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

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Reconciliations of Caste and Medical Power in Rural Public Health Services

Drawing from an ethnographic study conducted in a Karnataka village, the unfavourable differential treatments against Dalit patients in rural public health services are delineated. An analysis of medical interactions shows that as compared to non-Dalits, Dalit patients experienced more apathy, denial, and avoidance behaviours from service providers. Surprisingly, most Dalits did not attribute this to their caste, but to the flaws of the public health delivery system. Caste and allopathic medical practice are embedded in the rural public health delivery system, and both camouflage and normalise discrimination in paternalistic medical interactions. This sustains the favourable environment for caste-based discrimination in rural public health services even in places where Dalit consciousness is strong.

Cleaning the Ganga

Prioritising aviral dhara (uninterrupted flow) over nirmal dhara (unpolluted flow) can deliver quick outcomes in the Namami Gange Programme. Treating human, municipal and industrial waste released into the Ganga is a long-term project requiring vast resources and political energy, besides behavioural change on a mass scale. But, Ganga’s dry season flows can be quickly improved by basin-scale conjunctive management of the surface water and groundwater. Irrigation in the Ganga basin today depends on tubewells far more than canals. A multipronged protocol is outlined to manage the old canal network and new hydropower storages in order to maximise irrigation benefits and improve dry season river flows.

Geographies of Drinking Water (In)securities in Peri-urban Hyderabad

​A political ecology framework has been employed to analyse patterns of drinking water (in)securities peculiar to peri-urban geographies. Primary field data have been used in the analysis. The many institutional arrangements that have emerged in peri-urban Hyderabad and how such arrangements have shaped the water ecology in the region and outcomes with respect to access to drinking water are described here. It argues that the water environment, both in terms of scarcity and pollution, and the social relations around water, co-produce each other, in sometimes unexpected ways. A primary finding is that the varying degrees and forms of private sector engagement in the drinking water sector produce different kinds of sub-geographies of distress in peri-urban spaces.

Strengthening Democratic Decentralisation and Participatory Democracy in Maharashtra

The ultimate objective of the decentralisation of power and participatory democracy is to build a society wherein the governed people are not just passive voters, but active decision-makers and stakeholders in local self-governance. In 2015, the Government of Maharashtra took a decision to devolve 5% of the Tribal Sub-Plan funds to gram panchayats in districts under the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act. This initiative allowed communities to make informed decisions regarding various local matters pertaining to electrification, sanitation, building of roads, schools, etc, and in turn improve the responsiveness of the government in bringing accountability, efficiency and equity.

A Perspective on Growth and Distributional Outcomes in Uttarakhand

How far has Uttarakhand been successful in realising the pursuit of economic growth to improve the standard of living of the population, in general, and in mainstreaming the different social groups both within and without as a state in a federation? The measures of general standard of living and mainstreaming of the marginalised are quantified using the National Sample Survey cross-sectional estimates of household private consumption for Uttarakhand, juxtaposed with those for its parent state of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and the national context of India for 2004–05 and 2011–12. Uttarakhand seems to have done well in realising the goals in the national context, but it has a long way to go in mainstreaming the marginalised social groups in both rural and urban sectors within the state.

Tribes and Urbanisation in North East India

An analysis of urban development in post-independence India shows that the country has inherited an uneven regional distribution of city and town formations. No other region illustrates this better than the North East. This complex topic is examined with reference to the “tribal metropolis” of Shillong in Meghalaya, which is experiencing a rapidly changing urban landscape. How urban space is governed in Shillong is analysed. In doing so, contestations by various stakeholders regarding urban expansion and development along with its implications for the tribal population living in the vicinity of the city are examined.

Beyond the Eurocentrism–Indigenism Binary

Two discourses—non-indigenist critiques of Eurocentrism and Dalit–Bahujan–Adivasi narratives—that fracture “Hinduism” are put in conversation with each other here. This engagement produces a complex field of thought and practice that simultaneously rejects both Euro-normality and Brahminical patriarchy.

Matting of Hair among Women in South-western India

Matting of hair is a neglected health problem in India with religious undertones and paucity of research on it. To capture the experiential understanding of matting of hair among women in south-western India, an interpretive phenomenological study was conducted. The thematic accounts of affected women uncovered the health and human rights marginalisation surrounding the matting of hair, effectively making it a neglected harmful cultural practice.

A Novel Approach to Understanding Delhi’s Complex Air Pollution Problem

With rising concerns about the steep increase in air pollution in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, several factors—particularly motorised transportation, construction, and stubble burning in neighbouring states—are being identified as contributing to this hazard. However, in order to make effective policy decisions, there is a need for a holistic approach that identifies the root causes of the problem. The use of system dynamics simulation offers a novel systems thinking approach to understand Delhi’s air pollution, taking into account the dynamic nature of the air pollution system as well as the complex interdependencies among the various factors and sources of air pollution.

Millets in the Indian Plate

Millets can play a role in providing nutrition security as they are rich in various macro and micronutrients, and can help to fight various non-communicable diseases. Hence, a suggestion was made to include them in the basket of goods provided through the public distribution system. The findings of this article suggest that, with the present level of production, millets can be provided in some states of India which have culturally grown as well as consumed them. However, scaling this policy to the national level may not be possible unless rigorous measures are undertaken to improve production as well as consumer acceptability.

Fiscal Federalism and Regional Inequality in India

In all federal structures, the composing units are not self-sufficient financially. But, in India, the economic dependence of states on the centre is rather high because of widespread disparities in their levels of economic development. The federal transfers to the states through the Finance Commission, Planning Commission and centrally-sponsored schemes are investigated. The role of the union government in equitable direct investment, subsidy, and private investment policy for unbiased regional development is also underlined . The data proves that although the Finance Commission’s transfers are progressive, the share of devolution for low-income states is gradually decreasing. Unfortunately, all other transfers and efforts by the centre are regressive to address the regional inequality issues.

Community Participation in Effective Water Resource Management

The initiation of the growth process in the rural economy in India, which is predominantly agriculture-based, needs optimum allocation and careful management of scarce water resources for irrigation. Using primary data, the impact of a tripartite institutional framework—comprising a non-governmental organisation, the funding agency, and the people (forming a community-based organisation)—on rural sustainability is examined. Tobit analysis is used to evaluate the impact of participation on rural sustainability. The results establish that community participation is critical in enhancing rural sustainability in terms of managing indigenous water harvesting structures like johad s.

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