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

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Gender, Religion, and Virtual Diasporas

The rise of web-based social spaces has expanded the political sphere beyond the boundaries of the nation state, while also disseminating and shaping religious ideologies. Minority groups in diasporas use their increasing online representation to challenge mainstream perceptions about them and to create transnational virtual communities. The gendered constructions of Hindu identities in the virtual sphere are analysed here, examining the discourses of Hindu conservative groups and post-immigrant progressive groups.

Feminisms in the United States Diaspora

With a focus on “Indian” feminisms in the United States diaspora, based on their experiences as academics committed to social justice issues, two types of activism—efforts to challenge violence against women and to address knowledge hierarchies—are outlined.As the work for gendered justice includes the need to challenge mainstream and community forces, the dynamic fissures and coalitions that construct the cadences of Indian–American feminisms in the us diaspora are delineated.

Women Migrants and Social Remittances

An ethnographic study of the women migrants in Barkas, an old Arabian neighbourhood in Hyderabad, shows that women migrants over the years have moved from being the so-called dependant migrants to noteworthy contributors to the development of links between the sending and the receiving nations. Making a departure from the earlier studies of diasporas, this paper points to the fact that despite being involved in circular migration, and even in their gendered roles, women can affect the formation of the diasporas through their social remittances.

Making History and Shaping Feminism

A historically grounded account of South African feminists, who were the products of an apartheid, colonial, and largely patriarchal society, is discussed, with a focus on personal narrative. The voices of seven South African Indian struggle icons—Phyllis Naidoo, Poomoney Moodley, Ela Gandhi, Judge Navanethem Pillay, Amina Cachalia, Rajes Pillay and Munniamah Naidoo—who dispelled the prescriptive role of women as understood in the country and among the Indian community are highlighted. They were the game changers who made history and shaped interpretations of feminism in South Africa.

Minority Struggles and Quiet Activism

The challenges that “minority” women encounter in Australia play a crucial role in expanding the language of feminism. From the author’s position as a diasporic Australian woman of Anglo-Indian Christian heritage, she explores the emotional struggle to challenge institutional racism in a country where whiteness provides symbolic and material privileges. This struggle has its roots in everyday acts of “quiet” activism that unfolded in Kolkata, India, where she was born. She had failed to see these as performances of feminism, however, because it veered away from the Brahminism of the feminist movement. The event of migration and racialisation as “ethnic,” “NESB” and “Indian” was a visceral experience that opened her eyes to the possibilities for more hopeful futures in Australian cities.

South Asian Feminisms in Britain

A distinctive South Asian feminist voice emerged in Britain out of the existing forms of self-organisation and resistance within minority communities, located at the intersection of gender, race and class. An outline is presented here of the nature and effects of four decades of activism, policy interventions, and practice by South Asian feminist groups in Britain. This activism is located within the context of government policy and statutory practice that has shifted from multiculturalism to multi-faithism, and highlights the implications for women’s and girls’ rights, and the costs to secular feminist provision, particularly in relation to combatting violence against women and girls. How the recent neo-liberal policies of austerity and shrinking welfare provision pose key ideological challenges for South Asian feminist organising is analysed.

Can Contract Farming Double Farmers’ Income?

Following its mandate to double farmers’ income by 2022, the central government has enacted a separate model contract farming act in 2018 based on the perception that contract farming is one of the several pathways for doubling farm income. However, findings from primary surveys in Moga, Tarn Taran and Amritsar districts in Punjab, reveal that despite bringing in new crops, technologies and markets for farmers, contract farming excludes the smallholder farmers. Unless such arrangements can protect the interests of the smallholders who constitute almost four-fifth of India’s farming population, doubling farm income will remain elusive.

Farmers’ Choice of Milk-marketing Channels in India

Using nationally representative household-level data, the structure of milk markets is examined and the factors that determine the Indian dairy farmers’ choice of milk-marketing outlets are identified. The analysis of participation in various milk-marketing channels indicates that dairy farmers, irrespective of their asset-status, sales volume, and socio-economic status, prefer to sell their output through cooperatives and government agencies, even if these offer lower prices compared to the local traders. Concomitantly, of the various direct-to-consumer outlets, cooperatives are more inclusive and largely transcend the boundaries of caste and land size. Of the various economic factors that influence farmers’ choice, the access to institutional credit is critical in driving sales through the formal milk-marketing channels.

Ensuring MSP to Farmers

In the wake of the central government’s minimum support prices hike for kharif 2018–19, the state government in Madhya Pradesh implemented a variant of the deficiency payments system called the Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana for compensating the farmers when market prices fell below MSP. Besides the problems of long delays in payments to farmers, large transaction costs that farmers incurred due to multiple registrations, and the disposal of inferior quality produce by farmers, a major limitation of BBY is that it is a counter-cyclical payment, insulating farmers from the market by ignoring the demand side completely. A differentiated MSP based on quality and dovetailing with electronic National Agriculture Market may help address some of these problems. A carefully designed price deficiency payment system with partial procurement and dovetailing with e-NAM and other ways of ensuring MSP to farmers, such as direct payments and participation of private sector, are also discussed.

Reforming Agricultural Markets in India

The union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare had prescribed a model Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act in 2003. The state-level adoption of the act has been tardy and varied in terms of both the magnitude and content of agricultural market reforms. Yet, the ministry under the current central government has come up with another model act, the Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2017, supposedly an improvement over the 2003 act. Among other things, the provision that has grabbed much attention is the removal of contract farming from the APMC domain to a separate model act of Agricultural Produce and Livestock Contract Farming and Services (Promotion and Facilitation). Analysing these draft acts, the paper finds that both the model acts suffer from serious conceptual lacunae that have implications for their application and governance, and, consequently, for inclusive and sustainable agricultural development.

Agricultural Transformation in Aspirational Districts of India

NITI Aayog is presently anchoring a programme to help develop 115 “aspirational” districts which can potentially catch up with the best district within the same state and subsequently become one of the best in the country. The composite index for identification of districts is problematic thereby excluding many relatively underdeveloped districts and including several that are more developed than the “aspirational” category in terms of per capita district domestic product or per capita agricultural income or yield of principal crops. However, a comparative analysis of the aspirational, non-aspirational and frontier districts in Bihar reveals that strategies for bridging the inter-district gaps should be sector-, location- and enterprise-specific. While irrigation, education, farm and non-farm diversification hold the key for acceleration of agricultural development in both aspirational and undeveloped districts, urbanisation, energy consumption and development of location-specific infrastructure would be essential for overall economic development.

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