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Policy Report No. 27

Farmer Producer Companies: Preliminary Studies on Efficiency and Equity from Maharashtra

In recent years, the concept of Farmer Producer Company (FPC) has gained the attention of researchers. Though relatively new in India and still in an emerging phase in Maharashtra, these FPCs are being viewed as a possible replacement for the old cooperative model and taken the form of new movement. The formation of FPCs in the districts of Maharashtra began in 2015 under the Maharashtra Agricultural Competitiveness Project (MACP). In Osmanabad and Solapur districts of Maharashtra, FPCs have been in operation for the past three years. As FPCs gained the attention and participation of the farmers it becomes pertinent to study their formation and performance.  This Policy Report attempts to look at the FPCs in Solapur and Osmanabad districts of Maharashtra to ascertain the level of inclusiveness and participation of the various categories of farmers in the running of the company. The study points out that caste and family hierarchies continue to hold a grip on ownership patterns, albeit in the early days of the FPCs. However, it can be said that the FPCs have the potential to overcome the difficulties faced by the farmers in selling their produce directly in the conventional market arising out of rigid vertical coordination of the middlemen based on the experiences of the farmers with the producer company model.The Report also includes an analysis of the new policy on the FPCs and attempts to assess the differences between the old cooperative Act and new Farmer Producer Companies Act. [PDF 829 KB]

Policy Report No. 26

Bridging Multiple Gaps: Strengthening India’s Research Protocols for Assistive Aids

India is home to 2.68 crore persons with disabilities comprising 2.21 per cent of its population (2011 Census). However, less than 16 per cent of persons with disabilities have any assistive aids and appliances. In general, Indian innovators in assistive device technology lack crucial understanding of the market realities and possess a sketchy understanding of issues that have important implications for the disability sector. This has resulted in poor research and engineering of assistive devices, directly affecting the quality of support given to the disabled.Some of the issues that have not been fully understood by Indian innovators are: ‘freedom-to-operate’ and consequent infringement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), the necessity to comply with regulatory and industry standards, and the need for robustness, precision, accuracy, and reliability. As cost-effective environmental interventions have not been effectively implemented in India, and because distribution of aids and assistive devices are not effectively funded by the government, almost two thirds of those using assistive devices and rehabilitation technology have purchased the devices themselves from private sources.Those left without assistive devices, or with old-fashioned and inefficient devices are the target for those who enter the market with ‘low cost’ devices, of dubious scientific or medical value, and poor regulatory compliance. As an under-served and under-supported sector, the assistive devices sector only benefits from innovations by those innovators who have spotted the niche funding opportunity and lack of robust competition in the so-called low cost indigenous market.Three recent legal instruments have the potential to significantly improve the access of good quality assistive devices for the disabled India. The instruments, arriving nearly together, set up formidable barriers to poor research and engineering, and non-standard assistive devices being distributed to unwary persons with disability who are in want and discomfort. These are The Rights of Persons with Disability Act, 2016, The Medical Devices Rules, 2017 and The National Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical and Health Research Involving Human Participants, 2017.This Policy Report takes stock of the compliance and regulatory environment in India, critically examines the legal ecosystem relating to research and ethics of clinical trials for assistive devices. It also analyses the gaps in the ethical conduct of research and concludes by highlighting the need to streamline research protocols in order to serve the disability sector in an effective manner. [ The title of this Policy Report was corrected on December 26, 2018. ] [PDF 1.55 MB]

Policy Report No. 25

The Phenomenon of Political Dynasties Among the Muslim Legislators of Uttar Pradesh

This report on the phenomenon of political dynasties among Muslims in Uttar Pradesh is an empirical enquiry into the extent it has impacted the legislature. The report bases its findings in the fieldwork conducted in Uttar Pradesh to determine the dynastic credentials of Muslim legislators over the last two decades, and finds that the more marginalised a community, the larger the number of political dynasties it will have in the Legislature. Muslim political representation in the State legislature is just 6 per cent in the current assembly, while Muslim dynast MLAs account for 60 per cent. Most Muslim political dynasts are relatively young and politically inexperienced, but that hasn’t prevented them from being re-nominated. If family connections have helped them to secure party tickets, they have also changed their party allegiances more often than their non-dynast counterparts. In Uttar Pradesh, both dynast and non-dynast Muslim legislators tend not only to be wealthy but also have a large number of serious criminal cases against them. To study this subject, I assembled the profiles of these dynastic candidates including details such as age, education, the process by which they were nominated and re-nominated, whether they switched political parties, and whether they have a criminal background: all this has been recorded in the primary dataset created for this report. [PDF 1.06 MB]

Policy Report No. 24

‘Nobody's Children, Owners of Nothing’: Analysing the Indian State’s Policy Response to the Rohingya Refugee Crisis

The political exclusion of Rohingya Muslims in post-colonial Burma and the waves of violence against them in the form of a state-sponsored campaign of massacre, rape and arson is now widely seen as ethnic cleansing and as crimes against humanity. It has resulted in a million Rohingyas fleeing to other countries, mostly Bangladesh. While Bangladesh struggles to deal with the crisis, the South Asian power, India, is not allowing in all those who seek entry, plans to forcibly repatriate those who are already in the country, and is not providing sufficient relief to them. This report analyses India's policy response to the Rohingya crisis juxtaposing its political and humanitarian aspects, examines different steps taken by the government to project the Rohingyas as a ‘threat to India’s national security’, and looks at the response offering an explanation about the underlying politics of humanitarianism. This is an attempt to provide a theoretically grounded explanation using a discursive analysis of the speeches, acts by the governing elite, the parliamentary debates/questions on the issue, circulars and ordinances passed that call for deportation, and other strict measures. The Indian state’s response with the ‘refugee-centric’ desired responses and its own response to other refugee groups in the country has also been analysed.   The report lays bare how the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s approach towards refugees is in keeping with its Hindu nationalist agenda, with religion dictating state policy. Feeding into the global Islamophobia industry, religious majoritarianism is gaining momentum in India under the current government; the Indian state is using the Muslim identity of the Rohingyas to project them as ‘terrorists’: it has taken extreme measures through bureaucratic procedures, surveillance, and border control, even resorting to violence against the Rohingyas seeking refuge. The report also shows how the Rohingyas — mostly living in ramshackle shacks in semi-urban ghettoes in Delhi, Jammu, Haryana, Rajasthan, and other places, have been denied even basic public goods. This report further explains how India pursues its strategic interests by offering developmental aid in Rakhine and some meagre assistance to the refugees in Bangladesh while finalising plans to forcibly repatriate the few thousand Rohingyas from the country.   [PDF 5.14 MB]

Policy Report No. 23

Living with Pain: Women’s Everyday Lives and Health in Rural Bihar

Though quantitative evidence suggests that women are more likely to suffer from physical pain than men, little is known about their lived experiences. Nor are the processes and mechanisms through which social determinants of health cause pain well investigated or documented in India. In this Policy Report, Living with Pain: Women’s Everyday Lives and Health in Rural Bihar, Kanika Sharma discusses findings from qualitative fieldwork in rural Bihar, focusing on causes and consequences of pain among women agricultural workers, the group most vulnerable to physical pain. Pain, especially back pain, was found to be overwhelmingly common. The respondents embedded pain within the larger context of adverse health experiences throughout the life course. In addition, the backbreaking nature of women’s household and paid work, lack of protective nutrition and rest, and pervasive domestic violence emerged as important contributors to pain. The overall healthcare system was found to be largely ineffective. Informal private health providers, while accessible, were likely to be harmful. Neglect and mistreatment were common at the government health facilities, making women’s medical encounters disempowering. The Report outlines a few potential policy approaches, and ends with a hope that pain among women would become more central to discussions on gender and health in India. [PDF 5.11 MB]

POLICY REPORT NO. 22

The Politics and Governance of Social Policies in Delhi: Comparing Cash and In-kind Transfers

This Policy Report, The Politics and Governance  of Social Policies in Delhi : Comparing Cash and In-kind Transfers, acknowledges the potential contribution of social policies towards attaining a sustainable and inclusive human and social capital transformation as also social integration. Yet, exclusion errors, especially involving ineffective targeting methods, insensitive service providers, and poor public services, including the apathy of political representatives, tend to exacerbate social tensions in the community, affecting the well-being of citizens with the attendant risk of social disintegration. This study by O. Grace Ngullie highlights the decisive role of politics and governance in Delhi and its contribution towards reaping the prospective benefits of food security programmes through service delivery mechanisms of cash and in-kind transfers. It especially captures the narratives of those beneficiaries who benefited earlier from Cash Transfers programme known as Dilli Annashree Yojana and are now benefitting from the Public Distribution System under the National Food Security Programme. Resting on a two-fold attempt, the study gives the citizens’ perspective on service delivery of cash and in-kind transfers and examines the household’s access to food, education, and healthcare while evaluating the social relationships, including the nature of relationships they have with the service providers and political representatives. The study stresses the significance of psychosocial dimensions and advocates including them in the planning, implementation and evaluation of socio-economic welfare programmes. [PDF 5.76 MB]

POLICY REPORT NO. 21

Enabling Social Accountability: The Community Health Worker Programmes of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand

The Mitanin and Sahiyya community health worker programmes of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand were initiated by civil society and state actors in the early 2000s. Employing mainly women, they were precursors to the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) programme, launched across rural India in 2005.Over the years, efforts were made by civil society participants to bring about a wider rights-based focus to the Mitanin and Sahiyya programmes. In the case of Chhattisgarh, Mitanin women have engaged in rights-based action concerning a range of health and social issues, including nutrition, sanitation, education, pensions, forest rights, land acquisition, legal justice, gender-based violence, and caste discrimination. Thousands of Mitanin women have also become Panchayat representatives in Chhattisgarh. In contrast, the entry of Sahiyyas into Panchayat leadership positions in Jharkhand has been less frequent, while rights-based activities led by Sahiyyas are relatively rare.This Policy Report explores the reasons why rights-based action has become part of the institutional design of the two programmes to differing degrees. The study details some of the contextual and organisational factors enabling individual and collective action for social accountability.While the origins of civil society engagement and wider culture of governance may not be easily amenable to change, the Report recommends ways in which the Sahiyya and ASHA organisations may be structured differently, in order to enhance activism by workers. One of these strategies entails the promotion of a leadership cadre ‘from below’, in which frontline workers are permitted to rise to leadership positions at cluster, block, district and (eventually) State-level. Allowing these leaders to subsequently carry out both training and monitoring roles would further encourage bottom-up planning and collective problem-solving. The creation of multiple platforms of group interaction between successive programme levels is also essential to enable the two-way exchange of information based on grounded experience, necessary for building both local and state capacity. Without such organisational changes, community forums involving ASHAs such as village health committees are likely to remain dysfunctional.[PDF 3.58 MB]

POLICY REPORT NO. 20

At the City’s Margins: Coal, Land and Livelihoods in Chennai

Ennore’s coastal fishing villages, which are surrounded by coal-fired power plants, are often described as being at the social and geographical margins of Chennai. This report, however, argues that the city’s margins are not ‘natural’; they are constantly being made and remade through particular technologies of urban planning. The report emphasises that the process of developing coal-fired power plants entails not simply a material struggle between state authorities and marginalised communities over coal, land, and livelihoods, but also a struggle over the instruments and idioms of urban planning as a form of knowledge. From land acquisition and resettlement to environmental impact assessments and land use maps, these technologies of planning are replete with ambiguities and illegalities. The report analyses how the absence of clearly delineated land records, environmental impact assessments, and land use maps enable state authorities to further marginalise fishing communities. It also examines how fishers have challenged such ambiguities and illegalities in order to make political claims to lands and livelihoods.[PDF 3.49 MB]

POLICY REPORT NO. 19

Rural India on the National Optic Fibre Network: What Happens Next?

As one of the world’s largest rural connectivity endeavours, the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project has been the subject of immense policy interest for the potential it holds to deliver high speed broadband internet to rural India. The building of infrastructure on a scale of this kind was acknowledged as an audacious move owing to the nature of transformation that this could herald in the way rural India could ride the digital information highway. The project, however, has been subject to numerous delays and deadline extensions for its completion are now a matter of routine. The pilot projects for NOFN were rolled out in the year 2012 in three States—Tripura, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh—and they received functional internet connectivity from 2013 onwards.This study visits the three pilot project sites to find out how the NOFN infrastructure is faring three years after it was first rolled out to 58 gram panchayats (village local bodies) in India. Adopting a qualitative lens, the study locates the infrastructure in the geographical, social, and work practice context of the sites where it is supposed to be delivering seamless, reliable, and high speed internet connectivity through fibre optic cables.This Policy Report details the ways in which the NOFN infrastructure draws attention to itself and becomes highly visible not due to its functioning, but due to its frequent breakdowns and the many disruptions that follow.The Report recommends that attention to regular maintenance and repair, in terms of budgetary provisions that include salary for dedicated personnel, be incorporated as an integral part of the way the NOFN infrastructure is rolled out and built. Without this, the infrastructure loses its functionality and its ‘completed’ status is rendered meaningless.[PDF 3.87 MB]

POLICY REPORT NO. 18

Modern Day Slavery: A Study of Tribals and Dalits as Bonded Labour in Brick Kilns

Scholars have analysed bonded labour in South Asia as a result of poverty, social exclusion, and the failure of state mechanism to act against the practice and its underlying causes. The chronically poor, predominantly drawn from the Scheduled Castes and minority groups are often those who are enslaved under this oppressive system.The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy’s latest Report examines the conditions of migrant labour from rural areas of four States – Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar, and analyses the causes behind the persistence of bonded labour even 40 years after it was abolished. Based on interviews of labourers, brick kiln owners, civil society members, lawyers and government officials it brings out the issues of unorganised labour in India, and how industries disregard labour protection and welfare. The action taken by the state to end the labour bondage is ineffective, while the efforts of non-government organisations have been more on release than rehabilitation. The Report, authored by Ajita Banerjie suggests the manner in which bonded labour should be contextualised in the discussion to improve labour standards. [PDF 1.25 MB] Related Articles : 1. Ebenezer, R. 2020 . Ensuring Zero Tolerance for all Forms of Forced Labour , The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, July 14. [https://www.thehinducentre.com/the-arena/current-issues/article32043893.ece]. 2. Chanda, R and Ghosh, S. 2015 . Amendments to the Child Labour Act: A Positive or Regressive Step? , The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, June 23. [https://www.thehinducentre.com/the-arena/current-issues/article7341933.ece]. 3. Rajendran, S. 2015 . Retrogressive Changes to Child Labour Act Should Be Withdrawn: Nina P. Nayak , The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, May 27. [https://www.thehinducentre.com/the-arena/current-issues/article7251011.ece].

POLICY REPORT NO. 17

Narratives of Dalit Inclusion and Exclusion in Formulating and Implementing the Forest Rights Act, 2006

This Report traces the narratives of inclusion and exclusion of Dalit forest-dwelling communities in the process of formulating and implementing the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA). The process of formulating the FRA saw the creation of a new category of beneficiaries called ‘Other Traditional Forest Dwellers’ (OTFDs), which includes Dalit forest-dwelling communities. This Report documents the politics and priorities that paved the way for such a classification to emerge. It lays the foundation for a theory of evidentiary bias, which forms the legal basis of exclusion of Dalit forest-dwelling communities and OTFDs, as they are required to provide 75 years of evidence to claim their tenure rights despite not being in a position to access such evidence.The Report explores the strategies of resistance adopted by Dalit forest-dwelling communities in overcoming this evidentiary barrier by exploring the different scripts of resistance developed by communities in Chitrakoot and Sonbhadra in Uttar Pradesh, and Kandhamal in Odisha. The Report concludes by unpacking the relationship between untouchability, caste bias and the implementation of the FRA.This PDF was revised and uploaded on January 18, 2016, to correct an error in footnote 5.[PDF 0.97 MB]

POLICY REPORT NO. 16

The Plight of Kashmiri Half-Widows

This report examines transitional justice in Kashmir from the perspective of a unique category of women. The insurgency in Kashmir that began in 1989 brought forth the category of ‘half-widows’. Half-widows are the wives of the disappeared men in Kashmir, who are uncertain about the status and whereabouts of their husbands. However, since this category does not have the legitimacy of the law, and is born out of the identity of the disappeared man, it is not justiciable in a court of law. This makes it almost impossible to include women’s rights into the transitional justice paradigm within Kashmir. This Report, therefore, documents the experiences of these women vis-à-vis the reparations structure that was developed following the conflict.The Report uses the experiences of these women to indicate how during the course of transitional justice mechanisms, the experiences and needs of women are noticeably missing or silenced by the general discourse of accounting for the past. This study is an attempt to bridge two disciplines — women’s rights and transitional justice — though it seems immensely problematic in Kashmir because of how incomplete or even exclusionary the disciplines seem to become when attempted to stitch together during conflict.The Report traces the trajectory that enforced disappearance, as an unchecked, undocumented, fragmented crime, has taken in Kashmir and how this affects the lives of women who survived their husbands. For this research paper, the author interviewed 55 women whose lived realities, along with her understanding of the extant reparations paradigm shaped this research project. This Report endeavours to make a case for policy changes towards the welfare of these women — whether social, psychological, economic or financial. The author hopes that this research will aid in changing the current environment in which international law in India, and by extension in Kashmir, is enforced. Such an exercise will also help in preparing for a gendered reparations structure, while entrenching the narratives of the half-widows.[PDF 1.60 MB]

POLICY REPORT NO. 15

Enabling Reporting of Rape in India: An Exploratory Study

This Report is an exploratory work seeking to answer the question ‘What enables reporting of rape in India?’ Under-reporting of rape is often attributed to social norms that stigmatise female sexuality, to the point that there is a guarded silence and secrecy around it even when subjected to violence. This view on under-reporting places the blame on the victim, as if she makes a choice in not reporting rape, constrained by the influence of an abstract force of patriarchy. What I found was that social stigma becomes irrelevant the moment the incident of rape becomes public knowledge and hence cannot dis-incentivise the victim for reporting. In fact, the victim is motivated to prosecute and seek justice, if only for her own vindication.What come into play then are institutional barriers arising out of the extrapolation of social norms into the State. This Report examines these institutional factors located and operating within socio-cultural constructs of rape and female sexuality to identify enabling forces that can overcome barriers to reporting of rape. The first part of the Report analyses rape statistics in India to identify regional patterns at the State and district levels. The second part was conducted through interviews of victims, police officers, advocates, women’s organisations, activists and State officials.[PDF 1.16 MB]

POLICY REPORT NO. 14

Youth Activism and Democratic Politics in India’s Northeast: 2014 Election in Perspective

This Report attempts to understand how the youth in the northeastern region of India look at the electoral and political processes. The region, comprising eight States, has had a turbulent political history and has since been a sensitive area for policymakers in the country. There were, since India’s independence, several volatile social and political movements spread across the eight States. In many of these movements, students and youth have been the driving force. The biggest example of such a movement and its impact on the politics of the State is the All Assam Students Union (AASU). After six years of struggle against alleged illegal immigration, it signed an accord with the Union Government in 1985, called the Assam Accord, formed a political party Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), and came to power through the electoral process twice.Student-youth politics and activism has formed the backbone of most political and social movements in region. This Report looks at the critical mass of the youth voters and their attitude and perspective towards elections. Through a survey across seven university campuses spread across six States, the study attempts to discern a pattern to the youth vote and the various factors that influence their judgment or their electoral preferences.Finally, the Report makes a case for engaging the youth in community-based programmes and its impact on policy-making. In line with the National Youth Policy, which India has been drafting and implementing since 2003, the Report recommends a focus on region-specific approach to policymaking and the creation of a Youth Development Index.[PDF 1.53 MB]

POLICY REPORT NO. 13

Dholera Smart City: Urban Infrastructure or Rentier Growth?

This study examines the ongoing creation of the Dholera Special Investment Region along the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor in Gujarat. It analyses the agrarian political economy of the region in relation to the anticipated rentier gains from the conversion of land from agriculture to a “smart city.” Given the low level of interest by real estate developers in the project so far, the stagnant manufacturing investments in the country, and the continuing resistance by local residents, the study argues that the anticipated futures that moor the Dholera smart city are tenuous and rife with conditions of resistance and overthrow. It argues that the ‘rentier economy’ driving the project may not meet the development needs of a majority of local residents, dispossessing a large majority of peasants for whom the agrarian economy offers a choice of critical livelihood strategies. The ‘land pooling’ mechanism is ill equipped to deal with issues emerging from dissent. In contrast to official articulation of industrial infrastructure development, local opinion emphasises agrarian infrastructure, specifically the overdue Narmada canal irrigation system. This contest over what is deemed necessary infrastructure for economic growth, and who will benefit from such infrastructure, points to the necessity for policies oriented towards ‘development from below.’[PDF 1.49 MB]

POLICY REPORT NO. 12

Communicating Caste and Gender: Understanding Narratives on Systemic Discrimination in Textbooks from CBSE, TN and UP Boards

School textbooks, which form the foundation of our education, play a vital role in shaping our understanding of the world around us. This rings truest for social sciences, which describe society and its multiple realities. In the process, social sciences tend to present a version of an issue or an event to young impressionable minds. Therefore, they have educational and sensitisation consequences. This becomes especially important in Indian society, which is rife with discriminatory practices and attempts to justify them, such as ones based on caste and gender. Both these forms of discrimination are systemic malaises and date to ancient times. Textbooks, then, have to be analysed to understand the narratives they adopt, to educate and sensitise students on such issues. This study aims to look at three social science textbooks-History, Civics and Political Science, used at upper primary and secondary levels from three different educational boards: National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), taught in Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) schools; State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT), Tamil Nadu (TN), taught in TN board schools; and SCERT, Uttar Pradesh (UP) in conjunction with State Institute of Education (SIE) and the UP board, taught in UP board schools. The study aims to understand, through a textual analysis, some of the pedagogic, policy, political, historical and social factors that determine the direction and shape of the narratives on gender and caste-based discrimination in these textbooks. This research report also provides examples pointing out the nature of discriminatory references from current textbooks. An attempt is also made to outline merits and demerits of the narrative adopted. The author hopes that this research report will help in recognising the need to reshape and restructure the content of textbooks, wherever necessary. Such an exercise by policy-makers in education could provide a better frame of reference for young students to enhance their understanding of the systemic discrimination in their immediate socio-political reality. [PDF 1.26 MB]

POLICY REPORT NO. 11

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana: An Analysis of Policy Design and Implementation Gaps

This report presents the findings of a primary study conducted across four districts in Tamil Nadu about the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and its implications for achieving full financial inclusion. The need to conduct the study just prior to the one-year anniversary stemmed from the quick success that banks and the government proclaimed. Given that the programme was quite similar to previous attempts at complete financial inclusion, the stark difference in success came as a surprise and demanded a study.The study found that several of the problems that earlier attempts at financial inclusion faced, such as bankers acting as large barriers to access, exclusion of the most vulnerable and lack of awareness of programme features, continue to persist even with the PMJDY. These findings have been placed in the context of what has been observed with large government programmes with explanations drawn from theory and secondary literature, wherever relevant. The paper examines both design and implementation gaps, providing possible solutions for re-design and implementation.[PDF 9.88 MB]

POLICY REPORT NO. 9

Caste, Urban Spaces and the State: Dalits in Telangana

This report looks at the emerging caste politics in the newly formed State of Telangana, as well as the policy towards Dalits, or, the castes that fall under the government category of Scheduled Castes (SCs). A survey was conducted in four Dalit neighbourhoods (bastis) in Hyderabad, the capital of the new Telangana State, covering 216 respondents. This report reveals notions of impurity and inferiority that still dictate the occupations and livelihoods of Dalits, particularly in the city of Hyderabad. It also analyses the tools available to Andhra Pradesh’s and the newly created Telangana State’s Dalit population to understand how Scheduled Caste reservation policy shapes the space and availability for inclusion in the public and private sectors.Of late, several studies led by economists and sociologists look into the effects of caste discrimination on the ability of Dalits to get employment, education, and equal status in society. This report highlights some of the challenges faced by the Dalit community in Hyderabad as well as the effectiveness of the policies in pre- and post-bifurcated Andhra Pradesh.[PDF 940 KB]

POLICY REPORT NO. 10

Crisis of Urban Governance in India

India’s urbanisation process has laid bare the crisis, or rather absence of urban governance. This report explains how India’s urban local bodies, which are democratic institutions conceived to be closest to the citizens, have been rendered inefficient by the governments at the Centre and the States. The 74th Constitutional Amendment Act meant to devolve power to urban local bodies was merely a cosmetic exercise which did not bring about any changes in the way our municipalities were governed. States continue to have overriding powers and accountability structures in urban areas are weak. Devoid of power — legal, financial and administrative — urban local bodies merely remain a tool of party politics at the grass-root level.In the light of rapid urbanisation, the report states that it is pertinent to go beyond the existing laws and enact mandatory provisions that would give real powers to urban local bodies, with the conviction of making the country a genuine democracy. At a practical level, the report suggests that the policy makers have to think of what is doable if revolutionary changes are not possible.[PDF 17.4 MB]

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