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

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A Flawed Survey

Resettled Oustees from Narmada Valley

A response to “Are Resettled Oustees from the Sardar Sarovar Dam Project ‘Better Off’ Today?” by Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar and Neeraj Kaushal (EPW, 23 March 2019) finds that the survey findings do not support the conclusion drawn by the article about the oustees being better off.

Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar and Neeraj Kaushal ask the question, which is also the title of their article, “Are Resettled Oustees from the Sardar Sarovar Dam Project ‘Better Off’ Today?” (EPW, 23 March 2019). They answer it emphatically in the affirmative. However, there are serious problems with their methods and interpretations, and the conclusion is not warranted.

A quick summary of the methodology used by Aiyar and Kaushal is in order. They investigate this question by comparing two groups of people: First, oustees who have been displaced between 1980–83 and 1989–95, and second, people who continue to live in the semi-submerged villages on the banks of the Narmada. For both groups, they assess the “living conditions and well-being,” through a survey of “asset ownership, housing and living conditions, occupation, agricultural practices, awareness and utilisation of government programmes and services.”

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Updated On : 10th Nov, 2019

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