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

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Capitalist Development and Rural Livelihoods

Indian agriculture has been facing intrusion of large capital into its domain in various forms, such as contract farming, industrialised agriculture, forcible acquisition of agricultural land for industrial plants. The impacts of such capitalist development on rural livelihoods are explored. It is argued that reform in agriculture—through setting up of special agricultural zones and other similar means—needs to be undertaken for further rural economic development, in general, and for protection of agriculture-related livelihoods, in particular. The prospects of the rural industrial sector are also examined and, in this context, it is argued that the clustering of rural non-farm enterprises can pave the way for an alternative development paradigm.

Crop Insurance in India

Crop insurance is a vital component of agriculture, especially in a country such as India, where the majority of farmers are small and marginal with low savings that reduces their ability to weather agricultural risks and fluctuations. Programmes extending insurance cover for crops in India have long been in operation, but have not been able to include the majority of the agricultural sector within their ambit. Analysing the 70th Round Situation Assessment Survey data, collected by the National Sample Survey Office, the performance of crop insurance at the household level is examined and factors that determine its adoption are identified using an econometric analysis. The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana is then analysed by looking more closely at the structure of the scheme.

Statewise Report Cards on Ecological Sustainability of Agriculture in India

The dependence of agriculture on natural resources requires sustainable management of these resources for risk mitigation and management, particularly in the context of increasing farmer distress and vulnerability to risks associated with climate change. Using a framework of indicators in the domains of pest management, fertiliser use, soil health, water conservation, biodiversity, and efficient use of inputs, statewise report cards on ecological sustainability of agriculture are provided. There is much variation in the sustainability of production practices across the country, with some states characterised by high use of pesticides, low soil organic content, depletion of groundwater levels, low crop diversity, high energy use, and widespread nitrate contamination of groundwater.

Uncertain Climate, Vulnerable Livelihoods

With limited water resource endowments and a predominantly agrarian base, livelihoods in the semi-arid tropics are particularly vulnerable to climatic uncertainties and frequent droughts. The low levels of development of diversified livelihood options in the non-farm sector and a lack of skill base compel households to seek multiple low-income livelihoods to sustain the household in lean resource years. Among these, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme has provided the most significant coping mechanism for most households, particularly the poorest and most backward sections. The scheme may thus be seen as a prominent drought risk reduction policy. However, challenges of implementation arise when the policy manifests on field realities which tend to reduce the effectiveness and weaken its impact.

Rural Economy, State and Public Policy

The contemporary situation of Punjab’s rural economy has been a subject of serious concern. One of the important reasons for the disappointing outcomes in the state is the proliferation of the expenditure heads of public outlays by successive governments at different levels. Further, the rural sector has consistently lost its importance in the state’s public outlays, with a progressive diversion of public spending on the rural sector towards local-level administration, bypassing key sectors of rural development such as human resources development. This aspect has been a major driver of the unending rural crisis in the state. The evolving levels and patterns of the public expenditure on the rural sector over time are examined.

Gender, Religion, and Virtual Diasporas

The rise of web-based social spaces has expanded the political sphere beyond the boundaries of the nation state, while also disseminating and shaping religious ideologies. Minority groups in diasporas use their increasing online representation to challenge mainstream perceptions about them and to create transnational virtual communities. The gendered constructions of Hindu identities in the virtual sphere are analysed here, examining the discourses of Hindu conservative groups and post-immigrant progressive groups.

Feminisms in the United States Diaspora

With a focus on “Indian” feminisms in the United States diaspora, based on their experiences as academics committed to social justice issues, two types of activism—efforts to challenge violence against women and to address knowledge hierarchies—are outlined.As the work for gendered justice includes the need to challenge mainstream and community forces, the dynamic fissures and coalitions that construct the cadences of Indian–American feminisms in the us diaspora are delineated.

Women Migrants and Social Remittances

An ethnographic study of the women migrants in Barkas, an old Arabian neighbourhood in Hyderabad, shows that women migrants over the years have moved from being the so-called dependant migrants to noteworthy contributors to the development of links between the sending and the receiving nations. Making a departure from the earlier studies of diasporas, this paper points to the fact that despite being involved in circular migration, and even in their gendered roles, women can affect the formation of the diasporas through their social remittances.

Making History and Shaping Feminism

A historically grounded account of South African feminists, who were the products of an apartheid, colonial, and largely patriarchal society, is discussed, with a focus on personal narrative. The voices of seven South African Indian struggle icons—Phyllis Naidoo, Poomoney Moodley, Ela Gandhi, Judge Navanethem Pillay, Amina Cachalia, Rajes Pillay and Munniamah Naidoo—who dispelled the prescriptive role of women as understood in the country and among the Indian community are highlighted. They were the game changers who made history and shaped interpretations of feminism in South Africa.

Minority Struggles and Quiet Activism

The challenges that “minority” women encounter in Australia play a crucial role in expanding the language of feminism. From the author’s position as a diasporic Australian woman of Anglo-Indian Christian heritage, she explores the emotional struggle to challenge institutional racism in a country where whiteness provides symbolic and material privileges. This struggle has its roots in everyday acts of “quiet” activism that unfolded in Kolkata, India, where she was born. She had failed to see these as performances of feminism, however, because it veered away from the Brahminism of the feminist movement. The event of migration and racialisation as “ethnic,” “NESB” and “Indian” was a visceral experience that opened her eyes to the possibilities for more hopeful futures in Australian cities.

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