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

Articles by Santosh MehrotraSubscribe to Santosh Mehrotra

How to Identify the Poor? A Proposal

The Census of 2002 to identify the poor in rural areas of India was the third in a quinquennial series. However, it has been appropriately criticised. This paper elaborates on the criticisms, and proposes an alternative set of criteria and methodology for conducting the next (now overdue) census of the rural population to identify the poor

Child Labour in Industrial Outworker Households in India

Child labour is widespread in home-based manufacturing activities in the informal sector in most developing countries. However, very little is known of child labour in industrial outwork. The aim of this paper is twofold: on the one hand, to understand whether children in home-based work households are more likely to work than other children and, if so, how this impacts their capabilities; and, on the other, to outline policy implications for India. This paper draws on ad hoc surveys and a country study carried out in India. It examines the incidence of child work in such households, the child's schooling, and reasons why children are working, their work conditions, and gender issues. Econometric analysis is applied to analyse the determinants of child activity status. Policy implications are spelled out at the end.

Public Health System in UP: What Can Be Done?

This article offers a menu of options for reform of Uttar Pradesh's public health system. Though some actions have been taken after the introduction of the National Rural Health Mission in late 2005, a large number of very serious problems remain. Unless they are addressed, the monitorable targets of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan in regard to health and nutrition in India will not be met, since UP has such a large weight in the unmet needs of public health in the country.

NREG Two Years On: Where Do We Go from Here?

This article examines the performance of the National Rural Employment Guarantee programme since its launch in mid-2005. It first provides a summary of progress in certain areas and then highlights specific weaknesses. Finally, it describes the challenges that lie ahead and suggests how these can be overcome.

Well-being and Caste in Uttar Pradesh

For nearly two decades, Uttar Pradesh has had a movement to mobilise the dalits and the other backward castes of the state. However, UP's lower castes had, before the mobilisation began, and still have, the worst social indicators in the state and in the country. Earlier in the last century Tamil Nadu also experienced a mobilisation of the dalits and backwards, but managed to transform the social indicators in health, nutrition, fertility and education after independence. Thus, while UP's mobilisers of the dalits have focused exclusively on capturing power, the gains to the lowest castes have been entirely of a symbolic nature. This paper, after analysing the data from two National Family Health Surveys (1992 and 1999), addresses the reasons why UP's social indicators, including the health and education status of the lower castes, are much worse than in Tamil Nadu - despite the lower caste mobilisation over the last decade and a half.

Child Malnutrition and Gender Discrimination in South Asia

India, Pakistan and Bangladesh account for child malnutrition rates that are higher than in sub-Saharan Africa. This is directly related to discrimination against women in south Asia. The focus of all interventions has to be on improving the health status of women generally and as far as the infant is concerned, targeting most interventions in the first three years of life. Additionally, universal school feeding programmes will ensure that a poor family is saved the cost of at least one square meal for its children. Finally rapid action is needed so that access to safe water and sanitation is extended to the entire population.

Human Capital or Human Development?

This paper compares human capital theory with the capability approach and lays out the problems with the theory. As a knowledge paradigm for education and development, it finds the theory wanting. However, it has remained the foundation for sectoral work in education and health by international financial institutions. The paper spells out the problems, historically, with World Bank lending in the education sector, some of which follow from human capital theory, while others follow from a broader neoliberal agenda. It concludes by delineating the foundational elements of an alternative knowledge paradigm for ?education for all?, based on the capability approach and its extension.

Job Law Can Sharply Cut Poverty This Decade

A rural employment guarantee programme will yield immense benefits. Labour-intensity can be high in watershed development, land regeneration, and prevention of soil erosion. A jobs programme that focuses on such work would not only protect the environment, it would enhance land productivity and promote rural employment in the future. Such a plan would also have positive second-round effects on household incomes, by raising agricultural wages and investment in human capital. Besides, improving watershed development could reduce damage to life and property caused by frequent flooding. To argue against the employment guarantee is therefore being penny wise and pound foolish.

Reforming Public Spending on Education and Mobilising Resources

The problems with the structure of public spending on elementary education are threefold: high share of teacher salaries in recurring expenses, higher fiscal priority accorded to secondary education at the state level, and sustainability, as external funding for DPEP runs out. This paper examines the scope for reform in the pattern of education spending and considers ways to mobilise additional resources for elementary education, including earmarking funds for the same.

Managing School Teacher Costs for Access and Quality in Developing Countries

Providing universal access to education while seeking to manage teacher costs is a tough balancing act for most developing nations. While several innovative programmes have been deployed by both developed and developing nations, the requirement of more teachers has become a special imperative. To manage costs, countries have adopted a combination of methods that include a flexible salary structure and effective teacher utilisation. However, for the world to benefit universally from such learning experiences, it becomes vital that such strategies must be systematically shared and analysed by all countries.

Reallocating Public Spending for Basic Social Services in Developing Countries

Services in Developing Countries Santosh Mehrotra Jan Vandemoortele Enrique Delamonica Not all social sector expenditures play as important a role in supporting economic growth and reducing poverty as basic social services preventive and basic curative health services, water and sanitation, family planning, and basic education. They are not only more efficient in terms of providing 'human capital' but they are also more equitable. Nevertheless, there is little information about what developing country governments spend on these basic services. This paper presents data from six case studies EI Salvador, Guinea, Nepal, Niger, Philippines and Tanzania estimating the level of public spending on basic social services with special emphasis on the need for future work on assessing the possibilities for increasing these expenditures. The relevance to issues in the health and education sector in India is notable.

Economic Transition and Children

Santosh Mehrotra The State of the World's Children 1991, UNICEF, New York; 1991.
THE State of the World's Children 1991 (SWC1991) notes that a consensus seems to have emerged after 40 years of debate about strategies of development. It is interesting that SWC 1991 should quote the World Bank's 1990 Report to sum up that consensus:


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