ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Review IssuesSubscribe to Review Issues

‘Do Only Girls Suffer? We Too!’

Research in India has been oriented towards understanding the causes and consequences of early marriage on girls, while ignoring the condition of “child grooms.” There are many “hotspots” in India, where early marriage of boys is an accepted norm. Using available evidence from national surveys and qualitative data collected from Shrawasti district of Uttar Pradesh, attempts are made to understand the reasons behind the early marriage of boys and the difficulties faced by these young men who are forced into marriage. In such regions, raising the age at marriage for boys will automatically raise the age at marriage for girls. If we have to address the problem of “child brides,” we can no longer ignore the presence of “child grooms.”

Making Smallholder Farming Climate-smart

Climate change is accompanied by increasing weather uncertainty. Farmers, especially smallholder farmers, need advance warning of emergent weather conditions at a local level. Mobile telecommunication systems are increasingly cost-effective and an efficient way of delivering weather-based agro-advisories to farmers at a large scale. Agrometeorological services facilitate flexible, weather-based agriculture planning and help build evidence and capacities of communities, technical and developmental agencies to plan and implement climate-adaptive responses. The relevance and innovativeness of multi-institutional collaboration lies in the institutional, technical and pedagogical strategy adopted which offers important lessons on how agrometeorological services can be organised to make smallholder farming climate-resilient on a larger scale.

Understanding Open Defecation in Rural India

India has far higher open defecation rates than other developing regions where people are poorer, literacy rates are lower, and water is relatively more scarce. In practice, government programmes in rural India have paid little attention in understanding why so many rural Indians defecate in the open rather than use affordable pit latrines. Drawing on new data, a study points out that widespread open defecation in rural India is on account of beliefs, values, and norms about purity, pollution, caste, and untouchability that cause people to reject affordable latrines. Future rural sanitation programmes must address villagers’ ideas about pollution, pit-emptying, and untouchability, and should do so in ways that accelerate progress towards social equality for Dalits rather than delay it.

Energy, Gender and Social Norms in Indigenous Rural Societies

Studying women’s work and energy use through field studies in Khasi communities in Meghalaya and Angami communities in Nagaland, the links between energy use and women’s work and leisure are explored. It is found that the choice of energy source is closely linked with women’s participation in the management of energy resources, their opportunities to earn incomes, and their ability to negotiate the cultural and social norms of their communities. Energy planning cannot stop with the provision of household access to electricity or liquefied petroleum gas. A new deal for women in the energy sector is delineated, which relates to overcoming sociocultural limits and increasing the opportunity cost of women’s labour and their right to assets.

Reconsidering Women’s Work in Rural India

The most recent data gathered by the National Sample Survey Office on work participation for women in India reveal a sharp decline, primarily due to the NSSO’s conventional measures not accounting for economic activities undertaken by women for the benefit of households. Alternative definitional approaches to the production boundary, such as the Indian System of National Accounts and the United Nations System of National Accounts, somewhat better account for unpaid work by women for households’ own consumption. An analysis of data from the part of the NSSO schedule on employment and unemployment (for 2004–05 and 2011–12) that enquires about various activities undertaken by individuals who report performing household activities as their principal activity, reveals a less dramatic decline than that presented by the more conventional measure of work participation. This finding contributes to a significant rethinking of how rural women’s contributions to economic activities for their own households can be better recognised through data.

Making Pulses Affordable Again

While outlining strategies to increase availability of pulses at affordable prices, it is argued that increasing domestic production of pulses is the only option. Access to one or two protective irrigation sources during the growing season can lead to sizeable increases in pulse production. The har khet ko paani initiative should give priority to pulse-producing areas. The minimum support price, without procurement, helps traders more than farmers because it acts as a focal point for tacit collusion among traders. Including subsidised pulses in the public distribution system has only a small effect on consumption of pulses. We suggest investing in research and extension, aggregating into farmer producer organisations, and paying growers or growing areas for the ecosystem services offered by pulses.

Transitions in Rice Seed Provisioning in Odisha

Rice farmers in India have traditionally kept a portion of their harvest as seeds for the next planting. In this traditional system, public sector production and marketing of seeds of improved varieties developed through public research and development played a critical role in promoting the green revolution. In recent years, the seed system of rice in India is undergoing a transition towards increasing involvement of the private sector, especially in production and marketing of seeds. Such transitions have been driven by a number of economic and institutional changes that have made private provision of rice seeds economically viable. At the same time, economic justifications of public sector involvement in subsidised seed production and marketing are weakening. Through a case study of Odisha, this paper highlights the nature of transition taking place in rice seed provisioning.

Impossible Immobility

In recent years, many activists working to prevent trafficking of women and children have recognised the thin line between protecting women against trafficking and contributing further to their immobilisation, especially in societies where regulation of women's mobility is a key element of patriarchal control. Addressing the ways in which migration and trafficking get entangled, especially in relation to women and children, it is argued that, in this story, a crucial role is played by the nature/degree of intermediation. The problem of trafficking of women is addressed with reference to the history of their work and migration, with a focus on Bengal, from the colonial period to the present day. 

'Next Time I Will Go to Dubai'

Cross-border trafficking between India and Bangladesh is an organised economic activity driven by lack of livelihood options, limited natural resources, a number of social causes, and the regular flow of money it ensures for the victims' families. This study is based on interviews with Bangladeshi women "rescued" by the Indian police from brothels and awaiting repatriation. Many of the repatriated women returned to India within a short time; they were either re-trafficked or returned voluntarily, as their material circumstances and options had not changed. In order to address the vicious cycle of trafficking and re-trafficking, it is essential to give up a protectionist view of these women in favour of one that takes into account the choices they make, and focus on prevention.

'Who Would Like to Live in This Cage?'

The functioning of shelter homes under Ujjawala, a comprehensive scheme for prevention of trafficking and rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, directs one to examine the issues surrounding "rescue" and assumptions about what happens to the rescued girls and women. The discourse on rescue and rehabilitation often portrays girls and women as "liberated" from commercial sexual exploitation. An interrogation of the politics of rescue using research was conducted in a shelter home under the Ujjawala scheme.

Unspoken Voices of Trafficked Women and Children in Manipur

An examination of the phenomenon of trafficking of women and children from Manipur to different parts of India and overseas delves into the reasons for trafficking and addresses the voices of the victims and the types of exploitation. A few crucial aspects that emerge from the study are the voluntary participation of the victims, who trust false promises, in the trafficking rackets; parents and relatives being loath to admit that their children and female relatives have been trafficked because of social stigma and shame; and, that trafficking is about the neglect of girls and women from marginalised tribes and from a region considered important only because of its strategic location.

Pages

Back to Top