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

Articles by Akash AcharyaSubscribe to Akash Acharya

Assessing Gujarat's 'Chiranjeevi' Scheme

More than 5,000 women die every year in Gujarat due to pregnancy complications in remote and tribal areas. The state, which faces an acute shortage of qualified gynaecologists in public health facilities, devised the Chiranjeevi Yojana wherein women below poverty line can go to empanelled private nursing homes at the government's cost. A survey in Surat district shows that empanelled private providers are situated in urban areas and most of them take on only safe cases, sending the complicated ones to public hospitals. This defeats the entire purpose of the scheme as complications requiring emergency obstetric care are the major cause of maternal mortality. Also, if only safe cases are treated, the reduction in maternal mortality shown under the scheme is questionable.

Ethics in Social Sciences

To debate ethical considerations in current social research practices, to identify critical areas that require special attention in terms of ethical issues and to institutionalise mechanisms conducive to ethical concerns - these were the critical issues that were discussed during a national level consultation held in Surat in December 2005.

Two-Child Norm

Though the press has reported on the fallout of the implementation of the two-child norm in the six Indian states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, there is a dearth of studies on the subject. This paper undertakes an empirical study of the perceptions and views of the policy-makers, programme implementers and disqualified elected representatives in four of these states. Some have argued that adoption of the two-child norm by elected panchayat members would have a "demonstration" effect on the community. However, evidence suggests that even at the village level, caste, class and gender politics dominate and those who belong to the backward communities offer no role model to members of higher castes or their own kith and kin. The two-child norm impinges on basic human rights, is anti-women and anti-weaker segments.

Health Care Financing for the Poor

Health indicators in India may have seen substantial improvements in recent decades but quality and affordable health care services continue to elude the poor. Government provided health services only partially meet the needs of the rural and urban poor in the informal sector and making equitable and affordable medical care accessible to this segment remains a challenge. It is here that community-based health insurance (CBHI) schemes could provide viable alternatives. Four such CBHI schemes, that form the focus of this paper, are sustained by a pooling of resources as well as the regular "prepayment" of a small amount as premium, so as to enable poorer communities to meet high out-of-pocket medical expenses. While such schemes are still in their infancy, to ensure a wider coverage and acceptance, CBHI schemes could be attached to other decentralised agencies of governance such as panchayati raj institutions.

Migration from Hilly Areas

A part from explaining the 'missing men' situation, Ashish Bose (July 1-7) has also delineated reasons for migration from the villages of Uttarakhand. What is true of Uttarakhand, is also more or less true for villages of Dang district of Gujarat.

A Bold Film

Though they show excessive violence and sex, Hindi films hardly dare to challenge social taboos. Usually they endorse even outdated social norms to ensure acceptance among large audience. But 'Kya Kehna' by Kundan Shah is a bold attempt in which an unmarried girl gives birth to a child.

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