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

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The Wicked Problem of Sustainable Bamboo Management

From poor person’s timber to rich man’s green gold, bamboo is truly the “cradle to coffin timber” for the people of various strata and geographies. Bamboo is a gift of nature and India is blessed with the world’s largest bamboo resource. But the existing utilisation of the bamboo sector in the country remains underdeveloped and its share in domestic consumption and international trade is negligible. With depleting natural resources and changing policy scenarios, such as the ban on single-use plastic, bamboo is increasingly looked upon as the most preferred alternative wood material. It has thousands of well-documented applications in daily life. Despite having such enormous potential for both nature and society, the bamboo industry in the country is still at a nascent stage. Although bamboo management may appear to be a “wicked problem” with no immediate solution, changing policy regimes and growing interest of various stakeholders can potentially provide a way to revive the bamboo sector.

Rural Economic Growth and Emerging Pattern of Rural Towns

The two features of structural transformation visible in India are an increase in the overall gross domestic product and per capita incomes, enabled by the shift away from agriculture to other sectors or occupations with higher productivity; and greater urbanisation. An attempt is made to examine the emergence of small towns or urbanised villages in Gujarat and Rajasthan. The states depict a disparate pattern of rural economic transformation and varying levels of urbanisation. The emerging urban hierarchy is contextualised within the process of economic growth and transition, and the composition of urban growth along with the locational features of the emerging towns are studied. The underlying causes responsible for the nature of urban growth in the two states highlight the need for a regional focus of policy.

Performance of Self-help Groups in India

Since its inception, the performance of the self-help group programme in the area of rural development and women’s empowerment has been admirable. But, although the programme is being implemented in many parts of the country, its success has been patchy. This study evaluates its performance during 2011–19. It focuses on two aspects of the programme’s performance: its geographical expansion and the growth of non-performing assets. It shows that the programme has been more successful in well-off states, while in the central and north-eastern regions, it faces severe difficulties. The mounting NPAs in these regions require immediate intervention.

Not by Prosperity Alone

The Paradox of Rural Development in India: The Devapur Experience by Suresh Suratwala, Bhopal: Kishore Bharati, 2020; pp 197, ₹ 150 (paperback).

Majoritarian Rationale and Common Goals

Looking at existing policy instruments and goals, and the economic and social outcomes they promise to deliver, it is argued that majoritarian politics and social and cultural outcomes are not part of fringe thinking. The politics of hate actually works to build a consensus for ruling class economics. It is not surprising, therefore, that the only "nationalist outlook" of our times is to stand firmly behind the policy programme for the global investor.

Obituary: Remembering Vikash Pandey

At both the personal and professional levels Vikash Pandey worked towards promoting space for individual freedom and appreciated differences. He had a capacity to challenge the status quo and to create space for the unexplored.

Aggrandiser Government and Local Governance

'Aggrandiser government', in most states, continues to hold on to most powers, even as they have been formally devolved to local government through conformity legislations. Deficiencies in facilitating the potential of panchayati raj persist at three levels - state, panchayati raj institutions and societal levels. Big government at the state level with a patrimonial perception of self and aggrandiser instincts has pushed the 'self-governance participatory model' of the panchayats to the periphery, both at the level of discourse and praxis. This coupled with conceptual inadequacies, epistemic and operational constraints, poor finances, and political interference have posed a serious challenge to the realisation of the potential role envisaged for panchayats in the 73rd Amendment. If panchayati raj has to fulfil its foundational tenets of empowering the community there is need to recognise the primacy of societal good over individual or political goals. PRIs have to transform themselves into community institutions fulfilling a social contract with an all inclusive participatory planning and associationalism as essential methodologies.

Rural Development: New Perceptions

The mountain of foodgrain stocks is just one of the consequences of the misguided macroeconomic policies of the 1990. Caught up in the euphoria of liberalisation, the new economic policy largely ignored the rural economy and its development. Fortunately, since 2000-01, there has been a new-found interest in resurrecting the agenda of rural development adopting a comprehensive and pragmatic approach.

Science and Technology for Rural Development

The state mediated-processes of social and economic development, involving science and technology, have been viewed as resources and cultural packages to respond to problems of development. National developmental priorities have been understood both in terms of abstract aggregation of collective aspirations imposed by the state and also in disaggregated terms implying expanding access of disadvantaged groups, such as rural poor, to resources they need to enhance their social and economic opportunities.

Empowerment at Grass Roots

Capacity Building for Local Leaders by G Palanithurai; Concept Publishing Company, New Delhi, 2001; pp 144, Rs 225.

Rural Development: Role of State

How successful have government interventions been in fostering rural development by encouraging people's participation and NGO activity? A first step in sustained rural development lies in ending the historical deprivation of communities and peoples long marginalised.

Bold Initiatives Needed on Agriculture and Rural Employment

The specific proposals of Budget 2002-03 for agriculture and rural development do not live up to expectations. There is need for bold initiatives on public investment, credit and creating incentives for private investment to revive agricultural growth and expansion of rural employment.

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