The Road From Drought

By the time the rabi sowing season for 2009 is over, farming households in the 252 districts declared affected by drought will be further encircled by systems and frameworks over which they have little or no control. This will happen because administrative India is wedded to “area increase and productivity enhancement in targeted districts” as a primary aim. Rural livelihoods are a by-product. Read more »

A grain in an Empty Bowl: Government Services In The Urban Context

Anganwadis, ICDS and PDS are huge government programmes meant to cater to the health and nutritional requirements of the poor. Yet 72.4% of urban poor children in Madhya Pradesh are underweight, 60.4% are undernourished and almost nine out of 10 are anaemic. The fifth and final part of this series on food security of the urban poor finds out just where these schemes are going wrong. Read more »

Food Insecurity In Incredible India

A concept note on the proposed National Food Security Act circulated to all states continues to push for a targeted public distribution system instead of a universal one, and proposes to reduce the issue of foodgrains to 25 kg per BPL household, completely ignoring the contentious issue of who is poor and what an adequate and nutritious diet consists of. Read more »

Children In The Pits

Children as young as 10 are working in mines in Bellary district of Karnataka, recent studies and public hearings report. It is the children of displaced and homeless families who are exploited most by the mining mafia. Read more »

Uncovering Women’s Work

A substantial amount of women’s time is devoted to unpaid labour. Yet, much of women’s work is invisible. The productive contribution of household maintenance, provisioning and reproduction is ignored. As a result, inadequate attention is paid to the conditions of women’s work and its economic value. Read more »

Budget 2011: Direct Cash Transfer Instead Of Subsidy By 2012

Poverty levels are said to have dropped dramatically in countries that provide direct cash instead of subsidies to the poor. Will such a system work in India? A number of schemes in India like the public distribution system (PDS) that provides grain and select food items as well as cooking fuel and fertiliser at subsidised rates to poor families have been criticised because their implementation is so poor that a large amount of the subsidised commodities are diverted into the black market while the intended beneficiaries receive very little. Read more »