The wonder climber for areca nut trees
A new mechanical device that makes areca nut harvesting less labour-intensive and hence affordable could solve one of the major problems faced by
farmers of the crop.
CAG AUDIT OF NREGS
Too many MIStakes!
The CAG Audit of the MGNREGS reveals serious irregularities and glaring discrepancies in the data in its MIS and actual paper records maintained.
discusses the glitches.
The key to the handloom crisis
The principal contribution of the Malkha initiative is in its idea of rooting cotton handloom production in the rural economy,
much against the trend in urban discourses.
Tips for change
Can we tap into the power of crowds and popular fashion to address persistent poverty?
And what would such an effort look like?
Where woodcraft is a way of life
Art blends with life through the tradition of woodcraft in Etikoppaka, but the need to sustain livelihoods is ever-present.
Moving in, staying out
A massive tide of migration to metropolitan areas is changing the form and function of cities before our eyes, but not always in the
manner that planners expect.
Grappling with change
Communities along the Shnongrim ridge are caught between the plans of mining companies and their own traditional livelihoods. Some are
changing their minds, while others despair.
Paan kheti is a better option
The POSCO steel plant will bring prosperity and growth to Orissa, claims the government, but villagers have done their own numbers, and
decided they would be better off with their current livelihoods.
Blue river blues
The discolouring of the Lukha river has also meant a loss of livelihood to the families who live on its banks. They must now subsist
on meagre farming, and wage labour when it is available.
Bodo weavers spin money in Bhutan
In a region mired in conflict for a decade now, the emergence and growth of weaving as a livelihood option for Bodo women has been welcome, and the
women have taken to it with great entrepreneurship.
While the economy has strangled the livelihood of North Indian vendors in Mumbai, a politician has muffled their voice.
And the media and policymakers are looking the other way, writes
CARGO HUB DEVOURS LAND
Nagpur cargo hub plan drives local despair
Government-led land acquisition in Shivangaon for a new cargo hub is hurting the local economy.
Milkmen of a dying village
Maharashtra is asking the private sector not
acquire land if the farmers are opposed. But Shivangaon is the hypocritical
face of the state government itself.
Livelihood crisis for Chakma, Hajong refugees
45 years after their settlement in Arunachal Pradesh, these refugees are still fighting for their rights.
Artisanal weavers struggling to survive
India has made cotton fabrics for 20 centuries, and its scale in India was unimaginable. But modern market structures have pushed millions to the
Starvation persists in Orissa
Several cases of starvation deaths have been reported in Orissa, especially in areas with high tribal populations.
NREGA shines for Tripura women
More and more women in Tripura are participating in NREGA works, ensuring success of the scheme.
Villagers protest plans for salt factory
Against the wishes of the local people, and even the State government, a salt factory is proposed to be established on land that has been used freely
by 20,000 villagers for decades.
ARTISANS IN ASSAM
Brass metal work losing its shine
Artisans in Hajo find their livelihoods threatened by a local monopoly and other factors that have
driven the prices of raw materials very high. The Assam government is intervening, but the beneficiaries wish they were consulted more.
Ratna Bharali Talukdar
Uneasy quiet on the POSCO front
A large industrial project, stiff people's protests, takeover of vast tracts of land, widespread impacts, and more. All of these realities have manifested themselves in Orissa's POSCO project.
Manshi Asher and Kanchi Kohli
analyse the current situation.
A toolkit for development reports
In 11 of the poorest districts in the country, a citizens' audit of development helps residents
themselves easily identify how their areas fare on key measures.
Rukmini Banerjee and Shanti Jagannathan
introduce PAHELI, the People's Audit of Health, Education and Livelihoods.
HIRING CRUNCH/VOCATIONAL EDUCATION
Training in local languages key for new jobs
The latest vocational education courses are presenting job opportunities
for high school graduates that their poor parents lacked. Institutes
conducting bilingual training are particularly helpful for students
who are very likely to have not schooled in English medium.
SINGUR TATA FACTORY FALLOUT
"I need my land, not money."
Deprived of their lands, unable to find any kind of
work, the female sharecroppers of Singur are today looking at bleak
days ahead. Government compensation may come, but it may be too little
and a poor substitute for a life-sustaining livelihood.
Carts, kiosks and Indian retail
A number of implicit and explicit constraints influence the extent to which carts and kiosks work as avenues of creative entrepreneurship.
compares the Indian scenario with that in the US, and notes cultural and social realities that shape the Indian experience.
TENDER MANGO FESTIVAL
A 'sour' source of delight and livelihood
A three day festival of a special tender mango called appe midi held last
month in Shimoga, Karnataka attracted 6000 visitors. The festival showcased
a range of preparations including popular pickles, and gave a filip to the
conservation of this wild mango variety.
JOBS IN THE NORTH EAST
Looking beyond the chicken's neck
There is plenty of frustration among citizens in the North East arising out
of the inability to earn higher incomes and meet modern aspirations. What are
reports on a new research effort.
Jobs, shortages and future-proofing
India has only 5,100 Industrial Training Institutes and 1,745 polytechnics compared to 5,00,000 similar institutes in China. The USA boasts of 1500 trade training programmes compared to India's 171. A national conference in Delhi this February recommended measures to bridge the yawning gap between growth and jobs, reports Varupi Jain.
INFORMAL SECTOR ECONOMY
A storehouse of untapped potential
A majority of poor and low-income workers, especially women, are not aware of how to secure their own income using basic skills. Often, they are clueless about using the skills they have tacitly acquired. Varupi Jain on the starting point for development efforts that aim to help them tap their own potential.
Training the millions left behind
Vocational training could play a key role in bridging the gap that keeps millions of workers in the unorganised economy
away from a better future. The needs are complex, and mere training for income-generation is seen to be
All theory and no practice
The government-run vocational training system in India has a total annual training capacity of about 28 lakh (2,800,000) students. But most curricula 'followed' at institutes imparting vocational training have little relevance for wage or self-employment.
reports on the macro-picture.
Darjeeling tea's lessons for handlooms
The central government launched the Handloom Mark scheme in June 2006. The idea
is to popularise handloom products in domestic as well as international markets
and provide a guarantee for the buyer that the product is genuine. But will it work?
D Narasimha Reddy
looks at the challenges.
WOMEN FISH HAWKERS
Thirty years with a load of fish on her head
Crores of taxpayer rupees are spent by government institutes each year on fisheries technology and research. How much does this impact the lives of the average fish hawkers who vend on foot? Is there any
impact at all?
visited one Kerala hawker at a coastal village near Kochi.
Reviving the cotton-to-cloth chain
The introduction of centralised spinning mills in British times reduced the economic benefit that farmers and weavers
could obtain. But now it is being asked, can decentralised cloth-making revive old livelihoods, so that village economies
gain more from their local products and skills?
Weaving woes on the handlooms
Though it employs a massive number of rural people, the handloom sector is considered a sunset industry.
While some of the sector's troubles come from the relentless march of mechanisation, modernisation and
sophistication, there's more to the troubled weavers' plight, says
RESETTLEMENT AFTER DISPLACEMENT
Orissa's draft resettlement policy promising
Months before the recent police firings during tribal protests in Kalinganagar, Orissa, the state government and international development agencies had finalised a draft for a comprehensive resettlement and rehabilitation for project-affected people. Manipadma Jena reports that the policy is likely to come into force in March 2006.
A drive through hell
It is a common perception that truck drivers are rash individuals, responsible for the deaths of numerous citizens
in accidents each year. But few know how much the work conditions of drivers contribute to making them who they
are. At an awareness camp for drivers at Chandrapur,
finds out more.
The silence around sex work
Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed and her colleagues made a presentation before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a few months back on the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Health interventions for sex workers and homosexuals would progress if they were not regarded as criminals and accorded dignity and rights instead, they stressed.
TRADITIONAL FISHING RIGHTS
Tikamgarh fisherfolk striding forward
This M.P. district is witnessing an organized assertion of the fishing community that has led to a revival in their economic fortunes
During the last 4-5 years their income levels have gone up noticeably with agriculture supplementing fishing proceeds as well. The
most recent public meeting was on 26 September, attended by around 3000 people.
Serving up success
Demand for the randani roti, a staple of Dalit cooking in Central India, has risen steeply in recent years, and today the
roti is the hub of a thriving small-scale industry. And alongside the mainstreaming of their food, Dalits are finding
a rare escape hatch from their economic woes too.
Snakes and ladders in Chingrajpara
Even though caste barriers are far less visible in the Chingrajpara slum than in the villages its residents
came from, how far one goes is still a function of where in the hierarchy one starts. Yet for many
migrants, arrival in this Bilaspur, Chhatisgarh slum is the first rung on the ladder of upward mobility.
concludes SLUM DIARIES.
The enterprising labour of small vendors
The vendors and hawkers of the Chingrajpara slum in Bilaspur are the lynchpin of the slum’s homespun economy.
In this seventh article in our SLUM DIARIES series,
notes that operating on small capital outlays, these petty retailers offer a humbling portrait of entrepreneurship in action.
Pulling the workhorse, driving the rickshaw
Despite notoriously variable and low earnings, close to 30% of the male population
in Bilaspur's Chingrajpara slum are cycle-rickshaw pullers.
In this third article in our SLUM DIARIES series,
Ashima Sood cuts across boundaries to
chronicle the forces impinging on the pullers' livelihoods.
ECONOMY / TSUNAMI AFTERMATH
Tsunami hit saltmakers suffer govt silence
45 km south of Nagapattinam, the 26 December tsunamis washed away thousands of tonnes of stock salt at the
Vedaraniam salt pans, filled them with debris and black silt. With government relief coverage withdrawn and the start of the season missed, manufacturers are in despair.
REPORT: FARMING CRISIS
Cotton marketing fails Vidarbha farmers
The Maharashtra State Cotton Growers’ Marketing Federation was originally setup to procure cotton
from growers at reasonable prices and sell it to mills and traders. Instead, with government policies
not helping, it has trapped itself and farmers in a vicious cycle of debt and losses, reports
REPORT: FARMING CRISIS
Vidarbha 2004: a suicides diary
The “simple man” silently walked out of his hut that fateful day, went to the backyard and
consumed pesticide in the veil of darkness. Rising family debt had forced his children
out of school, and that proved the last straw.
recounts the stories of this and two other farmer suicides.
Whose garbage is it, anyway?
In a hurry to meet MSW 2000 Rules and to spruce up the cities, municipalities are outsourcing city waste collection to private contractors. As a result, rag-pickers face a loss of their livelihood, unless the informal sector itself be institutionalised within the hierarchy of solid waste management.