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

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Political Economy of State Response to Drought in Rajasthan, 2000-03

Between 2000 and 2003, Rajasthan experienced two drought years, which had severe effects on the social and economic lives of the people of the state. While the state government initiated relief works on both occasions, the scale of the work was different in the two years. This paper examines the reasons for the difference in the state's response to the two droughts. Citing greater public pressure during the second drought year as the prime reason for a better response from the state, the article also explores the relationships that exist between different forms of public action and argues that if it had not been for the strong public action undertaken, the state government's response to the drought in 2002 would have been weak.

I n 2000-03, Rajasthan experienced widespread and prolonged drought. While the scale of the drought in 2000 and 2002 was similar, the governments response was quite different in the two years. According to official data, the number of persons employed on relief works jumped from 4.08 lakhs in 2000-01 to 9.75 lakhs in 2002-03. This paper explores the factors that motivate a government to initiate relief measures and explain the difference in the governments response between the two drought years. It examines the states responsiveness to various forms of public pressure whether this comes from elected representatives, the media, public protests, or through other political compulsions.

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