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Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan and Tribal Sub-Plan

Clearly, it would be neither feasible nor necessary for all ministries to meet the 16 / 8 per cent benchmark for SCSP /TSP. But if the ministries make serious efforts along these lines, the combined Plan allocations reported for all ministries is quite likely to be higher than the benchmarks - if not in the first year itself, then over a span of a few years

Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) have been among the most disadvantaged sections of our society due to their socio-economic exploitation and isolation over a long period of time. They lag behind the rest of the population in terms of both human development as well as economic indicators. Table 1 reflects the marked difference in the social and economic indicators of SCs and STs as compared to other social groups. The 12th Five Year Plan noted that the incidence of poverty is most pronounced among the SCs and the STs across all social groups.  

Table 1: Socio-Economic Indicators for Scheduled Castes

Other Groups
Literacy Rate (Rural) %
Literacy Rate (Urban) %
Unemployment Rate by Current Daily Status (Rural)
Women with BMI < 18.5 (%)
Women with Anaemia (%)
Infant Mortality Rate (per 1000)
Households with Pucca houses (%)
Households with electricity (%)

TRIBAL DEVELOPMENT-Law, Democracy and Governance


TRIBAL DEVELOPMENT : The Limits to Law, Democracy and Governance

Tribal Development Both PESA and FRA give powers to communities that allow them to determine their future destiny. What these laws also do is to make the state bureaucracy and for that matter elected, mostly non-tribal, representatives accountable to community institutions. The centre of power will, therefore, shift and allow tribals control over their own governance and natural resources that they are dependent upon for their livelihood. PESA and FRA can create a legitimate political space and democratic mechanism where equity, justice and participatory democracy are the core 

Tribal Development policy from its inception has always been beset by a contradiction, namely to recognize the uniqueness of tribal communities (including their governance systems) but yet deliver the benefits of mainstream development. In practice, the former has, for the most part been undermined, seemingly to attain the latter. However, even the latter goal mostly has not been achieved because of the wider priorities of ‘growth’ and ‘development’ for the nation. Over the last two decades since the adoption of the New Economic Policy in 1991 and the drive to speed up the growth process, a widening gap between the goals of national development and tribal development has emerged. The accelerated attempt to exploit natural resources in the name of economic growth has led to maladministration and misgovernance (‘governance deficit’) and neglect in terms of infrastructure, development and welfare (‘development deficit’) in tribal areas. These failures of state policy have led to the spread of Left Wing Extremism (LWE), pervasive now in 83 districts of the country.  

This is not to say that progressive Constitutional provisions and laws that empower tribal communities have not been periodically passed, but rather that, these have been for the most part undermined. From Article 244 of the Constitution, which led to the establishment of Fifth Schedule Areas, to legislation such as the Panchayati Raj (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (hereafter PESA), and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (hereafter FRA), legal measures have been passed to empower tribal communities to govern themselves. But invariably these legal measures have to a large extent remained on paper because of a lack of political will to implement them, given the economic priorities of growth. 

SABLA for Adolescence Girl


Sabla: The road to empowerment and self esteem for adolescent girls


Through various schemes including Sabla, the government is investing in the health, nutrition and development needs of adolescent girls to advance their rights to education, health and protection. This will help them to build a future of gender equality and justice

Adolescence is a phase during which major physical and psychological changes take place in children, along with changes in their social perceptions and expectations. Adolescence is also the stage when young people extend their relationships beyond parents and family and are intensely influenced by their peers and the outside world. This is the time that they need the maximum understanding and caring. 

There are nearly 1.2 billion adolescents in the world, that is, those aged between 10 to 19 years. 

Studies show that millions of adolescents today do not enjoy access to quality education, basic sexual and reproductive health care, support for mental health issues and disability, protection from violence, abuse and exploitation and forums for active participation. 

Golden Fibre Making Inroads into Road Construction


Golden Fibre Making Inroads into Road Construction 

The first thing when we hear about coir comes to our mind is traditional items like mats, baskets and ropes, but it is not the case anymore. 

With the changing times and growing charm for eco-friendly products, the golden fibre is finding new applications and is also being preferred in road construction. 

With increasing deforestation affecting the environment, the biodegradable geotextiles is being used in the construction of roads. 

The major reasons for increased use of the natural fibre are sustainability and cost effectiveness. 

Coir (coconut fiber) geotextiles are a popular solution for erosion control, slope stabilisation and bioengineering, due to the fabric’s substantial mechanical strength. 

Gramin Bhandaran Yojana


Gramin Bhandaran Yojana

It is well known that the small farmers do not have the economic strength to retain the produce with themselves till the market prices are favourable. There has been a felt need in the country to provide the farming community with facilities for scientific storage so that wastage and produce deterioration are avoided and also to enable it to meet its credit requirement without being compelled to sell the produce at a time when the prices are low. A network of rural godowns will enable small farmers to enhance their holding capacity in order to sell their produce at remunerative prices and avoid distress sales. Accordingly, Gramin Bhandaran Yojana, a capital investment subsidy scheme for construction/renovation of rural godowns was introduced in 2001-2002.

The main objectives of the scheme include creation of scientific storage capacity with allied facilities in rural areas to meet the requirements of farmers for storing farm produce, processed farm produce and agricultural inputs; promotion of grading, standardization and quality control of agricultural produce to improve their marketability; prevention of distress sale immediately after harvest by providing the facility of pledge financing and marketing credit; strengthen agricultural marketing infrastructure in the country by paving the way for the introduction of a national system of warehouse receipts in respect of agricultural commodities stored in such godowns and to reverse the declining trend of investment in agriculture sector by encouraging private and cooperative sectors to invest in the creation of storage infrastructure in the country. 

The project for construction of rural godowns can be taken up by individuals, farmers, groups of farmers/ growers, firms, non-Government organizations (NGOs), Self Help Groups(SHGs), companies, corporations, co-operatives, federations and agricultural produce marketing committees in the country. 

Food Security


Food Security:Modalities of Management

If you don’t diversify, incomes don’t rise. For that you need infrastructure and technology. Seeds are important. You need MNREGA and food security because a lesson of world history is that rise in wages triggers technical change in agriculture. Its not the other way around.
The Food Security Bill may be passed by the time this sees print and it seems better to get back to the village and see how we can have sustained agricultural and rural development growth as the basis of food security. Many years ago I had modelled in the Plans that redistribution always needs to be intertwined with growth. I know that in high growth areas poverty still remains and co-relations of growth with reduced poverty don’t help the women and men and their children are left out. But any food security scheme will only work best in the larger context of widespread and diversified agricultural and rural growth. So back to the village with some stories to anticipate what will really happen and what to do about it.
The typical image of agriculture in the eastern region is hard working poor farmers producing paddy in the monsoon, getting hit by floods and then again gambling in the winter rains, which when they fail lead to drought. Yields were traditionally high in this fertile soil, but did not rise. All that is changing, as we see the Second Green revolution in the Eastern Region. We need more and better versions of that for growth is in spasmodic spurts, rather than a continuous oiled machine and also not everywhere. When I last went there, the district was Midnapur; not as fertile as Hooghly or the 24 Parganas. As you drive out of Howrah, it is all factories, but surprise-surprise, there are now dairies and nurseries. After a few hours of driving we stopped by for a meal and the fish curry, rice and channa dal and topping off with a sandesh and mishti dohi, brought back my childhood in Calcutta. The waiter was happy that an obvious Pathan like character could eat fish and bhat in the Bengali style without first taking out the bones even when the fish was the delectable but not so easy to eat rohu. The Midnapur I landed up in was red laterite soil and the slope of the land didn’t retain water. It drained back into the rivers; an agricultural extension man’s nightmare.  

Elementary Education


Inclusion, Equity and Elementary Education

For education to be truly inclusive and equitable, a strong political will and greater efforts are required on part of the government to ensure that all children are not just in school but receiving an education which they can relate to, which represents their experiences and enables them to make sense of their lives and things around them

Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE) has been unequivocally accepted as an objective in all countries which have still not been successful in bringing all its school going children into the fold of a formal system of education. As an integral part of ‘right to life’, a life of self-respect and dignity, ‘right to education’ was recognised as a fundamental right by the Supreme Court in 1993 itself (Unnikrishnan Vs State of Andhra Pradesh) but it took almost 16 years for the Constitution to be amended and the Right to Education to be enacted as a justiciable right in 2009. Despite its limitations, one of which is the most obvious exclusion of children under six and those above fourteen, it needs to be celebrated and mechanisms put in place to ensure that all children get good quality and meaningful education that they rightfully deserve. 

It must be noted that ‘inclusion and equity’ have several meanings in the context of education- all children, irrespective of their age, gender, region, religion, caste and class etc are able to access education (complete school cycle) of a formal type as against a part-time, short-term or non-formal education; all children receive an equitable, uniform and good quality education and; there is adequate and proper representation in the curriculum, syllabus and textbooks of the lives, experiences and worldviews of children studying in those schools. While the myriad meanings that ‘inclusion and equity’ imply are acknowledged by almost everyone, there are still innumerable challenges in translating them into reality. India on one hand revels in its rich geographical and cultural diversity and on the other hand, moans its deeply divided and hierarchical nature. With its multiple social contexts, a child has several identities and not all of them are a matter of pride to him because of the social placing of pegs (class, caste, gender, religion etc) onto which those identities are hinged. For instance, being an upper class, upper-caste, urban male is certainly considered to be superior to being a female, or belonging to a working class, low caste or tribal. While it is well known that there are complex ways in which these multiple identities actually interact with each other in real lives of these children, what is disturbing is the perpetuation of these social inequalities in the education system.

replica hermes

Education-An Ambitious Aspiration


Education : An Ambitious Aspiration

Would it not be wiser to concentrate on school education and on raising the quality of higher education and gearing it more effectively to the country’s needs? Should we not use the excellent strategies in the plan presented by the Minister to gear education to facilitate the country’s advance in the global economy before we talk of making India the Education Super Power of the Future 

TTA conference on education entitled “Educationext-The Way Forward” held in Delhi earlier this year, the Minister for Human Resources Development Shri Kapil Sibal, in his inaugural address, launched the idea of India as "the Education Super Power of the Future". I could see that if used successfully these strategies could transform education in the country and make it the strong and powerful engine of advance that the country desperately needs in order to be able to forge ahead in today’s highly competitive global economy.

A four point program was outlined in the conference : (i) increasing enrolment in higher education from the existing 12.2 per cent of the population of the relevant age group to 30 per cent by 2025. (ii) the introduction of hundreds of new courses. (iii) the massive use of modern technologies for the delivery of education. And (iv) the inclusion of private players and the corporate sector as partners in the provision of education.

The principal strength of the plan is the idea of making an extensive use of technology. The five point program which runs as follows:

(1) Low cost devices such as tablets and mobile telephones
(2) The proliferation of cloud computing.
(3) Open education, provided through information technology highways.
(4) The provision of hundreds of courses with the idea of giving students extensive choice and the freedom to make combinations of their choice-for instance music and mathematics
(5) The creation of a communications structure designed to give students exposures such as hands on work experience, laboratory experimentation and research.
Finally to start with, 2.5 lakh villages will be connected with the use of fiber optics to create a powerful information highway.



Equality and its demands on democratic Institutions 

One can understand the Pre-legislative Process to be an opportunity for people to re-engage with matters of governance and functions of the State in general. This is a welcome change from many of the more recent agendas of “good governance reforms” that absolve the State from its core duties of implementation by relying on private sector expertise to replace inefficient public sector functionalities

It is popular, both in current casual and serious discourse, to talk of a trust deficit in the interaction between the people and the state. The nature of a relationship between an institution called the State and its citizens can only be in the nature of a social contract. This definition and expectation of trust, is an act of faith and takes away from the equal, causal and rational relationship that democracy seeks to establish through its systems. If we look at some of the essential requisite of democratic institutional structures; to send representatives to panchayat, assembly and parliament, there is implicit in the election process an obligation for representatives to be accountable for their actions. We transfer our sovereignty under contract and constitutional obligation to perform in accordance with the promises made to us. The act of faith and trust seems a misplaced concept in the relationship between the citizen and the State. One quarrels even with Gandhiji’s dream of a just relationship emerging through ‘trusteeship’. It is not possible in any, but in an Utopian society. In the Indian political context of democracy and governance, skewed by caste, class, gender and religious prejudices, with layers of identities and divides, a concept such as trust would do well to be left alone - to individual and intimate relationships.

It is this growing recognition which led people to a serious assessment of the way governments function, and the nature of power relationships, influenced by feudal social norms, colonial administrative patterns and the emerging pattern of neo socio-political-economic vested interests. The demand for rights is the sum of the current understanding of this obligation of the State. It is under contract to its people through the vote, and promises made on assuming office. A people cheated of equality in the conception of policy, legislation and implementation, in the discharging of democratic and constitutional obligations often by an indifferent and often callous State; cannot but see the relationship with the State, as a contractual relationship, monitored by transparency and accountability, at every step of governance.

People's Movement for Inclusive Democracy


People’s Movement, a Quest for Inclusive Democracy?

India has made a departure from ‘benefits of growth’ and ‘trickle down’ to ‘inclusive growth’. Thanks to the Panchayati Raj, the country is also moving towards inclusive governance

Churchill defined democracy as “the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.” Democracy, the least bad system, has been the flavour of the 21st century. According to Amartya Sen, “democracy remains the only system of government that commands global respect.” Ironically, democracy is in trouble in many places, even as its triumph is proclaimed. There is a lot of backsliding in a number of electoral democracies as well as setbacks in countries that experienced democratic revolutions following the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Larry Diamond, author of The Spirit of Democracy, calls it “democracy recession.” There is also consolidation of dictatorships among authoritarian rulers wary of democratic advance in their neighbourhoods. Even though democracy is not yet ‘sell-by-date’, we may have progressed democratically but democracy is regressing.

Pitfalls of Representative Democracy

The dominant oligarchic system of representative democracy cannot be equated with democracy itself. Many democracies have simply become Polyarchies. One of the major problems with representative democracy is that the business of government has become the privilege of the few. Representative democracy emerged in the 19th century in countries that had experienced an industrial revolution. Given the context of unprecedented production levels, representative democracy came to symbolise development and progress. The experience suggests that instead of becoming a bridge between state and society, representative democracy has practically become statist which ends up excluding the vast majority of the population from political power. Representative democracy is leading to oligarchisation of political system.

Copyrights and Copywrongs


Copyrights and Copywrongs

Why the Government Should Embrace the Public Domain 

When copyright doesn’t serve public welfare, states must intervene, and the law must change to promote human rights, the freedom of expression and to receive and impart information, and to protect authors and consumers  

Each of you reading this article is a criminal and should be jailed for up to three years. Yes, you. “Why?,” you may ask.

Have you ever whistled a tune or sung a film song aloud? Have you ever retold a joke? Have you replied to an e-mail without deleting the copy of that e-mail that automatically added to the reply? Or photocopied pages from a book? Have you ever used an image from the Internet in presentation? Have you ever surfed the Internet at work, used the ‘share’ button on a website, or re-tweeted anything on Twitter? And before 2012, did you ever use a search engine?

If you have done any of the above without the permission of the copyright holder, you might well have been in violation of the Indian Copyright Act, since in each of those examples you’re creating a copy or are otherwise infringing the rights of the copyright holder. Interestingly, it was only through an amendment in 2012 that search engines (like Google and Yahoo) were legalized.

Traditional Justifications for Copyright

Challenges of the Marginalised


Challenges of the Marginalised 

The strategy for inclusive growth should not be just a conventional strategy for growth to which some elements aimed at inclusion have been added. On the contrary, it should be a strategy which aims at achieving a particular type of growth process which will meet the objectives of inclusiveness and sustainability
It is now well established that economic growth and prosperity in India has generally bypassed a large number of marginalised and disadvantaged people such as the dalits, adivasis, nomadic tribes, women, slum and pavement dwellers, the disabled and old people, and people living in remote areas, who have remained voiceless and ignored. The crux of such a hopeless situation for them lies in their inability to access and retain their rightful entitlements to public goods and services due to institutionalised structures and processes of exploitation.

Excluded groups are disadvantaged in many ways. They are victims of prejudice, are ignored, and are often treated as less than human beings by the village elite and government officials. They live in remote hamlets and are thus geographically separated from the centres of delivery. Their hamlets are scattered so that the cost of contacting them is higher. Finally it is their extreme poverty that prevents them from taking advantage of government schemes, whether it is free schooling (children are withdrawn because their labour is needed at home or for work), or immunization (they migrate along with their parents and therefore not present in the village when the health worker visits).

The 12th Five Year Plan, as expected, gives a high priority on paper to inclusive growth and reduction of inequality, but the past trends have not been very encouraging, as inequality seems to be going up, and the much needed policies and programmes for the disadvantaged are still to be put on ground.

Holistic Panchayat Raj


Towards Holistic
Panchayat Raj

Arguing that “bad Panchayat Raj is perhaps worse then no Panchayat Raj”, the report stresses that Panchayat Raj must not deteriorate into sarpanch raj. To this end, the Report urges that PRIs be structured legally and administratively to function as collegiate bodies, with all elected members being involved in preparing programmes, key decisions being taken by the Panchayat as a whole and not at the whim and fancy of the President, and implementation being under the effective supervision of the Panchayat members concerned and not just the sarpanch

It is not by coincidence that this article carries the same title as our Report1, for this is by way of an introduction to a Report that we believe should be essential reading for all those who would like to see the fulfillment of Gandhiji’s dream for independent India. Replying to a query on his “Dream for Independent India”, he wrote in his journal, Young India, 10 September 1930:

“I shall work for an India in which the poorest will feel it is his country, in whose making he has an effective voice”

This vision is inscribed on the cover of the Report and constitutes its leitmotif.

There is no way in which the aam admi, let alone the poorest Indian, can have a sense of belonging in a Parliament in which his MP represents 15-20 lakh others, or an effective voice in decisions are taken in remote State capitals or Delhi, let alone even in the inaccessible reaches of the Collector’s office. 65 years after Independence, almost every Indian feels alienated from the political and administrative process, the sense of alienation being the greater the lower down the economic scale and social hierarchy that person finds himself or herself in, and also the more distanced he or she is geographically from the imposing Bhawans where his or her future is decided. Six and a half decades of democracy leave most individuals as distant from having an “effective voice” in the making of their country as their parents and grandparents were under colonial rule.

Economic Paradigms and Democracy


Economic Paradigms and Democracy in the Age of Financial Globalization

Whether or not there exists a standard definition of the term Globalization, there is a broad agreement with the fact that the process of Globalization has had and continues to have profound impact on various aspects of human life. Globalization is not a new phenomenon for it has been a long-term gradual process of change, which affects every aspect of human life and being affected by the human enterprise, since the days of Columbus, and yet at the same time it is irregularly punctuated by episodes of dramatic change. Ever since the Columbian voyage initiated the process of intermingling of the continents of Europe and the Americas, Globalization has been influencing and reshaping every part of the world in all aspects of human life – social, cultural, economic, political, biological and ecological aspects.

In the recent past, there were two intense periods where the process of globalization induced dramatic changes across the world. The first wave happened in the late nineteenth century up to the First World War, which was characterized by extensive trade networks across various continents under European Colonialism. The second wave happened in the twentieth century, starting from the 1980s to the present day, characterized as free market Capitalism led by the phenomenal development of the financial markets, and called as the financialization phase of Globalization or simply Financial Globalization.

Participatory Note


What is Participatory Note? 

Participatory Note (PN) is an instrument issued by registered Foreign Institutional Investor (FII) to investors abroad, who want to invest in Indian stock Markets without registering themselves with the market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Trading through PN is easy because these are like contract notes which are transferred through endorsement and delivery. 

PN are said to constitute 15-20 percent of cumulative investments by FIIs. In 2007 SEBI had proposed curbs on PNs. This led to immediate reaction and the markets came cradling down. In view of this sharp reaction, the proposal was shelved. 

PNs are mostly used by overseas High Net Worth Individuals (HNIs), hedge funds and other foreign institutions. These instruments allow them to invest in Indian markets through registered. Foreign Institutional Investors. (FIIs). These save time and costs associated with direct registrations According to a news agency report, SEBI data shows foreign investment into Indian markets through PNs rose to 1.64 lakh crore rupees (USD 30 billion) in February 2013. In January 2013 PN investment in Indian market was 1.62 lakh crore rupees. Investment into Indian shares through PN was Rs 1.77 lakh crore rupees in November 2012 and 1.75 lakh crore rupees in October 2012 on policy reform measures taken by the government and its initiative to address tax related issues.  

The quantum of FII investment through PNs increased to six month high at 12.33 percent in February 2013 from 11.83 percent in previous month. This was the highest figure since August 2012.  

Until recently PNs used to account for more than 50 percent of total FII investments but their share has fallen after SEBI tightened its disclosure and other regulations for such investment. Since 2009 PNs constitute 15-20 percent of FII holdings in India, while it used to be 25 to 40 percent in 2008. During 2007 PNs share was as high as 50 percent.


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