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

Articles By Ravi Srivastava

Social Science Research in India in a Medium-term Perspective

A recent two-day international conference organised by the Indian Council for Social Science Research saw extended discussions by a host of social scientists and institutional representatives on the role and challenges confronting Indian social science. It was felt that fi scal strengthening of social science research needed to go hand in hand with appropriate institutional strategies and policy reform. The announcement of a series of new initiatives by the Ministry of Human Resource Development appeared to signal a larger role for the social sciences in India.

Women, Work, and Employment Outcomes in Rural India

Large-scale surveys show that while rural women's employment has grown over the decades, women are still largely self-employed or employed as casual labour in agriculture. They face various forms of discrimination, including job-typing that pushes them into low-paying jobs. Higher work participation per se does not lead to better outcomes unless accompanied by higher education, and/or assets. Education may not positively influence a woman's participation in work, but for women who are in the workforce, education is the most important determinant of better quality non-agricultural work. Women's autonomy, measured in terms of control over land, mobility, and a willingness to join self-help groups, enables them to move into non-agricultural jobs. The paper argues for policy interventions to increase work opportunities and enhance wages for rural women workers.

National Knowledge Commission: Meeting Social Goals or Neoliberal Reform?

The National Knowledge Commission has made a number of important general recommendations for higher education, but there has been little working out of detail and the database on some important dimensions is questionable. The main conclusions are based on an analysis of the public education system with very little focus on the growing private sector. It is doubtful whether the NKC recommendations constitute a step forward in meeting the national goals in higher education at this juncture.

Rural Wages during the 1990s: A Re-estimation

A major premise of economic reforms was the stimulus it was expected to give to the agriculture sector and to the demand for labour in rural areas. However, recent studies have given conflicting results regarding the trend in wages. In this paper, we re-estimate rural wage rates from the three NSS rounds for 1983, 1993-94 and 1999-2000 for 15 major states. Our results show that the growth rate of manual casual agricultural wages declined during the post-reform period with some differences at the state level. In the case of manual casual non-agricultural wages there was no decline in the growth rates at the all-India level. In the case of wages for all casual (manual and non-manual) wage labour, a decline was registered by both agricultural and non-agricultural wages in the 1990s. Analysis of the determinants of agricultural wages revealed that agricultural productivity, rural diversification, investment per hectare in agriculture, and percentage of agricultural labourers in the workforce were the key factors, with the impact of the latter two being lower in 1999-2000 compared to the earlier periods.

A Major National Initiative

For the first time in India a comprehensive social security scheme for the unorganised sector has been proposed. The proposal by the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector seeks to develop a healthy workforce that in turn will have a positive impact on national income and economic growth. The scheme aims to cover sickness, maternity, old age and death and proposes a participatory system with some contributions from the workers.