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

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Debating Statehood

Debating Statehood Durable Disorder: Understanding the Politics of North-East India by Sanjib Baruah; OUP, New Delhi, 2005; PRADIP PHANJOUBAM This recent book by Sanjib Baruah is a departure from available literature on the problems of India

Assam Tea: The Bitter Brew

On May 30 irate workers of a tea estate in Assam's Sonitpur district hacked and burnt to death the estate's deputy manager and senior assistant manager. Trade union leaders from the tea industry have unequivocally condemned the incident. But they have also drawn attention to the fact that tea garden managements in Assam have been systematically ignoring the demands of the workers, especially for welfare measures. Successive governments in Assam have failed to force managements to implement the Plantations Labour Act of 1951. Managements now claim that the industry is passing through a recession, but during the tea boom of the 1990s the same managements did not share even a minuscule part of their prosperity with the workers.

Assam : Vote against Misgovernance

The tea labourers in Assam have always played a significant role in electoral politics. The recently held by-election for the Khumtai assembly constituency, dominated by tea tribes, has brought to the fore important issues - regionalism, intra-party, politics and most importantly, misgovernance - that will impact on electoral politics in the state, especially the Lok Sabha polls in 2004.

Poverty in India in the 1990s

The authors examine the poverty situation in 15 major states across four distinct dimensions of headcount ratio, size of the poor population, depth and severity for the rural, the urban and the total population. The poverty situation, they find, worsened over the six-year period 1993-94 to 1999-2000 in Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. In the remaining 12 states there was a distinct improvement in terms of the most visible indicator, namely, the absolute size of the poor population. Overall, despite diversity across poverty indicators and across states, the overwhelming impression is one of greater improvement in the poverty situation in the 1990s than in the previous 10�½-year period.

Agricultural Land Use in the Plains of Assam

The three aspects of agricultural land use examined here relate to extensive cultivation, intensive cultivation and underutilisation of cultivable lands.

Assam: Roll-Call of the Dead

One of the most significant fallouts of state and militant violence in Assam in the past 20 years has been the growing marginalisation of the average citizen. However, the failure of the state as an institution and the rise of insurgency have created a situation where civil society must make use of what little democratic space is left and try to play a positive role. In this context it is useful to take note of the experience of civil society interventions in Nagaland and Andhra Pradesh and draw lessons from it for Assam where the roll-call of the dead has been unending.

Assam : Tribal Land Alienation:Government's Role

The large-scale influx of infiltrators from the south and the north-west has compounded fears of insecurity and large-scale land alienation. Infiltration has been a fall-out of not merely recent government policies, but once formed a part of the colonial government's moves to resettle and develop the region.

Camp-Follower Too Long

The death of 20 children in Assam following the administration of vitamin A supplementation as part of a UNICEF-aided campaign throws open once again an old debate in public health policy. It exposes the dismal lack of coordination at various levels on issues and programmes which are vital to the health and lives of vulnerable populations. It is also an ironic pointer to the inertia in policy-making such that the state fails to reckon with the positive outcomes of socioeconomic development, however small, over the decades.

Assam- Crisis of Chauvinism

Assam is witnessing an interesting phenomenon: the disintegration of Assamese ethnic chauvinism which has dominated political discourse in the state. This has resulted in the fragmentation of right wing parties, which in a situation of acute economic and political crisis might well pave the way for a return to the more important agenda: economic development and federal reorganisation of the state such that its many ethnic groups all feel empowered.

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