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

InsightSubscribe to Insight

Can Community Monitoring Improve the Accountability of Public Officials?

This article discusses the nature and characteristics of monitoring the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme's implementation with a focus on the community control mechanisms existing in the two pioneering states of Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. These two states represent two relatively diverse models. Elements of both models need to be incorporated in order to make the process of community control of public programmes effective and sustainable.

The International Experience of Auctioning Spectrum

This article analyses the early experiences of spectrum auction in some advanced countries and distils lessons from them. An issue that has been examined in this context is whether auction necessarily leads to a market-efficient outcome. This is of topical interest in India at the current juncture since the department of telecommunications is on the verge of holding an auction for allotting the spectrum for the third-generation (3G) of mobile phones.

Medical Abortion in India: Role of Chemists and Providers

Medical abortion, approved in India in 2002, is emerging as an alternative to surgical procedure for terminating early pregnancy and offers a window of opportunity to expand women's access to safe and effective abortion. A study undertaken of chemists and providers points to some of the challenges such as limited awareness of the appropriate regimen, protocol and likely side effects, the cost to clients, resistance of providers of surgical abortion and the need for adequate backup facilities. All these have to be addressed in order to make medical abortion available widely.

Expert Committee on Commodity Futures: Agreements and Disagreements

In its recent report, the expert committee on commodity futures concludes that futures trade in India has increased the price volatility of largely traded commodities (urad, chana, wheat) during periods of excess liquidity. It finds an increase in prices for commodities that have small market sizes and scarce deliverable supplies (mentha oil, wheat). In contrast, futures trading has led to a reduction in volatilities and aided better discovery for other commodities (soya oil, hessian). It appears that futures trade in agricultural commodities is beneficial for only those commodities that fulfil the basic selection criteria for futures trading accompanied by stringent and timely regulatory actions.

Behind the July Failure of the WTO Talks on Doha

A gross imbalance in the World Trade Organisation proposals in agriculture and industry explains why the latest attempt in July to achieve a breakthrough in the Doha round collapsed. The US demand that developing countries institute a stringent special safeguard mechanism in agriculture that would make it difficult for developing countries to protect themselves against import surges was not the only obstacle. There was the US farm subsidy issue, the cotton issue, the industry tariff proposal issue and more, on none of which a majority of the developing countries were ready to accept the US/EU position. What next for the Doha round, which was launched way back in 2001?

Unravelling Myths about Subsidies in Urban Transport

Is urban public transport subsidised more than its private counterpart? Through a case study of urban transport in Pune, this article demonstrates that car and two-wheeler users receive larger subsidies than bus users when all costs imposed by transport modes are considered.

CAG Report on NREGA: Fact and Fiction

The draft report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on the working of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act was used by many sections of the media to strongly criticise this employment programme. Much of the coverage sensationalised the findings of the report. What did the CAG actually say? Where did the CAG fall short in its investigations? And what can we learn from the CAG to improve the functioning of the NREGA?

Experience and Science in Geography Education

By examining geography textbooks and students' responses, an attempt is made here to substantiate a problematic of science education. The decontextualised nature of science education contradicts everyday life experiences. This situation does not enhance a dialectic relationship between science and experience. It is argued that cognition by itself cannot address the issue of science "enculturation"; instead, it needs to be addressed through some essential relationships of science. These include relations between common observations and reflections beyond appearances as well as relations of science that modify and control nature.

Whither the Subaltern Domain? - An Ethnographic Enquiry

Decentralisation of power and the institution of the panchayati raj system in West Bengal have been expected to aid the disappearance of subalternity (or a state of powerlessness) by way of caste, class and gender. On the contrary, an ethnographic investigation in a village panchayat reveals that divisions between the elite and the subaltern continue to exist in a complex form despite grassroots democracy in the state.

Education in 2008-09 Union Budget

The allocations to the education sector in the union budget for 2008-09 are substantially more than in 2007-08, but the hike is not as large as in previous years. The budget marks a shift in priorities in a number of areas. One, higher priority to secondary, technical and higher education, and less to elementary education. Two, a preference for expansion of elite over mass-based system. And, three, a preference for funding from cesses over allocations from the general budget.

Bank Payments: End of Corruption in NREGA?

The payment of wages into bank accounts for work carried out under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act has been suggested as a way to prevent embezzlement of funds. The practice has already begun in a few districts. Is this a foolproof system to control corruption? The early experience from a few blocks in Orissa suggests that this process is not free from its own problems.

Reviewing the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme

This article presents results on the participation of rural workers in the National Rural Employment Guarantee programme based on a pilot survey of three villages in Udaipur district in Rajasthan. Its focus is on participation in the nreg programme of different socio-economic groups and the determinants of the participation of these groups. It is found that the mean participation was 59 days and that targeting was satisfactory. The performance of the programme has been far from dismal.

Pages

Back to Top