ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Generating Agrarian Dynamism

Agrarian stagnation was much the same in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat and the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra until 1990, and for similar reasons. Since then, Saurashtra's agriculture has been growing, especially after 2000, at an accelerated pace, while Vidarbha's farmers have continued to stagnate. This paper interrogates why, and suggests some measures to jump-start agricultural growth in Vidarbha.

Financial Literacy in Rural Banking

Financial literacy in the present Indian policy context is seen as an instrument to raise demand for banking services. The location of the problem as one of deficient demand is untenable. The conception of financial literacy, as reflected in the Reserve Bank of India's Financial Literacy Guide, is packed with stereotypes of the poor as ignorant and in need of moral lessons on savings, consumption and credit. Financial literacy has to be positioned within a broader conceptual view of the financial system, so as to become a tool to raise critical consciousness and equip people to respond to the challenges posed by the financial sector. Further, financial literacy material must evolve from below, such that lives of the common people are organically a part of it. This paper also hints that the campaign mode for financial literacy might allow for greater public engagement and action. The effects of financial literacy, however, will not accrue if it is not accompanied by adequate outreach of banking services through credible public institutions.

Estimating Rural Housing Shortage

The working group on rural housing for the Twelfth Five-Year Plan estimated the rural housing shortage in India to be 43.13 million in 2012. Using the latest data sets - Census 2011 and the National Sample Survey housing condition round for 2008-09 - and the improved methodology used by the technical group on urban housing shortage, this paper re-estimates the rural shortage to be 62.01 million in 2012. Households living in temporary houses and in congested conditions were found to be mainly responsible for the rural housing shortage. The results suggest the need for holistically focusing on eradicating shelter deprivation in rural India and contributing to an enhancement of the quality of life of the people.

Link between Food Price Inflation and Rural Wage Dynamics

In exploring the link between food price inflation and rising rural real wages, this paper examines the dynamic relations between rural wages in different sectors and the relationship these wages share with increasing food prices. It looks into the possibility of a Lewisian transformation causing an increase in real rural wages, but the result of the analysis suggests that the rise in wages is because of an increase in bargaining power due to public works programmes, which employ unskilled rural workers. Food price inflation induces them to bargain for higher wages.

Vulnerability, Forced Migration and Trafficking in Children and Women

This gives space to organised crime to lure a large number of women and children to distant places on the pretext of providing them with jobs, which almost invariably leads to exploitation at a later stage. The findings of this study, done in 12 sick and closed tea gardens in Jalpaiguri district, demonstrate the close link between vulnerabilities, migration, and trafficking in children and women. It also suggests there have been changes in the nature of human trafficking in the country, calling for a new policy perspective on the issue.

Emergent Ruralities

Based on a revisit to two villages of Haryana after a gap of 20 years (1988-89 and 2008-09), this paper provides a historical overview of the process of development and change in a micro setting. Locating the process of social and economic transformation witnessed in the two villages after the green revolution and later after the introduction of large-scale industrial projects in the area, the paper tries to explore the nature of changes taking place in the internal structure (caste and class relations) of the agrarian economy; the changing nature of relationships of villages with the neighbouring urban settlements in terms of employment and aspirations; and the emerging nature of power relations in local political institutions.

Patterns and Practices of Spatial Transformation in Non-Metros

Urban transformation in Tiruchengode town in Tamil Nadu has been predominantly driven by processes internal to it. It has been driven by growth of the town's economy and the practice of entrepreneurs investing in land for capital accumulation. The process described in this paper reinforces the theories of subaltern urbanisation and in situ urbanisation. While the role of the town's entrepreneurs, local landowners, and politics have been significant factors in shaping the evolution and development of its economy, the transformation story has also been shaped by supra-local flows of capital and labour from the region.

The Politics of Classification and the Complexity of Governance in Census Towns

Spontaneous urbanisation through the transfer of capital from the agricultural sector to the commercial sector has given rise to a large number of census towns in West Bengal. These settlements are cases of denied urbanisation, where the territory takes an urban shape but infrastructure and services remain poor under rural local governments that lack resources. Some of these towns retain their census town status for decades, and basic services are neglected until they achieve urban status. Based on empirical research carried out in Singur, a census town in West Bengal, this paper looks at the nature of urbanisation in these towns and tries to trace the role of politics in controlling access to urban status. It also explores the complexity of governance in census towns and surrounding urban areas.

Intentions, Design and Outcomes

This paper examines the implementation of the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme in the smaller cities of Maharashtra. It discusses the reasons behind the poor quantitative and qualitative performance of the IHSDP in the state and examines why the programme has not been a success, either in terms of the completion rate or beneficiary satisfaction.

Planning as Practice?

Solapur is a town in Maharashtra with a vibrant industrial legacy, yet fraught with spatial and socio-economic divisions in the contemporary moment. It shows a pattern of largely informal development and the gradual emergence of a new industry and politics centred on land. This paper which throws light on the evolution and dynamics of urbanisation arising in Solapur, brings out the disconnects that cut across its industrial, spatial, political and social landscapes and reveals a town functioning at low levels of industrial dynamism and physical and social infrastructure, characterised by high levels of poverty.

Changing Structure of Governance in Non-Metropolitan Cities

Globalisation has brought forward new modes of governance and technological options to urban local bodies in India in the last two decades. New governance mechanisms inspired by neo-liberal thinking make claims about making cities function better, substantially improving basic infrastructure and public services, and increasing local democratic participation. But a study conducted in two non-metropolitan cities in Andhra Pradesh indicates that the state has promoted public-private partnerships, outsourcing and contracting out in a way that serves private interests rather than social interests. The disparities between poor residents and non-poor residents have increased and caste plays an increased role in decision-making bodies, though through a so-called inclusive participatory approach.

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