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The poor fight to stay on BPL list

By Sudarshan Chhotoray

The BPL survey 2011 and its inclusion/exclusion criteria has serious repercussions for India’s poor. The very BPL card that helped a person build a house under the Indira Awas Yojana will now see him excluded for owning a pucca house; the phone booth granted to the disabled will now see them excluded for owning a fixed phone line; a basic outboard motor on a fishing boat will knock a poor fisherman off the BPL list


MGNREGA performs poorly in poverty-stricken Orissa

By Pradeep Baisakh

The MGNREGS is particularly relevant in states such as Orissa, where different estimates put the number of poor at 48% to 84%. But while Rajasthan provided 74% of eligible families with work in 2009-10 and Andhra Pradesh 52.6%, Orissa provided work to only 24% of eligible families. No wonder there’s been a 116% increase in rural migration


A roof for the homeless

By Kathyayini Chamaraj

Karnataka has come up with a draft housing policy which, while recognising housing as a need, does not recognise it as a ‘right’. Moreover, only 10% of the housing is for the socially and economically weaker sections, and the government has positioned itself as a ‘facilitator’ rather than as a ‘provider’, with the stated objective of involving the private sector


Tripura's tribal angst

By B Jayant Kumar

In Tripura’s tribal areas, political parties are demanding greater autonomy for the tribal council. But for most people who have no clean drinking water, depleting food stocks, and no employment, more development, not more autonomy, is a key requirement


Fantasies amidst the shanties

Slumdog Millionaire has been critiqued by many in India as poverty porn and slum tourism. But it does touch lightly on many themes that should rightly resonate through a country that misses no opportunity to showcase itself as the new participant at the high table of global dominance, says Pamela Philipose


How safe are NREGS wage payments through banks and post offices?

By Pradeep Baisakh

When the government decreed that all payments to beneficiaries under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act would be made through banks and post offices it thought it had plugged the leaks in the system. But bank accounts too can be manipulated, as a social audit carried out in Karon block in Jharkhand state showed


Dilli hamari bhi hai

By Madhu Gurung

There are over 100,000 homeless people living in Delhi. Only 7,000 of them can be accommodated at the capital's shelters for the homeless. Of the 19 shelters in the city, nine are operated by Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan


Northeast of Eden

By Darryl D'Monte

India chooses to showcase the northeast as an exotic tourist destination of great natural beauty. Several documentaries at a recent environmental film festival in Guwahati showed it as a neglected corner of the country, with gaunt tribals and civil and political unrest


'Fixing' the Vidarbha BPL list

By Aparna Pallavi

Around 250,000 families have protested against the rigging of the below poverty line (BPL) lists in Maharashtra's Vidarbha districts, which are in the grip of a severe agricultural crisis, and where inclusion in the list is essential for the poor to access their entitlements


NREGA: Challenges in implementation

By Tanushree Sood

Seven months into India's ambitious National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, guaranteeing 100 days of employment a year to every rural household in 200 districts, several problems of implementation are being reported from the field


The big hope: Transparency marks the NREGA in Dungarpur

By Anosh Malekar

A social audit across 800 villages in drought-prone Dungarpur district in Rajasthan is a shining example of how public vigilance and a proactive administration can combine to see that the rural employment guarantee Act is successfully implemented


Where has the money gone?

By Anosh Malekar

A social audit exposes the corruption in Rajasthan's employment guarantee works. This should not discredit the hard-won 100 days work guarantee for India's millions, but make citizens and civil society more vigilant to corrupt practices


Brick by brick

By Aparna Pallavi

Twelve illiterate tribal women belonging to a self-help group set up their own brick kiln, changing the power structure in their village in the process


Hope and scepticism as villagers await work under NREGA

By Aparna Pallavi

The villagers of Maharashtra know the potential for corruption, delay and denial of entitlements in the government's employment guarantee schemes. Nevertheless, in Bhandara district, villagers are eagerly awaiting the Rural Employment Guarantee of 100 days of work. It's either that or migration to the city, they say


'If 40% of Indians are asking for 1% of the GDP, it's no big deal'

By Rashme Sehgal

Ramon Magsaysay Award winner Aruna Roy is founder-member of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatana and a member of the National Advisory Council. She is an outspoken champion of an amendment to the Freedom of Information Act 2002 and the much-talked-about Employment Guarantee Act


Mithila's women paint their way out of poverty

By Naren Karunakaran

The Bharati Vikas Manch, in Bihar's Barheta village, has been instrumental in teaching poor village women the famous Mithila genre of painting. The skill has helped transform lives and ward off poverty in many backward villages in the state


Janavani: A reporter in every village

By Elisa Patnaik

The problems of the rural poor, dalits and adivasis are given short shrift in the mainstream media, a fact that's corroborated in a recent CYSD study in Orissa. To counter this trend, an exclusive newspaper, Janavani, for and about Orissa's rural poor, was launched in January this year


MKSS provides a blueprint for a workable employment guarantee scheme in Rajasthan

By I M Shah

How can the drought-hit state of Rajasthan manage a scheme that will guarantee every poor household 100 days of employment a year? How can it finance this scheme costing Rs 1,600 crore per year? The Mazdoor Kisaan Shakti Sangathan has some answers


Maa Bambaleshwari! Chhattisgarh's women have taken charge

By Rashme Arora

One million women in the newly-formed state of Chhattisgarh have formed 76,000 self-help groups and are now running the weekly bazaars, the fisheries and even the stone quarries


The hamlet that Orissa forgot

By Manipadma Jena

The Juang tribal village of Talapada is on the border of Keonjhar and Dhenkanal districts. Consequently, it receives no development assistance from either district. Five large mining companies operate within 20 km of the hamlet, but still the village is barely touched by civilisation. The witch doctor is their only hope. No one has heard of family planning. There is no teacher at the primary school



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