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

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Traditional Knowledge and Conservation

The Soliga tribe in the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Hills of Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka has maintained a continuous and intimate interaction with the forest, deriving most of its basic requirements from the forests. The Soligas used to engage in shifting cultivation and collection of non-timber forest produce which was harvested in an indigenous and sustainable method until the BRT area was declared a wildlife sanctuary. This paper studies the indigenous traditional knowledge of the Soliga tribe about ecology, forest conservation and resource management systems. It also describes tribal clan structures, practices of harvesting and conservation and the scope for developing a conservation regime that incorporates these aspects in forest management.

Hawkers' Movement in Kolkata, 1975-2007

In Kolkata, pavement hawking is an everyday phenomenon and hawkers represent one of the largest, more organised and more militant sectors in the informal economy. This note documents the hawkers' movement in the city and reflects on the everyday nature of governance.

Assessing Vulnerability to Climate Change in India

The impact of climate change on the lives and livelihoods of people in India is now widely recognised. Yet, there is neither a consensus on the definition of vulnerability to climate change nor a full, regionally-nuanced mapping of the variable impact of such a change. It is only when a better understanding of what constitutes vulnerability to climate change and what its region-specific impact would be is available that proper adaptation strategies can be worked out.

Regulatory Authority over Minerals: A Case for Review

This article critically appraises the incumbent regulatory mechanism in minerals and proposes a redrawal of the authority of central and state governments. It argues that for ensuring intra-generational and inter-generational equity the ownership rights over minerals should be vested with the state governments and the regulatory power with the central government. State governments should be provided with adequate elbowroom to mobilise revenue for the development of local communities in mining areas. Therefore, the present system of uniform royalty rates determined by the central government should be removed and states should be free to determine their royalty rates and other levies.

Lack of Community Participation in the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan: A Case Study

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, among other things, seeks to promote community participation in school education. The programme has completed its first phase of five years of implementation. This article evaluates the working of the school education management committee in a tribal area of East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. It shows that community participation in improving education is negligible and that members of the SEMCs have limited awareness of the SSA.

HIV/AIDS in India: The Wider Picture

Increasingly, voices across the world are questioning the narrow approach to a single disease, especially the huge financing for AIDS over all else in basic healthcare. Though welcome and long overdue, this debate must now move further.

Real Estate and Agricultural Wetlands in Kerala

The "rice culture" of Kerala is fast vanishing due to the increasing diversion of the land for non-agricultural purposes. The real estate sector is gradually swallowing up the rice cultivating low-lying wetlands. This paper attempts to examine the growth of real estate business and consequent destruction of the wetland ecosystems in the state.

Flood Disasters and Forest Villagers in Sub-Himalayan Bengal

Conservation policies to protect wildlife and biodiversity ignore the basic survival needs and imperatives of local people. This article aims to show how conservation policies trigger floods in protected areas, especially those located in the foothills of the Himalayan mountain ranges, leading to huge damage to plantations and habitats as well as settlements of the local people. It also explores what forest villagers do when the whole village is destroyed by a natural disaster and the socio-economic consequences in the post-displacement period.

Can Decentralisation Improve Rural Water Supply Services?

A survey of households in six villages in Birbhum district of West Bengal provides evidence that decentralisation in delivery of water supply leads to better quality of services. The participation of the local government in distribution of water supply, and household contribution to operation and maintenance appear to have a positive impact on quality.

Unveiling the Ties between US Imperialism and Al Qaida

This article defines notions of imperialism and terrorism and proceeds to offer an account of US-led imperialism in many parts of the developing world. It contends that in the process of combating Soviet military presence in Afghanistan, the US landed up giving support to radical Islamic groupings and eventually caused the emergence of Al Qaida. It brings out how the US is increasingly getting involved in the politics of west and central Asia by redefining its relationship with the Muslim world.

Threat of Arsenic to Agriculture in India, Bangladesh and Nepal

Arsenic-polluted water used for irrigation in certain areas of India, Bangladesh and Nepal is posing a health hazard for people eating food from the crops irrigated. The accumulation of arsenic in the soil is a threat to sustainable agriculture in the areas affected. These problems are not yet widely recognised. Urgent action is required to address them. The most important need is to assess the scale of the problem so that appropriate interventions can be planned.

Social Audit of Midday Meal Scheme in AP

Studies of India's midday meal scheme have emphasised the need for community monitoring. A social audit was recently initiated for this purpose by the government of Andhra Pradesh. This article presents an account of the audit in Adilabad and Kurnool districts. It brings out various problems like corruption, misuse of power and mismanagement of funding. However, the audit did also bring out the many positive effects of the midday meal scheme - in increasing enrolment, averting "classroom hunger" and reducing social discrimination. It also showed that active community monitoring can significantly enhance the quality of the scheme.

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