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Do pro-people legislations actually work for the poor?

By Pradeep Baisakh

After three years of fighting for his right to unemployment allowance under NREGA, and to find out under the RTIA why the allowance has been withheld and the erring authorities not been penalised, Kailash Nayak has got nothing. And to top it all, he has gone missing and the police claim they cannot trace him


People's movement against corruption

By Renu Ramanath

From Plachimada to Kasargod and Guruvayur, a wide range of people’s movements have joined hands in Kerala to battle corruption. Their definition of corruption includes the looting of natural resources, anti-people and anti-nature development policies, and the exploitation of adivasis and dalits


A tool of empowerment only enables more exploitation

By Kathyayini Chamaraj

Rigorous and frequent social audits are the only way to make the NREGA effective, as these audits in two gram panchayats in Karnataka showed. The audits revealed that elected officials fool or bully beneficiaries into signing away their rights and monies, refuse them work they are entitled to, and threaten NGOs who are seen to be on the ‘side’ of the villagers


Where is NREGS heading?

By Pradeep Baisakh

The biggest danger the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme faces is that the people it is meant to benefit will lose faith in it. In far too many instances guilty officials are not punished, social audits are not followed up, payment of wages is delayed and violence against those seeking to make the scheme work goes unchecked


My name is not Khan

Nevertheless, Mukul Sharma finds himself questioned and detained by immigration authorities all over the world. Why is it that governments claim the right to exercise authority over their borders, but more often than not forget their obligation to respect the rights of people?


The activistocracy

Another world is certainly possible, but is another World Social Forum, wonders Achal Prabhala, recalling the crucial debates at the plenaries between crypto-autonomists and anarcho-syndicalists or whatever, while the masses slept in the back rows and indigenous people sang and shouted “Down Down World Bank!” every time a camera crew passed by


Three sarpanches, no justice

By Aparna Pallavi

Gajjudeori panchayat in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandla district has three sarpanches, backed by three different panchayat secretaries. All three sarpanches claim to be the ‘real’ one, and all of them possess and use the official seals! Despite repeated appeals to the authorities, no one wants to get involved in local politics to resolve this strange situation


A scarred nation celebrates

Not everything will change with the election of Obama, says Gautam Bhan who watched America celebrate the election of Barack Obama, but change it will. Race will not disappear, but it will never be the same again. Structural inclusion and inequality might not vanish tomorrow, but its pipes and planks will be made visible


A circle of good people

By Nicholas Paul Gill

The Ennangalin Sangamam (Confluence of Thought) is an annual event in Tamil Nadu that brings together neighbourhood volunteers. This year, around 500 volunteers shared their stories - of enabling eye donations, helping the disabled find employment or educating prisoners in Madurai


Social entrepreneurs make it their business to change India

By Frederick Noronha

A social entrepreneur recognises a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organise, create, and manage a venture to forge social change. The first international conference on social entrepreneurship was held at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences recently