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

Review IssuesSubscribe to Review Issues

Reconsidering Women’s Work in Rural India

The most recent data gathered by the National Sample Survey Office on work participation for women in India reveal a sharp decline, primarily due to the NSSO’s conventional measures not accounting for economic activities undertaken by women for the benefit of households. Alternative definitional approaches to the production boundary, such as the Indian System of National Accounts and the United Nations System of National Accounts, somewhat better account for unpaid work by women for households’ own consumption. An analysis of data from the part of the NSSO schedule on employment and unemployment (for 2004–05 and 2011–12) that enquires about various activities undertaken by individuals who report performing household activities as their principal activity, reveals a less dramatic decline than that presented by the more conventional measure of work participation. This finding contributes to a significant rethinking of how rural women’s contributions to economic activities for their own households can be better recognised through data.

Making Pulses Affordable Again

While outlining strategies to increase availability of pulses at affordable prices, it is argued that increasing domestic production of pulses is the only option. Access to one or two protective irrigation sources during the growing season can lead to sizeable increases in pulse production. The har khet ko paani initiative should give priority to pulse-producing areas. The minimum support price, without procurement, helps traders more than farmers because it acts as a focal point for tacit collusion among traders. Including subsidised pulses in the public distribution system has only a small effect on consumption of pulses. We suggest investing in research and extension, aggregating into farmer producer organisations, and paying growers or growing areas for the ecosystem services offered by pulses.

Transitions in Rice Seed Provisioning in Odisha

Rice farmers in India have traditionally kept a portion of their harvest as seeds for the next planting. In this traditional system, public sector production and marketing of seeds of improved varieties developed through public research and development played a critical role in promoting the green revolution. In recent years, the seed system of rice in India is undergoing a transition towards increasing involvement of the private sector, especially in production and marketing of seeds. Such transitions have been driven by a number of economic and institutional changes that have made private provision of rice seeds economically viable. At the same time, economic justifications of public sector involvement in subsidised seed production and marketing are weakening. Through a case study of Odisha, this paper highlights the nature of transition taking place in rice seed provisioning.

Impossible Immobility

In recent years, many activists working to prevent trafficking of women and children have recognised the thin line between protecting women against trafficking and contributing further to their immobilisation, especially in societies where regulation of women's mobility is a key element of patriarchal control. Addressing the ways in which migration and trafficking get entangled, especially in relation to women and children, it is argued that, in this story, a crucial role is played by the nature/degree of intermediation. The problem of trafficking of women is addressed with reference to the history of their work and migration, with a focus on Bengal, from the colonial period to the present day.

Humanitarian Trafficking

Why would women "rescued" from the sex trade riot against their rescuers? Sex workers in Hyderabad often experience rescue as a form of humanitarian violence befitting the United Nation's definition of trafficking. Anti-trafficking laws in India reinforce kinship structures that precipitate the need to participate in sex work. Moreover, without restructuring the wider political economy of female labour, rehabilitation efforts fail to address sex workers' economic needs. Those rescued almost inevitably choose to return to sex work. Anti-trafficking programmes do violence to sex workers while failing to offer them adequate alternatives.

Criminalising the Trafficked

People-smuggling and trafficking in humans are generally viewed as two distinct offences. In general, smuggling involves delivering persons into the countries they wish to enter illegally and then leaving them to their own devices. Trafficking for sex and/or labour is defined as coercive in international discourses. In reality, the difference is largely semantic. Women smuggled into another country often fall prey to traffickers, and efforts to punish those who perpetrate the evil end up victimising the victims. Trafficking is not only an abuse of human rights, it is also a process that contributes to statelessness; a status that denies citizenship rights to the victims of trafficking and casts them in a permanent state of non-belonging, devoid of rights.

Unspoken Voices of Trafficked Women and Children in Manipur

An examination of the phenomenon of trafficking of women and children from Manipur to different parts of India and overseas delves into the reasons for trafficking and addresses the voices of the victims and the types of exploitation. A few crucial aspects that emerge from the study are the voluntary participation of the victims, who trust false promises, in the trafficking rackets; parents and relatives being loath to admit that their children and female relatives have been trafficked because of social stigma and shame; and, that trafficking is about the neglect of girls and women from marginalised tribes and from a region considered important only because of its strategic location.

'Who Would Like to Live in This Cage?'

The functioning of shelter homes under Ujjawala, a comprehensive scheme for prevention of trafficking and rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, directs one to examine the issues surrounding "rescue" and assumptions about what happens to the rescued girls and women. The discourse on rescue and rehabilitation often portrays girls and women as "liberated" from commercial sexual exploitation. An interrogation of the politics of rescue using research was conducted in a shelter home under the Ujjawala scheme.

'Next Time I Will Go to Dubai'

Cross-border trafficking between India and Bangladesh is an organised economic activity driven by lack of livelihood options, limited natural resources, a number of social causes, and the regular flow of money it ensures for the victims' families. This study is based on interviews with Bangladeshi women "rescued" by the Indian police from brothels and awaiting repatriation. Many of the repatriated women returned to India within a short time; they were either re-trafficked or returned voluntarily, as their material circumstances and options had not changed. In order to address the vicious cycle of trafficking and re-trafficking, it is essential to give up a protectionist view of these women in favour of one that takes into account the choices they make, and focus on prevention.

Migration, Bachelorhood and Discontent among the Patidars

Juxtaposing data collected in the 1950s with data from 2013, this paper describes some of the consequences of a crisis of agriculture in India as a crisis of values and aspirations. Among a relatively prosperous Patidar community in western India, agriculture continues to be economically remunerative while farmers are considered poor. Instead, the ability to secure a job away from land, to move out of the village and possibly overseas have come to constitute new markers of status in a traditionally competitive society. The paper departs from common representations of the caste as an upwardly mobile and successful group, and focuses instead on the discontent and on those who try to achieve the new values of the caste, but fail. As a consequence of failure it shows how Patidars recur to what, from an outsider's point of view, may seem paradoxical: in order to "move up" and participate in the culture and economy of the caste, they have to "move down." In this respect, the paper also contributes to understanding the unevenness of India's growth and the contrary trends that work both to strengthen and weaken caste identity.

Inequality in Rural Nagaland

Tribal villages are usually perceived to be the egalitarian counterparts to villages in India that are ruled by hierarchical caste structures. Taking the case of Ao Naga villages, clan rank and class are found to be important for understanding the changing structures of inequality. Today, these villages are deeply integrated into the larger milieus: politics, administration, education and the market economy. The social mechanisms responsible for inequality are now to a large degree centred outside the village, and living in a village has become almost identical with a lower social status. One result of this process is that instead of clan ranks, the access to outside resources forms the basis of social inequality within the village. Based on secondary sources as well as original fieldwork, an account of how this integration leads to class differentiations at the village level is presented.

Pages

Back to Top