya says the government has failed on many counts At the end of the day, it is growth and employment generation via new investment that is key to long-term economic progress. Various welfare schemes are a way of providing a social safety net to the poor in the short-run. It is performance along these two dimensions that affect people’s daily lives most directly, says Maitreesh Ghatak, Professor of Economics at London School of Economics, in an interview to Tathagata Bhattacharya. He says the government has failed on these counts and many more Q. Where do you think the Indian economy is headed? A. At this moment, things don’t look very rosy. As far as GDP growth is concerned, it slowed to a four-year low of 6.7% in 2017-18. In fact, excluding the last two years of the...

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Bezwada Wilson, national convenor of the Safai Karamchari Andolan, interviewed by Ahan PenkarBezwada Wilson, national convenor of the Safai Karamchari Andolan, interviewed by Ahan Penkar

-Caravan Magazine On 9 September 2018, five sanitation workers died due to inhalation of toxic fumes while cleaning a sewage tank in West Delhi. Several media reports regarding the incident noted that the men did not have any safety gear, indicating that the unavailability of equipment led to their death. The police reportedly registered a case against theengineer who was in charge of managing the sewage tank,under Sections 304 and 304A of the Indian Penal Code—culpable homicide and causing death due to negligence, respectively. Following extensive media coverage, the police later added charges under sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 and the Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.   There have been over 327 deaths related to manual scavenging in 2017 alone. Manual cleaning of sewage and excreta is a profession that has long been reserved for Dalits, with...

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P Sainath, founder editor of People's Archive of Rural India (PARI), interviewed by Bhasha SinghP Sainath, founder editor of People's Archive of Rural India (PARI), interviewed by Bhasha Singh

-National Herald Talking about farmers’ issues, P Sainath said, “It is not just an agrarian crisis, it is now a national crisis. The Modi govt has been engaged in fooling the nation. They are telling lies shamelessly” The founder editor of People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI), the former Rural Affairs editor of The Hindu and author of the much acclaimed book ‘Everybody loves a Good Drought’, P Sainath, has recorded rural distress for the past several decades. He now finds himself in the forefront of a farmers’march to Delhi scheduled for the last week in November. In a conversation with Bhasha Singh, he explains his reasons. Q. You seem to have assumed the role of a key mobiliser for the farmers’ march to Delhi in the end of November. You are no longer just an observer. Could you explain why you felt compelled to do so? A. Farmers are on the move. It...

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Madhav Gadgil, noted ecologist, interviewed by Nidheesh MK (Livemint.com)Madhav Gadgil, noted ecologist, interviewed by Nidheesh MK (Livemint.com)

-Livemint.com Ecologist Madhav Gadgil, whose report on Western Ghats was rejected by the Kerala government, on what caused the Kerala floods and how the rebuilding process should be carried out Ernakulam (Kerala): Submitted seven years ago on 31 August 2011, ecologist Madhav Gadgil’s report on the biodiverse Western Ghats—a portion of which falls in Kerala—had warned that the combination of massive ecological destruction and extreme weather events trigger disaster. His words proved prophetic in the second half of August when the century’s worst flood unleashed destruction in Kerala. As the state searches for an appropriate way to rebuild itself, the man who penned several key reports on ecological hotspots and founded the Centre for Earth Science Studies in Bengaluru, is back in the limelight. * After the floods, the Kerala government has barred rebuilding houses in places where landslides have happened, pending a study to decide such fragile areas could withstand fresh construction....

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Pronab Sen, former Chief Statistician of India, interviewed by TCA Sharad RaghavanPronab Sen, former Chief Statistician of India, interviewed by TCA Sharad Raghavan

-The Hindu The former Chief Statistician on calculating GDP back series, on indicators of development, and the fall of the rupee The draft of the back series GDP data, which was made public by the government recently, is unlikely to change drastically even if other methods of calculation are used, says former Chief Statistician of India, Pronab Sen. The noted economist discusses GDP, employment and poverty data; the value of the rupee; and how the absence of a Chief Statistician will affect India when it takes new decisions. Excerpts: * The government has said that the back series GDP data is a draft, and that other methodologies are under consideration. If other methods are used, would the numbers change drastically? No, very unlikely. The most common method is called the splicing method and what it does is very basic. You start with the latest estimates, which is 2011-12. You assume the growth rates in...

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