Book Review – Everybody loves a good drought Submitted by Group – 1 Satyajit Mohanty (130) Firdos Solanki Parijat Yadav Sudhish K. M. Vigneshwar M Table of Contents STILL CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS2 TRICKLE UP AND DOWN THEORY2 Existing Scenario and analysis related to above issues3 The way ahead for India4 THIS IS THE WAY WE GO TO SCHOOL5 Indian education system in 20115 AND THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH6 The Price of Development6 BEYOND THE MARGIN6 Case Study: Dangs, Gujarat7 This book is based on a series of reports that the author had filed for Times of India from some of the country’s poorest districts.
Although the author has addressed a variety of issues faced by the people living in the lowest rung of the society, we would be focusing mainly on four issues faced by the rural India: * Health in rural India * Education in rural India * Problems of forced displacement * Survival strategies of the poor STILL CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS Chapter 1 brings up the issue of failure of various developmental schemes and programmes of the government. Over the years, the government has come up with various schemes and programmes to promote growth and alleviate poverty from the country.
These schemes can be classified into 3 types; (i) schemes to promote self-employment (ii) creating new work opportunities for wage labour (iii) Schemes focusing on backward areas, arid areas, hilly regions, etc. , of the country. In addition, there are also programmes for providing basic infrastructures for better quality of life in rural areas, such as rural housing, and programmes for social security of the poor and destitute, such as old age pensions. Some of these programmes include IRDP, SGSY, JRY, EAS, and IAY etc.
Although these schemes have been reasonably successful and were instrumental in decline in rural poverty and acceleration of economic growth, they all had some major flaws * These programmes were not reaching their target groups effectively due to improper identification of beneficiaries * Lack of transparency & credible monitoring of the effectiveness of these programmes * Poor capacity among panchayats and district administrations to absorb the funds and produce quality results * Corruption * Lack of political and administrative will at the state level to spend the Central govt fund TRICKLE UP AND DOWN THEORY
The author criticizes the governments’ policy of taking the benefits from the poor and providing it to the rich in the form of tax benefits and subsidies. Lack of proper medical facilities made the people turn towards the quacks in Barhamani, Palamau (Bihar). He points towards the Nupada and Malkangiri villages where there was huge number of deaths as funds had not been allocated for anti-malarial for past 3 or 4 years. The author talks is in favour of governments’ initiative in empowering the Dissaris in Malkangiri, Orissa but feels that such steps have to be taken with great caution and has to be made sustainable in the longer run.
Existing Scenario and analysis related to above issues As argued by the author the primary reason for the dismal state of healthcare in India is because of the meagre healthcare expenditure by the government. It constituted only 3. 8% of total spending as of 2007. As a result, the private out of hand expenditure increases as indicated below. The people who are highly affected are the poor since health forms an unavoidable expense burden on them. A study shows that a humungous 73. 9 million people came under the poverty line after having met their healthcare expenditure.
This augurs for an increased government scrutiny into the nature of the expenses it makes. That brings us to the question, why is governments’ role so important?? The following are the reasons The way ahead for India We can take inspiration from the Assam government which has implemented, The Assam Public Health Bill, 2010 which has ensured the right to health and well being of all the citizens of Assam. Key features of the bill are Such initiatives by our government will lead to a brighter future for the country THIS IS THE WAY WE GO TO SCHOOL
This chapter in the book talks about the major issues which India is facing in the field of education. The issues back in the year 1996 which are mentioned in the book are as follows:- 1. The numbers of dropouts from the school are increasing and especially numbers of girls dropping out are much greater than those of boys every year 2. Number of teachers in rural India is decreasing and even the quality of teachers degrading 3. There is no proper infrastructure and further Government of India’s spending in education is decreasing 4.
The gap between SC/ST literary rate and non SC/ST literacy rate is widening To tackle these challenges government invested in NFEs (non-formal education systems) which would be able to reach to the millions of the poor people who actually find it difficult to get the education in the mainstream. But rise of NFEs have led to a rise in caste system in the education system. The book has discussed situations from three states namely, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. Back in 1996, these states were challenged by many roadblocks in education system which has been mentioned above.
Indian education system in 2011 Government of India presently has launched 1. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan 2. Mid-Day Meal scheme & 3. Teacher Education schemes Governments of India’s objectives in 11th five year plan for rural India are as follows:- * To provide free standard education to rural children * Supporting children for higher education * Guiding and Supporting research scholars in educational development * Implementing new teaching methodologies and Assessment system * Promoting all schools to stress free environment.
Comparing the situations in the three states in the year 1996(mentioned in the book) to the current scenario, we find a lot of inferences. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has improved the situation in these states and percentages of students are increasing. India has increased the spending in education by 5 times in the 11th five year plan as now we know what matters for a country is its intellectual capital. India has started slow but it would not take many years from now to achieve the objectives. AND THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH
Imagine the entire population on the continent of Australia turned out of their homes. The example may seem a bit incredible and ridiculous as well but it captures the gravity of the situation very well when we talk of displaced people in India. Between 1951 and 1990 2. 6 crores people suffered exactly that fate. The reason cited was development of the nation. Nation-builders were building dams and canals, setting up industries, thermal plants sanctuaries and defense installations without caring for the costs to the local people.
Although the localites had been promised one thing or the other in return for their land, 75% of the displaced still await rehabilitation. One very interesting fact that comes out of various surveys is that majority of the people displaced throughout the country are harijans and tribal people. At this point of analysis, we can categorize the displaced people in three categories- 1. The resource dispossessed – people stripped of ownership of their assets (land etc. ) but allowed to use the asset. 2. The Evicted – people having neither (ownership or privilege of use) 3.
The Others – people working at the concerned place but not owning anything. The Price of Development The local people faced consequences in the forms of * Land dispossession * Extremely low compensation for land & unfair deals * Broken promises- No provisions for jobs, schools, hospitals etc. * Disruption of Social capital The tribes such as The Bansode in MP &The Koya in Orissa, which were so heavily dependent on their natural environment, suffered the most. Outrageously, at times the same tribe would be chased away multiple times from their establishments.
All these incidents of “development” raise some seriously pertinent questions. Are these people in any sense of the word the citizens of India? Does the definition of human rights and constitutional rights not encompass them? What have they done that they are being treated as animals? BEYOND THE MARGIN Survival is the minimal thing that poor in India are trying through their backbreaking work because of the following factors: Labour exploitation: Failure in the administration of minimum wage policy, poor price structure and inherent problem with the definition of migrant worker led to labor exploitation.
In this pyramid the worst condition suffered by the female members of the family. They are doing multiple roles wage earner and house wife, be it a task walking kms for drinking water Effect on the human & social capital: Extreme working condition for prolonged period has lowered the average life expectancy, malnutrition and higher infant mortality rates. Migration in the search of work has brought many tribal communities at the verge of extinction. Lower literacy standards and alcoholism are further increasing the effect on the present and future eneration. The migration has affected social capital that has been the most effective strategy for survival Policy & Market failure: Rural supply chain failure in terms of price discovery has aggravated the issue of exploitation of small & medium scale farmers. Inadequate land reforms and lower price for produce force the farmers into unorganised labor Case Study: Dangs, Gujarat It is known as Cherrapunji of the state unique location into Sahyadri mountain range, greater variety of teak woods and around 400 medicinal plants.
Rain water harvesting is done through check dams that has helped in agriculture. Gujarat Govt. is dedicated for creating tourism circuit into Dangs, e. g. Sabrimala temple, Eco camp sites, Saputara Hill station renovation etc. It has decided to Provide financial support for residence through Sardar Patel Awas Yojna and administration of Education, health, Agriculture through Gram Mitra Yojna. Crores of rupees have been already spent but the real development is questionable.