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

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Maharashtra : Land Reforms: Turning the Clock Back

As part of the implementation of the Private Forests (Acquisition) Act, the state government has been acquiring land distributed to tenants and the landless, threatening to evict large numbers of tribal cultivators, all in the name of environmental protection. The livelihood resources of the poor are increasingly being diverted into capital for the private sector.

Withering Away of Canons of Financial Propriety

It is a matter for concern that in Maharashtra, a state which was once considered among the best governed in the country with sound financial management, serious questions are being raised whether a state of financial emergency needs to be declared under Article 360 of the Constitution which would be the first instance of its kind after independence. Why has the situation come to this pass and what needs to be done to set it right?

Local Government:Conflict of Interests and Issues of Legitimisation

Following the passing of the 73rd and 74th amendments, many states enacted legislation bestowing significant decision-making powers to the gram sabhas. In Maharashtra however, two parallel bodies with different legitimising sources continue to function, the gram sabha and the traditional village panchayats or collectives, which are generally dominated by upper and richer caste men. This has often led to some piquant situations.

Malegaon Riots

The communal riots in Malegaon were the most serious in Maharashtra after the post-Babri masjid killings in the state in 1992-93. The riots have underscored once again the role of politicians in fanning communal tensions and the failure of the police and the administration to contain the violence in time and prevent it from spreading.

Cotton : Monopoly Mess

The Monopoly Cotton Procurement Scheme looks increasingly like becoming a millstone around the Maharashtra government’s neck. The cash-strapped state has not been able to pay farmers yet, though procurement of cotton began on November 7. The Shetkari Sanghatana leader Sharad Joshi has launched an agitation that has spread rapidly through the cotton bowl of Vidarbha, where the government also apparently failed to open most of the proposed procurement centres. Hundreds of farmers have resorted to rail and road traffic blockades and stonepelting, catching the government off-guard. To tide over the immediate standoff and to mollify the agitating farmers, the state government has decided to release Rs 500 crore through the apex state cooperative bank. Joshi, on his part, has agreed to put off his threatened hunger strike till December 1 to allow for further talks.

Targeting and Efficiency in the Public Distribution System

This paper compares the public distribution of food in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Based on the 50th round of National Sample Survey (NSS) household consumption survey data, the authors examine differences in utilisation, extent of targeting, magnitude of income transfers and the cost-effectiveness of food subsidies. The findings suggest policy reforms in favour of self-targeting and greater operational efficiency.

Jan Sangh vs Shiv Sena

Poona: This city has two valid reasons to congratulate itself. First, the civic elections, despite the unusually noisy and vulgar canvassing, were conducted on the whole in a peaceful manner. Second, the electoral judgment is meaningful and falls in the contemporary post-generalelection pattern. No single party or alliance or front could muster an absolute majority in the civic body, which may lead one to believe that keen horse-trading is round the corner. More significant, however, is the fact that Poona has rejected the politics of fronts and alliances and has voted mostly for organised political parties of national stature.

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