Medha Patkar and Aruna Roy aren't the only activists who have made the difficult decision to step into the political arena. Last year in Madhya Pradesh, mass-based tribal organisations or sangathans decided to contest the assembly elections. Now the Samajwadi Jan Parishad is getting ready to field some candidates for the Lok Sabha election in MP, Orissa, West Bengal and Maharashtra
Laws to empower dalits, adivasis, OBCs and other sections of the poor through local self-government institutions are being circumvented by anti-democratic population policies. Indeed, if today fertility is to be a marker for citizenship, can the day be far behind when religion is?
Since the mid-' 90s, the Indian government has attempted to make a shift from the target-oriented approach to family planning to one of advocacy, quality of care and individual choice. Now, with the Supreme Court upholding the two-child norm for contesting panchayat elections and with some states formulating anti-people population policies, there seems to be a return to coercive methods
Women's activists are aghast at the suggestion that the women's reservation bill can only be passed if double-member constituencies are introduced in a third of all parliamentary seats. This will only send out the message that women MPs are incompetent, they claim
Karnataka's Bhoomi project, which computerised 20 million rural land records, was designed as an instrument of equity. But is IT also reinforcing inequality, with men benefiting more than women and the rich benefiting more than the poor?
In 2000-01, almost Rs 10,000 crore was spent on rural development schemes. The central government has almost a dozen major schemes in operation. But how is the success or failure of these schemes to be evaluated? By the quantum of funds allocated? By the fulfilment of targets?Or do we need a social cost-benefit analysis for each scheme?
Ten years after the enactment of the 73rd amendment, how well is panchayati raj working in India? An in-depth study of the local self-government system in one district of Maharashtra reveals that there is little awareness of the importance of the gram sabhas, and in many villages the sabha is non-functional
Prashant Bhushan, counsel for Arundhati Roy in the contempt of court case in which she was convicted and fined, points out why it is vital to have free discussion and criticism of the role being played by the courts in India
The process of structural adjustment began in Pakistan in 1988. Privatisation and cuts in public sector spending caused a sharp drop in economic growth, an increase in poverty from 17 to 35 per cent and a worsening of people's health. The tragedy is, scarcely anyone in Pakistan is protesting these damaging policies