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Numbers as Political Allies (Cambridge University Press, 2023) analyses censuses of Jammu and Kashmir as public goods, collective self-portraits and symbols of modernity and enriches the debates on the political economy of statistics. The book tracks how censuses relate to their administrative, legal and political-economic contexts and captures their entire life cycle: from the political and administrative maneuvering at the preparatory stage to the partisan use of data in policymaking and public debates.
The book draws on the history of the census in Jammu and Kashmir to show that data deficit is shaped by, and shapes, ethno-regional, communal, and scalar contests across different levels of governance. Further, comparing the experience of Jammu and Kashmir with that of other states, the book argues against resorting to legalistic and technocratic solutions to address the issue of data deficit and suggests possible measures to enhance public trust in the census.
The panel discussion will be followed by a Q&A session with the audience.
Professor (Dr) TCA Anant retired as Member, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on Jan 2, 2023. Prior to joining the UPSC, Prof. Anant was Professor and Head, Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics (DSE), University of Delhi.
He had earlier been the Chief Statistician of India, and Secretary, Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation (2010-18), and Member Secretary of the Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) (2006-09). Prof. Anant’s research has covered a wide range of areas, including Labor Economics, Industrial Economics, Law and Economics, and Econometrics. He received his PhD in Economics from Cornell University and his MA in Economics from the DSE.
Christophe Z. Guilmoto is a senior fellow in demography at the French Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) attached to CEPED research unit in Paris. He joined the Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH), New Delhi in 2021 to work on the demography of inequalities. Over the last decade, his research has focused on prenatal sex selection, starting with India’s and China’s experience. His current work also covers Southeast Asia, the Caucasus and Southeast Europe, with an interest for both theoretical and estimation issues related to these sex imbalances at birth.
He has organized several conferences, panels and training sessions on the prenatal sex discrimination in various countries. He has written several monographs on gender-biased sex selection in various countries and is the author of the first global report on sex imbalances at birth (UNFPA 2012). Most recently, he has edited Atlas of Gender and Health Inequalities in India (Springer, 2023).
Noor Ahmad Baba
Noor Ahmad Baba is currently associated with the Department of Politics and Governance at the Central University of Kashmir as an Adjunct Professor. Prior to this he taught at the University of Kashmir and the Central University of Kashmir. He served as the Dean, Faculty/School of Social Sciences in both universities. He has been an avid writer on a range of issues dealing with South and West Asia, including Kashmir and Indian politics. He is the author of Organisation of Islamic Conference: Theory and Practice of Pan-Islamic Cooperation (Oxford University Press, 1994). He received his PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Vikas Kumar is Associate Professor of Economics at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. His research explores the interfaces between politics and statistics, economics and religion and Kauṭilya’s Arthasastra and other pre-modern texts.
He is the author of Numbers as Political Allies: The Census in Jammu and Kashmir (Cambridge University Press, 2023) and Waiting for a Christmas Gift: Essays on Politics, Elections and Media in Nagaland (Heritage Publishing House, 2023) and the co-author of Numbers in India’s Periphery: The Political Economy of Government Statistics (Cambridge University Press, 2020).
He curated the exhibitions Counting and Controlling Population: Postal Services, Census & Family Planning in Post-colonial India, 1951 – 2011 (Bangalore International Centre, January 2023) and Baba Saheb: An Extraordinary Philatelic Journey (1966−2022) (India International Centre, New Delhi, June 2022).
Arjun Jayadev is the Director of the School of Arts and Sciences at Azim Premji University. He teaches Economics at the University. He has previously taught at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is also a Senior Economist at the Institute for New Economic Thinking. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and was an inaugural post-doctoral fellow at the Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University. His research combines quantitative and theoretical analysis of Finance, Development, Political Economy and Intellectual Property. He is also the editor of the Journal of Globalization and Development (along with Joseph Stiglitz, Dani Rodrik, Jose Antonio Ocampo and Martin Guzman).