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

Articles by Nitya RaoSubscribe to Nitya Rao

Women’s Work Participation in Rural Karnataka and Tamil Nadu

India ranks among a handful of countries in West Asia, North Africa, and South Asia to have the lowest female labour force participation rates in the world. The LFPR has further been declining for women in India in the last two decades. The article focuses on the south Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to understand the proximate causes for these shifts. We combine temporal trends from the Employment and Unemployment surveys of the National Sample Survey Office with the literature on agrarian studies in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to explain the changes in rural women’s labour force participation and summarise the challenges in studying temporal trends in women’s work.


Wells and Well-being in South India

Groundwater has played a pivotal role in transforming the rural agrarian landscape, augmenting rural livelihoods and improving household well-being. What role does the growing prevalence and importance of groundwater play in intra-household relations, particularly the gendered divisions of labour and use of assets? The impacts of failed borewells on gendered vulnerabilities, identities and well-being have been explored. Research indicates that groundwater usage in semi-arid regions has increased the short-term resilience of communities in the region, but has simultaneously increased gendered risks, especially for smallholders, by promoting unsustainable livelihood trends and risky coping strategies to groundwater shortages.

Rights, Recognition and Rape

The Justice Verma Committee has highlighted the urgent need for establishing the rule of law and good governance, and has also sought to address the roots of social and gender inequality in the country. There is a need to address structural inequalities that perpetrate and perpetuate violence, such as rape, and for women's rights to have both political and social legitimacy.

Cash Transfers

I would like to congratulate the signatories to the letter on “Cash Transfers and UID” (EPW, 5 January 2013) for pointing out not just the problems of linking cash transfers with the Unique Identification Authority of India’s unique identification number (UID), Aadhaar, but more importantly, the

Structural Constraints in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Schools

A survey of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan schools in Sahibganj district of Jharkhand reveals that the SSA, despite its emphasis on decentralisation and inbuilt flexibilities, is not making much headway in a socially and economically differentiated setting. This reflects a perception of poor quality of the SSA and also a lack of understanding by the programme of social relations and structural constraints.

Women's Rights to Land and Assets

It is important to make a conceptual distinction between projects that seek to reduce poverty and enhance productivity and those that seek to empower women, as the strategies adopted in each case could be different. Effective poverty targeting can ensure that short-term material benefits reach the poorest without necessarily leading to enhanced voice and equality, as the review of some development projects in Bangladesh, India and Nepal reveals. This paper assesses progress towards gender equality and rural poverty reduction through women's control over land and identifies a few key policy options in mainstreaming gender in development programmes to achieve the millennium development goals.

Displacement from Land

Despite the existence of tenancy laws that seek to protect adivasi rights to land in the Santhal Parganas, recent years have seen the considerable transfer of land from adivasis to contractors mainly through privately negotiated, temporary lease arrangements. This has serious implications for the employment and health of local populations as well as for the sustenance, in the long term, of common property resources and local livelihoods. At the same time, siltation and flooding in the upstream and lower reaches of the Masanjore dam have rendered cultivable land in several villages useless. As most of the adivasi population in the region depends on agriculture for its livelihood, the need to revise and rethink development strategies is of utmost importance.

Gender Equality, Land Rights and Household Food Security

This paper seeks to examine the issue of land rights, and its links with household food security as well as gender equality and questions some of the assumptions being made therein. After a brief analysis of shifts in policy discourse and practice, both nationally and internationally, in terms of agricultural production and land management as vital for food security, it seeks to analyse the implications of some of these measures on gender relations. Does the increasing attention to women reflect growing gender equality, or does it lead to an enhancement of the work burden and responsibilities, without much change in terms of status or decision-making authority?

Agricultural Research and Extension in India

As the Indian Agricultural Research Institute observes its centenary this year, this article explores the motivations behind its establishment. It also seeks to explore the current state of agricultural research in the country by a primary research study in Jharkhand's Dumka district.

Jharkhand: Life and Livelihood in Santal Parganas

The formation of Jharkhand state came after decades of collective struggle around issues of tribal identity, socio-economic exploitation and land alienation. Unfortunately the Vision 2010 document for the state outlining a policy focusing on commercialisation, export orientation and market development in agriculture and industry, has meant that acquisition of land has become a priority state concern with little effort being made to prevent tribal land alienation or ensure food security in the state.

Jharkhand : Vision 2010

Dazzled by the east Asian economic 'miracle', the newly created state of Jharkhand has drawn up a Vision 2010 document for development that seeks to turn it into another Singapore. However, the document lacks clarity and commitment and also suffers from skewed priorities that will severely impede the state's progress towards the goals of growth and poverty eradication.


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