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

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Human Development in Kerala

The first CPI-led government in Kerala in the late 1950s introduced key policy changes that have since become associated with the Kerala development model. This article makes an attempt to assess the long-term effects of this innovative approach followed, especially in the two crucial sectors of education and land reform. In seeking to map progress in such key human development aspects, it also seeks to establish the role of social mobilisation and in assigning to the key figure of the 'Kutiamma' her due place in history. But while the impact of social changes on people remains little documented and rests on extrapolation, this period is also assessed in terms of backward and forward linkages - those societal changes that existed before the CPI's election victory as well as changes brought on by the government's own reform measures that in turn led to further political and social development.

From People's Plan to Plan sans People

The people's planning programme, launched in Kerala in 1997, heralded a new approach towards decentralised planning and the participation of people in development programmes, especially by women and backward classes. However, the UDF, which took over government last year, has diluted many of the provisions of this programme, including funding, which may prove to be a setback to the functioning of this unique plan.

The World of Women's Work

Work Experience and Identity: A Historical Account of Class, Caste, and Gender among the Cashew Workers of Kerala, 1930-2000 by Anna Lindberg; Lund University, Lund, Sweden, 2001; pp xvii + 384, price not mentioned.

Kerala : Strike by Government Employees: Much Ado about Nothing?

In all the rhetoric about the strike of government employees, the contents of the government order which provoked the strike have been all but lost sight of. And yet, it is clear that the cost cutting measures prescribed are neither practical nor will they materially help in reducing expenditure.

India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Pact

The impact of the agreement to remove trade barriers and tariff walls between India and Sri Lanka on Kerala requires careful consideration as the state's production of cash crops has a significant overlap with Sri Lanka's major exports.

Recent Reforms in the Panchayat System in West Bengal

The experience of West Bengal under the panchayat system stands in sharp contrast with that of other states and, together with land reform, it has been credited for playing an important role in the impressive economic turnaround of the state since the mid 1980s. West Bengal is the first and the only major state to have had timely panchayat elections on a party basis regularly every five years since 1978. However, despite its pioneering status in terms of reforms of the panchayat system, West Bengal lags behind several other states today in terms of devolution of power, finances and functions to the panchayat. Also, the extent of people's participation in the planning process is significantly less compared to that in Kerala. This paper studies a particular component of a set of recently introduced reforms of the panchayat system in West Bengal that is aimed precisely at addressing this concern - the introduction of mandatory village constituency (gram sansad) meetings.

Labour of Children

Children’s Lifeworlds: Gender, Welfare and Labour in the Developing World by Olga Nieuwenhuys; Social Science Press, New Delhi, 1999; pp 228, Rs 425 (hardback).

Panchayati Raj : Unnecessary Confusion

Out of plan funds devolved to panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) in Kerala some amounts have been found to have been deposited with certain government institutions for works which the PRIs want them to take up in their areas. These institutions are government bodies such as the electricity board or the water authority. The PRIs in Kerala were doing this under direction from the state government. Now the making of these deposits has been objected to as a financial irregularity by the audit department.

Kerala - Aquarian Reforms: Will 'Actual' Fishermen Benefit?

The Kerala government's move to grant exclusive fishing rights in the common property fisheries will be economically unsound even if politically expedient. It is also likely to result in the elimination of many marginal and subsistence fishermen, who will be forced to sell their fishing rights to big business.

Matriliny and Women's Status

Matriliny Transformed: Family, Law and Ideology in Twentieth Century Travancore by K Saradamoni; Sage Publications India, New Delhi and AltaMira Press, Walnut Creek, 1999; pp 177, map, index; Rs 32.5

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