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

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Health Aspects of the Environmental Impact Assessment Process in India

Impact assessments are conducted with the objective of safeguarding human health and the environment. The Environmental Impact Assessment notification of 2006, subsequent amendments and associated guidelines provide the framework to document untoward effects of proposed industrial and developmental projects on the environment, and to manage them. It is also implicitly understood that the notification covers human health concerns arising from the proposed projects. Are health concerns being adequately accounted for when projects are provided clearance? Through the use of a standardised framework, several gaps were found in health-related aspects of the notification and the two evaluated EIA reports analysed here. Further reflection is called for on the purpose of EIAs to prevent human health from becoming a casualty on the path to "development".

Health and Economic Impact of Unsafe Drinking Water

The article is based on a study of the problem of contaminated water supply in Ludhiana. It finds that the incidence of water-related diseases and their economic impact on households is reasonably high. The quality of water was identified as a major problem in all the selected localities of the city. Leaking pipes, water storage and the slow movement of water during transmission and distribution contribute to health problems, especially for the poor.

From Surviving to Thriving

The process of living as a child has changed in post-Independence India as have the challenges faced by children. Exploring alternative facets and formulations of children's rights though has yet to find space in policy discourse. Use of the term well-being expands the scope of research inquiry and policy attention, from the negatives to the positives, building on the strengths of the parents, the family, the societies and the state, to ensure children are able to not just survive but actually thrive.

Living Environment and Health of Urban Poor

This paper presents and discusses primary data from a survey of 1,070 households in four poor settlements in Mumbai comprising slum-and pavement-dwellers and squatters on the living environment and health conditions. The study attempts to examine the consequences of socio-economic and environmental factors in terms of income, literacy, sanitation and hygiene for morbidity. The needs of the urban poor and their priorities are seen to be hierarchial. They need first assurance of being allowed to stay where they are and then provision of basic amenities of toilets, water supply, sewerage and drainage.

Hep-B Vaccine: Some Issues

Introducing the hepatitis B vaccine in the national immunisation programme would not only cost the government more than all the other six vaccines on the programme, but would yield little by way of public health protection.

Cooperatising Medical Care

Andhra Pradesh government's move to transfer the running of government hospitals to cooperative societies is not based on the actual experience of the working of medical cooperatives in India. The sustainability and cost-effectiveness of health cooperatives are yet to be studied systematically. Kerala's experience at any rate is distinctly discouraging.

South-South Solidarity

Population and health, women's development policies, globalisation and the emerging world order and land reforms and poverty alleviation were the main themes of an impressive workshop on 'Partnership to Meet Development Challenges in South Asia' in Kathmandu in May this year.

Getting the HDI Right

This commentary is written in response to ‘Suitability of HDI for Assessing Health and Nutritional Status’ by Grace Maria Antony, K Visweswara Rao, and N Balakrishna (EPW, August 4, 2001). The authors have presented some revealing correlation coefficient figures between certain indicators and HDI. In a country in which malnutrition and stunted growth are still common, the authors have aptly suggested that HDI should incorporate dietary, nutritional, and morbidity details. Nevertheless, the proposed HDI (henceforth it will be known as A(ntony)R(ao) B(alakrishna) HDI) is potentially faulty.

Expansion of Irrigation in West Bengal: Mid-1970s to Mid-1990s

This paper, the second in a series of two, attempts to identify the basic structure of irrigation in West Bengal and the extent of growth of irrigation in the post-land reform period. The first paper presented a detailed evaluation of the secondary data available on irrigation in West Bengal. This paper uses these data to identify certain features of irrigation development in the state. After presenting an overview of the pattern of irrigation in the state, the author analyses the growth of irrigation from groundwater and canals and the changes in irrigation from ponds and river lift-irrigation schemes. Finally, inter-district variations in the growth of irrigated area are discussed. [The first article in the series, 'Irrigation Statistics in West Bengal', appeared in the issue of July 7, 2001.]

Social Construction of Health

The science of health has been characterised by positivism and extreme rationalism, divested from its social and economic context. The use of social sciences is still confined in the prison of reductionism for with the increased interaction of the disciplines of medical sociology and psychology with health, there is a greater adherence to the quantitative method, nowhere more evident than the interaction of behaviourism to health. This, in turn, obfuscates both the causes of disease and ill health in a society and therefore, the quest for solutions. This study tries in its different sections to expose the handiwork of such deterministic sciences.

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