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

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Women and Pro-Poor Policies in Rural Tamil Nadu: An Examination of Practices and Responses

Using a village in Tamil Nadu as a case study, this article examines the initial response to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme on the ground, the reasons behind the low participation, and its subsequent reworking to make it not just viable but also "successful". As conceived, the transformatory potential of nrega is limited. When operationalised in letter and spirit, such programmes may alleviate poverty, and to that extent empower women, but cannot transform our rural economies that are characterised by low growth, poor investments in infrastructure and limited generation of growth-led decent employment.

Speed, Money and Male Power

India should be ashamed of hosting a Formula 1 event but it is not surprising that it is taking place.

A Lot of Scepticism and Some Hope

After recognising the main reasons to be hopeful about the new Land Acquisition Bill, this commentary critiques two significant structural problems in the proposed legislation: first, the definition of "public purpose", especially the "informed consent" provision that has been included; second, the price setting mechanism, especially the possibility of an exponential escalation at the metropolitan edges and the creation of certain bizarre rural-urban boundaries. The article concludes by raising a basic question: If the State has been the problem in land acquisition, why is more of it the solution?

Sops for the Poor and a Bonus for Industry

While there are some positive features in the Land Acquisition Bill - the inclusion of both acquisition and rehabilitation in the same legislation, and provision for the displaced to receive a share of the appreciation in value over time - the regressive features dominate and threaten to make acquisition by industry a far more easy process that will leave the current occupants with little more than a large compensation.

The Impossibility of Just Land Acquisition

If the State holds on to the market logic and sees the challenge in land acquisition as a problem of individual will of the "affected families" whose consent has to be taken (even when it is of a high order, i e, 80%), then it can be expected that the State and its apparatus will create political conditions (read repress people, as has been the experience in the Fifth Schedule Areas) to receive the consent of individual families.

Land, Law and Resistance

So far neither the law nor the courts have been of much use to the victims of forced expropriation of land. From the point of view of subaltern agency, the Land Acquisition Bill may well end up making only little, if any, difference. What has worked so far has been the skilful integration of a multiplicity of subaltern strategies into a broad repertoire of contention that has included agitation, confrontation, mediation, violence and, not least, party politics.

Ram Sharan Sharma (1920-2011)

R S Sharma was among a small group of historians who in the 1950s broke new ground in the study of ancient India. One pioneering development was the expansion in the range of sources, from using texts alone to supplementing them with archaeological data and introducing data from inscriptions. R S Sharma's second major contribution was in using an analytical method to examine data.

A 'Scientific' Historian

R S Sharma, historian, teacher and founder chairperson of the Indian Council of Historical Research was a Marxist who was averse to the mechanical application of Marx's ideas to the Indian situation. He also used his considerable scholarship on ancient India to fight communal propaganda and actions.

Experiments in the Indian Context

Over the past few years, experimental economics has become increasingly visible in research activity in India.The concluding part of this survey offers a brief overview of experiments conducted in the Indian context. These have been largely field experiments.

Experiments on Individual Decision-Making

Part 2 of the survey looks at experimental results dealing with individual choice. The discussion compares the two dominant experimental methodologies that govern individual decision-making experiments in social science. It then discusses decision-making experiments under two main heads - the psychology-oriented experiments (or what has now morphed into behavioural economics) and experiments that test observed behaviour against theoretical benchmarks derived from neoclassical microeconomic theory. The last section provides an overview and looks ahead to the future of experiments in decision-making.

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