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

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De-feminisation of Agricultural Wage Labour in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal

A study of three villages in Jalpaiguri district, West Bengal, reveals that there is an alarming decline in female agricultural wage labour, resulting in de-feminisation, devastating poverty and outmigration of young boys and men in the Terai region. De-agrarianisation in combination with the revived patriarchal “good woman” ideology explains the crises of female wage labour. The Government of West Bengal’s Anandadhara programme seeks to integrate poor women into the financial flow through microcredit/self-helf groups. However, poor landless and marginal farm women are faced with various obstacles in becoming self-employed entrepreneurs.

Poverty, Health, and Wealth in India

Public Health and Private Wealth: Stem Cells, Surrogates, and Other Strategic Bodies edited by Sarah Hodges and Mohan Rao, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2016; pp xv + 283, ₹850.

Status of Denotified Tribes

A study on the socio-economic and educational status of denotified tribes reveals that members of these tribes are plagued by chronic poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, health complications, and substandard living conditions, apart from the label of ex-criminals. They face an identity crisis in the absence of statutory documents and therefore, need special policies for their welfare and upliftment.

The Making of Poverty

Labour, State and Society in Rural India: A Class-relational Approach by Jonathan Pattenden; Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016; pp xiv + 2 00, £75 (hardbound).

‘Surgical Strikes’ on Policies of Liberalisation

A response to Amit Bhaduri’s article titled “Danger Zones of High Economic Growth” (EPW, 22 October 2016). Important questions of policy and economic understanding are raised.

India's 'Poverty of Numbers'

The number of "poor" derived by applying price adjustment to an old consumption basket, which is largely what official poverty measures have done, are very different from estimates based on actual consumption baskets that have changed over time. For instance, the share of cereals in household expenditure halved between 1993-94 and 2011-12 in rural areas. In the light of this, we ask if all expenditure would be on food, what percentage of the population would be unable to meet the prescribed calorie requirement? Adding a "minimum" level of expenditure on clothing-bedding-footwear, fuel and light, and conveyance to the "derived" sum of food expenditure provides a second counterfactual. Similarly, the cumulative addition of expenditure on other consumer goods and services provides further counterfactual scenarios.

Promoting Private Healthcare

The Rajasthan government’s Bhama­shah Health Insurance Scheme claims to benefit over 1.10 crore families encompassing around 4.65 crore people in the state through a smart card-based cashless health cover. The state government has allocated Rs 370 crore for this on an annual basis and a memorandum...

The Essential Cancer Drugs

There are no public procurement programmes for cancer on the lines of those that exist for AIDS or tuberculosis. It is worth considering whether it is feasible to institute a drug procurement programme based on international/national competitive bidding or shopping, like those already in place in the National AIDS Control Organisation. If patients in developed countries are finding it difficult to survive the astronomical prices of cancer drugs, a developing country like India, with a large part of its population below the poverty line or among the middle class, is even worse affected in the battle against the disease.

Are BIMARU States Still Bimaru?

Ashish Bose coined the acronym BIMARU in the early 1980s to describe the backwardness of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh relative to the best-performing states in terms of demographic indicators. This article extends Bose's analysis to recent years to ascertain if the proposition is still valid. To retain the integrity of the original exercise, the same indicators examined by Bose have been analysed, as far as possible. It fi nds that the BIMARU states have made a lot of progress, yet they continue to be bimaru as the gap between them and the national average persists in a majority of indicators.

Burden of Out-of-Pocket Health Payments in Andhra Pradesh

After the introduction of the large-scale Rajiv Aarogyasri Scheme in undivided Andhra Pradesh during 2007, which was meant to protect poor families from catastrophic inpatient health expenses, no reliable data is available to assess out-of-pocket health payments in the state. The latest data available is from the last round of a health survey by the National Sample Survey Office in 2004-05. This study estimates the OOP health expenditure in Andhra Pradesh in 2012-13, and provides estimates for the year's from 2004-05 onwards. The paper points out that the need is to formulate a state health policy, which, among other things, targets a government health expenditure to total health expenditure ratio of 0.8.

Shedding the BIMARU Tag

The states of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan have been striving hard in the last decade to get rid of their BIMARU label. They have made impressive strides in the field of health and education, and their efforts to boost growth and mitigate poverty are worth noting.

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