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

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Factors Contributing to Income Inequalities among Agricultural Households in India

Inequality in agricultural households in 20 major states is estimated and its factors analysed. In most states, farming and livestock contribute over half the total income. Income inequalities, irrespective of farm size, are large, though these have not widened much over time; major sources are non-farm income, land, and farm assets. The relationship between growth in household income and land size is positive; it does not augur well for the government’s professed objective of promoting inclusive development. To bridge income gaps, mechanisms need to be developed to ensure the viability of increasingly small and fragmented landholdings.

Towards a Caste-less Community

The concept of communitas as against caste is discussed. Information from recent historical research on indentured labour in the colonial period is analysed. Contemporary critical theory that foregrounds experience as a prerequisite to emancipatory sociopolitical thought is discussed. By studying conversion as a movement, this paper concludes that displaced subjects, say Dalits, who are perennially positioned out-of-space (outcaste), search and move towards an imagined home continuously. However violent the displacement and/or disembodiment may be, they conceive a movement towards a caste-less community.

Work Conditions and Employment for Women in Slums

Women residing in slums and slum-like settlements of Bhuj are majorly employed in traditional activities such as bandhani, embroidery, fall beading, etc, and only to a much lesser extent in emerging opportunities, including non-farm casual labour and jobs in the private and public sectors. Women’s preference is overwhelmingly tilted towards the former employment opportunities as compared to the latter, due to flexibility of work and possibility of working from home, given certain sociocultural constraints and poor working conditions in other sectors. Moreover, limited access to capital for women’s own enterprises ensures that the chances for expansion and formalisation of their small enterprises are minimal.

Household Expenditure on Higher Education

Data from the two recent National Sample Survey Office surveys are analysed to provide estimates of higher education expenditure and loans. Households that participate in higher education spend 15.3% of their total expenditure on average in rural areas; in urban areas, they spend 18.4%. This share is larger in southern states, where individuals are more likely to be pursuing technical education in private, unaided institutions and are more likely to have outstanding borrowings for education. At the all-India level, poorer households are less likely to borrow for higher education, possibly because they are risk-averse and uncertain about future returns.

Amaravati: The Making of a Disaster Capital in Andhra Pradesh?

The Government of Andhra Pradesh has procured land for the construction of the state’s new capital city, Amaravati, through a land pooling scheme that it presented as a viable alternative to the forceful takeover of private land through the use of eminent domain. Drawing on five months of ethnographic fieldwork, the strategies of coercion and co-optation employed by the state government to persuade local landowners to part with their land and the socio-economic effects of dispossession and unemployment in Dalit communities are investigated. The urbanisation scheme can be characterised as a disaster in the making, with civil society unable to resist as the state government follows a high-modernist ideology of simplifying nature and society, implementing its plans through coercive power.

Migrant Labour in Maharashtra’s Sugar Industry

This article summarises the scenario of migration of sugar cane harvesting workers from Beed, a drought-prone district from Marathwada region, Maharashtra. Seasonal and distressed migration of the sugar cane harvesting workers, which happens to be the most vulnerable section of the sugar industry in Maharashtra, remains a largely overlooked arena in scholarly discussions as well as policy circles. Hence this article, based on a study conducted by the Unique Foundation, Pune, seeks to unravel this phenomenon by looking into the socio-economic profile of the migrants, causal factors behind migration and ramifications of the same.

Waste Management and Extended Producer Responsibility

The E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016, Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, and Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 are reviewed critically with respect to the principle of “extended producer responsibility,” comparing them with the first-ever EPR-based rules in India, the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001. The failure of the recent rules to recognise the role of the huge informal sector in collection and recycling of solid waste, one of the major reasons for the failure of BMHR, undermines their effectiveness. To overcome this drawback, an EPR mechanism integrating the informal collection system with formal recycling along with elimination of informal recycling units has been suggested.

An Inquiry into the Theoretical Structure Underlying the Labour Market Flexibility Argument in India

The theory underlying the labour market flexibility argument in India is identified and critically examined. A review of the empirical studies reveals that this argument is based on rigid real wages, in turn, explained by hiring and firing costs. Such explanations are provided by the insider–outsider theory of employment and unemployment due to Lindbeck and Snower (1988). A scrutiny of the I–O theory reveals that it could not even explain the existence of involuntary unemployment under reasonable assumptions. Further, it is shown that its policy recommendation necessarily assumes Say’s law. Thus, it is concluded the theoretical foundation underlying the LMF is unsound.

Access to Facilities for Women Experiencing Domestic Violence

In India, 29% of women aged 15–49 have experienced marital violence. Although crisis centres, known as helplines, exist to support those who experience violence, little is known about the experiences of women who use these services. Two rounds of surveys of 200 women who approached the government-sponsored helplines, conducted about four months apart, reveal that physical and sexual violence perpetrated by husbands and/or family members fell significantly in the inter-survey period. Women were also less likely to report suicidal thoughts and many reported a sense of economic security, happiness, self-confidence, and peace of mind. These findings underscore the importance of facilities offering women a haven in which they may learn about their options, have access to empathetic advocates, and secure support for addressing the violence they face at home.

‘Criminal Tribes’ and the Mechanism of Power

While there is general consensus about the fact that “criminal tribe” was a stereotypical category created by the British, it has also been argued that this categorisation has its basis in India’s ancient past. A close examination of ancient Indian scriptures and colonial archival texts reveals how both had very different views about the so-called “criminal tribes,” which in turn affected the ways in which power hierarchies were constructed and maintained. Nevertheless, these marginalised groups put forth their own counter-discourse, which becomes evident through the analysis of two photographs from colonial archives.

Neo-liberal Conservation

Carbon forestry projects such as REDD+, A/R CDM and the Green India Mission are based on the neo-liberal principles of privatisation, commoditisation, and marketisation. These market-oriented tools abstract forests from their sociocultural and ecological contexts and reduce their value for carbon forestry. These projects promote plantations of fast-growing species and undermine local knowledge and institutions. The available empirical evidence on the carbon forestry projects indicates that these have an impact on the rights and livelihoods of forest-dependent communities adversely. Hence, it is imperative to critically analyse them before scaling them up.

Prevalence of Undernourishment in Indian States

Prevalence of undernourishment, a measure developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization, is a key indicator for global hunger and food insecurity targets. The FAO has developed a sound conceptual model for estimating the prevalence of dietary energy deficiency. However, the estimation methodology of the prevalence of undernourishment has been a subject of much debate. Important modifications are suggested in the estimation of the distribution of average calorie intake and average minimum dietary energy requirements. Using the latest available data and the revised methodology, it is shown that about 472 million people in India, a staggering 39% of the population, were undernourished in 2011–12.

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