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JFM: What Is New?

Letters

JFM: What Is New?

T
his is with reference to ‘Deconstructing the Harda Experience: Limits of Bureaucratic Participation’ (November 26, 2005).

The scholarship in the development sector has become tiring. I now think this sector requires more of action than reflection by its best people. As I look back, I hardly see any difference in the understanding one can derive from literature on the Joint Forest Management (JFM) in 1997, 2001 and 2006. For example, let me take up the findings of the study published in EPW.

  • (a) JFM: The author says the study found: (1) Very little active participation in committee formation. Does it surprise anyone associated with JFM? (2) Irregular meetings, key functionaries chosen by the forest department and no role for women. Would the author explain which of these “findings” were unexpected?
  • (b) Livelihood: Here again one finds the same story. The findings are (1) a changing pattern of agriculture due to asset creation without people’s participation,
  • (2) declining fodder availability and adverse impact on animal husbandry,
  • (3) wage employment being the main intervention, and (4) women suffering. This again is the same story as before.
  • (c) Forest department-people relations: Abolition of ‘begaar’ may be a find for some people. Otherwise the story about mass tribal organisations (MTOs) taking up land-related issues and blaming vote bank politics is along expected and experienced lines.
  • I get a feeling that researchers are now really ‘re-searching’ the already much searched and found reality. The pessimism (scepticism) apart, what I miss in the research literature on JFM is the voice of individuals. I have not come across a work that highlights what JFM means for an adult villager, his wife, children, forest guard, district forest officer or forest protection committee secretary. What are their feelings about this issue? How do they view these interventions? Are they pessimistic or optimistic? How do they differ in their images of JFM? Somehow I feel that

    (Continued on p 1816)

    Corrections
  • (1) In the article ‘Killing Fields of Asia’ (April 29, 2006), ‘Colombia’ was wrongly rendered as ‘Columbia’.
  • (2) In the article, ‘NDA and UPA Budgets: Continuity or Change’ (April 8, 2006), the sub-heading Oil sector milk cow (p 1321) should have read as Oil sector milch cow.
  • (3) In the article, ‘Towards GST: Choices and Trade-offs’ (April 8, 2006), the sentence beginning (p 1314) “The finance minister was not far from wrong when he said...” should have read as “The finance minister was not far wrong when he said...”
  • (4) The headline ‘Maharashtra: Politics of Frustrations, Anxieties and Outrage’ (April 8) should have read as ‘Maharashtra: Politics of Frustration, Anxiety and Outrage’. In the abstract, the sentence “Over the last two years Maharashtra has witnessed a series of violent outrages over symbolic issues in the cultural realm” should have read as “Over the past two years, Maharashtra has witnessed violent outrage over a series of symbolic issues in the cultural realm.”
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    Letters

    (Continued from p 1730)

    will be the source of energy in this otherwise decaying academic research.

    RAJIV KUMAR

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