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Caste rules in marriage, power, well-being: Study

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BENGALURU: If you thought caste has been suppressed by globalization, you are wrong. An ongoing study by the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) has found that inter-caste marriages remain minimal despite globalization. Despite their exposure to international cultures and practices, people flaunt their caste.

Among the few who are getting married to people from other castes, Brahmins lead the pack. Nayaks, a scheduled tribe, are also open to marrying outside their caste, the study says.

The study, led by NIAS professor Narendar Pani, is focusing on “Caste in the age of globalization”. It has surveyed 9,504 individuals in Bengaluru.

“It is true that communication associated with globalization increases exposure to global practices. At the same time, communication simultaneously increases the ability to access the same caste on a global scale. The emergence of marriage websites is an indication of the same, and we are seeing westernized same-caste marriages,” Pani says. Only 1.2% of the families surveyed had members who had married outside caste. Those who did not mention their caste were just 9.6% of those surveyed. Twothirds of those who did not mention caste cited their sub-caste. Less than 1% refused to state their caste; the rest insisted on identifying themselves with language, region or sub-caste. Says Pani: “This means more people are open to identifying themselves with caste. We found 163 castes in our sample. If you glance at private cabs running in … the city, including to IT corridors, you find caste names openly displayed (for example, Gowda and Kuruba).” Caste continues to play a role in power at different levels. It determines people’s distance from poverty, the study notes.

“While analyzing knowledge as power, we found that caste has control over policymaking. There is upper-caste dominance of non-government policy-influencing institutions like B.PAC, as was the case with the BATF earlier,” Pani notes.

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Source: TOI-BGLR

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US visa move slaps $400m cost on Indian IT: Nasscom

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BENGALURU: A work-visa fee increase the US had imposed in 2010 and which lapsed recently is being re vived in another form, putting paid to the IT industry’s hopes that its visa costs would finally come down.

IT industry body Nasscom issued a strong statement late Thursday , saying Indian technology companies may have to spend $400 million more on visa costs on account of the move.

“We are increasingly seeing a growing protectionist trend from developed countries like US who have been strongly advocating India to have a more liberalized trade and business environment. This move is contrary to President Obama’s stated support for continued openness and ease of access to the US market by Indian service companies and his advocacy of contin ued openness of the Indian market to US companies,” the Nasscom said. In 2010, the United States had raised the H-1B visa fees by $2,000 per visa application and L-1 visa fees by $2,700 per visa application to fund enhanced costs on securing its border with Mexico. This was applicable to companies that employ 50 or more employees in the US, if more than 50% of the applicants’ employees are under the H-1B or L-1 work visa status.

The provision was for five years and ended in October 2015. Now, the higher visa charges will continue as part of the James Zadroga 911Health and Compensation Act, a move to fund the health costs of more than 72,000 known responders and survivors of 911, including more than 33,000 who already have 911-linked illnesses.

The programme will last for 75 years, until 2090.The specific visa fee increase provisions are currently for 10 years.

Nasscom said imposing an additional H-1B and L-1 visa fees was unfair and discriminatory in nature. “The Indian Information Technology (IT) industry should not be repeatedly targeted as a revenue source to fund unrelated programmes,” it said, adding that the move would adversely impact competitiveness of India’s technology sector.

Harish H V , partner in the India leadership team at consultancy firm Grant Thornton, said that if the Act was implemented, the costs would escalate. “Indian IT companies are known for their cost advantage and anything that increases cost, will reduce competitiveness, especially in the onshore area,” he said.

Source: TOI-BGLR

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Namma Metro services hit, partially on north line

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BENGALURU: A strange power supply glitch stopped the metro services between Sampige road station and Rajajinagar at 7:30 am in the northern line of Namma Metro, on Thursday. Officials said that the services were restored at 5 pm. However, the technical snag is under investigation.

But the services from Rajajinagar to Nagasandra on Tumkur road was not affected. In order to help commuters in this stretch access Malleswaram and Rajajinagar, BMRCL pressed the BMTC feeder bus services the whole day.

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Source: TOI-BGLR

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