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

Articles by Bhaskar ViraSubscribe to Bhaskar Vira

An Indian She-cession: Disproportionate Job and Earnings Loss for Young Women in the Labour Market

The COVID-19 pandemic has had severe consequences for the Indian labour market. However, its effects have been experienced differently across ages and genders. Using emerging longitudinal data, we examined who were hit the hardest? We found that young people (versus older adults) and women (versus men) experienced the highest losses in jobs and earnings. Young women, disadvantaged both on account of their age and their gender, suffered the most as compared to all other categories of workers analysed (young men, older men, and older women). These findings have important implications. India is at a demographic juncture, which means it is experiencing a “youth bulge” and has one of the youngest populations in the world. Further, the female labour force participation in India was low and declining even before the pandemic. Enabling young women to engage with the labour market is key to both youth and gender empowerment, and policy needs to urgently focus on pathways that provide meaningful opportunities for post-pandemic recovery.

Negotiating Trade-offs

Exploring the prospects of the ecosystem services approach for natural resource management and poverty alleviation in India, this paper points out that it is vital to have an understanding of the political economy of negotiations over natural resource use. An appreciation of the synergies and trade-offs between ecosystem services is equally important to develop better strategies for pro-poor ecosystem management. If the distributional outcomes associated with alternative options for natural resource management are neglected, there is a risk that such interventions may fail because of resistance from those who are excluded or those who stand to lose.

Deconstructing the Harda Experience

The Harda experience initiated in the early 1990s suggests that the participatory forestry experience has been neither an unqualified success nor an unmitigated failure. The findings in this paper point to the fact that despite 10 years of collaborative forest management the hierarchical and unequal relationship between the state and local people has not changed in many places. As shown by the Harda experience, the bureaucratic mode of participation encouraged by the state fosters an inequality that has drawn criticism from tribal organisations. The conflict manifests itself in everyday issues that arise in the implementation of participatory forest management within the inherently hierarchical social structure and a development paradigm still dominated by a relatively unaccountable and paternalistic state.

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