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

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Deepening Divides

Changes in the incidence of vegetarianism across time are sought to be analysed by identifying the specific trends at the level of region,caste and class. Divergence in the attitude towards vegetarianism across these axes points towards deepening divides linked to socioeconomic status and cultural-political power inequalities.

'Provincialising' Vegetarianism

Large-scale survey data are used to question the most public claims about food habits in India. It is found that the extent of overall vegetarianism is much less—and the extent of overall beef-eating much more—than suggested by common claims and stereotypes. The generalised characterisations of “India” are deepened by showing the immense variation of food habits across scale, space, group, class, and gender. Additionally, it is argued that the existence of considerable intra-group variation in almost every social group (caste, religious) makes essentialised group identities based on food practices deeply problematic. Finally, in a social climate where claims about food practices rationalise violence, cultural–political pressures shape reported and actual food habits. Indian food habits do not fit into neatly identifiable boxes.

Data for Research into Health Inequality in India

India has a long history of collecting data on population and health, but it is neither integrated nor systematic, especially in small geographical areas. The National Population Register should be completed, completeness of the coverage of the Civil Registration System should be ensured, and their linkage should be established with census and other household surveys in India to document health disparities by class, caste, and region.

Towards Equality in Healthcare

The Rapid Survey on Children shows a new trend of an increased access to healthcare by marginalised communities like Dalits, Adivasis and Other Backward Classes which have made substantial gains in the last decade. However much needs to be achieved in the realm of nutrition and sanitation where these communities remain acutely deprived.

Infant and Child Survival in Orissa

Infant/child mortality is not a simple function of the level of economic development, pace of economic growth or material prosperity. Proximate conditions having a direct bearing on infant and child mortality are such that they cannot be influenced through increases in income and purchasing power alone and are outside the market domain. The National Family Health Survey provides rich and variegated data which are useful for studying the early mortality in Orissa and provide a solid empirical foundation for further probing of certain questions such as accessibility and quality of a whole range of public goods and services which have a direct bearing on premature mortality.
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