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

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India's Family Planning Programme: An Unpleasant Essay

This paper takes a fresh critical look at the evolution of India's family planning programme (FPP) and at its performance and failings. It addresses India's apparently contradictory position of having a pioneering role in the global population control movement and also being branded as a country of 'demographic inertia'. This puzzle is in large part due to a deep contradiction and confusion that has continued from the very beginning to inflict the policy-makers and political leadership, especially about the potential of FPP per se in reducing fertility. A tension between the felt urgency of population control and a stubborn scepticism about the effectiveness of a voluntary FPP in the context of a slow socio-economic transformation, has fed into further confusions and chaos relating to the choice of policy instruments and programme strategy. This is brought into sharper focus by the success story of Bangladesh's family planning programme. The most prominent deficiencies and mistakes of India's family planning programme are, it is argued, related largely to a typical bureaucratic (and perhaps political too) predilections, hazy perceptions about effective strategy, and relatedly a chronic mismatch between expressions of priority and actual fund allocation to FPP, which were confounded by a distinct lack of openness (until very recently) towards the experience and expertise of the international community.

India-Bangladesh Relations : Sensitive Phase

Fears of being swamped by infiltrators from Bangladesh have been aired time and again by parties across the political spectrum in the north-east. With the swearing in of Khaleda Zia as Bangladesh’s new PM at the head of a BNP-led four-party coalition, the nervousness has increased, reinforced by reports of apprehension among minorities in Bangladesh who have traditionally voted for Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League which was defeated in these elections. A number of Hindus, including Awami League workers and leaders, are believed to have crossed over to Tripura apprehending the hostility of the BNP and its allies.

Bangladesh : Towards Stability

There can be no doubt that not only did the Awami League (AL) leader Sheikh Hasina as prime minister accomplish the difficult task of completing the full term of office, 1996-2001, but brought the country one step further towards consolidating the democratic political process by calling for elections and putting in place the constitutionally mandated caretaker government to oversee them. Not even the fact that for most of these years the opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) had stayed out of parliament choosing to pursue politics outside it and often sparking violence can take away that achievement of Hasina. But today after the election, in which her party has been all but routed, if Hasina decides to reject the electoral verdict and keep her promise of boycotting parliament and resorting to extra-parliamentary means of protest, then she will have put roadblocks on the way to achieving the stability so desperately needed to get on with normal governance and law-making.

Two Decades of Change in a Bangladeshi Village

This description of a revisit to village Fatepur turns on its head several existing, stereotypical notions of what constitutes development in Bangladesh. The villagers' assessment of what counts - old-fashioned investments in water control and transport infrastructure, as principal agents of progress - is in striking contrast to opinions and facts cited by NGOs and accepted as reality by many donor institutions. More importantly progress has been possible, despite several extraneous contributing factors, due to the ingenuity and vitality demonstrated by the people.

Jagatpur Revisited

Jagatpur 1977-97: Poverty and Social Change in Rural Bangladesh by Kamal Siddiqui; The University Press, Dhaka, 2000; pp xxviii + 476, Taka 550.

Bangladesh : The Countdown Begins

With Sheikh Hasina handing over power to a caretaker authority on July 15, she has kept a promise made two years ago. The caretaker authority will oversee elections scheduled in October this year. Sheikh Hasina’s government thus became the only one since 1971, when Bangladesh was created, to complete a full five-year term in office. The celebration however, came in the opposition camp. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led alliance which had led more than 90 days of antigovernment strikes has promised countrywide rallies to celebrate the end of what they call a corrupt government

Managing Water

Planning and Management of Water Resources: Lessons from Two Decades of Early Implementation Projects, Bangladesh edited by Anjan K Datta; The University Press, Dhaka, 1999; pp xxiii + 172, Taka 450.

West Bengal - Floods: Avoidable Tragedy

Time and again, floods have wreaked havoc in the regions of Malda and Midnapore in West Bengal. The tragedy, entirely a man-made one, could have been averted by a responsive and alert government, sensitive to ecological considerations. Instead, even as little or no effort is made to dredge the river bottom or prevent erosion, distribution of relief after the floods, follows extremely partisan lines.

Political Reconstruction of Bangladesh-Reflections on Building a New State in the Seventies

This paper seeks to point out certain general lessons that we have learnt prom the last 25 years of experience in regard to state and nation building in the "Third World".

Perspective for Economic Development of Bangladesh

The objective of this paper is to examine the possibility of Bangladesh achieving self-sustained growth for its economy, and its likely relations with the Indian economy in this context.

BANGLADESH-Aftermath of Stagnation

BANGLADESH Aftermath of Stagnation P C Verma DURING the last 24 years, while Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan, its economy stagnated. The economic policy pursued by the central government of Pakistan kept it economically backward. An analysis of the manner in which the economic policy of the central government of Pakistan was pursued may be necessary to assess the prospects for the future development of the now independent Bangladesh.

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