Publications | Humanities & Social Sciences


Discipline wise list of recent selected publications

Feeding insecurities

It is widely believed that Aadhaar-Based Biometric Authentication (ABBA) is necessary to improve the delivery of welfare programmes such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), Public Distribution System (PDS), social security pensions, and so on. This is a misconception. We have been studying these programmes for a decade, focusing mainly on the source of leakages and how the states are trying to plug them. The findings suggest that the UPA-2 government oversold Aadhaar because of a poor understanding of the leakage mechanisms in MNREGA and PDS.

The real beneficiary

Ironically, in the week that the UIDAI revealed its draconian face, serving a legal notice to those who exposed flaws in the Aadhaar eco-system, Ajay Pandey (CEO, UIDAI), wrote, “The critics tend to forget that Aadhaar empowers the people, not the state” (‘Criticisms Without Aadhaar’, IE, May 13). However, government data reveals that Pandey is wrong to believe that “Aadhaar empowers the people”.

Evidence no bar

In the month preceding The Economic Survey, leaks from the Ministry of Finance helped created a buzz around “Universal Basic Income” (UBI). Two key principles of UBI are universality, so all citizens are covered, and an entitlement to a “basic income” that allows dignified living even in the absence of other earnings. Yet, the ideas that have been discussed so far are mangled versions of a UBI. The Economic Survey starts with an enthusiastic conversation with Mahatma Gandhi on UBI.

Beyond Territorial and Jurisdictional Confines

This collection of articles on borderlands in South Asia is a historical and ethnographic exploration of borders and frontiers in the region. Taking the contemporary ­iteration of South Asian borders as a point of departure, they invite the reader to think beyond the territorial and jurisdictional confines of states, nations and academic disciplines, and to reflect instead on how concepts like mobility, negotiated sovereignty, and affect enable us to disrupt the modern idea of sovereignty as absolute and the state as sole arbiter of borders and frontiers.