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

Articles by Amita ShahSubscribe to Amita Shah

Mainstreaming or Marginalisation?

Gujarat, which till recently was known as a relatively hassle-free state for industrialisation, is now experiencing increasing resistance to the conversion of farmland for industry-infrastructure development. While the growing unrest could be attributed to a complex mix of economic, political and cultural factors, a substantial part of it is also the result of the virtual absence of an information-sharing process and an almost complete denial of meaningful dialogue between the state and local communities. Though the new law on land acquisition and rehabilitation tries to address this critical gap, how it actually plays out will depend on how affected people perceive the gains and losses from mega projects. This paper examines the experiences of local communities affected by three major special economic zones in Gujarat.

Retail Chains for Agro/Food Products: Inclusive or Elusive?

The supporters of liberalisation often argue that if the modern food retail sector is allowed a full round of liberalisation, it may have various positive outcomes, including a reduction in prices. This article raises a counter question, what if the markets, as it happens in several instances, fail to deliver on account of the structural snags that may continue to persist in a rapidly growing and yet highly segmented economy?

Is There a Glimpse of Dynamism in Orissa's Agriculture?

A response to the analysis of Orissa's economy (EPW, 15 May 2010), suggesting that agriculture may not be caught in a stagnation and that the impact of mining may not as yet be deleterious on a large scale.

Development-induced Displacement in Gujarat

Land Acquisition, Displacement and Resettlement in Gujarat: 1947-2004 by Lancy Lobo and Shashikant Kumar

Management of Protected Areas

Protected areas that are surrounded by a large human population within and outside the sanctuary need to be managed keeping in mind not just the ecological requirements but also the livelihood needs of local communities. While the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 does provide for people's rights within sanctuaries, policies regarding protected areas must encourage a partnership between these communities and government agencies.

Issues in Restructuring

There is a need to reiterate the interconnectedness of the biophysical, socio-economic, and institutional aspects of watershed development from within a larger conceptual and normative framework for natural resource-based sustainable development.

Economic Rationale, Subsidy and Cost Sharing in Watershed Projects

The rationalisation of subsidies in watershed development programmes is critical not only to reduce the financial burden of the state but also to mobilise the effective participation of people and induce private investment by farmers. Together, these would help the programmes to operate on a more sustainable economic, environmental and financial basis. More effective subsidy structures could also unfold new avenues for negotiation among watershed communities and thereby strengthen the participatory processes for natural resource development across different activities and schemes.

Relocation of People from Wildlife Areas

Debates on relocation of affected communities from areas declared protected still appear, in many cases, to closely mirror similar concerns in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when forest management was tailored to suit colonial interests. However, as a recent seminar on relocation revealed, there has been of late a significant improvement in approaches adopted towards relocation as increasing numbers of forest managers seek to sensitively consider aspects of equity and justice. But while a comprehensive approach linking PA management with people's livelihoods on a regional scale is needed, such approaches also need to be locale-specific rather than a blueprint solution to meet all needs.

Water Scarcity Induced Migration

Distress migration has been a regular resort of the poor in less-favoured regions, more so in areas that face chronic water scarcity. This paper looks at the evidence from Gujarat, and examines the impact of watershed development programmes on migration among farm workers from landed as well as landless households.

Watershed Programmes

Watershed development programmes (WDPs) have become a key strategy for sustainable economic development in large parts of Gujarat that are experiencing frequent droughts, dwindling groundwater resources, increasing salinity and loss of vegetation. These programmes have also involved successfully a large number of NGOs. The experience of Gujarat in this field ought to yield important lessons for others. An analysis of WDPs is attempted here with a focus on the following issues: what are the major challenges to these programmes across different agro-climatic zones in the state? What are the initial achievements? What have been the problems and how can the full potential of WDP be tapped?

New Paradigm of Development

characterisations, and it must be admitted that his writing does smack of overkill, the problem remains. How do we explain the continued existence of a depressing ground level reality that everyone is keen to attack and few are prepared to defend be it untouchability, child labour or bondage? Is this mere hypocrisy? Or is it that our academia has still to evolve the concepts and methodology to understand (and hopefully change) these seemingly intractable social arrangements? Ever so often all we encounter are the arguments of exceptionalism, of how alien values and institutions (including human rights) have been imposed in an inhospitable soil.

Watershed Development Programmes in India-Emerging Issues for Environment-Development Perspectives

Conservation of rain water and checking soil erosion is central to the attainment of economic as well as financial sustainability of dryland agriculture. Integrated Watershed Development Programme is the major policy instrument for achieving this goal. The approach, though quite comprehensive, however, has come at a time when the global environmental concerns have become quite strong. In turn, this has exerted significant influence in changing the central thrust as well as the composition of watershed development programmes in India. It is the contention of this paper that the global environmental concerns have diverted attention for productivity concerns and therby resorting to some of the softer options emphasising indigenous technology, low cost measures and participatory institutional development. It is argued that external forces have deviated the policies from making substantial investments in land which farmers otherwise cannot afford to make on their own. Also, a participatory approach for project implementation, per se, may not bring desired results in terms of enhancement of productivity and livelihood security. Finally, given the options, farmers prefer yield augmenting technologies and are willing to pay for the cost. This in turn also helps bringing more effective (interactive) participation in the SWC-programme.


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