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

Ashwini KulkarniSubscribe to Ashwini Kulkarni

Distress in Marathaland

The Marathas, Maharashtra’s dominant community, have been protesting against the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and demanding reservations for themselves and a hike in minimum support prices. This study reveals that these demands do not address the source of Maratha distress—stagnation of farm incomes and the failure of the government to improve agricultural productivity. Poor farmers, whether Maratha or Dalit, have the same grievances, and therefore, a caste-based mobilisation may actually be counterproductive.

'One Kind of Democracy'

Even if we concede that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is designed as a demand-driven programme, and that local residents desire to have work projects in their area, whether it translates into effective demand, and whether the work projects actually get initiated depends very much on the dominant voices in local power structures. As this study shows in the case of Maharashtra, however progressive the design of modern democratic institutions, traditional caste hierarchies will try to sabotage their working by using their standing clientelist structures, with class and caste coming together to make this possible.

MGNREGA Works and Their Impacts

This study reports on a survey of 4,881 users of more than 4,100 works created under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in Maharashtra. It provides evidence that MGNREGA works support agriculture, and benefit a large number of small and marginal farmers. An overwhelming 90% of the respondents considered the works very useful or somewhat useful, while only 8% felt they were useless. Further, most works continue to be maintained and are in a good condition. Overall, this study suggests that the widespread perception that the MGNREGA does not create anything productive appears to be misplaced, although there is scope for improving the choice of works, their design, and their execution.

MGNREGA: Alternative View

“Designed to Falter: MGNREGA Implementation in Maharashtra” by N C Narayanan and Nitin Lokhande (EPW, 29 June 2013) attempted to take a close look at the delivery mechanism of the Government of Maharashtra’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) programme. The observation that there is a...

Unwarranted Pessimism on UID

Let me briefly recount a few cases that Unwarranted Pessimism on UID make the same point: Consider a community of 300 families, mostly dalits, in Kombadbhuja village, Raigarh district. Ashwini Kulkarni They have migrated from Marathwada to Reetika Khera in

Governance and the Right to Information in Maharashtra

The Right to Information Act is supposed to ensure transparency in administration and governance. But a survey done by Pragati Abhiyan in Nashik district of Maharashtra finds that many government offices have not yet nominated a public information officer as required under the Act. Often information exists in a raw form, but it is not processed into a consolidated format.
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