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Restructuring Watershed Development Programmes

The broad thrust of the changes suggested by the Parthasarathy Committee is necessary to get the government watershed programme out of the wasteful, fragmented and corrupt rut it is mired in. The programme is far too important for reviving agricultural growth, especially in rainfed areas, to allow the present situation to continue by default.

Flawed Critique of Bhakra

Flawed Critique of Bhakra Unravelling Bhakra: Assessing the Temple of Resurgent India by Shripad Dharamadhikary, Swathi Sheshadri, Rehmat; Report of a Study of the Bhakra Nangal Project, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, Badwani, MP, 2005; pp 271 + annexures and maps,

Need for Involvement of States

The standing committee's recommendations on the NREG call for basic changes in the concept and design envisaged in the draft bill. They are essential, indeed imperative, if the programme is to be effective and thus deserve strong support. It should be obvious however that concurrence of the state governments and their willingness to abide by the operational implications of the legislation are essential. The most serious lacuna in the report is that it sidesteps the problems involved in ensuring that this precondition is met.

Employment Guarantee and Decentralisation

Protagonists of the National Employment Guarantee Scheme do favour entrusting the programme to panchayats and incorporating provisions to this end in the national law. But this aspect is not articulated as strongly and emphatically in the public debate on the subject as on issues relating to scale and coverage. The campaign for a wider and better funded NEGS must be combined with a campaign to generate strong public opinion and mobilise elected panchayatdars all over the country to bring pressure on the central and state governments to strengthen democratic panchayats and empower them to plan and implement all local development programmes.

Efficiency of Water Use in Agriculture

How much water will be needed in the coming decades, and to what extent they can be met are issues of critical importance. Assessments of the future water scenario depend crucially on (a) the technically feasible and economically viable augmentation of the quantum of surface and groundwater available for use; (b) the quantum of water needed to meet the requirements; (c) the ratio of consumptive use to gross utilisation in different uses, the scope for and prospects of increasing this ratio; and (d) increasing the productivity per unit of consumptive use in agriculture. This paper seeks to estimate the 'consumptive use' of water in crop production; the ratio of consumptive use to gross water utilisation, and the productivity per unit of consumptive use.

Managing Water

Managing Water WATER: Perspectives, Issues, Concerns by Ramaswamy R Iyer; New Delhi, 2003; A VAIDYANATHAN Water and its management have become issues of major public concern in recent years. While this concern is naturally more widespread and intense in times of drought, there is also an underlying trend of growing awareness that scarcity, pollution of water sources, imprudent and inefficient utilisation, and conflicts over water are persistent and likely to become more and more serious. This has generated widespread discussion of ways to handle the problems. But there is great divergence of opinions and acrimonious debates on appropriate solutions and strategies to implement them. This is largely a reflection of differences in (a) water availability relative to perceived needs across regions; (b) perceptions about the responsibility of the state to develop and manage water

Interlinking of Peninsular Rivers: A Critique

There are many aspects of the project for interlinking the peninsular rivers - conceptual, technical, environmental and economic - which need careful, detailed and objective review by independent experts and there has to be open public discussion of issues before the project is taken up for implementation. A proper review of the project must assess both its technical feasibility and whether the costs of increasing effective supply (including environmental and rehabilitation costs) by augmentation through interlinking is commensurate with the benefits by way of increased production. It must also be examined whether there is scope for improving efficiency of use beyond what is assumed, what the costs and benefits would be and how they will compare with those of interlinking

Poverty and Development Policy

Against the background of a brief review of the evolution and acceptance of minimum living standard among the objectives of policy in the agenda of political parties as well as governments in India, this paper discusses some important issues concerning concepts and measurement of poverty as well as the design and implementation of policies to tackle the problem.

Social Science Research in India

The availability of public funds for socio-economic research has undoubtedly encouraged and facilitated research outside the government. It has made a significant contribution by opening important areas (such as gender studies, environment, dalits and other disadvantaged segments) of research, bringing new issues on the public agenda and livening the debate on social and development policy. But important as these developments are, all is not well.

Research for Agriculture

Intellectual property rights in agricultural technology raise issues concerning the strategies and policies for a more dynamic national agricultural research system, the relative roles of public and private sectors and the role of MNC agribusinesses.

India's Agricultural Development Policy

Pressures for liberalisation and globalisation of Indian agriculture are growing. The focus is now on three major issues: (1) Further reduction and eventual elimination of restrictions on both internal and external trade in agricultural products. (2) Reduction and eventual elimination of input subsidies. (3) Putting in place an intellectual property rights regime for seeds and plant varieties and allowing transnational agribusiness corporations to operate freely in the country. A critical scrutiny of these propositions.

Consumption of Gold in India

The gold stock of the country at the end 1997 was close to 10,000 tonnes valued at current prices on the world market at $ 120 billion. This is nearly four times the country's exports and official foreign reserves in that year. The continued rapid growth of gold inflow into the country can have significant consequences in terms of the scale and functioning of the hawala market, the availability of foreign exchange for other uses and the health of the balance of payments. The factors determining the demand for gold and the sources of finance for importing it therefore merit closer study.

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