The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006

India’s colonial and post-colonial government systematically denied millions of tribal and forest-dwelling communities’ rights to their forest lands and resources. As a result of protracted grassroots struggle, the Scheduled Tribes, and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, also known as the Forests Rights Act (FRA), 2006 is a remarkable piece of legislation recognizing the individual and community rights of forest-dwelling and tribal communities. It sought to correct the ‘historic injustice’ faced by these communities integrating conservation and livelihoods. (more…)

Retrofitting Buildings in India: Balancing the Goals of Sustainability and Social Equity

Retrofitting is the process of making additions to or alterations of existing structures. In the context of buildings, retrofitting would involve making modifications to the existing building stock in an attempt to make it more energy-efficient, reduce its seismic vulnerability or adopt it as a component of hazard mitigation in general. It is important to note that buildings in India consume around 32% of the energy generated, contributing to around 22% of the annual GHG emissions. (more…)

Matters of Legislation: Dynamics between the Centre and the States

Did you ever raise an eyebrow over the fact that India with its strong federal structure is not a federation? For a sovereign nation to be called a federation, the legislative powers between the Centre and the States need to be divided in an independent manner such that they remain within their sphere. Unlike the American Federation, India was called a Union of States as its formation was not the result of an agreement by the States and no State can secede from it. According to BR Ambedkar and the Drafting Committee of 1947, the indestructibility of our federal nation made it a Union. (more…)

Gender Studies in School Education: Redefining the Policy Approach

The sorting of bodies into binary categories has been used for labor division and for identifying key differences in personality traits over the past centuries most of which has led to adverse consequences for gender identities. Gender studies, therefore, as an academic discipline aims to demystify these categories and introduces fluidity as an important aspect of gender. Most importantly, gender as a lived experience affects an individual’s social location and opportunities, therefore, its consequences demand careful examination. Gender can be defined as “both a term that refers to relationships of power, and a category of analysis and knowledge as an analytical tool”. Gender as a field of study is thus meant to teach us how to use such information for analysis to expand our understanding and execute inclusive policies.  (more…)