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

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Shashikant Ahankari (1953–2023)

Shashikant Ahankari was the driving force behind the Health and Auto Learning Organization, a social movement aimed at creating sustained and affordable access to formal healthcare for the poor across rural Maharashtra. He was instrumental in providing several pioneering models of rural healthcare and public health interventions in India. His cadres of Bharat Vaidya village health workers created in the aftermath of the Latur earthquake in 1993, were to find resonance in the form of accredited social health activist workers in due course.

Characteristics of the Multipronged Agrarian Crisis in Maharashtra

The agrarian crisis of Maharashtra predominantly comes out in the form of its nationally largest, yet scanty and inefficient irrigation sector, and development backlog faced by about two-thirds (62.10%) of its geographical area, with 57.29% of the total and 45.68% of the state’s tribal population. Low crop yields and net negative returns for cultivating most of the crops across seasons result into the farm household level indebtedness and highest number of farm suicides death toll at the national level for over a period of three and a half decades.

The Forgotten Nakoshis of Satara

In Maharashtra’s Satara district, female children, named Nakoshi (translated as “unwanted”), were renamed in 2011 in a public ceremony that drew global attention. The paper revisits this event after a decade to study the developments in due course of time. Apart from the initial feeling of positivity, the renaming ceremony hardly changed the lives of the girls. The paper argues that more than the tokenism of name change, these forgotten Nakoshis need significant and effective measures of reform to break free from the shackles of the patriarchal cultural practices and the subsequent sufferings. Greater sustained state support, through educational and socio-economic welfare schemes, could perhaps have carved a better future for the girls.

Corporatisation in Private Hospitals Sector in India

Transformation in the Indian private hospitals sector is examined in Maharashtra, employing qualitative interviews, witness seminars, and desk research. Findings point to significant changes: hospitals viewed as businesses to yield profits; adoption of business strategies to ensure financial viability and returns; changes in not-for-profit and small hospitals; and consequences for institutional and medical practice. Policy shifts towards greater private sector involvement in health, industry advocacy, availability of insurance, and patient expectations drive these changes towards corporatisation, which is not just about the growth of corporate hospitals; it entails structural and behavioural changes across the healthcare sector solely favouring economic goals.

Novel Health Approaches Emerging from the Covid-19 Crisis

Novel public health experiments from Maharashtra in the pandemic times, involving co-production of healthcare, interventionist regulation of private hospital rates and popular initiatives to ensure social accountability of private hospitals, demonstrate significant potentials to advance people-centred health system changes.

Disparities in Social Development in Maharashtra

This paper is based on the author’s MPhil thesis that was submitted to the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai under the supervision of M H Suryanarayana.

Decolonising Decentralised Governance

Three decades since the initiation of decentralised governance, and more than a decade since the first community forest resource right was recognised in Maharashtra, forest-dwelling communities still have limited space in decision-making about their forest resources. This article describes three cases from Maharashtra where bureaucratic overreach has impeded emerging forest management by forest dwellers holding community forest resource rights. It reflects on the need for changing the prevalent colonial mindset in the bureaucracy to facilitate genuine decentralised democratic governance.


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