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

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Employment Outcomes along the Rural-Urban Gradation

In an economy that is transforming rapidly, both economically and spatially, the boundaries between rural and urban areas have become blurred. In practice, the rural-urban divide is more accurately characterised as a rural-urban gradation. Labour market outcomes vary along this gradation. Not integrating the gradation in our data and analysis leads to important loss of granularity and can yield misleading conclusions, a point we illustrate with the decline in female labour force participation.

Livelihoods of Marginal Mining and Quarrying Households in India

Presenting an exploratory approach by which quantitative data from the National Sample Survey can be analysed to throw light on the most marginal households whose primary occupation is recorded as mining and quarrying, this paper finds that a large portion of mining and quarrying is carried out informally by marginal households from disadvantaged social groups. The majority of them are concentrated in stone and marble quarries, living on the edge of poverty, earning irregular incomes, and with poor access to services and utilities. Considering the likely numbers involved and their vulnerability, the paper suggests that mining and quarrying households should receive better policy attention.

Managing Water Management Research

An analysis of 40 years of water management research and outreach in India using data from 34 centres and 5,000 field trials across 23 states shows that of the 502 technologies released, only 110 technologies (22%) have been transferred successfully to farmers. The returns to water management technologies range from 15% to 25% (average 21%) at the research station level, compared to 9% to 14% at the farm level (average 10.8%). Given the current rate of adoption and rate of return, the success rate of the water management technologies is only about 12%. There is therefore an urgent need to address the gaps in technology transfer and performance.

Debt Bondage and the Tricks of Capital

Migrant labourers, free from rural bondage, are now bonded to other sources of debt, contracted from the agro-industry or construction sectors. The flows of migration in the brick-making and sugar cane sectors in Tamil Nadu, where bondage coexists with many public welfare schemes, illustrate the persistence and renewal of this phenomenon. The welfare schemes play the role of a safety net, but also contribute to low wages, and impunity on the part of employers. Alliances between capital and the state, through the politicisation of employers, are instrumental in the continuation of all forms of labour exploitation. When workers resist, employers tighten working conditions and start recruiting migrants from North India. And even if these forms of labour management obey a capitalist logic, they are inseparable from the caste hierarchy.

Forced Migration of Labourers to Brick Kilns in Uttar Pradesh

Seasonal employment in the rural economy at a wage rate below subsistence level forces underprivileged labourers to migrate for survival. Brick kilns in India are a major destination for migrant labourers, who are tied to them for the production season after accepting advance wages from agents. Based on the livelihood conditions of the migrant labourers and their indebtedness, this paper points out these migrations have to be seen as forced. The labourers remain in inter-kiln circulation, but are prevented from moving on because of their limited skills and social networks. They return home to repay a never-ending debt and again receive advance wages for the next season--renewing a cycle of debt and migration for survival.

Spatial Inequalities in Big Indian Cities

Using ward-level data released by the census, the paper carries out a study of residential segregation in the 10 most populated Indian cities. It finds that there is significant residential segregation by caste and also by access to in-house drinking water, a basic public good, and access to in-house latrines, a basic private good. Further, in the case of some cities covered in the study, the proportion of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes in wards is highly correlated with access to public, private, and luxury goods.

Sub-cities of Bengaluru

Sub-city typologies could enable a better understanding of urban heterogeneity. Ward-level Population Enumeration Data, and Houselisting and Housing Census Data from the 2011 Census is here used to construct sub-city typologies for Bengaluru. Nine variables from the census are selected to represent three broad classes of attributes for each ward--housing conditions, availability of amenities, and socio-economic status. Hierarchical and non-hierarchical cluster analysis methods are then used to delineate empirical typologies. The results indicate that a four-cluster solution may provide a useful typological classification of Bengaluru wards. The utility and limitations of such an approach are also discussed.

Surveying Slums

With an increased policy emphasis on slum surveys, the story of such surveys in Delhi assumes importance, including the "power to survey" vested in the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board. There is a need to closely analyse the way in which such surveys are carried out, the data that are collected, and the purposes for which they might be used. A review of the legal frameworks on slum surveying and the case of Delhi reveal that there is much variation in the process of data collection. Surveys that determine the mode of rehabilitation of a slum have life-changing implications for residents, and survey processes have to be accurate and participative.

Reading Spatial Inequality in Urban India

Where one lives matters because patterns of spatial inequality shape the horizons of urban lives. They also critically affect urban policies, especially in large metropolitan cities where intra-urban differences can be of very large magnitudes. Gaining insights from recently released ward-level census data for urban settlements, this paper uses a set of constructed indices and geospatial maps to focus on spatial inequality within cities and across scales of settlements. Arguing that the slum is not a proxy for urban poverty and inadequate housing patterns, it underscores the need for newer methods to spatially trace multidimensional urban poverty and vulnerability.

Big Data to Improve Urban Planning

Data analytics is a frontier field where the tools and techniques are still being developed. Expertise, a critical input, is in short supply, the other being access to data. Even so, Colombo-based LIRNEasia has demonstrated the value of mobile network big data for urban planning in Sri Lanka's capital city. Pseudonymised, historical call detail records from multiple mobile operators have been analysed to understand and monitor land use, congregations of people, peak and off-peak travel patterns, communities, and traffic.

Data, Urbanisation and the City

By using the enormous processing capacity of computing that is now available, we can, it is claimed, improve how cities are governed--make them smart! This review attempts to illuminate how data reveals relationships between citizens and the state and thus facilitates an informed debate on whether data can be deployed to build a more inclusive and constructive relationship between citizens and their government. As urbanisation deepens, we see struggles around who gets to decide what is to be governed and how the data is to be collected and deployed and what technologies and skills are to be deployed for implementation. The papers in this collection can be viewed in three groups, respectively, dealing with three issues: data collection processes, intra-urban spatial inequities and use of new sensing technologies.

The Selfie and the Slut

The selfie, which has become a default aesthetic of self-representation, is either mocked at as a fad, or considered as a digital photograph. This paper looks at the phenomenon of "selfie-shaming" to see how either of these approaches of dismissal or trying to regulate the selfie through the same regulatory frameworks as the photograph fail to capture the complex practices of body, technology, control, and regulation that are implicated in this phenomenon. In looking at selfie-shaming and the subsequent processes of "slut shaming", it argues that we need to think of selfies not only as cultural artefacts but also as born digital objects to show how it produces new regimes of control and visibility of women's bodies online. Drawing from software studies, cyber-feminism and digital cultures, it constructs the case of #GamerGate to show how we need to expand the scope of women's problems of consent and agency online beyond the instances of revenge and non-consensual pornography.

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