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

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'Brighter Side' of Seasonal Migration

The paper is based on field surveys of two locations of rural West Bengal during the1990s. It presents contrasting scenarios of fertility behaviour and its transition for a tribe, namely Santals, between two locations as well as between Santals and lower caste people in the same village. The Santals of Chitrihutu, who migrate seasonally, evince not only low fertility, but they indeed appear far ahead of non-migrating Santals of Thupsara in terms of contraceptive practices and fertility control. The positive role of seasonal migration in hastening fertility transition has been the central message of the present study.

Food Distribution : Focus on Local Effort

Focus on Local Effort More than two months after reports of starvation deaths in Orissa hit the headlines, the central government has decided to launch a grain bank scheme in the tribal areas of the country. The scheme, to be initially implemented in 1.14 lakh villages, has an outlay of Rs 1,066 crore and will involve the setting up of a grain bank on demand in each of these villages. The banks will be stocked with 1 mn tonnes of grain worth Rs 1,000 crore (at the so-called economic cost) provided free of cost as a onetime grant by the central government, and Rs 66 crore will be spent on transportation of grain and other expenses such as on setting up of storage bins. The plan follows the announcement by the government earlier of its intention to provide 5 mn tonnes of foodgrain

Sustainable Food Production and Consumption

Current methods of food production and consumption are imposing a severe burden on the environment and the constituent natural resources. New production and processing methods driven by biotechnology (genetically modified organisms (GMOs), hormones and other growth promoters) affect food safety. Are alternative more sustainable patterns of food production and consumption feasible? The paper examines some consumer initiatives in Asia and in the UK to examine how the consumer as a 'market force' can proactively influence the food industry, thereby making sustainable practices the norm rather than the exception. It also looks at the significance of empowering women, as consumers, with awareness and education on food safety, nutrition and its dependence on sustainable practices to exert a 'pull' on the market. Finally the paper discusses a multi-pronged approach involving, besides consumer pressure, policy changes, regulatory efforts and economic instruments to steer food production and consumption in a more sustainable direction.
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