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

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Structural Change in Bihar's Rural Economy

Bihar has been showing signs of emerging from stagnation and backwardness. For this to occur in full, an agrarian transformation is central in a state where urbanisation remains very low. This paper uses longitudinal household data from a sample of villages to explore changes in production relations, land and other assets, agricultural development and occupational diversification. There has been a significant change in class structure and a shift away from agricultural occupations for male workers (much less for female), but non-agricultural work is mainly outside the village and largely outside the state. Real wages have risen substantially, more than can be explained by rising agricultural productivity, migration being an important contributory factor. But the segmentation of the rural labour market has increased and local development is uneven.

A Passion for India

Gilbert Etienne died in Geneva on 17 May at the age of 85. Throughout his life, India was his passion. For decades he had been a prolific writer on Indian development issues, in books, academic articles and newspapers. With his wife Annette, he lived in and travelled frequently throughout India,...

Inclusive Development? Migration, Governance and Social Change in Rural Bihar

Migration has been a trigger of change in rural Bihar, but despite some social progress, economic transformation remains slow. This paper examines the pattern of change over the last decade, and considers whether prospects for faster or more equitable development have improved and whether a model of development based on migration and consumption out of income transfers and remittances is sustainable.

India and the ILO in Historical Perspective

In the 91 years since the International Labour Organisation came into existence, there have been many intersections and parallels between the development of labour and social policies in this body and in India. Nations and international organisations influence each other in subtle and not so subtle ways. This group of articles explores some aspects of these interactions from an Indian point of view. The hope is that they will stimulate further work on the history of economic and social conditions and policies in India and beyond.

India, the ILO and the Quest for Social Justice since 1919

Examining the interactions between the International Labour Organisation and India, one of its founding members since 1919, this paper observes that the strength of the relationship has varied over time, but has often benefited both sides. Looking ahead, it points out that the ILO and India face common challenges arising from the increasing inequalities caused by globalisation, the difficulty of implementing a universal social and labour policy in an economy where the bulk of workers are outside the formal sector, and the need to better integrate social and economic policy across different arms of government. These problems call for improved patterns of organisation, influence and dialogue at the national level, but they also define an international agenda for the ILO.

A Leap across Time

This paper seeks to map the impact and changes in the traditional Indian economy by the forces of marketisation and monetisation. The authors conducted their studies in two villages of Bihar's Purnia district in the years 1971, 1981 and 1999. As the comparative study revealed, despite the decline in mechanisms of semi-feudalism and a rise in labour income corresponding to a decline in agricultural income; traditional forms of wage repayment as sharecropping continued. Ills of a previous decade such as high mortality, female illiteracy and poor health systems persisted, revealing not merely the inadequacy of existing social institutions but also an absence of much needed state support.

Incomes and Work among the Poor of Rural Bihar, 1971-81

Rural Bihar, 1971-81 Gerry Rodgers Janine Rodgers The Kosi area of north-east Bihar was viewed in the 1960s as an area with substantial potential for growth, because of flood control and the expansion of irrigation, and because of the potential for agricultural innovation.
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