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

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Safai Karmis of Uttar Pradesh

A study of the operation of the Safai Karmi Scheme of the Uttar Pradesh government reveals the apparent weakening of the age-old link between caste and occupation, with Other Backward Classes and even upper castes competing with Scheduled Castes to secure the job of a sanitation worker in villages. Another significant fact which comes to the fore, is the struggle for power in the safai karmi unions between OBC and the numerically superior SC workers, with the former trying to establish their dominance, reflecting the nature of caste politics at play in the state.

Unhealthy, Insecure, and Dependent Elders

India faces an exponential growth in the proportion of its elderly in the near future, but there is no specific policy of substance to deal with the many ramifications of this development. What little exists hardly does justice to the country’s elderly poor, who are forced to contend with daunting challenges late in life when they have few resources and are partially or entirely dependent on others. More alarmingly, reliable data on the elderly and their situation is lacking. Unless the state acknowledges its responsibility to the elderly, without hoping that the market will come to its aid, today’s inexcusable callousness to the aged may seem mild when the crisis that is waiting to happen hits us.

Safai Karmi Scheme of Uttar Pradesh

The Uttar Pradesh government has a scheme to appoint rural sanitation workers. Open to all castes as government jobs are, this was intended to break the link between caste and occupation, especially in sanitation and manual scavenging works. However, a close look at the operation of this scheme in select districts of the state demonstrates the ways in which caste hierarchy and occupations overwrite the best of policies and continue the practices which these are meant to destroy.

Conceptualising Women's Agency, Autonomy and Empowerment

Women's agency, autonomy and empowerment are widely used ideas in development literature. But there is substantial ambiguity in the conception of these ideas. While women's well-being and women's agency is sufficiently distinguished from each other, there seems to be a large overlap between agency and empowerment and between agency and autonomy. This paper attempts to examine the degree of empowerment and autonomy across different characteristics like place of residence, religion, caste, education, type of employment and wealth quintiles at the individual as well as the regional levels. A regional analysis shows that empowerment may not always lead to autonomy.
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