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

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Dynamics of Local Governance in Karnataka

Informal local governance institutions such as caste panchayats, street panchayats and customary village councils are often neglected in discussions about local government and are assumed to have lost their relevance after the introduction of panchayati raj institutions. The author takes a close look at these institutions in Karnataka and finds that, in particular, CVCs have not been marginalised by the formal elected bodies. On the contrary, they continue to play an active role. There are also strong interactions between the two sets of institutions, and CVCs have an influence on village politics and grama panchayats with positive as well as negative elements.

Federalism, Urban Decentralisation and Citizen Participation

While panchayati raj institutions for the rural areas, created after great and prolonged struggle, have given rural dwellers their self-governance structures and a fair degree of empowerment, nothing similar has been done for urban dwellers. Participatory involvement of citizens in and accountability of local self-governance structures are almost totally absent in urban areas. The author discusses the work of a non-governmental organisation in which he is actively involved in attempting to create informal structures that seek to redress this shortcoming and offers a charter for more formally recognised structures that could be organised on a wider scale to give the urban dweller a voice.

Governance and the 'Karnataka Model of Development'

This paper considers the idea of a 'Karnataka model of development', with its emphasis on technology and governance-led development. It is the introduction to the papers in this issue of EPW on 'Governance and Development in Karnataka'. Based on the papers in the symposium, and on the wider literature, it explores the interpretation and application of the idea. It argues that while some of Karnataka's experience does indeed conform to the model and thus holds out lessons for development, there are significant gaps between reality and the model, and these gaps have lessons for development as well.

'Parasites Lost and Parasites Regained'

In the early 1920s, the Rockefeller Foundation conducted an anti-hookworm campaign in Madras Presidency with the objective of controlling hookworm infection. However, the larger aim was to use it as an entry point for extensive sanitary measures and public health education. Two decades later infection rates remained constant while sanitation made little progress. The common people's beliefs and attitudes were blamed for this. The reality was different. It was the RF's diffused focus and the inconsistencies in its approach coupled with the government's lack of commitment to the programme and public health that determined the campaign's results.

Political Culture of Health in India

This paper provides a historical perspective on the political culture of public health in India. It examines the genesis of the state's commitment to provide for the health of the people, but argues that in that original commitment lay numerous contradictions and fractures that help to explain the state's relative ineffectiveness in the field of public health. It argues that the nationalist movement's initial commitment to the state provision of welfare arose from a complex combination of motives - a concern with democracy and equity as well as concerns about the "quality" and "quantity" of population. The depth of ambition for public health was unmatched by infrastructure and resources; as a result, the state relied heavily on narrowly targeted, techno-centric programmes assisted by foreign aid. The paper also examines the malaria eradication programme as a case study which reveals the limitations and weaknesses of that approach; the ultimate failure of malaria eradication left a huge dent in the state's commitment to public health.

Mal-areas of Health

The urge to define malaria in the third quarter of the 19th century created a lot of conflicting theories and understandings of that disease. However, the practising physicians could accommodate these conflicting explanations as different probable attributes of that mysterious disease rather than necessarily discarding one theory in favour of another. Through the acts of narrating and reporting clinical diagnostic encounters in regularly published and extensively circulated medical journals, these different connotations of malaria acquired a certain currency, not least legitimacy.

Maternal Health in Early Twentieth Century Bombay

Colonial health reports from the mid-19th century onwards recorded alarmingly high rates of maternal and infant mortality in the then Bombay Presidency. This was attributed to the practice of early marriage, the inferior status of women in society and tradition-bound health habits. This article examines the opinions of men and women doctors, civic leaders and philanthropists who were involved in campaigning for better healthcare for expectant mothers and in dealing with the reluctance of Indian women to consult male doctors. They also investigated the health of women mill workers, which led to debates in the Bombay legislative council and ultimately in the passing of the Maternity Benefits Act in 1929.

Tamil Nadu: ICDS with a Difference

Tamil Nadu's noon meal programme has evolved via the successful intervention of twin pressures - political will that ensured budgetary provision for the programme and the widespread demand for it from below. Several nutrition-oriented programmes have now expanded to cover groups such as pregnant and nursing mothers, old age pensioners, widows and the destitute. The need is now to create a "nutrition literate" populace, i e, foster an awareness of non-food factors that in several ways influence behaviours and attitudes related to food.

Chhattisgarh: Grassroot Mobilisation for Children's Nutrition Rights

As a part of the right to food campaign initiated in Chhattisgarh to improve children's access to nutrition especially in the tribal dominated areas, this article analyses the exemplary work of the Mitanin programme, a statewide community health volunteer programme in Koriya district.

Decentralised Childcare Services

The SEWA experience demonstrates that adequate childcare encourages school-going among children and helps tackle social barriers such as caste. Many women can also find employment as crèche teachers and this helps them forge bonds with other women. It serves as an entry point for further organising, organisation building and promoting overall community development.

Infant and Young Child Feeding

Child mortality rates, especially those of children under five, as well as the incidence of malnutrition among young children remain high in India. The infant and young child feeding programme is in need of an immediate reappraisal. To ensure the IYCF's optimal efficacy, it needs to be integrated into health, welfare and other outreach programmes presently underway in urban as well as in remote and far-flung rural areas.

Universalisation of ICDS and Community Health Worker Programmes

Lack of political will and inability to address the basic rights of children like pre-school education, créche facilities, food security and health have made the ICDS programme a failure. This article critically examines the ongoing ICDS programme in Chhattisgarh where the child malnutrition rate is around 60 per cent.

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