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

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What Is the Effective Delivery Mechanism of Food Support in India?

The public distribution system is the cornerstone of anti-poverty initiatives in India to address the issue of hunger and malnutrition, but is plagued with leakages and corruption. Though several possible reasons account for these problems, one factor that is generally overlooked is the lack of assessment of the preference of the beneficiaries in terms of product portfolio, selection, and delivery mechanisms. Through a mixed methods analysis across Bihar, Odisha and (eastern) Uttar Pradesh, this paper assesses the factors explaining the diversity in the preference for the delivery mechanism. What would be a straightforward choice problem among delivery mechanisms turns out to be far more intricate when mediated by contextual heterogeneity and unequal power relations at different levels. The results highlight the centrality of demand and build a case for demand assessment in improving the effectiveness of the system.

Failure of the Mahagathbandhan

In the Lok Sabha elections of 2019 in Uttar Pradesh, the contest was keenly watched as the alliance of the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, and Rashtriya Lok Dal took on the challenge against the domination of the Bharatiya Janata Party. What contributed to the continued good performance of the BJP and the inability of the alliance to assert its presence is the focus of analysis here.

Gathbandhan Politics: Can the SP–BSP Alliance Succeed in Uttar Pradesh?

While an opposition alliance defeated the BJP during the 2018 Lok Sabha bypolls, it remains to be seen if the SP-BSP combine can win a majority in this year’s general elections.

‘Development’ and the Mahagathbandhan in UP

With 80 Lok Sabha seats, Uttar Pradesh is easily the focus of political speculation and observation. This article looks at how the dynamics between various stakeholders are playing out in the campaigning and polls in the state.

Social and Systemic Determinants of Utilisation of Public Healthcare Services in Uttar Pradesh

Building on an earlier publication using the same data set plus case studies of three facilities, the reasons for the low utilisation of public health facilities in Uttar Pradesh despite the prohibitively high costs of care in the private sector are explored. The likelihood of choosing a public provider for hospitalisation care was 4.8 times higher in the poorest quintile and 3.4 times as high for women. Where access to public sector services is an issue, many go without any treatment and this could appear in the data to be a higher proportion of private sector utilisation. Inadequate facility density is one barrier to access. Facilities, which are by policy designed to offer very limited types of services—to collect user fees and prescribe drugs and diagnostics to be bought outside, and with no continuity of care between primary and secondary levels—lead to the diminishing of credibility of the public healthcare services. When services are available and there are incentives that facilitate access, like for childbirth, the choice shifts in favour of public services. Market-defined perceptions of what is good healthcare and an understaffed and demoralised workforce also contribute to poor utilisation.

Priorities of Uttar Pradesh Budget: As Infrastructure Expenditure Rises, Health and Education Face Neglect

Successive state governments in Uttar Pradesh have tended to neglect the social sector and this is reflected in the budgetary allocation to the sector. In the 2018 –2019 budget, t he increase in budgetary allocation for sectors like power, transport, and irrigation has been much higher than that for health or education.

Open Defecation in Rural India, 2015–16

The Government of India’s NFHS–4 offers the best new data on open defecation in rural India to be eleased in over a decade. Although open defecation has become less common than it was 10 years ago, it is still highly prevalent, with more than half of rural households reporting open defecation. On average, change has been slow, even during the period of the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Explicit Prejudice

A representative phone survey to study explicit prejudice against women and Dalits in Delhi, Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan reveals widespread prejudice in several domains and discusses the consequences for women and Dalits, and society as a whole. The results suggest the need for a more robust public discourse and active approach to measuring and challenging prejudice and discrimination.

Silenced and Marginalised

An attempt has been made to demonstrate the linkages between the socio-economic-cultural marginalisation of children and their educational marginalisation. This is achieved through a thick description of the living and working conditions of the children, and the interplay between the factory, residence, school, market, family and other support systems, in order to gauge the social reality of these children.

Mayawati’s Financial Tangles and the Cost to Dalit Politics

Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati seems to be focused on settling scores with her former confidantes-turned-foes. Meanwhile, attacks on Dalits are intensifying and the newly-formed Bhim Sena seems to be a greater attraction for Dalit youth in the state.

Party with a Difference?

From adopting winnability as the core principle of nominating candidates to removing political appointees of the previous government, and in dealing with governments of opposition parties, the behaviour of the Bharatiya Janata Party has been so much like the Congress that the latter would rejoice in the assurance that there is no mukti from its ways and manners. The crucial difference between the BJP and other parties is that it is able to instil a sense of destiny not just among its rank and file but also the general public and convince it that the party is doing desh seva while others have been doing only politics.

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