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APRIL 28, 2012 Vol XLVII No 17

E con om ic& P oU tica J w E E K L Y



■ Growing Military Assertion The government proposes to amend marriage laws to
■ Beef Festival at Osmania introduce greater clarity on the grounds for divorce and
■ Mumbai University: Such a Fall division of the husband's property; but a lack of
COMMENTARY transparency in the process is not helping, page 10
■ His and Hers
■ Nonadanga Eviction
Questioning the Right to the City
■ India's Exports during the Global Crisis
The recent eviction in Nonadanga in Kolkata can only be
■ The 'Corruption' of the HDI
understood in terms of the objectives of the Jawaharlal
■ PaanSingh Tomar and the Nation
Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, page 13
■ Gunter Grass and the Anti-Semitism Canard


■ Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea Delhi Water Supply Reforms
Reforms in water supply in three areas of Delhi based
on public-private partnership models are taking place
■ Behind the Beautiful Forevers
w ithout public consultation, page 32
■ Gandhi in the West

■ Delhi Water Supply Reforms RBI Aggression
When there are so many downside risks in inflation, the
■ Gendering the Twelfth Plan external sector and fiscal affairs, why has the central
■ Gender Responsive Budgeting in India bank been so aggressive in slashing rates? page 109
■ Financial Incentive Schemes for the Girl Child
■ Addressing Domestic Violence
■ Beyond Feminine Public Altruism REVIEW OF WOMEN'S STUDIES
The relationship of the women's movement in India to aspects of
development planning and policy is as old as the movement itself.
■ Administering GST in India This issue of the RWS focuses on questions of policy in the context of
■ Who Is the Community in Community Radio? the Twelfth Plan. Two articles look at gender in the planning process.
■ Forest Policy Discourse in Bangladesh Three others examine issues relating to incentives for the girl child,
health crisis centres for victims of domestic violence and women
office-bearers in panchayats. page 40 onwards
■ Inflation Traded In

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APRIL 2 8 , 2012 17
E co n o m ic & P o litica lw E E K L Y
His and Hers E D IT O R IA L S
Growing Military Assertion....................... 7
10 The proposed amendment to marriage laws which will have far-reaching
Beef Festival at Osmania.......................... 8
consequences for a woman’s right to her husband’ s property on the
Such a Fall.......................................... 9
breakdown of a marriage needs critical fine-tuning.
F R O M 50 Y E A R S A G O ........................................... 9
Nonadanga Eviction COM M EN TARY
13 The Nonadanga incident in Kolkata needs to be understood in terms o f what His and Hers— Flavia Agnes ..................... 10
the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission aims to achieve in our Nonadanga Eviction: Questioning the Right to
cities. the City— Swapna Banerjee-Guha ............... 13
India’s Exports at the Time of the Global Crisis
India's Exports at the Time of the Global Crisis — Bishwanath Goldar ............................. 15
15 The superior growth performance o f India’ s exports to the us compared to The ‘Corruption’ of the Human Development
the Chinese exports is due to the difference in the product com position of us Index— D hanm anjiri Sathe ...................... 18
imports from these two countries. Paan Singh Tomar, the Nation and the
Sportsperson—M K Raghavendra ............... 20
Paan Singh Tomar, the Nation and the Sportsperson Gunter Grass and the Anti-Semitism Canard
20 The film Paan Singh Tom ar is used to study sports nationalism and the role — Vinay L a i ....................................... 23
of the State in fostering the nation. FR O M T H E STATES
BJP in Karnataka: Between the Devil and the
Gunter Grass and the Anti-Semitism Canard Deep Blue Sea— Shivasundar .................... 25
23 Israel’
s furious reaction to Gunter Grass’
poem on its atomic pow er status
shows that it all too easily paints any criticism as “
Citizens of an ‘
Undercity’— Kalpana Sharma.... 28
Gandhism in the UK and US
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
— Usha T hakkar .................................. 29
25 The very factors which the bjp used to gain pow er in Karnataka - caste
manipulation and caste alliances - could lead to its undoing in the state. IN S IG H T
Delhi Water Supply Reforms:
Delhi Water Supply Reforms Public-Private Partnerships or Privatisation?
— Sujith Koonan, Preeti Sam pat ................. 32
32 The manner of implementation of water supply reforms in Delhi is
undermining principles o f transparency, accountability and participation.
R E V IE W O F W O M E N ’
State Policy and the Twelfth Plan through a
Administering Goods and Services Tax in India Gender Lens— J Devika, M ary E John,
84 The best way to operationalise the G oods and Services Tax could be by Kalpana Kannabiran, Sharmila Rege,
placing a single national agency/department in charge. Samita Sen, Padmini Swaminathan ............. 40
Gendering the Twelfth Plan
Who Is the Community in Community Radio? — M rid u l Eapen, Aasha Kapur M e h ta ........... 42
92 There is an insufficient deconstruction of the complexities o f the Gender Responsive Budgeting in India
— Yamini Mishra, Navanita S in h a ...............50
“community”in community radio literature and discussion.
Ladlis and Lakshmis: Financial Incentive
Schemes for the Girl Child — T V Sekher........ 58
Deconstructing Forest Policy Discourse in Bangladesh
Addressing Domestic Violence within Healthcare
100 Understanding the implementation of Bangladesh’
s forest policy.
Settings: The Dilaasa Model — Padma Bhate-
Deosthali, T K Sundari Ravindran, UVindhya ...66
Money Market Review Beyond Feminine Public Altruism
109 The hawkish posture reflected in the r b i ’
s m acroeconom ic review makes the — J Devika, B in ith a V T h a m p i ................ 76
nose-diving and dovish policy action on the repo inexplicable.
Review of Women's Studies Administering Goods and Services Tax in India
Five papers on policy and w om en in the context o f the Twelfth Plan. — Praveen Kishore ................................84
Who Is the Community in Community Radio?
Gender Responsive Budgeting in India: What Has Gone Wrong? — Savita B a ilu r ...................................92
50 An analysis o f the two government strategies for institutionalising gender The Ghost in the Machine: Deconstructing Forest
Policy Discourse in Bangladesh
responsive budgeting.
—Niaz Ahmed Khan, Barbara Harriss-White.... 100

Financial Incentive Schemes for the Girl Child M O N E Y M A R K ET R E V IE W

58 A desk review of 15 girl child promotion schemes across the states. Inflation Traded In
— EPW Research F oundation ................... 109
Addressing Domestic Violence within Healthcare Settings C U R R E N T S T A T IS T IC S ......................................... I l 6
66 A critical look at anti-domestic violence intervention programmes at health centres.
L E T T E R S .............................................................. 4

Women Leaders in Kerala's Urban Bodies S U B S C R IP T IO N RATES A N D

76 A study o f w om en leaders o f urban governance in Kerala. N O T E S F O R C O N T R IB U T O R S ................................. 6

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E con om ic& P olitica lw E E K L Y
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epw has been India’
s premier journal for Is Caste Losing Ground? English dailies, endogamy is still intact
comment on current affairs
though the mode of spouse search is
and research in the social sciences.
his is with reference to “The Peculiar quite modern. Moreover, the author has
It succeeded Economic Weekly (1949-1965),
which was launched and shepherded
by Sachin Chaudhuri,
who was also the founder-editor of epw.
T Tenacity of Caste”by Andre Beteille
(epw, 31 March 2012). The paper which
ignored the fact that hypergamy is still
relevant and powerful in modern hi-tech
As editor for thirty-five years (1969-2004) marriages also. Most of matrimonial
basically tries to argue that caste as social
Krishna Raj
gave epw the reputation it now enjoys. system is losing ground in India is unable advertisements of the upper caste families
to convince us by offering us evidence for their daughters which speak of “ Caste
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has invariably used the term “ evidence”in excuse them irrespective of their educa­
M ELLO the paper but what is actually presented tion and occupation.
is based on a common-sense under­ It is true that the linkage between
SU BH A SH R A I standing of the situation. caste and occupation is witnessing a
SENIOR ASSISTANT EDITORS The three major areas - rules pertain­ considerable decline. But even today an
ing to purity and pollution, rule of endo­ ex-untouchable cannot profitably run a
S R IN IV A S A N R A M A N I gamy and the interlinkage of caste and tea stall in a village. Meanwhile, nobody
A S H IM A S O O D occupation - that are cited for illustrating from a brahmin caste so far has set up a
the declining importance of caste are not meat stall in a village or town in our
new things to say. Our society started country. It is also true that most of the
JY O TI SH ETTY witnessing these changes from the time sanitation workers in municipal corpora­
of the British and the onset of modern tions and large hospitals still come from
P S L EE L A technology has accelerated this process. the lower castes.
PRODUCTION But if we look dispassionately at these Basically the paper is written from
U RAGHUNATHAN developments, we may find an altogether the perspective of “ middle class Indians”
S U N E E T H I N A IR different picture. The caste sentiment is who are known to deny caste not because
still strong even in the most secular of they are against it but because they oppose
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CIRCULATION formed informal groups for having the methodological level, the paper suffers
lunch in their offices. There are also from serious weaknesses. Can we consider
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joins a particular lunch group in the been witnessing as evidence of destruc­
initial stage withdraws from that group tion or decline of caste? Why does caste
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f a x : (022) 2887 3038 cases of the lower division staff harass­ of Left Theatre?*
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Printed by K Vijayakumar at Modem Arts and Industries,
151, A-Z Industrial Estate, Ganpatrao Kadam Marg,
his lower caste background. wish to produce some arguments on
Lower Parel, Mumbai-400 013 and As far as the rules of endogamy are the article “
Rise and Fall of Calcutta’
published by him on behalf of Sameeksha Trust
from 320-321, A-Z Industrial Estate,
concerned, the author is partly true. Group Theatre: The End of a Political
Ganpatrao Kadam Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai-400013. If one goes through the matrimonial Dream” b y Parimal Ghosh (epw, 10
Editor: C Rammanohar Reddy.
advertisements published in the leading March 2012).

A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 Q353 Economic & Political w e e k ly

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Ghosh tries to assert that “ legislature one of the esteemed institutions of higher This, in our opinion, constitutes a
leftism”ended the “ Calcutta Group Theatre learning in India under the Ministry of clear violation of freedom of speech and
Movement” . But was it a failure? Or was Human Resource Development. all conceivable rights of an individual
it a random exercise of left theatre? You might be aware that recently the due to illegal action by the state police.
There are a lot of other examples. In the Government of West Bengal undertook a The state administration has issued pub­
1980s and 1990s protest play groups of massive eviction drive of slum-dwellers lic statements in both print and electron­
Calcutta had produced a variety of other with police force without any rehabilita­ ic media in support of this barbaric act.
plays - p l t ’s Darao Parthikbar (on the tion measures. As a natural protest against We are extremely perturbed by such
life and deeds of Madhusudan Dutta), this unjustified police action, there were use of State force in cracking down
Annaya Theatre’ s Madhav Malanchi peaceful demonstrations by concerned on human rights activists, and citizens
Kayinya (A Folk Erotica of Bangladesh) citizens, for which prior permissions were attempting to raise issues of concern
and Nattayan’ s Brishchik are worthy arranged by the local police. In spite of related to some of the poorest and most
of mention. this, the Kolkata police used force to vulnerable people of our country. This
We wish to add Tapaswi 0 Tarangini crack down on the demonstrators. It was violent suppression of protest appears
and Pratham Partha (plays of Buddhadev while participating in a peaceful protest also to be an attempt to threaten those
Basu) that were performed by Theatron against the eviction of slum-dwellers of who might raise their voice in dissent.
and three productions of Agatha Christie’ s Nonadanga area of east Kolkata that It would therefore help if you could
Mousetrap by three separate groups in Partho Sarothi Ray was arrested along personally intervene to resolve these
the same period. with 68 others including several women matters urgently. We fear that this ap­
Theatre is independent of social cross­ and a nine-year-old girl on 8 April 2012. proach of the state has serious implica­
currents and vice versa. And if the theatre Of those arrested, seven including Ray, tions not only for the events occurring in
of protest has collapsed after “ legislature have been detained in police custody for Kolkata but for the larger democratic
leftism” , another form of protest theatre several days, and now six of them are in ideals which this country espouses. In
will emerge. judicial custody and one in c i d custody. particular, we request that Partho
In the same decades there was a produc­ In order to justify its high-handedness, Sarothi Ray and others be granted bail
tion Bandhya Karkhanas Gete by c p t and the police slapped many dubious cases immediately. We also urge that all the
Ganabishan on the futile labour policy of against Partho Sarothi Ray and others, dubious charges placed against Partho
the Left Front. And in recent years there such as Section 353 (assault on public Sarothi Ray, Mahapatra and the other
was a production like Adbhut Adhar by servant), Section 332 (voluntarily causing protestors be dropped and an impartial
Sanskriti on the Left Front’ s failure and hurt to public servant). Section 141 (unlaw­ enquiry by a central agency be conducted
Chotto Bakulpurer Yatri by Swapna- ful assembly), Section 143 (punishment), into these matters to prevent any further
sondhani on the unlawful land-grabbing Section 149 (common objective of disrup­ violation of human rights.
programme of the Front. tion) of the Indian Penal Code. The relation T A Abhinandan, IISc, Bangalore;
Sanjib Chatterjee of these charges with (or lack thereof) the Ayan Banerjee, Narayan Banerjee, USER,
KOLKATA peaceful demonstrations of 8 April has not Kolkata, Kirill Bolotin, Vanderbilt University;
been made clear at all. We are extremely Swapan Chakrabarti, Calcutta University;
Suppression of concerned of the treatment meted out to
Noam Chomsky, MIT, USA; Bhanu Das, IAA,
Bangalore; Subhadeep De, NIST, Maryland,
Constitutional Rights Partho Sarothi Ray and others. USA; Aparna DuttaGupta, HCU, Hyderabad;
(An open letter to Manmohan Singh) Incidentally, the excess of police has Saikat Ghosh, SNBNCBS, Kolkata;
clearly not ended. On 12April 2012 human Vrinda Grover, Human Rights lawyer,
his is to bring to your immediate rights activists were attacked and later New Delhi; Paul Krapivsky, Boston University,

T attention of the detention of an emi­

nent and internationally acclaimed scien­
arrested at a demonstration against the
illegal evictions and the detention of Ray
USA; Ananda Lakshmi, Chennai;
Ludvig Lizana, Umea University, Sweden;
Mayna Majumdar, Editor - Katha, Kolkata;
tist Partho Sarothi Ray along with several and others. Furthermore, recent media Sanjoy Majumdar, IIT, Kharagpur;
other citizens by the Kolkata police. reports reveal that on 13 April 2012, Harsh Mander, Member, NAC;
Partho Sarothi Ray is an established Ambikash Mahapatra, a faculty in chem­ Babu Mathew, NLU, Delhi;
Pnina Motzafi-Haller, Ben Gurion University,
scientist in the field of molecular biology, istry department from Jadavpur Univer­
Israel; Manas Mukherjee, NUS, Singapore;
his scientific research findings have been sity was first beaten up mercilessly by
Rajendran Narayanan, Cornell University, USA;
published in world-class journals includ­ goons for an action which was as innocu­ Arnab RaiChaudhuri, IISc, Bangalore;
ing Nature. He has also been awarded ous as forwarding an email to his friends Manju Ray, CSIR-Emeritus Professor,
the Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance whose content constituted a cartoon Bose Institute, Kolkata; Aruna Roy, MKSS;
Intermediate Fellowship in 2010 which is that had already been posted on Face- Shiv Shethi, RRI, Bangalore;
Pragya Shukla, IIT, Kharagpur;
one of the most prestigious honours that book a few weeks earlier. It is frighten­
Rahul Siddharthan, IMSc, Chennai;
a young life scientist in India can receive. ing to note that instead of taking action Vishal Sood, Copenhagen; Kavita Srivastava,
He is a faculty of Indian Institute of against the assaulters, the West Bengal PUCL, Jaipur; Abha Sur, MIT, US
Science Education and Research Kolkata, police arrested Mahapatra. and many others

Economic & Political w e e k ly E33S9 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 5

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APRIL 28, 2012 VOL x l v i i n o 17 GEE3 Economic & Political w e e k ly

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A PRIL 2 8 , 2012

Growing Military Assertion

What has made the country’
s military top brass increasingly more forceful vis-a-vis the civilian authority?

ncreasingly, in recent times, factional feuds within the Indian only to be expected. Indeed, in the matter of publicly voicing

I Army and the hand of the Ministry of Defence in these rival­

ries, as also public assertions of the top brass of the armed
forces on policy matters are being played out in the mainstream
their opposition to any amendments of the Armed Forces
(Special Powers) Act (afspa), the Disturbed Areas Act, or Sec­
tion 197(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code to dilute provisions
media. A front page sensationally headlined story in the Indian providing immunity from prosecution, whether in Kashmir or
Express (4 April 2012) of unauthorised troop movements near the north-east, or to proposals to lift the “disturbed area”tag in
the capital on 16 January and how this “ spooked”the govern­ certain districts, the leaders of the Army have been tacitly
ment is certainly an instance of journalistic overplay. The sug­ encouraged by their civilian-political bosses to do so.
gestion is that Chief of Army Staff General V K Singh is supposed The armed forces leadership has, however, got out of hand in
to have engineered the troop movements to coincide with the certain instances. Recall that in the aftermath of Washington’ s
filing of his affidavit in the Supreme Court that contested the illegal raid in Abbottabad in Pakistan in which United States
Ministry of Defence’ s claim that he was born in 1950, and not in military personnel assassinated Osama bin Laden, two of the
1951 as in the Army’ s personnel records. The general, it seems, top brass of our armed forces boasted that our forces also have
wanted to “ spook”the government for insisting on pensioning the capability and the competence to undertake such commando
him a year earlier than he thought his retirement was due! operations in another country to eliminate terrorists. And on a
Predictably, Defence Minister A K Antony rubbished the news number of occasions in the past decade successive army chiefs
report as “ totally baseless” . Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have publicly spoken about “ winning”a nuclear war against
described it as “ alarmist”and the army chief himself termed it as Pakistan and more recently about a new “ Cold Start”doctrine
“fables of a sick mind” . But the general’
s claim to be younger than for a limited and destructive war with our western neighbour.
he was shown in the first records, the government’ s bid to retire The leaders of the armed forces can, however, prove more sensi­
him on the basis of these and not later records, the subsequent ble and prudent than the political leadership where they per­
allegations about an attempt to bribe him, and many other sordid ceive that their interests may be harmed. In 2009, the Congress
details that are now tumbling out may have more to do with strug­ Party led-upA government wanted the Indian Army’ s Rashtriya
gles in the top echelons of the Indian state over access to riches. Rifles and the Indian Air Force to take part - along with the
The armed forces have been modernising and technologically Border Security Force, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, and
upgrading their arsenal since the late 1990s, and have been the Central Reserve Police Force - in what came to be called
demanding greater allocation of funds from the public exchequer. Operation Green Hunt, the unprecedentedly huge, multi-state,
In this, they have been aided by the fact that the Congress-led armed offensive against the Maoists. But the military differed
United Progressive Alliance (upa) government is as obsessed with the government; it prevailed upon the civilian-political leader­
as its earlier Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic ship and instead opted to provide logistical support, training in
Alliance counterpart that nothing should be left undone in jungle warfare, and take a leading part in the formulation of the
preparing them to be able to simultaneously go to war, if neces­ military strategy of the paramilitary forces.
sary, against Pakistan and China. And, one cannot ignore the Yes, money, irrespective of how it is gained, is also at stake,
destructive involvement of the Army in Kashmir and in parts of for India is now the world’ s largest importer of armaments. It
the north-east against sections of our very own people. is reported that in the Tatra deal, which is presently being
In the pursuit of this multiple agenda of destruction and the enquired into by the Central Bureau of Investigation, the public
creation of waste, the military has come to preside over an ever sector undertaking Bharat Earth Movers (bem l), in true com­
larger resource base and its leadership is beginning to feel a prador style, insisted on purchasing the trucks from the London-
greater sense of its own importance. That in the present setting based non-resident Indian Ravinder Rishi’ s firm instead of
the military top brass would be roused and would brace itself to contracting with the Czech manufacturer which repeatedly
assert its power vis-^-vis the country’ s civilian leadership was tried to persuade b e m l to directly deal with it. Be that as it may,

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India’s strategic alliance with the us has instilled in the top part of the world, control of the Indian Ocean is what Washing­
brass of the armed forces a sense of their own significance, and ton is focusing upon, and here it is the Indian Navy that is
an ascendancy in the hierarchy of power that they could not involved in cooperation with its us counterpart.
have even dreamed of. The us presently holds more military Little wonder then that the country’ s military leadership is
exercises with India than with any other power. And, in this now increasingly more assertive vis-a-vis the civilian authority.

Beef Festival at Osmania

The political battle over what we can eat is a challenge to established politics across the spectrum.

eef, or more generally, the meat of cattle has been a con­ This is the first time in the history of modern India that a

B tentious issue for more than a century, leading at times to

riots, killings, social divisions and political movements.
Much of this has been initiated by groups foregrounding their
political challenge has been thrown, apparently with some
success, to the Hindutva politics around the cow. This move also
throws a spanner in the Hindutva attempts to ally with and
“Hindu”identity who have used the protection of the cow to mark possibly incorporate dalit politics within its folds. Despite the
out lines of difference from the “ Other”, primarily Muslims. Indian widening legal proscription on the sale of beef, it remains widely
politics and academia are by now, thanks to this bloody history, available though only surreptitiously in most states of India.
well conditioned to view public posturing over beef eating as the Official data itself suggests that beef is among the most com­
preserve of Hindutva politics which furthers a reactionary agenda. monly eaten of non-vegetarian foods. In 2001 out of a total
The “ beef festival”organised by some dalit and left student annual per capita meat consumption of 5.6 kg, beef (cow, buffalo,
groups in Osmania University of Hyderabad has been, however, veal, etc) accounts for as much as 2.8 kg while lamb, goat, pork and
quite an unprecedented affair. This is perhaps the first time that chicken together make up for the rest. Government data indicates
an organised voice has been raised in favour of eating beef. that Indians on an average probably get more protein from the
What is striking is that most political formations did not know consumption of meat and fish than they get from pulses.
how to react to this “ festival”. The secular formations, which do It is also important to remember that beef is primarily a food
not want dietary restrictions imposed by law, seem to be divided, of the poor, whatever the religious affiliation. And the Muslim
largely between those who have condemned this event for gentry often exhibit biases about beef similar to upper-caste
stirring up communal and caste tensions over a “ trivial”issue Hindus. The shrillness and violence of the cow protection move­
and those who have looked on in indifference at this “ spectacle”. ment has been successful in representing the food of the poor
Outside of the networks of dalit activism there do not seem to and discriminated as the preferred dish of the Muslim.
be many takers for what these groups call a movement against The question, then, which has been foregrounded by the
“Food Fascism” . organisers of the Osm ania University b e e f festival is: Who are
The Hindutva forces, of course, reacted with the expected these people who eat all this beef (and meat)? How has Hindu,
violence, but their protest was both ill-organised and localised or even Indian, food culture been defined as largely vegetarian
and indicated that they really did not know how to meet this and who has decided that beef is against Hindu food culture? It
ideological and political argument that beef is integral to dalit is the north Indian, Hindu, upper-caste male who has had a free
food cultures and should be provided in public spaces like uni­ run for more than a century and a half in defining Indian food and
versity hostels and canteens. The cow-related politics of Hindutva culture. The beef festival is an assertion by those who have
has been primed only to hit at the Muslims, while here the op­ remained at the cultural/ideological margins of India that they
ponents were dalits, whom the Hindutva forces are keen to bring will not be defined anymore by this so-called mainstream; rather
within their political fold. This explains much of their ideologi­ they will define what constitutes this mainstream.
cal and political disarray on this occasion. That this beef festival Until some years ago, the entrants from the margins into the
was timed with Ambedkar Jayanti made matters that much national mainstream were too few to assert themselves. But the
more difficult for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh family cumulative effect of the slow, yet steady, rise in literacy, social
which would not want to appear hostile to this dalit icon. as well as physical mobility, the opening up of professions, the
A similar food protest was organised by dalits in Karnataka development of the media, the consumerist boom, etc, of the
who cooked and served meat on Ambedkar Jayanti to break a past few decades are all perhaps leading to a structural trans­
state law which banned sale and consumption of meat on that formation of India’ s mainstream. It is not a coincidence that the
day, forcing the Bharatiya Janata Party government to quietly beef festival was organised in a university that has been at the
withdraw its order. News reports suggest that Osmania Univer­ heart of live political battles over caste, region and religious
sity’s beef festival has become something of an exemplar and identity and not in one of the traditional left bastions. This new
plans are now afoot in various parts of the country to organise politics challenges and confounds not just the Hindutva forces,
such beef and/or meat festivals to highlight “ non-brahmanical” but equally the gentrified left-liberal politics of composite
food traditions. culture and Sarva Dharma Sambhava.
8 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 DDB3 Economic & Political w e e k ly

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Such a Fall
Mumbai University, once an iconic institution, has lost its way.

he current glare of public attention on the sorry state of Mumbai University’ s jurisdiction extends from Mumbai to Ratnagiri

T affairs of Mumbai University was inevitable, given the

series of mishaps in the conduct of recent examinations.
These include a paper leak leading to a court petition and re-exam
covering approximately 6.4 lakh students and 654 colleges. By
any standards this is an enormous load and given the university’
infrastructural resources an impossible one to manage efficiently.

(for about 85,000 students), errors in allocating centres, delay Apart from increasing the staff strength and using information
in distribution of hall tickets and even failure to print a set technology to aid administrative work, long-term and thoughtful
of exam papers. All this highlights the steady decline over the planning that is an integral part of academic excellence would
past two decades of various structures and mechanisms of this have helped to tackle the situation. Instead, the university went
iconic institution. Mumbai University seems to suffer from an ahead and introduced the credit-based grading system in the
assortment of maladies that include governance issues, political 2011-12 academic year adding to the teaching staff’ s workload
interference and indifference in equal measure, an impossibly and paving the way for dilution in the standards of teaching.
vast jurisdiction, poor infrastructure and woefully inadequate The only salutary outcome of the outcry over the mess in the
teaching and non-teaching staff. Add to these a leadership that university is that several important posts, such as those of the
does not have the requisite blend of scholarship and administration pro-vice-chancellor, the registrar and the controller of examina­
qualities and the recipe for disaster is complete. tion, which had been vacant for the last two years, have finally
The appointment of the present vice chancellor (vc) in 2010 been filled. However, the huge backlog in filling vacant posts of
was widely criticised as an act of political favouritism overlooking teaching and non-teaching staff remains.
his inadequate academic qualifications. However, the education If one example was needed to illustrate the all-time low to which
lobby in the state, dominated by powerful politicians (shikshan a university, once held in high regard, can fall, one has to look at
samrats or education emperors as they are known), has for long developments last year. Giving in to the demand of a 20-year-old
manipulated to place amenable appointees in this post. A vc aspiring politician, the vc banned a book (Rohinton Mistr/s
who is dependent on political-bureaucratic patronage is likely Such a Long Journey) which had been a part of the Bachelor of
to find that he/she has to contend with “ recommendations”in Arts syllabus for years. The protests at this arbitrary ban were
filling significant posts. From here it is a short journey towards muted and weak, indicating the sway that local politics now has
the erosion of governance structures. But the patronage of politi­ on Mumbai’ s intellectual life. This too is indicative of the growing
cians does not move on to planning for more funds for the insti­ irrelevance of the university to the city after which it is named.
tution, leading to the obvious neglect of higher education in the Unlike in the past, Mumbai University has long ceased to be a
state. The university’ s record in teaching and research in the vibrant part of the city’ s cultural and intellectual life. This is in
humanities has been abysmal as is evident in the steady decline of contrast to the great universities in many parts of the world.
students awarded PhD degrees. Its deteriorating image has had While the rot has gone deep and needs an overhaul, there are
the twin effect of keeping away talented faculty and students a number of measures that are an absolute must to save the
not only from the state but also from other parts of the country. Mumbai University. The removal of the stranglehold of political
The decline of the university began in the 1990s when an in­ patronage over the v c’ s post will ensure that the university gets
creasing number of colleges seeking affiliation to it were allowed the leadership required and also that more significant posts
to introduce professional/vocational courses. As these were not lower down are held by people who can ensure academic excel­
funded by the government, the colleges could charge higher fees lence. The Mumbai University’ s 53 postgraduate departments,
for the courses. Although the university regulated the fees, it failed mainly the humanities, urgently need more attention and aca­
to monitor the quality of education. As a result, the number of demic auditing. These steps could be the first towards making
students affiliated to the university increased dramatically as did Mumbai University the creator of the “ intelligentsia and epoch-
the number of examinations that needed to be held. At present, making forces”that it was once credited to be.

FROM 50 YEARS AGO in an underdeveloped country, is an essen­ in pointing out that the major weaknesses

A Journal of Current economic and political Affair*
tial prerequisite for economic progress. Shri
K C Mahindra, who belongs to this group,
expressed himself on the subject with com­
that have arisen in the economy have been at
those points at which the Government has
been directly involved - railway develop­
mendable firmness in his address as Chairman ment, coal production and power generation.
VOL XIV, NO 17, APRIL 28, 1962
of Mahindra and Mahindra at the Annual It is clear that the planning technique has
WEEKLY NOTES General Meeting of the Company in Bombay been deficient and supervision over perform­
this week...To support planning by the State ance too slack. It is becoming increasingly
Not Hidebound is not, however, to argue that planning in this evident that the operational machinery of
Progressive businessmen in this country country is free from defects...One is justified, Government is not able to rise to the occasion
have been veering round to the view that therefore, in drawing attention to the grow­ to implement the gigantic task set to it by the
economic planning by the State, particularly ing lag between planning and achievement or planning organisation...

Economic & Political w e e k ly B E 29 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 9

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His and Hers up creating confusion, chaos and even

greater acrimony in divorce proceed­
ings. Rather than rendering divorces
easy, it might result in achieving the
FL A V IA A G N E S _____________________________________ exact opposite effect. The bill has led to
several erroneous presumptions. At one
At the centre of the controversy he central government’ s decision level it is assumed that women’ s groups
over the government’
s proposal to
amend marriage laws are issues
related to situations when there
T to introduce amendments to mar­ are seeking the amendment that will
riage laws seems to have stirred make divorces easy and help women to
up a hornets’ nest with every campaign­ walk out of marriages and “ move on” .
ing group expressing discontent or dis­ While doing so they can also walk out
is an irretrievable breakdown agreement with it. At the centre of the with half of the man’ s hard-earned pro­
of a marriage and to division of controversy are two issues: irretrievable perty. Put this way, the proposition
breakdown of a marriage and division of appears to be blatantly unjust to men.
property at the time of divorce.
property at the time of divorce. At the Here we must trace the history of this
The ambiguity and lack of periphery are other issues like reducing amendment. In August 2010, the govern­
transparency in the proposed the waiting period for mutual consent ment brought a bill to Parliament to in­
amendment are hardly conducive divorce with the discretion of the judges troduce the provision of an irretrievable
and rights of adopted children to be on breakdown of marriage which was touted
to rendering a divorce easy in
par with biological children in custody as a “ pro-women measure”which would
the event of a breakdown of a battles. The last one is non-controversial do away with the need for “ washing dirty
marriage and may have exactly and has never been a contentious issue linen in public”and set women free. But
the opposite effect. There are in matrimonial litigation. In fact, rights due to opposition to it by several wom­
of adopted children are considered on en’ s organisations it was referred to the
other allied questions regarding
par with rights of biological children on Joint Select Committee of Parliament.
the woman’
s right to the every issue, including property inherit­ The “ men’ s rights groups”who de­
s property as well as the ance. Reducing the waiting period in posed before the select committee urged
rights of women belonging to the divorces by mutual consent with the dis­ the government to carry out the amend­
cretion of the presiding judge of the trial ment and also put forward a proposal
minorities. The government must
court (but not routinely) after ascertain­ that as soon as the divorce proceedings
address all these aspects before ing that the consent of the parties is an are initiated, all criminal proceedings
enacting the amendment. informed consent will also not give rise pending under Section 498A of the Indian
to much controversy. Introducing the Penal Code should be quashed. Some
breakdown theory into our marriage even suggested by citing examples of
laws has been done on a case to case ba­ other countries in this regard, that the
sis by the higher courts. Through this period of separation should be reduced
amendment the trial courts would be from three years to three months. In this
given similar powers. Though slightly case as soon as a complaint of cruelty or
controversial, it fades into inconse­ dowry harassment is filed by the wife,
quence when compared to the govern­ the husband would be at liberty to file a
ment’ s proposal to divide the husband’ s petition for divorce on the ground that
property at the time of divorce. the marriage has broken down irretriev­
ably and wriggle out of both civil and
Lack of Clarity criminal consequences in one stroke.
The amendment’ s ambiguity and lack He could thus set himself free of any
of transparency is disturbing. Since the encumbrances and criminal liabilities,
bill has not been placed in the public leaving his wife and children high and
domain, opinions expressed on it, both dry as a punishment for her outrageous
by experts as well as lay people, appear decision to file a criminal complaint
to be mere hypothesis or knee-jerk reac­ against him and his family!
Flavia Agnes (fiaviaagnes@gmail.com) is tions. A bill which hopes to bring in The concern of women’ s groups was
a women’ s rights lawyer and is with the changes of such magnitude as altering that if divorces are made easy, with no
Mumbai-based Majlis which provides legal property relationships would need far avenue of resisting it and protecting
help to women.
greater clarity. Otherwise, it would end women’ s right to shelter (given to them
10 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 (BBSS Economic & Political w e e k ly

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under the Protection of Women from faced by women in long-term marriages, refusal to have sex with her husband
Domestic Violence Act, 2005) or negoti­ the non-working homemakers. upon his demand amounts to cruelty.
ating for maintenance or alimony it In a tradition bound society where mar­ This, in an age when several other coun­
would cause great harm to them. Such a riages continue to be family arrange­ tries have introduced the provision of
step would be detrimental to the inter­ ments and are perceived to be not just “marital rape” . Earlier in 2007, the
ests of non-working homemaker wives sacred but also provide security and a Supreme Court in Samar Ghosh vs Jaya
in long-term marriages or to women who status symbol to women, such a move Ghosh [(2007) 4 see 511] held that the
share the double burden of being wage would spell disaster and doom to a large woman’ s refusal to cohabit with her hus­
earners and homemakers. Hence some number of women and render them band and refuse sex amounts to cruelty.
of us who appeared before the select highly insecure, both emotionally and In this case, the fact that the woman was
committee urged the government to economically. This is not to deny that concentrating on her profession and
introduce the concept of division of matri­ women who are economically independ­ ignoring her family was held to consti­
monial property in the event that the ent and in short-term, childless marriages tute cruelty. There are other instances
government was determined to introduce would benefit from such a move. But where the courts have ruled that refusal
irretrievable breakdown of marriage. the legislative intent would have to keep of the woman to live in a joint family
Every country which has introduced the in mind the best interests of a diverse household and her demand to set up a
theory of marriage breakdown has also class of people and particularly that of separate home with her husband
simultaneously provided for the division women from disadvantaged sections amounts to cruelty. A woman’ s refusal to
of matrimonial property. It appears that and protect their interests. A clause have children or her wanting to abort a
the men’ s rights groups in India while regarding property division is meant to child she had unwittingly conceived
being keen about the partial provision of restrain the husband from opting for without the husband’ s permission is held
making divorces easy were not prepared divorce callously and flippantly. to be cruelty to the husband. So the tra­
for the consequence of the other half Such a move also has the potential to ditional gender roles are reinforced by
which would make the husband part alter the property law in India which at court rulings. There is no parity be­
with property as is being done in west­ present functions from the old English tween what constitutes legal cruelty for
ern countries. Basically a case of having common law principle of separate prop­ the husband and for the wife. The hus­
the cake and eating it too! erty regime. While superficially the bands often plead that filing a case of
In its report submitted to the govern­ notion that each person is entitled to abuse and harassment under Section
ment in March 2011, the select commit­ his/her property appears to be a just 498A constitutes legal cruelty to him. It
tee rejected the arguments advanced by and equitable, as we probe deeper into is within such skewed power relation­
the men’ s rights groups and urged the the ascribed gender roles within mar­ ships that the husband accumulates
government to consider the introduction riage, it becomes problematic. Our soci­ property during the subsistence of the
of the principle of “ division of matri­ ety views men as primary breadwinners marriage through the active contribution
monial property”alongside the provision of the family. In order to facilitate this of the homemaker wife, and exercises ex­
of easy divorce. This was a victory of process, a woman is expected to sacrifice clusive ownership rights over it. Hence
sorts as it was the first official recom­ her career and dedicate herself totally to when a marriage breaks down, most
mendation which acknowledged mar­ the task of caring for him. In this process, women are rendered destitute. A wom­
riage as an economic partnership. she is also expected to take on the task of an’ s right is confined to a monthly main­
homemaking, childbearing, child rear­ tenance dole. If the woman happens to
Cosmetic Changes ing and caring for the sick. Even if she is have an independent source of income,
Having accepted the principle in theory, required or permitted to work, it is mostly she is denied even this meagre amount.
the government had to put it into effect, to augment the family income. Her earn­ It appears that the present bill intends
which it failed to do. Instead, it went ings are treated as the family’ s supple­ to change this legal order. But this can­
ahead and prepared a new bill with cos­ mentary income. The contribution of the not be done flippantly by adding a
metic changes as it was keen to intro­ homemaker spouse has no economic phrase in a section of the existing law,
duce the breakdown theory of marriage value. In Arun Kumar Agarwal vs that the matrimonial court has the
into the matrimonial laws. The courts National Insurance Company ( a i r 2 0 1 0 power to divide property at the time of
gain an advantage when divorces are sc 3 4 2 6 ) the Supreme Court criticised granting divorce. Currently the courts
made easy. Bogged down with conten­ the 2 0 0 1 Census enumeration which do not have the statutory power to
tious litigation in urban areas, such a categorised 3 6 7 million homemakers as divide property though this concept has
move would simplify the process and “non-workers”along with beggars, pris­ been introduced into our matrimonial
reduce the workload of the judges as it oners and prostitutes. law by invoking principles of English law
would eliminate the trial process which When we examine court rulings, the in some specific cases. For instance, in
a fault ground divorce entails. It would prescribed gender roles become starkly 2005, in B PAchalaAnand vs S Appi Red­
also limit appeals to higher courts. How­ clear. For instance, a recent Delhi High dy (2005 3 see 313) the Supreme Court
ever, the brunt of this move would be Court ruling has held that the woman’ s urged the legislature to bring in a law to

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protect women’ s interest in matrimonial difficult task at the time of divorce. irresponsible, will the notion of “ joint”
property. This judgment referred to the Several h c rulings have held that property in gender neutral terms, cause
legal principles regarding the matri­ income tax returns do not reflect the further injustice to her? Will the courts
monial home and property under true economic status of the person expect such women to give half their
English law and approvingly quoted since it is an accepted fact that there is property to the husband to support his
Denning: a constant attempt to undervalue irresponsible lifestyle and addictions,
income to evade tax. Added to this is depleting the meagre resources meant
A wife is no longer her husband’
s chattel.
She is beginning to be regarded by the laws the notion of dowry (and dowry related for the children’ s education? What
as a partner in all affairs which are their violence) which during litigation is about women whose husbands do not
common concerns. Thus the husband can no termed as “ stridhan property”to which have any property and yet the woman
longer turn the wife out o f the matrimonial the woman has an exclusive claim. and children have a fundamental right
home. She has as much right as he, to stay to subsist and survive under the consti­
there even though the house does stand in Critical Questions tutional provision of right to life and lib­
his name.
Also there are more critical questions erty? Also do we continue to make laws
Thereafter, what was required was for such as at what stage is the property only for Hindus leaving behind all the
the government to draft a separate bill deemed to be joint property - at the time minority women?
on division of matrimonial property and of marriage or at the time of divorce? If These are difficult questions which
not surreptitiously bring in a legislation the husband transfers his property to his the government must address. We need
to introduce irretrievable breakdown of relatives or squanders away his money to examine the provision from multiple
marriage and the concept of matri­ what will be left for distribution? Under angles and then chart out a clear course
monial property as just an add-on. the Goan law property becomes joint at of action which is not anti-men or anti­
Attitudes regarding property owner­ the time of marriage and women are minority, but based on social reality and
ship do not change overnight. Even after deemed to be equal sharers in the hus­ principles of justice and equity. The bill
introducing the Hindu Succession Act in band’ s property. titled Matrimonial Property (Rights of
1956 giving Hindu women property If the woman is an equal earning Women upon Marriage) Bill, 2012 which
rights in their parental property and the partner, who has been the primary is lying with the Maharashtra govern­
subsequent amendment in 2005 render­ breadwinner of the family and the ment could be a starting point for
ing women coparceners in the family homemaker while the husband has been the discussion.
property, the notion that men have a
right by birth in their parental property
and women are imposters lingers on. A E conom ic& P oliticalw E E K L Y
recent ruling of the Bombay High Court
has held EPW 5-Year CD-ROM 2004-08 on a Single Disk
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2008 are now available on a single disk. The CD-ROM contains the complete text of 261
husband, she ceases to be a member of the
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12 APRIL 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i NO 17 Economic & Political w e e k ly

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Nonadanga Eviction information technology (it) and iT-ena-

bled services sector that will further
consolidate the power of the affluent
Q uestioning the Right to the City classes in the cities. Does this make
the cities better and more liveable for
the large majority? No. Ready examples
SWAPNA BANERJEE-GUHA are Mumbai and Delhi where, since late
1990s, several lakhs of slum-dweller
The recent eviction in Nonadanga he Nonadanga eviction drive and families have been displaced for mak­
in Kolkata can only be understood
against the wider backdrop of the
implementation of the Jawaharlal
T associated police atrocities in
Kolkata have once again brought
to light the exigency of the state machin­
ing way for a number of such develop­
ment projects.
Actually, the victims of such develop­
ery in West Bengal to pursue a develop­ ment ventures are the poor and the
Nehru National Urban Renewal ment path that not only does not recog­ underprivileged who are the first to be
Mission, which has been nise the right of the poor to the city uprooted and devastated. They are
but even shows a thorough disregard to forced to surrender their right to the city
denying the poor of their right
their right to rehabilitation in the event where they have been living or working
to the city, whether in Mumbai, of development-induced displacement. for years, create space for projects that
Delhi or Kolkata. The brutality of the eviction is a way of will make the city more beautiful and
affirmation by the State that the poor are expensive, so that one day they will have
absolutely non-essential in the current no other option but to move farther to
city development framework, no matter the distant peripheries with fewer and
what the rehabilitation policy says. fewer prospects of survival. Sometimes
The country’ s National Relief and Re­ their right to the city is taken away by the
habilitation Policy states that before any logic of the market, abetted by the state,
development projects are finalised the sometimes it is taken away by direct
state needs to minimise displacement, government action that expels them
promote non-displacing or least-displac­ from their homes, sometimes by illegal
ing alternatives (as far as possible) or of­ means through violence or contriving
fer adequate rehabilitation measures, fires. In Mumbai fires in slums in Bandra
especially to the weaker sections, prior (where the land value is very high) are a
to displacement, if at all displacement is recurrent affair. Essentially the Nonad­
unavoidable. The detention of the pro­ anga atrocity and the subsequent state
testers of the Nonadanga eviction and repression have only served to reiterate
their subsequent harassment indicates the viewpoint of the state machinery in
the manner in which the state govern­ India vis-a-vis the prevailing develop­
ment is going to deal with the resistance ment path and associated development
to such development schemes. It is inter­ projects. Individuals, groups or demo­
esting to see how systemic the tyrannical cratic rights organisations questioning
stance of the state is in such cases. the justifiability of such projects, whether
Whether such development projects in the cities, the villages or in the forests,
are being pursued by the present govern­ will continue to be branded as anti­
ment of West Bengal that vouchsafes its nationals or terrorists.
intentions in the name of maa (mother),
maati (land), martush (people) or by the Making Kolkata a ‘
World-Class City*
previous administration that used to Let us come back to the issue of making
invoke a specific political philosophy to Kolkata “ a world-class city”. Since its
speak of their concern for the poor, by formation, the new West Bengal govern­
now it is clear that the beneficiaries of ment began announcing its urban vision
these projects are not the masses or the of converting Kolkata into a world-class
poor. The purpose of these projects is to city, with London as its model. Accord­
make the cities more attractive for the ingly, it has been formulating a series of
Swapna Banerjee-Guha (sbanerjeeguha@ rich and induce more and more corpo­ plans to reconstruct new spaces in the
hotmail.com) is with the School of Social rate groups to invest. The motive is to city for beautification and up-scaling
Sciences, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, persuade them buy more property, through numerous projects. Several
invest in land and real estate, in the parts of the city are getting earmarked

Economic & Political w e e k ly E3 3 Q A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 13

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for smartening; a number of buildings had already been announced that the was accepted as the prime alternative to
are being given a face lift; the Ganga government lacked funds. Accordingly, a fund infrastructure projects following
riverfront is being developed as an major overhauling of the administrative which the infrastructure budget rose
expanded space of leisure (modelled on and legislative frameworks of the govern­ sharply from Rs 260 crore in 2007-08 to
the Thames riverside in London!); a ment was suggested that facilitated the Rs 560 crore in 2011-12. A crucial fact in
number of entry gates are being planned involvement of international financial in­ this respect is that with the introduction
in different locations; unused tram com­ stitutions like the World Bank, the Asian of jn n u r m , real estate was given an in­
partments are getting converted into Development Bank (adb), the United credible boost by allowing 100% foreign
cafeterias or banquet halls; vigorous States Agency for International Develop­ direct investment.
drives have been launched to give a free ment (usaid), and the United Kingdom’ s Submission b, entitled Basic Services
hand to real estate for constructing Department for International Develop­ to the Urban Poor (bsup) accounts for the
gigantic commercial and residential com­ ment (dfid) in drafting the urban reforms remaining 35% of the funds, admini­
plexes in discrete locations, often dis­ mandate for India. Finally in 2005 it took stered by the Ministry of Urban Employ­
placing the poor who have been living an official shape in the name of ment and Poverty Alleviation, including
and working in these areas for decades. the JNNURM. slum improvement and rehabilitation and
Are these projects a novel idea of the Detailed plans were chalked out to access to basic services under its head.
current government of West Bengal or equip the cities to function as nodes of All previous central government schemes
are they unique to Kolkata? In both cases global finance and acceptable to the for the urban poor got annulled and
the answer is “ no” . The previous West credit-rating agencies. To achieve the brought under the mission. Needless to
Bengal government also enthusiastically above, a mandatory decoration of the mention, proposals that have been given
introduced similar urban development cityscape was prescribed, to make them priority by the mission are all from
programmes, associated with displace­ look beautiful. An aggressive - almost Submission a, incorporating mega infra­
ment and eviction, following the prescrip­ revanchist - urban development progra­ structure projects, gigantic commercial
tion of the Jawaharlal Nehru National mme was introduced all over the coun­ and residential complexes, shopping malls,
Urban Renewal Mission (jn n u rm ), the try in the form of gigantic infrastructure cultural signature projects and urban spec­
largest post-independence urban plan­ and real estate projects targeting a small tacles. Funds have always been released
ning initiative in the country. And again, section of the elite as the chosen clien­ for these projects while the Submission b
Kolkata is not the only city where such tele. The think tanks behind this initia­ projects went on to receive stepmotherly
beautification drives are seen. One city tive, like the McKinsey Global Institute, treatment in terms of acceptance and fund
after another, in different parts of the considered the urban poor as the biggest allotment. One must note that one of the
country, has joined the bandwagon, under impediment to the materialisation of such official agendas of the mission has been to
the diktat of the jn n u r m . Beautification projects and recommended a drastic make cities “ slum free”over a period of
of Kolkata is only a part of a larger pro­ reduction of the slum population in large time. A drastic shift from provision of basic
gramme framed by a larger ideology, the cities, proportionately from 60% to 10% services and low-cost housing to market-
imperative stemming from the nexus of (as in the case of Mumbai) making dis­ driven projects has been underway, the
big capital, international financial insti­ placement a fundamental component. A latter taking the lion’s share of the jn n u r m
tutions and the state machinery. careful analysis shows that the timing of budget. The mission has essentially
the introduction of j n n u r m coincided worked towards intensifying social in­
Revanchist Urban Renewal Mission with a number of anti-people blueprints equality through a grandiose planning
To understand it, we have to go back to under the new economic policies. mechanism and has helped cities to grad­
1990s. With the introduction of the new ually get rid of the poor from vital loca­
economic policy, Indian cities like many Operational Framework tions, thereby raising the value of the land.
other cities of the developing world, Let us look at the operational framework
entered into a global framework and of the j n n u r m in order to contextualise Excluding the Poor
started getting reshaped according to the the increasing vulnerability of the poor Against this backdrop, we go back to the
exigencies of global capital. In 1991, the in Nonadanga and other slums in Kolkata Nonadanga residents. This is the area that
Mega City Programme of the central gov­ and other cities. The mission is classified was chosen in 2007 as one of the b s u p
ernment was launched to revamp the in­ into two parts: Submission a, entitled resettlement sites for slum-dwellers who
frastructure of large cities. Subsequendy in Urban Infrastructure and Governance had been evicted from different parts of
1996, the Expert Group on Commerciali­ (uig), accounting for 65% of the initial the city for implementing the Submis­
sation of Infrastructure estimated total funds of Rs 50,000 crore, admini­ sion A projects of jn n u r m . The resettle­
a requirement of around Rs 2,50,000 stered by the Ministry of Urban Develop­ ment project in Nonadanga has been
crore as investment in urban infrastruc­ ment. All infrastructure and beautifica­ officially and jointly run by the Kolkata
ture for the coming 10 years. This made tion projects come under this head. Let Metropolitan Development Authority
the entry of private capital in the urban me mention here that in the Eleventh (kmda) and the Kolkata Environmental
development scenario a necessity as it Plan, public-private partnership (ppp) Improvement Project (keip), the latter

14 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 E3359 Economic & Political w e e k ly

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being the owner of the land. The residents expulsion without any notice. Goons of West Bengal government or, for that
have been eking out a living by working the ruling political party who have con­ matter, of any state government in India
as informal workers in various organi­ trol over the area and who once had al­ vis-a-vis the urban poor. As I have men­
sations, or as domestic workers, rickshaw lowed these people to build their hut­ tioned, it could not have been otherwise
pullers, construction workers and similar ments in lieu of “ protection money” because any government practising the
other occupations. While they live in have now joined the government to oust formulae of jn n u r m with dexterity can
abject poverty, their contribution to the them. The urban development minister have no other approach. The very pur­
city’s economy is unquestionable. No has ordered expulsion of all illegal en­ pose of the brazen neo-liberal doctrine
mission funds have come to provide croachers. Besides the residents, the sup­ of jn n u r m is promotion of exclusionary
schools or health centres in the Nonad- porting protesters too - belonging to urban development, to make cities “ world
anga Resettlement area. Whether the democratic and leftist organisations or class”and habitable for the rich. And this
funds were released or not utilised is a human rights groups - have been treat­ brings us to the issue of the basic right
different question altogether into which ed in a high-handed manner. Unless of the people to their cities. Who will
we are not entering now. there is a politi motivation such decide that right? Who will define it,
behaviour cannot be explained. The grant it or deny it? Who will exercise it?
Real Estate Goons arrested activists were denied bail, sent The time has come to decide whether
As the area is now on the verge of a com­ to jail till 26 April and slapped with false the answers to these questions will come
mercial boom with the real estate goons charges, including sedition or links with from assertion at the institutional level
having their eyes on the entire neigh­ “Maoists” , a standard practice in West or through social movements with sup­
bourhood, all of a sudden the residents Bengal since the 1970s (from the time of port from a large cross section of the
(who had been officially relocated here the Naxalbari uprising) to suppress anti- people. We need to understand that the
from their slum colonies and that too un­ state protests by intellectuals, students right to the city has to be democratised
der b su p provisions of jn n u rm ) are de­ and other middle class people. through a collective effort. Only such an
clared illegal encroachers who, according Essentially, the Nonadanga incident undertaking can provide the dispos­
to the state machinery, can only deserve exposes the true intent of the present sessed a wider arena of struggle.

In dia’s Exports at the Time Industry, 9 March 2012). The growth

rate in India’s exports in 2011-12 was

o f the Global Crisis higher than the average annual rate of

growth in exports achieved in the
previous 10 years (19.6%).
This excellent export growth per­
BISHWANATH GOLDAR_____________________ formance during 2011 is brought out
not only by the Indian official trade sta­
India’s exports to the European n the light of the current phase tistics, but also by statistics of countries
Union and the United States
during the difficult economic
year of 2011 held their own, while
I of the global financial crisis, which that are major importers of Indian
has its origins in Europe - India’ s products. Let us consider here how
largest trading partner - and which imports of the European Union (eu) grew
has adversely affected the rate of in 2011. Trade data for the e u reveal that
those by China faltered. Was the growth of global trade and the rates of in 2011 there was a marked and almost
Indian export performance real or economic growth in industrialised steady decline in the rate of growth of
countries, the substantial increase in imports, e u imports in January and
a statistical artefact?
exports achieved by India during 2011 February 2011 grew by about 30% per
is commendable. annum (year-on-year basis). The e u im­
s exports (in $) dur­ ports in November and December 2011
The value of India’
ing April to July 2011 were 42% higher grew by only 3% and 0% respectively.
than that in the corresponding period in Imports by e u in the four quarters of
the previous year (rbi Bulletin, February 2011 rose by 26%, 12%, 8% and 4%, res­
2012). In the 11-month period (April 2011 pectively. Overall the growth rate of e u
to February 2012), India’ s exports were imports during 2011 was about 12%,
about $267 billion, which was 21.4% much less than that achieved during
higher than exports in the correspond­ 2010 (about 25%).1
ing period in the previous financial year Several developing countries have
Bishwanath Goldar (bng@iegindia.org) is at (2010-11) (Press release, Department of experienced a marked fall in the growth
the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi.
Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and of imports by the e u (Figure 1, p 16).

Economic & Political w e e k ly E33S9 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 15

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Figure 1: Growth Rate of EU Imports (2010 and 2011) growth in exports Since official data show that large
India to the us during increases in India exports have taken
Bangladesh July-December 2011. place in 2011 despite the global financial
These include Phil­ crisis, some commentators have found
ippines (growth rate, this news to be “ too good to be true” , and
9%), South Africa serious doubts have been raised about
Brazil (6%), Thailand (3%), the reliability of the recent export
Bangladesh (about statistics. There is a view that the export
1%) and Malaysia (a surge in 2011 is largely explained by
China 2010
fall in exports to the some Indians bringing back to the coun­
Malaysia us by about 1%). try illegal money parked overseas by
Philippines Interestingly, the over-invoicing of exports. Also, there
large increase in were newspaper reports questioning the
South Africa
Bangladesh exports dependability of official exports data for
to the e u during 2011 specific commodities. According to the
0 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45
did not have a par­
Growth rate, percent
Economic Times (“d g c i s says apparel
Source: Author's computations based on trade statistics available at the website of the allel in the Bangla­ exports rose 30% in Hi, exporters
European Commission (http://ec.europa.eu/trade/statistics, accesses on 29 March 2012).
desh exports to the differ”e t Bureau, 4 November 2011),
China, for instance, saw its imports into us, despite the fact that the former was the d g c i s data show an increase in
the e u fall from 31.9% in 2010 to only facing much greater financial problems apparel exports by about 30% during
3.4% in 2011. Such a marked fall in the than the latter. April-September 2011, but the export­
growth rate of e u imports in 2011 has India is not the only developing coun­ ers in India feel that the number is
been experienced by Malaysia, Philip­ try that has been able to achieve a fast highly exaggerated. According to ano­
pines, South Africa and Thailand. In rate of growth of exports to the us dur­ ther newspaper article (“ Scam behind
sharp contrast, some countries experi­ ing 2011 despite the global financial cri­ Rising Guar Exports?” , Business Line, 21
enced a step up in the growth rate of e u sis. Brazil has performed better than March 2012), the official guar exports
imports during 2011 despite the financial India. The growth (year-on-year basis) figures for 2011 are way ahead of
crisis. These include Bangladesh and of us imports from Brazil during July to domestic guar production, and are
Vietnam. India, along with Brazil and December 2011 was 36% whereas that therefore suspect.
Chile, are a set of countries that experi­ for us imports from India was only Veeramani in his recent article (“Anato­
enced a slowdown in the growth rate of about 20%. The corresponding figure my of India’ s Merchandise Export Growth,
e u imports in 2011, but the rate of for Vietnam was 15%. 1993-94 to 2010-11” , epw, 7 January 2012)
growth in 2011 remained substantial.
In the case of India, the growth rate
came down from 30.6% in 2010 to about
18% in 2011.
Exports to the US in 2011 on following topics
India’s better-than-average export growth C a te g o r ie s T o p ic s
performance in 2011 is not a story of e u
Benefits of fair Competition in markets Off
alone. This is true also for the us market. Category 'A1 Role of CCI in promoting & sustaining competition
Trade data available at the website of the
us Census Bureau (http://www.census. Category Competition: A potent tool for Economic Development
and Socio- Economic Welfare Off
gov/foreign-trade/balance, accessed on ■B' & C' Competition in markets promotes economic efficiency
6 March 2012) reveal that India has been
able to maintain a relatively fast growth WHO CAN PARTICIPATE ?
in exports to the us in 2011 (as reflected C a tegory E lig ib ilit y
in us import data) in relation to China and
several other developing countries. While
'A' Students of Class 11* & 12*.
China’ s exports to the us (mirror exports, ■B' Undergraduate Students.
reflected in us import data) during July •C' Students pursuing PG/Ph. D including PG Diplomas
to December 2011 grew by only 6% over /M.Phil/CA/CWA/CS/MBA
the previous year, India’ s exports to the
p S T 1 Participants can submit entries by email to cci.essay@gmail.com
us in this period grew by about 20%. Be­
sides China, several other developing I p fix e s j L a te s t by 30>h June, 2012

countries experienced a relatively slow For details visit Commission's website at w w w . c c i. g o v . in

l6 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 13353 Economic & Political w e e k ly

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has carefully analysed trends in India’ s the period April to October 2011 grew by by 6%, imports of textiles and apparel
merchandise exports. Among other is­ about 43%. The us imports data indicate grew by about 9% and imports of mis­
sues, he has addressed the question that the growth rate of us imports from cellaneous manufactured products grew
whether the surge in India’ s exports in India in this period was about 24%. by about 2%, whereas the overall us
2011 was due to over-invoicing. From his There are gaps between the growth imports grew by 15%.
assessment of the situation, he concludes rates in India’s exports to the e u and the The items that dominated us imports
that “ India’s official export figures are us reported by India and the growth from Brazil are energy related products
real, not an artefact of over-invoicing” . rates in e u and us imports from India as (29%), minerals and metals (18%), and
The view that the surge in India’ s reported by the e u and the us. But, there agricultural products (15%). The us
exports is caused by over-invoicing of may be valid reasons for these gaps. imports of these items in 2011 grew at
exports has also been questioned in “ Is What is more important is to recognise the rate of 27%, 23% and 19%, respec­
the Export Boom Really Black M oney?” , that both sets of figures indicate that tively. Clearly, the product composition
Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, Eco­ India attained a rapid growth in exports of imports explains most of the observed
nomic Times, 16 October 2011). One to the e u and the us in 2011 despite the difference in the growth of us imports
argument advanced is that the use of economic slowdown in these countries. from China and Brazil.
over-invoicing of exports as a means to A similar explanation can be provided
bring back illegal money will make such Impact of Structural Factors for the difference between the growth
money subject to tax, and why would From the point of view of policy, it is rates in us imports from India and
one chose this channel to bring back il­ more useful to consider the surge in China. A relatively fast growth of items
legal money when there are other chan­ India’ s exports as being caused by cer­ such as chemicals and related products,
nels in which this tax can be avoided. tain structural factors, particularly energy-related products, and minerals
Another argument is that in the worsen­ structural changes taking place in some and metals account for a much larger
ing global economic situation, foreign of the markets for India’ s exports. One share of us imports from India than in
investors have pulled out billions of dol­ possibility is that many importers in the us imports from China. Electronic prod­
lars from India, and this is not the cli­ e u and the us who were overly depend­ ucts, whose imports in the us grew
mate in which black money operators in ent on China as their source of supply rather slowly in 2011, formed a much
India will bring back home huge sums of are now diversifying to other countries.2 smaller part of imports from India than
illegal money parked abroad. In this This would explain the slowdown in in the imports from China. It is evident
context, it is important to recognise that Chinese exports to the e u and us mar­ that the superior growth performance of
India is not the only country which kets and fast growth in exports of some India’ s exports to the us as compared to
attained fast growth in exports in 2011. developing countries. An important the Chinese exports to the same country
Will it be right to argue that the fast question that arises here is why the proc­ can be explained to a large extent by the
growth of e u imports from Bangladesh, ess of diversification has benefited some difference in the product composition of
Brazil and Vietnam is genuine, but that developing countries such as Brazil and us imports from these two countries.
such growth in e u imports from India is India and not other developing coun­
caused by an over-invoicing of exports? tries, particularly Malaysia, Philippines, n o t e s _____________________________________

Obviously, those who believe in the “ over­ South Africa and Thailand. 1 The growth rate of EU imports in 2011 was
significantly lower than that in 2010, but it was
invoicing theory”as an explanation of An analysis of data of us imports from well above the trend growth rate in EU imports
the surge in India’ s exports in 2011 have Brazil, China and India in 2011 (source: during the period 2001 to 2010 (about 6% per
annum). Therefore, the growth rate in EU im­
a lot to clarify. United States International Trade Com­ ports during 2011 cannot be regarded as low.
Turning now to the issue of possible mission) brings out the effect that struc­ 2 I thank Mustafizur Rahman of the Centre for
errors in the recent official export statis­ tural factors had on the growth of us Policy Dialogue, Dhaka for drawing my atten­
tion to this possible cause of surge in India’ s
tics, it seems it would not be appropriate imports from these three countries. The exports.
to attribute the observed export surge growth of us imports from China has
mostly or entirely to errors in export been substantially lower than the us im­ Permission for Reproduction of
data. A high rate of growth in Indian ports from Brazil mainly because of the Articles Published in EPW
exports to the us and e u is indicated differences in the product composition
both by Indian data as well as imports of imports, us imports from China are No article published in epw or part thereof
data of these countries. According to the dominated by electronics products should be reproduced in any form without
Indian official statistics, India’ s exports (40%), textiles and apparel (11%) and prior permission of the author(s).
to the e u (in $) grew by about 32% in the miscellaneous manufactured products A soft/hard copy of the author(s)'s approval
period April to September 2011. The e u such as luggage, handbags, furniture, should be sent to epw.
imports data indicate that the imports and toys and games (14%). The growth In cases where the email address of the
from India grew by about 20% in this pe­ rate of us imports of these products cat­ author has not been published along with
riod. The Indian official data indicate egories in 2011 has been relatively low. the articles, epw can be contacted for help.
that India’ s exports to the us (in $) in us imports of electronic products grew

Economic & Political w e e k ly B323 A p r il 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 17

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The ‘
Corruption’o f the Human out that the state government had earlier
announced that it would convert around

Development Index 4,000 non-grantable schools into granta­

ble schools. This, according to the Sakai
report, would have led to an additional
Rs 120 crore burden in 2012 and a Rs 600
D H A N M A N J IR I S A T H E crore burden in the next five years. The re­
port added that the government then de­

When student enrolment orruption as a phenomenon is veloped cold feet and got into a mode of
figures are inflated so that important in itself, but it also has finding schools that have an annual loss of
some “ unintended consequences” , students more than 15%. This is because if
private “
one of which we examine in this note. It is the attrition rate is that high, then the gov­
can receive larger financial well known that in Maharashtra local pol­ ernment can deny grantable status to such
allocations from the government, iticians have been starting schools in their schools. Thus Ratnakar Gaikwad, chief
will that not inflate India’
s respective areas. The avowed objective is, secretary, Government of Maharashtra
of course, to bring education to their area initiated a pilot survey in Nanded dis­
Human Development Index?
and possibly it was genuinely so at some trict during 7-10 September 2011. This
An examination of surveys in stage. However, over the years there seem survey was conducted by the revenue
Maharashtra. to be some other incentives for establishing department and was done under the aegis
these schools. It can be noticed that the of Shrikar Pardesi, collector, Nanded
per student financial allocations by the district. Pardesi had already made a
central and state governments to govern­ mark in unearthing the “ copy scandal”
ment and grantable schools under various in the same district and his commitment
schemes have increased. There is there­ to good education is well known. This
fore a huge amount of financial resources survey was conducted in a more or less
that is involved. foolproof manner, wherein the students
The grantable and government schools were marked by election ink Section 144
have a vested interest in showing high of Indian Penal Code was imposed so
enrolment figures as then the govern­ that no movement of students from one
mental allocations made for mid-day place to another could be done - either
meals, uniforms, and books, which are from within or outside the district, etc.
based on these figures, are also high. This survey showed that around 20%
The difference between the numbers on of the students on the rolls did not exist.
the m uster and the genuin e students is It also found that th ese m issin g students
the number of “ bogus”students. The were fewer in government schools than
allocations made for such bogus students in grantable schools (the schools typi­
are pocketed by the school manage­ cally started by local politicians). These
ments including the teachers, the politi­ results were discussed in a state cabinet
cians, bureaucrats, etc. According to meeting held on 14 September 2011.
Shridhar Loni, a senior journalist with
the Maharashtra Times, it is an “ open State Survey
secret”that enrolment figures on the The cabinet announced a statewide sur­
muster are higher than the real figures. vey which was conducted during 2-5 Octo­
In August 2011, the department of ber 2011 by the revenue department. The
education, Government of Maharashtra government had advertised this survey
had conducted a survey of the enrolment very well. It was made fairly foolproof by
rates for Standards 1 to 12, which seemed going and checking the next day for
to be a routine one. But at the governmen­ those students who had been “ absent”
tal level too there was an acceptance and on the day of the survey, but we cannot
discomfort with respect to the rising say whether it was as well done as the
number of bogus students. This growing Nanded survey. However, it has been
number got converted into more divisions reported that children were brought
in each class and more government and from other places to sit in the classes,
Dhanmanjiri Sathe (dhan.sathe@gmail.com) grantable schools - all of which put a larg­ the same names of children were found
teaches at the department of economics,
er financial burden on the government. A in the muster for different classes, many
University of Pune, Pune.
Sakai report on 16 October 2011 pointed “ students”looked quite old, etc.
18 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 ia»aVi Economic & Political w e e k ly

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Generally speaking, the school man­ to the yearly budget of Pune Municipal In November 2011, the United Nations
agements used various tricks to show Corporation! Human Development Report (h dr) 2011
high enrolment figures and hide the It is worth noting that in the back­ ranked India’ s h d i at 134 among 187 coun­
number of bogus students. Then after ward districts the percentage of bogus tries. The h d r assesses the long-term
the survey was announced, the schools students is higher than in the more progress in health, education and income
themselves were supposed to have advanced districts. It could be because indicators for various countries. The
lowered the number of students in the the location of corruption in the ad­ methodology for arriving at the h d i has
muster itself, so that the bogus student vanced districts has shifted to higher been changed in 2011 and so this result is
rate declined. There are still bogus education (e g, engineering, pharmacy, not comparable to the 2010 h d i rank for
students on the rolls, but given the fear dental colleges, etc). In any case, if India, which was 119th out of 169 coun­
of being detected the schools reduced the enrolment rates are erroneous in tries. However, the components - i e,
the extent of inflation in student enrol­ Maharashtra, there is all the more rea­ health, education and income - have re­
ment. The results of this survey are be­ son to believe that similar things are mained the same. More specifically, for
ing analysed by the state government happening in other states. Presumably, capturing “ education”both the method­
and the citizens are waiting for some in generally less-corrupt states like Ker­ ologies make use of the enrolment ratios.
action to be taken. ala, the percentage of bogus students For the 2011 h di, the age-specific enrol­
But some idea about the magnitude of may be less and higher, say, in Uttar ment ratios for primary, secondary and
the problem has been reported by the Pradesh. Thus it implies that the enrol­ post-secondary education are used. Hence,
newspapers. Sakai in its various reports ment rates that we have for India are an needless to say, enrolment ratios play a
in October 2011 put the estimates of overestimate. By how much, we cannot crucial role in arriving at the h d i and
bogus students between 6% and 12%; say as of now. Looking at the high overstated enrolment ratios would natu­
Maharashtra Times (10 October 2011) weightage of populous and corrupt rally inflate the hdi.
put it slightly less than 6% and Lok states, the overall figure for bogus If we were to have “ genuine”enrol­
Satta (28 February 2012) put it at 10%. students for all India could be higher ment rates, then India’ s h d i and its rank­
Bureaucrats in informal discussions than the 10% of Maharashtra. But this ing would be even lower than what it is
have put the figure at 10%. The annual corruption has “unintended consequences” now. Hence, this issue needs to be
magnitude of corruption is estimated to for estimates of India’
s Human Develop­ probed further. The focus of the news
be around Rs 3,000 crore which is close ment Index (hdi). coverage was on corruption due to

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bogus students, but the extent of bogus more bogus students would also grow of a scheme may lead to increased enrol­
students also tells us about the error in across the board in the states in India. For ment rates as that much more money is
enrolment rates and hence the error in example, largely due to the stable number utilised. So before we pat our backs
the h d i for India! of school students, the Government of because India’ s enrolment rates have
Further, as pro rata governmental allo­ Kerala has been able to make allocations increased, we need to remember that we
cations go on rising in the future as they for computers in government and grant- are using “corrupted”data and our h d i
are expected to, the temptation to show able schools. In a corrupt state, this kind may also be “corrupt”.

Paan Singh Tomar, the Nation is not accustomed (he takes his shoes off
in the middle of the race, runs barefoot

and the Sportsperson but still accredits himself honourably)

he attains the highpoint of his career by
winning the steeplechase in an interna­
tional military athletic meet. After his
M K RAGHAVENDRA retirement Paan Singh is offered the job
of a coach but back home, his cousin has
The citizens of any country need The Film usurped his land and the law is unsym­
various emblems to help imagine new biopic of an actual athlete- pathetic. The collector asks those in­

themselves as a nation and sport

has naturally been an important
A tumed-dacoit, Tigmanshu Dhulia’ s volved to “
Paan Singh Tomar has been bly”but ignores Tomar’
making waves and, considering that the cate his adversary’
resolve their disputes amica­
s plea to confis­
s licensed guns. When
one. In this essay constructed film is subdued and tries hard to be the police inspector is similarly unhelp­
around the film Paan Singh authentic, its success at the box office ful - despite evidence of Paan Singh’ s
bodes well for Indian cinema as a global doings as a national athlete and hero -
Tomar the author reflects upon
cultural artefact. This, however, is not and his nephew and mother are assau­
sports nationalism in India and an appreciation of the film but a free­ lted, he turns dacoit (or “ rebel”as he
the State’s role in fostering the wheeling enquiry into what the sport­ would have it) and begins kidnapping
nation, especially with the State sperson has come to mean to the nation rich men and merchants for ransom.
today with the film serving only as a The story is related in a flashback
weakening in past two decades.
pivot for its arguments - since the suc­ motivated by a journalist interviewing
The essay also examines the cess of the film suggests widespread Paan Singh and, as implied, this means
transformation of Indian cricket acceptance of its viewpoint. that the film is uncritical in its accept­
and the creation of superstars - Paan Singh Tomar was a jawan in the ance of the protagonist’ s account of the
army who held the national record in the events of his own life. The film is per­
India became a cricketing power
steeplechase for over a decade. Subedar haps weakest when it endorses Paan
with the World Cup triumph of Tomar hailed from the Chambal valley Singh’ s killing of nine persons - it echoes
1983 but it was only with the and when his conflict with a relative his notion that informers are not “ inno­
economic liberalisation of the could not be resolved and he found the cent”and therefore merit liquidation. A
police more sympathetic to his foe, he question here is whether it can hold an
P V Narasimha Rao era that
(like many others) turned dacoit and informer morally guilty without also ad­
cricket gradually became the began to rob and kidnap for ransom in mitting its inherent antipathy towards
s obsession. the Chambal belt. After he had brutally the State. More importantly, is it a patri­
gunned down nine people of a village for otic given that anyone who is for the na­
being police informers, the law turned tion should also be against the state and
on him with a vengeance and Tomar was if so, how did it become thus?
killed in an encounter in 1981.
The film more or less sticks to this story The State and the Nation
except that it is caught between being As may be gathered from this brief des­
authentic and carrying a message that is cription of the film ’ s approach, Paan Singh
pertinent to the times. In the film, Paan Tomar traverses familiar ground by con­
Singh (Irfan Khan) becomes an athlete currently eulogising the nation in the ab­
because athletes in the military are enti­ stract and castigating the state. The em­
tled to better rations. After being unsuc­ blem of the nation is partly the military -
M K Raghavendra (mkragh@bglvsnl.net.in ) is cessful in the Tokyo Asian Games be­ which infuses Paan Singh with love for his
a film scholar and critic based in Bangalore.
cause he wears spiked shoes to which he country - while the state is, by and large,
20 APRIL 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 raim Economic & Political w e e k ly

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represented by civilian authority in the tabled, corporate culpability is excluded. or indirectly, therefore, cricket appears
shape of the corrupt police. This disre­ The mainstream media - which is now to bear much of the weight of the coun­
spect for the state, it must be explained, is corporatised - is naturally acquiescent try’ s patriotic fervour in sport and its
a contemporary attitude and does not per­ perhaps because its primary concerns unique position needs to be understood.
tain to Paan Singh’ s times because much pertain to its revenues (from advertis­ Although always popular, cricket did
of the film is set in the 1970s when Hindi ing) which might be jeopardised if it at­ not become the “ national sport”even
cinema still showed respect for the Indian tended to its traditional moral/watchdog with India’ s Prudential World Cup tri­
state. The key motif in Ganga Jumna role.3 But the state (with laissez-faire umph in 1983. The burden of sports pa­
(1961) in which the older brother turns da- economists like Manmohan Singh and triotism was, rather, shared more equi­
coit to be eventually gunned down by his Montek Singh Ahluwalia at the helm) is tably with the other sports. Prakash
policeman younger brother is, in fact, re­ so afflicted by its own unworthiness that Padukone’ s All England Badminton tri­
peated in Deewar (1975) when the smug­ each time its control shows signs of umph in 1980 and Vijay Amrithraj’ s suc­
gler older brother is similarly killed by his weakening in any area, it responds by cesses in international tennis - when he
sibling and Shakti (1982) in which it is the removing long-standing structures in­ was briefly considered alongside Bjorn
policeman father who shoots down his stead of strengthening them - eg, pro­ Borg and Jimmy Connors - mattered at
erring son. Since then, however, cinema is posing cash subsidies to the poor instead least as much Indian cricket’ s successes
increasingly regarding the state as unwor­ of free education and health and gradu­ overseas. But cricket has a characteristic
thy of respect. ally dismantling even the public distribu­ not shared by other team sports which
The underlying implication in the tion system for foodgrains. The progres­ is its capacity to promote individual
films of the 1970s1 was that the state sive withdrawal of the state can only sug­ careers in a way that others do not. In
was the custodian of the nation and gest weakness to the public. most team games, the team/country
acted on its behalf but this sense perhaps It is perhaps because the state has must win for the individual sportsman
transformed radically after 1991-92. been systematically weakened by elect­ to be considered successful. A footballer
The economic liberalisation initiated by ed governments in this way that Hindi cannot have a successful career if he is
P V Narasimha Rao and Manmohan cinema has got around to the view (as in not frequently on the winning side.
Singh was intended as a way of cutting Paan Singh Tomar) that every Indian Cricket is perhaps a team game emblem­
red tape and freeing the economy but, relates directly to the nation - instead of atic of private enterprise in that achieve­
judging from Hindi cinem a’ s changing through the state. In Paan Singh’ s dis­ ments at the individual level often have
perceptions, this also weakened the carding of his spiked shoes in the middle little or no bearing on the outcome of a
state considerably - perhaps because of the 3,000 m steeplechase is the asser­ game. A cricketer sets a new personal
regulation and enforcement were con­ tion that the private citizen can do what world record even as his team sinks to a
fused with each other. It is one thing to he will for his country without assist­ new low just as a businessman can be­
deregulate but another, entirely, to be ance from the state, which is suspect. come the richest man in the world when
lax in enforcing the laws that exist. In his country is failing on every develop­
films like Kaminey (2009) policemen act Sport and the Nation ment indicator. This means that among
on their own behalf as if this was the Paan Singh Tomar is made partly as a all the team games popular in India,
most natural thing.2 There may be an vehicle for patriotic sentiments and it cricket has the greatest propen sity to
element of hyperbole in this portrayal shrewdly enlists two reliable institutions create stars without the team ’ s progress
but the weakening of the state has led to which have served mainstream Hindi paralleling that of the stars.
social Darwinism on an appreciable cinema in this way - the military and Cricket’s true rise perhaps also began
scale - a competitive environment in Indian sport. My sense is that unlike the in India in 1991-92 when television was
which anything goes. When the state state, with which citizens interact on a opened out to the private sector in a big
deregulated without strengthening it­ daily basis, these are institutions whose way. Television became the site of adver­
self, free enterprise also became strong inner workings remain opaque and this tising in which stars play a big part and
enough to weaken the state. Corruption may account for why they are respected. since cricket was already producing
is perhaps understandable as the ma­ While the military has been a seat of stars, it may be conjectured that televi­
chinery of the state subverted to serve patriotism ever since the Sino-Indian sion advertising found cricket useful.
free enterprise. Even the criminalisation war, the sports film had its advent only The rise of cricketers as national icons
of politics may owe to this because crime with Lagaan (2001). Iqbal (2005) and begins at around the same time. When
can be equated with free-for-all enter­ Chak De India (2007) followed. While stars endorse brands or products, it may
prise and this signals the social accept­ Lagaan and Iqbal are about cricket, Chak be expected that the brand or product
ance of “ entrepreneurs”of this kind. De India is about wom en’ s hockey but a has invested heavily in them and it
Deregulation without enforcement, it shrewd guess is that it was provoked by would hurt it for the star to lose stature.
can be argued, strengthened the private India’s humiliating failure in the 2007 Since cricketers are associated with so
sector inordinately, so much so that Cricket World Cup when the team did many brands, it may be surmised that
when a measure like the Lokpal Bill is not even get into the last eight. Directly several interests are doing their best to

Economic & Political w e e k ly B 2E 3 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 21

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ensure that their images do not lose lus­ message might convince the enormous that private enterprise can do it just as
tre and mythologies have been created cricket-loving public of their patriotic well if not better. A factor that needs to
around cricket. Cricket advertising some­ credentials. be considered here is whether the nation
times takes extreme measures to keep Paan Singh Tomar is too tendentious a should not be a more inclusive one than
“patriotism”alive and at one point the film for it to serve as a marker for what that which is now being fostered. An
game was even being compared to war, sports patriotism meant in the 1960s. Indian industrialist becoming the rich­
with the ball portrayed as a hurled ex­ The real athlete-turned-dacoit did re­ est man in the world may be a matter of
plosive. It would seem, therefore, that markably well on the track but this does national “ pride”but will the “ nation”
the patriotic sentiments evoked by cricket not mean that he was patriotic: one can that feels this pride be as inclusive as it
have been contributed to by mainstream win races without feeling anything should be? If the nation is not an inclu­
media through skilful publicity. about the nation. While he fought the sive one, then one also wonders if it can
Notwithstanding the local passion for police to be eventually gunned down, survive in the long term. Will the failing
the game Indian cricket dominates the there is no evidence that he despised the state, therefore, eventually not destroy
world only financially. In the recent Asia Indian state. Being “ anti-state” is an the nation?
Cup tournament which concluded in Dha­ ideological position which may not be
ka, India did not even make it to the final embraced by all those who break the n o t e s / r e f e r e n c e s ____________________________________

although an important personal land­ law. But Paan Singh Tomar does serve to 1 Deewar is also widely regarded as working
mark was achieved. It would be absurd to tell us what patriotism implies to the vo­ with the “ mother-as-nation”cliche. For in­
stance, see Ashish Rajadhyaksha and Paul Wil-
contest Sachin Tendulkar’ s personal cal classes (who love cricket) today: that lemen, The Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema
achievements in the game but the patri­ one must concurrently love the nation (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), 1995 ,
p 394 . In this film, the mother sanctions the
otic sentiments associated with Indian and spurn the state to be truly patriotic. killing of her older son by her younger son indi­
cricket’s public image are incongruous. Judging from their conduct even the cating that the nation is with the state in the
latter’ s fight with the rebel although rebellion
Personal achievements in Indian cricket functionaries of the state/government
itself is caused by social in justice.
are often compared to those of interna­ may have been gradually persuaded to 2 See M K Raghavendra, “ Social Dystopia or
tional footballers, but a Pele or a Marado­ this view after 1991-92. Entrepreneurial Fantasy: The Significance of
Kaminey” , Economic & Political Weekly,Vol XLIV,
na helped their countries to dominate the No 38 , 19-25 September 2 00 9 , pp 15-17.
game.4 If one reflects dispassionately Conclusions 3 Having a corporate entity as a media enterprise
has an immediate consequence which is that,
upon cricket today, the more marketable This essay began as an examination of
being answerable to shareholders, profit
versions (T50 and T20) have had the ef­ the film Paan Singh Tomar but the becomes the primary motive.
fect of reducing the level of skill required enquiry led to other things like sports 4 See Tendulkar’ s 100 centuries as good as Pele’s
1,281 goals, Press Trust of India, London,
and enhancing the component of chance; nationalism and the role of the state in 19 March 2012 , http://www.hindustantimes.
in order to keep it popular, the possibility fostering the nation. Increasingly, it is com/CricketSectionPage/Chunk-HT-UI-Asia-
Cup2o i 2 -SachinStories/Tendulkar-s-ioo-cen-
of domination by a country is even being being asserted, that the state needs to turies-as-good-as-as-Pele-s-i-281 -goals/Arti-
undermined. Given such a scenario, one play no role in maintaining the nation, c l e i - 8 2 7 6 7 0 . a s p x , a c c e s s e d o n 22 M a r c h 2012.

wonders what cricket patriotism will

amount to tomorrow.
Sachin Tendulkar’ s 100th century was SAMEEKSHA TRUST BOOKS
undoubtedly a landmark and it was fol­
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Windows o f Opportunity
Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan By K S KRISHNASWAMY
Singh, Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar
A ruminative m em oir by one who saw much happen, and not happen, at a time when everything seem ed
- the nation’ s present leaders and future possible and promising in India.
hopefuls - all sending congratulatory
K S Krishnaswamy was a leading light in the Reserve Bank of India and the Planning Commission between the
messages. While acknowledgement of 1950s and 1970s. He offers a ringside view of the pulls and pressures within the administration and outside it,
the achievement was only expected, the hopes that sustained a majority in the bureaucracy and the lasting ties he form ed with the many he cam e
there was also a sense to be got here of in contact with. Even more relevant is what he has to say about political agendas eroding the Reserve Bank's
national leaders trying to benefit from autonomy and degrading the numerous democratic institutions since the late 1960s.
the occasion. Anyone who seeks influ­
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as embodied in sport rather than in Contact: info@orientblackswan.com
the state and an appropriate sporting
22 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 E3321 Economic & Political w e e k ly

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Gunter Grass and shameful, offensive, shall we say, to the

dignity of every civilised person:

the Anti-Semitism Canard In Iran there is a regime that denies the Hol­
ocaust and calls for the destruction of Israel.
This comparison says very little about Israel
and a great deal about Mr Grass. It is Iran, not
Israel, which poses a threat to world peace.
VINAY LAL It is Iran, not Israel, which threatens to de­
stroy other countries. It is Iran, not Israel,
which supports terror organisations that fire
It is Israel, rather than Gunter unter Grass, some say, has a fond­ missiles on innocent civilians. It is Iran, not

Grass, that has come across

poorly in the recent exchange
following the publication of
G ness for controversy. For many
years, he excoriated his fellow
Germans to come clean about their past
Israel, which supports the massacre that the
Syrian regime is carrying out on its civilians.
It is Iran, not Israel, which stones women,
hangs gay people, and ruthlessly suppresses
and confront the brute facts that might the tens of millions of citizens in its country.
the Grass poem warning about help explain how Germany became the No doubt, the present regime in Iran
the dangers of Israel’
s nuclear seat of the most terrifying machinery of cannot be viewed as other than highly au­
human extermination that the world had thoritarian, though there is no reason to
weapon power. Such responses
ever witnessed. However, not until Grass suppose that the suppression of some
have happened all too often in was nearly 80 years old did he confess freedoms has stifled all dissent, or creati­
the past, and Israel will have to that, as a 17-year-old at end of the war, he vity in art, music, cinema, and literature. It
do more than hide behind those was conscripted into the Waffen-ss, a para­ has not helped Iran that its most public face
military force attached to the Nazi party. is provided by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
gigantic scarlet letters that spell
Grass is in the eye of the storm again, succinctly and not inaccurately described

anti-Semitism”if it is to confront this time with a poem, published in sev­ in Grass’poem as a “ loudmouth”who
the reality of its own demons. eral European newspapers on 4 April earned undying notoriety in the west when
It is a form of totalitarianism to and rendered in English as “ What Must he described the Holocaust as fiction.
Be Said” , that warns the world that Nevertheless, it is impossible to resist
insist that all criticism of Israel
“Israel’s atomic power endangers an the view that Netanyahu protests too
is itself a form of anti-Semitism. already fragile world peace” . Declaring much. However enormous the misgivings
And it is not anti-Semitism but himself sick of “ the W est’ s hypocrisy” one may have about Iran’ s political regime,
rather a visceral hatred and fear Grass hopes that with his poem Iran has never posed a threat to any other
many may be freed country, nor has it launched an attack on
of Islam which is today by far the from their silence, may demand
another nation. Netanyahu is no less
greater problem in the west. that those responsible for the open danger
we face renounce the use o f force, boorish than Ahmadinejad, and it is idle
may insist that the governments of for him, or indeed for any other Zionist,
both Iran and Israel allow an international
to pretend that Israel has not been the
free and open inspection of perpetrator of untold number of atrocities
the nuclear potential and capability of both. against the Palestinians - choking, numb­
Israel has, in consequence, declared ing, and starving them into submission in a
Gunter Grass persona non grata. A once war of gravely disproportionate resources.
eminently diasporic people, formerly scat­ It is no surprise that the list of accusations
tered to the ends of the earth and living hurled against Iran did not include its
their lives in exile until they could claim real or alleged sponsorship of political as­
Palestine as their homeland, have appar­ sassinations, since Israel is likely without
ently surmised that the banishment of Grass peer in its mastery in this department of
from Israel represents the most fitting pun­ covert politics. But there is something else
ishment for the aged but unrepentant poet. underlying the swashbuckling behaviour
of Netanyahu and his predecessors in
Israel’ s Fury high office: Israel has long thought of
Just what, we must surely ask, was Grass’ s itself as the sole democracy in west Asia,
sin? The fury whipped up in Israel, and ringed by unruly Arabs within and hos­
among Israel’ s supporters in the west, tile states beyond; and if on occasion its
points to several considerations. Israel’ s unmitigated repression of Palestinians has
prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, ex­ evoked a mild rebuke from its allies in
VinayLal (ylal@history.ucla.edu) teaches pressed outrage that Grass should have the west, it has nearly always conducted
history at the University of California, Los had the audacity to compare Israel to Iran. itself in world politics with the assurance
Angeles, the United States.
Netanyahu described the comparison as that it may act with impunity. Iran, on the

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other hand, has for an equally long time genocide of millions of Jews disqualifies him even peace activists defending the Separa­
laboured under its reputation in the west as, from criticising the descendants of those
tion Wall and the military build-up as the
Jews for developing a weapon of last resort
in the vocabulary of our times, a “ rogue” unavoidable condition of their secure ex­
that is the insurance policy against someone
state. The nationalism of countries such as finishing the job his organisation began. istence. The future of Jewish identity
Iran has always seemed to many in the What could be more self-evident? struck Gandhi as “ bleak” : too many Jews
west, even those who style themselves For the likes of Grass, there is, quite self- remained “ locked into the Holocaust ex­
liberals, as “problematic” . The nationali­ evidendy, no atonement, no remorse, only perience” , not merely convinced of the ab­
sation of Iran’ s oil industry in 1951 was the certitude of eternal condemnation. solute exceptionality of the Holocaust but
bound to lead to serious repercussions for Yet the poet had clearly anticipated it all: firm in their view that their victimhood
the then prime minister Mohammad But why have I kept silent till now? gives them unique entitlements. The case of
Mossadegh, who would be removed in a Because I thought my own origins, Israel, Gandhi argued,
tarnished by a stain that can never be removed,
coup two years later. His overthrow, or­ is a very good example of [how] a community
meant I could not expect Israel, a land
chestrated by the us’ Central Investigative can overplay a historic experience to the
to which I am, and always will be, attached,
point that it begins to repulse friends...the
Agency and British military intelligence, to accept this open declaration of the truth.
Jews today not only want the Germans to
brought Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, When critiques of Zionism, or of Israel’ s feel guilty but the whole world must regret
whose gratitude to his benefactors would conduct towards Palestinians, cannot be what happened to the Jews.
amply be on display in the decades ahead, adequately answered, there is always the Fast and furious was the response to
to the helm of power. Since the revolution weapon of last resort, the ultimate weapon Arun Gandhi, and in much less than a
of 1979, which installed the mullahs in with which to tarnish the voice of informed week he had been forced to step down as
power, and the subsequent Iranian hos­ democratic and humanistic criticism: the president of the M K Gandhi Institute for
tage crisis, a rather humbling experience charge of anti-Semitism. “ This general Nonviolence. Though Arun Gandhi can­
for the Americans, Iran has effectively been silence on the facts”- the fact, which Israel not be accused of disguising his Nazi
shunned as a “ pariah state”by the west. is in no position to repudiate, and which past, nothing prevented him from being
Grass’ poem has now uncomfortably brandished with the scarlet letters of
The Branding of Iran brought into the limelight, namely, that anti-Semitism.
The countries in the west which for years Israel’s own nuclear programme remains One cannot downplay the persistence
have rallied behind the United States to without supervision, inspection, or verifi­ of anti-Semitism over the centuries, and
declare Iran a “ rogue”state have, histori­ cation, subject to no constraints except it is similarly instructive to what extent a
cally speaking, treated their Jewish popu­ those which its leaders might impose upon forgery such as the “ Protocol of the Elders
lation much worse than did Iran, which themselves in the light of reason - forced of Zion”continues to resonate among
even today has the largest population of Grass’ hand; and it was not without aware­ those who are convinced that the Jews
Jews outside Israel in west Asia. It is barely ness on his part of how the end of the nar­ are uniquely capable of conspiring to en­
necessary to recall, for example, the bar­ rative was foretold. Writes Grass, sure their domination over the w orld’ s
barism of the French, whether with re­ This general silence on the facts, financial markets and the p ow e r elites in
spect to the Jews or their colonial subjects before which my own silence has bowed, the us and Europe. But it is a form of to­
seems to me a troubling, enforced lie,
in Algeria, Indo-China, and elsewhere. On leading to a likely punishment
talitarianism to insist that all criticism of
the received narrative, however, the anti- the moment it’ s broken: Israel is itself a form of anti-Semitism.
Semitism that was so characteristic a fea­ the verdict “Anti-Semitism”falls easily. Even the Jew might not critique Israel; if
ture of European society is a thing of the To consider just how easily the verdict of he or she does so, the Zionists have a
past; indeed, what generally gives western “ anti-Semitism”falls on the critics of phrase for such a person: a self-hating
civilisation its distinct prominence over Israel, let us recall the opprobrium that Jew. Moreover, it is imperative to recog­
other civilisations is its capacity for atone­ Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mohandas nise that in the United States and much of
ment and repentance. It is precisely in this Gandhi and the co-founder and then Europe, it is not anti-Semitism but rather
respect that Grass has been found by president of the M K Gandhi Institute for a visceral hatred and fear of Islam which
Netanyahu and other like-minded yahoos Nonviolence at the University of Roches­ is by far the greater problem. In large
to be severely wanting: as Grass had dis­ ter, had to face when he penned a short swathes of respectable European and us
guised his past for over six decades, he is blog for the Washington Post (20 Janu­ society, the open display of xenophobic
said to have been absolutely stripped of ary 2008) entitled, “ Jewish Identity Can’ t behaviour towards Muslims is not bur­
credibility. Writing for Haaretz, long es­ Depend on Violence” . Though Arun Gan­ dened by the fear of censure.
tablished as the voice of Israeli liberals, dhi recognised that Israel was far from be­ It is Israel, rather than Gunter Grass,
Anshel Pfeffer ponders in a piece entitled ing the only purveyor of violence in that that has come across poorly in this recent
“The Moral Blindness of Gunter Grass” part of the world, he nevertheless thought exchange. This has happened all too often
why “ a highly intelligent man, a Nobel lau­ that “ Israel and the Jews”were the “ big­ in the past, and Israel will have to do more
reate no less”, does not understand that gest players”in promoting the “ culture of than hide behind those gigantic scarlet
his membership in an organisation that violence” . On a visit to Tel Aviv in 2004, letters that spell “ anti-Semitism”if it is to
planned and carried out the wholesale Gandhi wrote, he was surprised to hear confront the reality of its own demons.

24 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 DQB9 Economic & Political w e e k ly

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BJP in Karnataka Gowda, who was his own candidate.

The choice of Sadananda Gowda was
over Shettar, another Lingayat leader.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea Now that the High Court of Karnataka
has struck down one case filed against
him by the Lokayukta, Yeddyurappa is
S H IV A S U N D A R demanding that the high command keep
its promise. But there are still eight
In Karnataka, the Bharatiya he Bharatiya Janata Party ( b j p ) important cases pending against him
Janata Party has been essentially
thriving by working through
caste - specifically on the
T finds itself in an ironic situation
in Karnataka today. It is at once
at the zenith of political power and in
and there is the threat of a possible
Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry
hanging over his head in corruption
a deep organisational morass. In its deals in mining contracts. On the other
consolidated support of upper 32-year history, the party has never hand, the anti-Yeddyurappa faction within
caste Lingayats - and not on enjoyed so many consecutive electoral the party and the Rashtriya Swayam-
successes as it has done in Karnataka sevak Sangh (r s s ) loyalists have rallied
the basis of a broader Hindutva
over the past three years. At the same behind Sadananda Gowda and have
ideology. The irony is that the time, never have the national leaders of impressed upon the high command not
tenets of Lingayat ideology are the “party with a difference”had to face to relent until Yeddyurappa is cleared.
inspired by the liberal humanism so many embarrassments on account of Thus, the central leadership is facing a
intra-party squabbles, scams and scan­ strange situation of finding it difficult to
espoused by the 12th century
dals. It is also a paradox of history that choose between a corrupt politician and
poet-philosopher-reformer B S Yeddyurappa, the b j p stalwart in a clean image.
Basavanna and his followers Karnataka, is pushing the party to the The roots of the present crisis lie in the
and this philosophical position brink. Going by the developments and way the b j p and its ideological benefac­
the very minimal choices that Yeddy­ tor, r s s , compromised with the so-called
is in direct antagonism with the
urappa has left the party with, the party “principles”in the political power game
Hindutva ideology. But then at this juncture can only compromise that has unfolded in Karnataka.

Basava Dharma”as practised either with its existence in the state or The b j p , which had never dreamt of
and preached by most of the with its image. seizing power on its own in the state,
The crisis in the b j p has nothing to had nearly occupied the gaddi on its
Lingayat maths in Karnataka
do with principle and all with an unadul­ own during the 2008 assembly elec­
today is in tune with Hindutva. terated desire to hang on to power. tions, by riding on the sympathy wave in
Yeddyurappa, who faces more scam favour of Yeddyurappa. The earlier 2006
charges than any past chief minister of arrangement in the previous assembly
Karnataka wants to get back to the chief between the Janata Dal (Secular) - j d (s )
m inister’ s seat by threatening the b j p - leader H D Kumaraswamy and Yeddy­
high command of a possible split in the urappa of sharing the chief ministership
party if the gaddi is not given back to him. for 20 months each had been broken by
He was forced to quit the post following the latter, creating a sympathy wave in
a serious indictment by the Lokayukta of the form er’ s favour. (Prior to this arrange­
a misuse of power to favour and profit ment, Kumaraswamy had broken his
himself and after a series of corruption alliance with the Congress to join hands
cases were filed against him by private with Yeddyurappa.) Yeddyurappa took
persons. This was at a time when the b j p the betrayal of the 20-20 formula in the
was claiming the high moral ground in beginning as a personal one. But soon he
its campaign against corruption in the cleverly portrayed it as a betrayal of the
Congress Party at the national level. Lingayats - the dominant community in
The b j p high command had no choice Karnataka to which he belongs - by the
but to persuade him (with great diffi­ Vokkaligas, the community to which
culty) to quit the post with an assurance Kumaraswamy and his father and former
of bringing him back once the charges prime minister H D Deve Gowda belong.
Shivasundar (shivasundar35@gmail com) were cleared. Thus, Yeddyurappa had to This “ betrayal”was also portrayed as
is a journalist based in Bangalore.
vacate the post in favour of Sadananda the continuation of a similar act of
Economic & Political w e e k ly BBS3 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 25

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FROM THE STATES eeeeezt — et

treason by the equally dominant Vokka- The Lingayats had supported the ensure the com m unity’ s support. When
liga community right from the days of Janata Party and later the Janata Dal he was ousted from the chief ministerial
the unification of Karnataka. (jd) under Hegde, a brahmin. There was post and jailed on corruption charges,
An interesting bit of post-independ­ no strong Lingayat support to the b jp many senior pontiffs queued up to meet
ence history is that the unification of the until very recently, which was reflected and “ bless”him.
state was resented by many north Kar­ in its electoral performances. Thus, the success of b jp in Karnataka
nataka Lingayat leaders because of the In the 1983 elections, the b jp won 18 owes largely to the Lingayat voters in
possible domination by the Vokkaligas out of the 110 seats it contested. In the the state. One speculation is that the b jp
who are numerically strong in south Kar­ 1985 and 1989 polls, the party contested could garner 80 to 85% of the Lingayat
nataka. In the post-unification period, 116 and 118 seats, respectively, but man­ votes, and, naturally, Yeddyurappa claims
there has remained a strong feeling aged to win just two and four seats in credit for this. It is because of this social
among Lingayat leaders that the Vokka- the two elections. Later the Janata Dal support base behind him that the ex­
liga and other non-Lingayat leaders of split and Deve Gowda became its chief. chief minister is forcing the high com­
the Congress have consistently denied Hegde, whom the Lingayats considered mand to overlook corruption cases and
them political positions, including the their leader, was expelled from Gowda’ s put him back in the chief m inister’ s
chief ministership. Thus, once Kumara- party. The jd (s) in Karnataka, in spite of gaddi. Even when he was in prison on
swamy refused to hand over the chief having charismatic Lingayat leaders like corruption charges, in an open mark of
ministership to Yeddyurappa at the end J H Patel and M P Prakash, was identified rebellion he dissuaded his loyalists from
of 20 months of jd ( s) rule, all these fac­ with Deve Gowda and the Vokkaligas. attending the anti-corruption jatha of
tors were given much play during the And the Lingayats who were hitherto L KAdvani in Bangalore.
2008 elections. The numerically strong with H egde’ s Dal shifted their loyalty to
Lingayats consolidated in favour of the the bjp. The outcome was dramatic. In Hindutva or Basava Dharma?
b j p through Yeddyurappa. 1999, the party contested 144 seats and In Karnataka the Hindutva party has
won 44 seats. Yeddyurappa was elected been essentially thriving on the consoli­
Lingayats and the BJP state president of the b jp during this dated support of upper caste Lingayats
In fact, the journey of the Lingayats period for the second time, the first was and not on the basis of a broader Hin­
towards the b jp and away from the Con­ a short term during 1988. During the dutva ideology. But the irony is that the
gress had started right from the days of 2004 elections the b jp contested in all tenets of Lingayat ideology are inspired
the iconic chief minister, Devaraj Urs, the 224 constituencies and won a record by the liberal humanism espoused
who brought in a radical shift in the 79 seats. Though its vote share was less by the 12th century poet-philosopher-
caste configuration in the corridors of than that of the Congress, it emerged as reformer Basavanna and his followers.
power by promoting the non-Lingayat, the single biggest party in the house. This philosophical position is in direct
non-Vokkaliga Other Backward Classes Most of the new members among the 79 antagonism with the Hindutva ideology.
(obcs) le a d e r s in th e le g isla tu r e a n d in b j p m l a s were from the north Karna­ But the “ Basava Dharma”that is prac­
the Congress. He was also instrumental taka belt and were Lingayats. tised and preached by most of the
in bringing in a better, though not radi­ Thus, Yeddyurappa had already Lingayat maths in Karnataka today is
cal, version of land reforms in the state carved his own constituency within the in tune with Hindutva. Nevertheless,
which challenged the hegemony of party by 2004 by nurturing and consoli­ given the choice between the b jp and
upper caste feudal elements. This had dating the Lingayat vote bank. After Yeddyurappa, most of the maths have
induced a dynamic in the state which coming to power in 2008, he started given the hint that they would choose
resulted in feudal upper caste elements mobilising the “ blessings”of pontiffs of Yeddyurappa.
moving away from the Congress. Lingayat maths. To this end, he even When Sadananda Gowda, blessed by
When the then Janata Party, under pumped more than Rs 300 crore directly the high command, refused to play the
the leadership of Ramakrishna Hegde, from the state exchequer into the insti­ mythical Bharata and return the throne
emerged as a political alternative to the tutions run by the maths, under the to Yeddyurappa when he came back
Congress in the state, most of the north budget head of “ Social and Cultural from his forced political vanavasa, the
Karnataka Lingayat feudal elements Expenses” . The Lingayat maths in Kar­ Lingayat leaders and m la s in the party
drifted towards the Janata Party. Even nataka wield strong social, cultural and openly defied the party and assembled
though A K Subbaiah, the firebrand economic power in the community, in in a resort to declare their allegiance to
crusader against corruption, was the particular, and in society at large. They Yeddyurappa rather than the party.
president of the b jp in the early 1980s (he run hospitals, education institutes, pro­ There were about 65 m la s in the resort
was subsequently thrown out of the party vide employment and control day-to-day with him, most of whom were either
for working against the r s s ideology), social life of the community in a signifi­ Lingayats or the “ migrant” leaders
and there were Lingayat leaders like cant way. Thus, enlisting this social base brought into the b jp through the infa­
B B Shivappa and Yeddyurappa, the b jp still to wield political power was another mous “ Operation Kamala”that had been
had the image of a brahmin-baniya party. strategy employed by Yeddyurappa to devised by him. On the other hand,
26 A p r il 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 (BBSS Economic & Political w e e k ly

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Vokkaliga leaders like R Ashok (home to the Election Commission's own become detrimental to the unity of the
minister) and D B Changre Gowda (an admission, it was Karnataka’ s poll which b j p and its very existence as a powerful
erstwhile Congress leader who is now a was most corrupt during the 2008 elec­ party in Karnataka.
Yeddyurappa loyalist), disassociated them­ tions in the country. In Bellary constituency This has already begun to have
selves from this group. Other Vokkaliga alone, from where the Reddy brothers an impact. In the recent Udupi-
leaders in the party sided with Sadan- hail, Rs 47 crore (during the 2008 assem­ Chikkamagalur bye-election, the Con­
anda Gowda in a clear exhibition of a bly elections) and Rs 27 crore (during gress wrested the seat from the bjp. This
divide on caste lines. While Linagayat the 2009 parliamentary elections) were defeat is significant because unlike in
religious leaders openly condemned the confiscated. The business partner of Gali north Karnataka, this constituency in
b j p high command and threatened Janardhan Reddy (the former tourism coastal Karnataka has always been an
grave consequences in the next elections minister), Sriramulu belongs to the ideological vote base for the bjp. The
if the party did not return the chief min­ Valmiki caste which has a significant Congress won with a convincing and
isterial post to Yeddyurappa, Vokkaliga numerical strength in central districts of hefty margin of 48,000 votes.
religious leaders and organisations, on the state. During the 2008 elections, this In Karnataka, scam-tainted Yeddyur­
their part, spoke of dire consequences if additional vote base also helped the appa’ s hunger for power has provided
Vokkaliga Sadananda Gowda was sacri­ b jp to win not less than 30 to 40 seats. fodder for a series of s m s jokes and
ficed for Yeddyurappa! The caste alliance of Lingayat-Valmiki- spoofs. But the caste polarisation that this
These fissures on caste lines in the party Madigaas (the last being a prominent kind of politics has brought in has made it
are going to cost the b j p dear even if the dalit caste wooed by the b jp with the impossible for the b jp high command to
present crisis is tided over. These devel­ assurance of internal reservations) has take any decisive action. This will con­
opments have raised fundamental ques­ also worked for the b j p till now. But now tinue to haunt the party for a long time to
tions about the feasibility or sustainability that the Reddy brothers along with come, even if he is reinstated as chief
of b jp in Karnataka as a Hindutva-based Sriramulu have drifted away from the minister in the event of the Supreme
national party which claims to rise above b jp and formed their own party, the b jp Court ruling against a c b i inquiry.
caste considerations. is facing serious problems. The tragedy of Karnataka is that there
Thus, a host of factors which the b jp is no viable opposition of comparatively
Operation Kamala used in the name of seizing power - like better value which would take the bene­
The Operation Kamala strategy of the sympathy, caste and money factors fit of the opportunity, and convincingly
Yeddyurappa, which then had the full and the politics of caste alliance - have and politically defeat the bjp.
blessings of the r s s and the high com­
mand, is also taking its toll. Yeddyurappa’
government in 2008 which could win
only 110 seats (three short of a simple
majority) resorted not only to buying the REVIEW OF RURAL AFFAIRS
support of independents but also made
January 28,2012
several elected m l a s from the jd (s) and
Congress resign and join the bjp. This
Agrarian Transition and Emerging Challenges - P K Viswanathan, Gopal B Thapa,
was a unique strategy followed by the
in Asian Agriculture: A Critical Assessment Jayant K Routray, Mokbul M Ahmad
b jp in Karnataka after the anti-defec­
tion bill became law. In the bye-elections Institutional and Policy Aspects of Punjab Agriculture:

that followed, b jp spent crores to get the A Smallholder Perspective - Sukhpal Singh
defectors re-elected which again had the Khap Panchayats: A Socio-Historical Overview - Ajay Kumar
sanction of the high command and the Rural Water Access: Governance and Contestation
r s s . For this reason too, the claims of in a Semi-Arid Watershed in Udaipur, Rajasthan - N C Narayanan, Lalitha Kamath
both the r s s and the b jp to the moral Panchayat Finances and the Need for Devolutions
high ground sound hollow.
from the State Government - Anand Sahasranaman
Lastly, apart from sympathy and the
Temporary and Seasonal Migration:
Lingayat card that helped b j p ’ s winning
Regional Pattern, Characteristics and Associated Factors - Kunal Keshri, R B Bhagat
performance in 2008, the black money
of the “ Reddy brothers” , earned from the
For copies write to:
plunder iron ore resources of the state,
Circulation Manager,
was also used lavishly for not only the
Economic and Political Weekly,
elections of 2008 but also for the 11
320-321, A to Z Industrial Estate, Ganpatrao Kadam Marg,
bye-polls after Operation Kamala, re-
Lower Parel, Mumbai 400 013.
elections and local body elections in
email: circulation@epw.in
which the b jp was victorious. According

Economic&PoliticalwEEKLY B 2Q A p r il 2 8 , 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 27

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Citizens of an ‘
Undercity’ people, only six have permanent jobs
and where “ old India collided with new
India and made new India late” .
Through the absorbing although often
K ALPA NA S H A R M A tragic stories of these individuals. Boo
has constructed the tale of a globalising
nequality has become almost a cliche B O O K R E V IE W city, where those who live off its discards

I in Indian cities. Fancy high-rise buil­

dings juxtaposed next to ugly slums,
some people defecating in the open
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and
Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
(New Delhi: Penguin Books), 2012; pp 254, Rs 499.
are themselves discarded. Yet, it is also a
story of enterprise as much as tragedy, of
corruption that eats the poor and power
along railway tracks even as others rush that corrupts even the poor, of dreams
by in their bm w s, luxury goods and junk that are never fulfilled and of night­
food being sold in glitzy malls even as side of the story, one that exposes the mares that occur with frightening regu­
children and adults rummage through falseness of this dominant rhetoric. And larity. It is a story that haunts you long
huge garbage piles looking for food. We it is not just the detailed gaze of the after you reach the last page.
have seen all this. There are movies writer. But also the fact that she has suc­ The author undertook four years of
made about this. Yet, is there something ceeded in constructing her research into dogged, persistent research before she
more to say, or another way of saying it? a narrative that reads like fiction, but is wrote this book. She observed and fol­
Is there a way that journalists can tell firmly rooted in well-researched facts. It lowed the characters in her book, noted
the story of the mismatch between glit­ is this that makes the book different. It is where and how they worked, where they
tering globalisation and the inability of this that makes even the sceptical reader, lived, their fights their friendships. But she
millions to survive until the next day? one who might feel she already knows also used the Right to Information Act to
Katherine Boo, the Pulitzer Prize winner this story, realise that knowing facts and get information. She scoured govern­
staff writer of The New Yorker, has chosen feeling for the people caught in the mid­ ment documents to understand, to sub­
narrative non-fiction to tell, what to many dle of the cauldron that is urban poverty stantiate what she heard. She followed
who live in a city like Mumbai is an obvious are two very different things. the highest standards of a researcher and
story. She tells us of the inequality and Journalism is a strange craft. You are a reporter. And then she used her felici­
the injustice but through the lives of taught to note detail. You are taught not tous pen to produce a book about which
individuals we will never know so inti­ to take anything for granted. You are very little is wrong.
mately. She translates their hopes and taught to double-check everything. Yet, Through Abdul’ s story you learn about
their dreams into words that flesh them so often journalists begin to believe they the waste trade. The author conveys how
out not as caricatures but as citizens of already know the story. As a result, they the criminal justice system is weighed
the “ undercity”that those who live in skip over detail, finding it either uninter­ against the poor, the role of politics in
the “overcity”will never really know. esting or tedious. They fail to listen care­ their lives, how caste and community
fully, thereby missing out important matter and yet do not when everyone is
Writing with a Difference nuances in what people say. And when fighting for survival and how in the new
To tell this story, Katherine Boo has chosen speaking to the poor in particular, this India there is little or no place for those
to study in close detail notjust any slum in a sense of knowing everything becomes without material assets.
city that has been sometimes called Slumbai, even stronger, leading to paraphrasing
and not just any group of slum-dwellers. what they “ hear”the poor saying with­ Too Many Elements?
She has chosen Annawadi, located next out actually taking the trouble to convey As you read on, you wonder how a
to the city’ s gleaming international air­ exactly what has been said. Often it blonde, blue-eyed, rather frail American
port and surrounding five star hotels. takes an outsider, someone who does not woman could enter the minds of the
And her gaze is fixed on the people at the take anything for granted, like Katherine denizens of Annawadi. Boo gives a little
very bottom of the scale of those who are Boo, to make you realise that what you bit of an explanation at the end, but in
already at the bottom - waste pickers, or thought you knew you really did not. her understated style. In fact, this book
“scavengers”as she chooses to call them. is a tribute to the power of the under­
Perhaps to chip away at the false sheen Story o f Annawadi statement. When the reality is what it is
of the constant and sweeping genera­ The book is the story of Abdul, the waste for boys like Abdul, you have no need to
lisations that accompany talk of globali­ dealer, Sunil, the waste picker, Asha, overstate. It is dramatic enough in its
sation and making Mumbai a “ global, the woman with a political gleam in her bare facts. Indeed, everyday in slums
financial capital” , it is precisely this kind eye, and an assortment of other equally like Annawadi is filled with drama -
of close, uncomfortable, detailed view fascinating characters who populate most of it played out in the open as there
that is needed to bring home the other Annawadi, a place where out of 3,000 is no place to hide.
28 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 [3223 Economic & Political w e e k ly

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If there is anything one can criticise For Indian readers, the use of the term tells his friend Abdul, “ Always I was
about the book it is the author’ s efforts to “scavenger”would also probably jar as it thinking how to try to make my life
bring in too many elements. She tries, for has a specific connotation. Yet, you soon nicer, more okay, and nothing got better.
instance, through the life of Asha to bring realise that the author is referring to So now I’ m going to try to do it the other
in farmers’ suicides in Vidarbha and rural- people we call ragpickers or waste-col­ way. No thinking how to make anything
urban migration. She brings in some gen­ lectors. You soon forget the terminology better, just stopping my mind, then who
eral observations about India’ s economic as you follow Sunil as he searches for knows? Maybe then something good
policy in an effort to give context to the anything he can sell, is willing to perch could happen.”
story. Yet given the power of the rest of precariously on a ledge to collect a few
the narrative, this was possibly not needed. discarded aluminium cans and who Email: kalpanasharma@epw.in

Gandhism in the UK and US the us, the communities organised

around the African-American church
were significant to the extension of the
Gandhian way.
USHA THAKKAR This volume is a result of careful
research and brings together a huge
he quest for truth by non-violent amount of rich and useful material on

Gandhi in the West: The Mahatma and the
means, opposition against exploi­ Rise of Radical Protest by Sean Scalmer (NewDelhi: Gandhi in the west that includes jour­
tation and inequality in all forms, Cambridge University Press), 2011; pp v i+ 24 8 (hardcover), nalistic and literary writings, books,
Rs 795.
efforts for development of all in society memoirs, photographs and political com­
and striving for the full civic engage­ ments. It draws from a wide variety of
ment of citizens are Gandhian princi­ Left” ) stretched only from the late 1950s sources. Based on the study of article
ples that never fail to attract the atten­ to the mid-1960s. The movements for accounts registered in the relevant data­
tion of scholars and activists. Many like civil rights in the us and the anti­ bases for newspaper coverage in the New
Lanza del Vasto, Martin Luther King Jr, nuclear campaign in the u k during the York Times, Chicago Daily Tribune, and
Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi 1960s were important factors that re­ The Times, the author shows the high
acknowledge Gandhi as their inspiration. shaped western politics. The author traces points of such coverage. To quote him.
Many involved in the struggles against their history to an earlier generation’ s Western press coverage of Gandhi is like a
colonialism and exploitation all over struggles to understand and emulate mountain shelf: a sudden and small peak
the world evoke his name. Gandhi’ s ideas and activities. The author in the early 1920s; a deep valley; a tower­
ing summit over 1929-32, perhaps double
is aware that it is not possible to make an
the size of its nearest neighbours; an incom­
Transnational Gandhism in-depth study of Gandhi’ s global influ­ plete fall; a plateau; and then a smaller peak
Though Gandhi himself did not approve ence in a single volume. So he wisely in the early 1940s, lasting until Gandhi’ s
of “Gandhism” , it has survived in myriad limits it to the history of Gandhism in the death in 1948. Each peak relates to a period
of popular struggle for Swaraj: the ‘ non-
forms reflected in the expressions and u k and the us and justifies this selection
cooperation’movement from 1919, the Salt
work of millions ranging from Nobel Prize on the grounds of engagement, connec­ Satyagraha from 1930, and the ‘ Quit India’
winners to ordinary persons across cul­ tion, influence and comparability. The campaign launched in 1942 (p 44).
tures and countries. As Scalmer points u k was the colonial power Gandhi protes­
out, the transnational career of Gandhism ted against; and the us was among the Image of Gandhi in the West
is a history not just of individuals and first to recognise his significance while The book begins with the initial image
nations, but also of connections, cam­ the engagement of African-Americans of Gandhi as formulated in the u k and
paigns and international flows. Scholars was important in the subsequent career us. Gandhi is shown by the media as a
like Leonard A Gordon, Sudarshan Kapur, of Gandhism. The historical connections person with an ugly face, emaciated
Thomas Weber, and Dennis Dalton have between these two powers as well as with frame, protruding ears and with an
worked on some aspects. However a India are important. Campaigns with a “effeminate”quality - a subject who is a
major, comparative and long-term study Gandhian tinge emerged in both societies cartoonist’s delight. His display of his
of “ transnational Gandhism” has not - initially Am erica’ s civil rights move­ body, the diet and fasts, the squatting
been done so far. And this is precisely ment and, later, a British campaign and loincloth are subjects of criticism
what Scalmer successfully has done in against nuclear weapons. The similari­ and ridicule. He is fitted in within a well
this book. ties and differences between the two also developed racial hierarchy; his lustrous
This book explores the questions allow for comparison. It is interesting to eyes and unusual personality also make
regarding Gandhi and the west in a parti­ note that in Britain, non-conformist and some see him as a particular kind of
cular context. The summer of satya- mostly middle class Christians were Oriental: spiritual, child-like, feminine
graha (more often called “ the first New Gandhi’ s keenest supporters, while in and poor. It is interesting to note that

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Gandhi’ s body has been studied by Man of the Year in 1930 and as shown of Gandhi within Hindu traditions and
scholars like Alter (2000), and his dress by the author the New York Times pub­ his concerns regarding western philo­
by Tarlo (1996). The west took a long lished more than 500 articles that refer­ sophy have been deftly analysed by
time to understand and respond to Gan­ enced the Mahatma that year (p 27). Bhikhu Parekh (1995). Vinay Lai (2009)
dhi’s political ideas and activities. The Writers have found him to be an inter­ has explored important issues related to
news about Gandhi that reached the esting subject. The first biography of Gandhi and the west. It was only after
west was slow, piecemeal, and often dis­ Gandhi M K Gandhi: An Indian Patriot in several decades of intellectual exploration
torted. For decades he was depicted by South Africa was written by Joseph that the westerners began to experiment
the newspapers there as a kind of agita­ K Doke in 1909. Romain Rolland publi­ with satyagraha. It was not easy for them
tor. He was also interpreted as a naive shed the first major biography Mahatma to understand Gandhi’ s terminology of
fool or a person challenging authority Gandhi: The Man Who Became One with words like satyagraha; he was develop­
in a deliberate and even intimidating the Universal Being in 1924. Gandhi him­ ing new concepts and new words. The lit­
manner. Gandhi’ s friends in the west self wrote The Story of My Experiments eral meaning of the term satyagraha and
attempted to reply by questioning the with Truth. The list of other notable writ­ expressions like “ passive resistance”and
misleading headlines, and by writing ers on Gandhi and his work includes “non-resistance”proved to be inadequate
and lecturing in Britain and the us. John Haynes Holmes, Millie Polak, to convey the meaning of satyagraha. The
More importantly, Gandhi himself acted Muriel Lester, Reginald Reynolds and need for a far more complicated quest for
as a competent journalist and writer. Louis Fischer. Early influential books in intercultural communication and under­
Correspondents like Webb Miller the west on his political programmes are standing was consequently felt.
and William Shirer, Negley Farson, Richard G regg’ s Power of Non-violence Gandhians in the west started their
E Ashmead-Bartlett, and Robert Ber- (1934) and Krishnalal Shridharani’ s War experiments in the middle of the 20th
nays covered Gandhi and his move­ without Violence (1939). century. In Britain they lay down on
ments. Webb M iller’ s evocative accounts footpaths and squatted at military gates.
of the satyagrahis being beaten ap­ Satyagraha in the West At the close of 1951, Hugh Brock, stalwart
peared in more than 1,300 newspapers Gandhi owed to both the traditions - of the Peace Pledge Union and editor of its
around the world. Time named him Hindu as well as the western. The location mouthpiece Peace News, had announced


Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla 171005
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30 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 E3353 Economic & Political w e e k ly

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plans for a non-violent struggle in the growing number of friends. Increasingly, Gandhi presents a radically different
uk, named “ Operation Gandhi” , appealing media attention, the elicitation of pub­ paradigm through his movements and
to the British people’ s conscience. The licity and pressure became important. inspires introspection as well as action,
Aldermaston anti-nuclear marches with Gradually the simple events of peaceful often questioning prevalent axioms and
tens of thousands could not be ignored. protest and sacrifice were relegated to practices. His alternatives have not lost
Am erica’ s non-violent pioneers began the middle pages of the newspaper and their constructive elements. The author
their journey almost a decade or so television also lost interest. traces some history of Gandhism as it
earlier than their British comrades. In The author succinctly observes that was received in the west. In his own
Chicago, members of the new Congress though the Mahatma himself was dis­ words, his aim is “ recuperative, but also
of Racial Equality (co re) , schooled in placed from the public mind, his influ­ political”. Through revisiting the past, it
the Fellowship of Reconciliation, pledged ence lingered in three important ways. becomes possible to gather resources for
themselves to eliminate all racial segre­ First, Gandhism survived in the activity the present. And, in chronicling the
gation and discrimination, and called of veteran experimenters, a few of whom complicated and transnational history of
their method interracial and direct non­ became advisers in the new era of mass “satyagraha, we might learn not simply
violent action. The movement for African- action. Second, it was reproduced by the how to understand the world, but per­
American civil rights gained strength. A presence of non-violent institutions, many haps also the means to change it (p 8).
boycott of segregated buses in Mont­ newly formed that sponsored protests, The ways of understanding the world
gomery, Albana began in December 1955, and trained participants. Third, it can be are not easy; the means to change are
when 50,000 residents united under the traced through the choreography of the even more difficult. However, the efforts
leadership of Martin Luther King Jr from protests themselves. The assumptions have to continue and in that context,
February i960, a “ sit-in” movement were the same as expressed by Gandhi this book about a rather unexplored part
spread from Greensboro, North Carolina and later translated by Richard Gregg: of history is helpful.
and within a month, mass protests had offering of a direct appeal, willingness
jumped the borders of seven states. to suffer, necessity of non-violence and Usha Thakkar (ushathakkar@yahoo.com) is
the belief that love would convert. The with the Institute of Research on Gandhian
Thought and Rural Development, Mani Bhavan
Discontinuities, Continuities author perceptively observes that though
Gandhi Sangrahalaya, Mumbai.
and Legacy the mass protests of the 1960s were
As the westerners made efforts to apply bigger and more exhilarating, and less
Gandhism, they realised that the situa­ identifiably Gandhian than their pre­
Emma, Tarlo (1996 ): Clothing Matters: Dress and
tion required adaptation. This required cursors, they did not mark a complete Identity in India (Chicago: University of
new terms and forms and performances, break with what had gone before. On Chicago Press).
leading to a rethinking and even reshap­ the contrary, the continuities with earli­ Joseph, S Alter (2000 ): Gandhi's Body: Sex, Diet,
and the Politics of Nationalism (Philadelphia:
ing of the Mahatma’ s techniques. Slowly er years were personal, organisational University of Pennsylvania Press).
the scene changed. The author shows ef­ and performative (p 178). And as he Parekh, Bhikhu (1995): Gandhi's Political Philo­
fectively that the character of non-vio­ says, “ For the historian looking back sophy: A Critical Examination (Delhi: Ajanta
Publications), 1st Indian edition.
lent performance was altered in three from a longer distance, however, the
Vinay, Lai (2009 ): Gandhi's West, the West's Gandhi,
important ways: size, tactics, and suffer­ continuities impress much more than New Literary History, Vol 4 0 , No 2 , Spring,
ing. The new protests became larger the departures”(p 204). 281-313-
than their precursors. It was realised

that greater numbers were more
effective. The character and spirit of
non-violent protests were also subject to
change. Increasingly, activists appro­
ached non-violence as a tactic or a tech­ March 5,2011
nique, not as a complete philosophy. India and the ILO in Historical Perspective - Sabyasachi Bhattacharya,

The demonstrations of the early 1960s J Krishnamurty, Gerry Rodgers

were marked by shouting, foul language India, the ILO and the Quest for Social Justice since 1919 - Gerry Rodgers
and threats; these were very different Indian Officials in the ILO, 1919-c 1947 - J Krishnamurty
from the earlier ways of erect bearings, Employment in Development: Connection
silent passage and respectable dress. between Indian Strategy and ILO Policy Agenda - TS Papola

The place and importance of voluntary Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work: India and the ILO - Kamala Sankaran

suffering also changed. Now it was not in For copies write to:
the hope of conversion but for com­ Circulation Manager,
manding the attention of the mass media. Economic and Political Weekly,
Non-violent acts offered a chance to 320-321, A to Z Industrial Estate, Ganpatrao Kadam Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai 400 013.
email: circulation@epw.in
expose an enemy, and thereby to win a

Economic & Political w e e k ly E3323 a p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 31

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Delhi Water Supply Reforms of course, not unique to Delhi, ppps in

water supply and sanitation have been
promoted by the central government
Public-Private Partnerships and various state governments and have

or Privatisation? been implemented in other urban cen­

tres in the country like Hubli-Dharwad
(Karnataka) and Nagpur (Maharash­
tra). The recently released Draft Nation­
SUJITH KOONAN, PREETI SAMPAT_________ al Water Policy 2012 also envisages the
minimisation of the government’ s role in
The manner of implementation of ramatic reforms are being quietly water services and promotes the in­
water supply reforms in three
areas of Delhi based on the
public-private partnership model
D introduced in water supply ser­
vices in Delhi. The reforms focus
on increasing the “ efficiency”and “ fi­
volvement of private parties through the
ppp model, encouraging the commer­
cialisation of water services ( g o i 2012).
nancial sustainability”of the water sup­ At the same time, however, the funda­
has been a quiet and secret affair ply utility by reducing non-revenue wa­ mental right to water1 is a part of the
without proactive consultations ter (nrw) and involving the private sec­ right to life under the Constitution of
tor in various activities. The Delhi Jal India. Though the fundamental right to
with the people of the project
Board (djb), the agency responsible for water is not explicitly recognised under
areas. This account of the Delhi water supply in Delhi, is implementing the Constitution, it is made part of the
reforms examines the documents three pilot projects on a public-private fundamental right to life by the Supreme
of one of the three ppps and asks partnership (ppp) basis and has intro­ Court of India and various high court
duced a number of reforms including judgments.2 At the international level,
questions about the manner in
outsourcing of meter reading and bill­ the human right to water is recognised
which the projects are unfolding, ing, privatisation of tanker water supply under a number of binding as well as
the roles of the Delhi Jal Board and the appointment of three special non-binding instruments such as Con­
and private entities as envisaged magistrates to deal with cases of “ unau­ vention on the Elimination of All Forms
thorised”use of water. of Discrimination against Women 1979
in the pp ps, as well as the overall
The attempt to involve private compa­ and United Nations General Assembly
implications for the right to water. nies in water supply is not new in Delhi. Resolution on the Human Right to Water
The d j b had commissioned the “ Delhi and Sanitation 2010 (for a more detailed
Water Supply and Sewerage Project Prep­ account of national and international in­
aration Study”in 2002 to Price Water­ struments for the right to water relevant
house Coopers (pwc) with the assistance to India see Cullet and Koonan (2011)).
of the World Bank. Vibrant campaign acti­ It is in this context that the implica­
vity by citizen groups and d j b employees tions of the reforms introduced in the
exposed the strong-arm tactics of the water supply services in Delhi need to be
World Bank in ensuring the award of the examined. What follows is a critical
consultancy contract to pw c; serious flaws account of the implementation of ppps in
in the design and cost of the project pro­ Delhi. We examine in detail the docu­
posed by p w c; and the proposal to hire pri­ ments for one of the three ppps - the
vate management consultants for ostensi­ Malviya Nagar ppp - and believe that the
bly improving service delivery efficiency, issues and concerns emerging in its im­
thereby raising water tariffs across the plementation are likely to be applicable
city. While the exposure of the details of to the other two ppps underway (and
the project led to a massive uproar that any others likely to be taken up in the
eventually resulted in a shelving of the future by the djb). We raise key ques­
project in 2005, what the d jb is now imple­ tions regarding the ppps, including the
Sujith Koonan (sujithkoonan@gmail.com ) is a
law researcher working on water and
menting in the form of ppps has a lot of manner in which the projects are un­
sanitation issues. Preeti Sampat (preeti. overlap in the objectives and intent of the folding, the roles of the d j b and private
sampat@gmail.com) is a doctoral candidate at shelved project of 2005 (for more details on entities as envisaged in the ppps and the
the City University of New York, the United the 2005 project see Parivartan (2005)). overall implications for the right to
States, working on community rights over
The outsourcing of the responsibility water, and hence the right to life for all
of water supply to private companies is, people in Delhi.3 Our analysis is based
32 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 E3323 Economic & Political w e e k ly

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on information collected from the d j b an “ efficiency improvement plan for For the p p p consultancies, tenders
through right to information (r t i ) appli­ [the] existing water supply infrastruc­were invited from firms with relevant
cations, web searches and meetings with ture”with “ expertise, i e, prior involvement in simi­
reduction in water losses”
concerned d j b officials. This has been a and by “ lar projects elsewhere in the country. Of
improving [the] energy effi­
process of discovery and learning for us ciency of the system” the three p p p s , in Malviya Nagar, d r a
, the d j b claims it
and we have retained many technical has undertaken the p p p pilot projectsConsultancy Services has been awarded
terms in an attempt to demystify them. “ to improve and revamp the existing the consultancy for “ Reduction of n r w /
water supply system” u f w [unaccounted for water] with Im­
.4 Given existing
PPP Pilot Projects “ losses” provement in Level of Service to the Wa­
, the d j b notes that any incre­
In January 2011, media reports regard­ mental addition to water availability ter Consumers and Improvement of Un­
ing the privatisation of water supply in would amount to “ interrupted Water Supply under the
filling a leaking
Delhi by the d j b began to appear. bucket”and such increments through command area of g r & b p s , 5 Malviya
Intrigued by the newspaper reports, the big dam projects are expensive and Nagar” ; in Vasant Vihar Jalakam Solu­
authors along with some others filed r t i time-consuming propositions. Thus the tions has been awarded the consultancy
applications with the d j b for details on need for the reduction of water losses for “p p p Project for reduction in n r w and
any privatisation projects undertaken by Improvement in Service Standards to
(i e, n r w ) is emphasised along with im­
the d j b and were informed in a reply proved management of distribution. The ensure uninterrupted Water Supply in
dated 13 July 2011 (r t i document availa­ Vasant Vihar”
d j b maintains that private sector entities ; while in Nangloi a consult­
ble with the authors): ant is yet to be appointed for “
will deliver these priorities efficiently Improve­
There is no such proposal for privatisation of
and is hence entering into p p p s such that and Revamping of Existing Water
water supply in Delhi. There are three pro­ Supply, Transmission and Distribution
the assets are owned by the d j b , while
posals] under preparation with the name of Network under the Command area of
operation and maintenance (o & m ) is the
Public-Private Partnership (p p p ) to improve responsibility of private entities. Nangloi Water Treatment Plant, Delhi” .
service delivery and achieve 2 4 x 7 water
The titles of these consultancy contracts
The detailed project report (d r a and
supply system on Public-Private Partnership
(ppp) basis.
again underline the overwhelming con­
s t c 2011: 115-16) prepared by the con­

sensus regarding the concerns o f the d j b

sultants for the Malviya Nagar p p p ex­
The r t i reply gave the details of the plains that “ real losses”in water supply
for entering into these p p p s : (a) reduction
three pilot p p p s as follows: occur because of a number of reasons: in n r w , and (b) improvement of uninter­
(i) Vasant Vihar and adjoining area - rupted water supply.6
Leaks at raw water transmission, Evapora­
water distribution system. tion losses, Water treatment losses, Leaks/ The Malviya Nagar consultancy con­
(ii) Malviya Nagar u g r (Underground seepage of reservoirs, Overflow of reservoirs, tract was for Rs 285 lakh. The objec­
Reservoir) and its command area. Leakages of distribution mains, Leakages tives of the contract are telling in their
(iii) Nangloi (Water Treatment Plant). from valves and air valves, Leakages from detailed and long-term scope: to esta­
service connections up to meter, and Leak­
To the query “ Are these projects blish baseline conditions through a
ages in consumer premises after the meter.
wholly or partly in continuation with detailed study including an evaluation
the Delhi Water Supply and Sewerage It adds that “ apparent losses”of water of the present water supply system with
P roject 2005? If yes, please provide supply also occur because of “ violations” respect to underground reservoirs,
details of these continuing components of the water supply service rules and may transmission and distribution network;
or features,”we got the reply: “ No such involve “ illegal”connections to the net­ bulk and consumer metering; creating
information is available” . work, “ illegal reconnections”after dis­ a consumer database for all categories;
connection for non-payment and tamper­ identification of unauthorised use and
Rationale for PPP ing with metres. The p p p s are thus de­ 100% measuring through good metres.
The d j b estimates the current popula­ signed with the expectation of reducing The contract also covers formulating a
tion of Delhi at 190 lakh, expected to the n r w in Delhi from the current 65% to system improvement plan; building
rise to 230 lakh by 2021. The city is 15% in five to eight years! The d j b notes and calibration of a network model
spread over 1,484 sq km and rapidly that “ enormous”investment is required with techno-economic investigations;
urbanising. The present water supply in for this which is not likely to be raised by rehabilitation work; reducing n r w
the city managed by the d j b is 810 mil­ the public sector alone and requires the from the existing over 60% to 15% in
lion gallons per day (m g d ) and it caters involvement of the private sector. The five to eight years; feasibility study for
to a population of 160 lakh. While 30 extent of private sector involvement the p p p s and the preparation of a de­
lakh of the population are without for­ through the p p p s in the case of Malviya tailed project report (d p r ) in the Jawa-
mal water supply services, the d j b notes Nagar covers the following activities: harlal Nehru National Urban Renewal
that a large quantum of water is “ lost” (1) project feasibility studies; (2) project en­ Mission (j n n u r m ) format; getting nec­
due to various reasons and the share gineering design; (3) specialised survey; essary approvals at the state and central
of n r w stands at 65% of the city’ s (4) construction works; (5) supervision levels; assistance in pre-bid meetings,
entire water supply. Having prepared consultant; and (6) quality assurance. clarifications, tendering, evaluation and
Economic & Political weekly OSES Ap r il 28, 2012 v o l x l v ii n o 17 33

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award process of the tender with a second phase with the submission of the service level (24x7 water supply) and
transition period framework; stake­ d p r by the consultant, while the Nangloi this requires reforms in three areas:
holder participation in planning and p p p is still in a nascent stage. The bid­

implementation for proper disclosure ding process for the Malviya Nagar p p p (1) Supply-side Management: Ensuring
and consultation with all stakeholders; project is now ongoing and likely to be the adequacy of supply and the repair
developing a legal structure for the per­ finalised by the middle of 2012. and rehabilitation of infrastructure to
formance management and regulatory reduce water leakage.
structure; and project management con­ Proposed PPP in Malviya Nagar
sultancy with performance assessment. The p p p covers an area of 14 sq km com­ (2) Demand-side Management: Impo­
prising 26 medium to large colonies (ex­ sition of water charges as per consump­
Table 1: Project Population Details
SNo Name of Colony Population cluding Indira Gandhi National Open tion; efficient metre reading and billing
1 M alviya N agar 27,454* University (i g n o u )). According to the system; proactive connection policy for
2 Saket 40 ,9 9 7 household survey conducted by the con­ unconnected population; and preven­
3 Shivalik 6,164 sultant, the present population of the tion of unauthorised consumption.
4 G eetanjali 2,721 project area is 3,82,353. The number of
5 Sarvodaya Enclave 6,521 registered water connections in the (3) Managerial Reforms: p p p imple­
6 N avjeeven Vihar 1,690
project area is 32,148. The project envis­ mentation through long-term perform­
7 MMTC STC C olon y 5,169
ages the construction of the Malaviya ance based contracts.
8 P a n chsheel Park 3,257
Nagar Underground Reservoir and There are thus three core activities to
9 Sw am i N agar 1,107
booster pumping station which is to be carried out in a period of 12 years:
10 Sadhna Enclave 1,744
eventually receive filtered water supply (1) Rehabilitation of the existing infra­
11 Sarvpriyavihar 5 ,6 8 0

12 Sheikh Sarai Phase-1 8,851

from Sonia Vihar treatment plant structure which includes replacement
13 Sheikh Sarai Phase-ll 6,922 through the Greater Kailash south reser­ and upgradation of pipes, metres, etc;
14 Khirkhi V illage+K hirki voir which is the main feeder. A second (2) Expansion of water supply network;
E x ten sion + DDA Flats 43,567 source of water is from the Greater and
15 H auzR ani 15,626
Kailash main reservoir via Vasant Vihar. (3) o & m of the water supply network.
16 B egam p u r 6,543
Table 1 gives the details of the colony- The first two core activities are to be
17 Chirag Delhi 16,394
wise project population. completed in the first two years of the
18 Savitri N agar 7,940
As of now the coverage of water supply project and the third activity will carry
19 Kalu Sarai (including Vijay Mandal) 3,975
in the project area according to the d p r ison for the rest of the project period, i e,
20 Pushp Vihar 35,908

21 Lado Sarai 17,425

84% and the per capita supply of water is 10 years. Thus, the core activities of the
22 Katwaria Sarai 17,966 286 litres per day. The continuity of supply project are divided over 2+10 years.
23 Q utub Institutional Area 5,395 is three to eight hours with the extent of While the d p r claims that no d j b em­
24 A dhichini 1,699 n rw at 65-70%. Key targets to be ployees will be transferred to the opera­
25 Saiyad-ul-Ajab Inc 79,066 achieved through the project are shown tor for the project activities, a d j b offi­
Paryavaran C olon y in Table 2. The efficiency of collection of cial we met was of the opinion that 50%
26 Nab Sarai in clu din g Harijan Basti 12,572
water charges is 81%. of the project staff will be transferred
Total residential p op u la tion 3,82,353
* IGNOU excluded. * Resident.
from the d j b to the operator (d r a and
Source: Data abstructed from consumer demand survey What Are the Project Activities? s t c 2011:148)!
The d p r (ibid: 65) argues that a “
holistic” Another point of interest is that the d p r
The work of the consultant is divided approach is needed for removing system proposes the division of the project area
into three phases: deficiencies and achieving the desired indicated earlier into three hydraulic
Phase - i: Consultancy services for pre­
Table 2: Malviya Nagar PPP Targets
paration and approval of d p r as per Particulars Present Status Target TargetYear
J N N U R M toolkit. C o v e ra ge 2014
84% 100%
Phase - n: Preparation of bid document Per capita su p p ly o f w ater (Ipcd) 286 150* 2021
and evaluation criteria for implementa­ C ontinuity o f su p p ly 3-8 hrs 24 hrs 2014
tion of project through p p p options upto Extent o f m eterin g o f w a ter co n n e ctio n s 41% 100 2014
execution of contract agreement with Extent o f n on -rev en u e w ater 65-70% 15% 2021
transaction adviser. Q uality o f w ater N ot m e e tin g 100% 2016
Phase - h i : Project management consul­ E fficiency in co lle ctio n o f w ater-related ch a rges 81% 95% 2021
O pera tin g c o st recovery in w a ter su p p ly serv ices 30.96% 100% 2016
tancy for construction/rehabilitation and
E fficiency in c olle ction o f w ater-related ch a rges 81% 95% 2021
monitoring during o & m for specified * The DPR explains that the existing supply of 286 Ipcd for 84% of the population includes the present extent of NRW at
period (d r a and s t c 2011: 65). 65-70% and is therefore inefficient. Since one primary objective of the project is to reduce NRW to 15% within the project
period, the projected supply of 150 Ipcd for 100% population by 2021 reflects the reduced NRW and improved water
The Malviya Nagar and Vasant Vihar supply. 150 Ipcd is the benchmark of the Ministry of Urban Development (DRA and STC 2011:149).
ppp consultancies have moved to the Source: Compiled by authors from the consultant's DPR (DRA and STC 2011).

34 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 EBSS9 Economic & Political w e e k ly

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zones. The Zone in area comprising Par- (3) Operator: (a ) o & m , (b ) m a n a g e ­ clearances from Municipal Corporation of
yavaran Colony, Freedom Fighter Colo­ m ent o f th e p r o je c t, and (c ) p a rtia l Delhi ( m c d ) are required for this and d j b
ny, Western Avenue Colony, part of in v e s tm e n ts . is better equipped to handle this risk.
Indira Enclave and part of Saduljab vil­ The estimated project cost has two basic
lage are not covered under the existing (4) Monitoring Committee: Hundred components: the bill on quantity ( b o q )
metered water supply network of the per cent controlled by the d j b and com­ and the road restoration costs. This divi­
d j b (ibid: 95). The population in these posed of officials, elected represen­ sion is made since it is likely that the
areas excluding i g n o u roughly comes to tatives and residence welfare associa­ m c d will be expected to carry out the

91,500 - nearly a quarter of the project tions: (a) call for external assistance road restoration as the task comes under
areas population. We assume that these whenever required (tariff rebasing, audit­ its jurisdiction. The operator’ s fee is not
colonies are likely to have standposts or ing, monitoring, etc); (b) monitor the key calculated as part of this project cost as
other sources such as tube wells that performance indicators; (c) monitor the it is considered an operating expense for
supply water to the residents in these operator’ s technical and financial per­ the d j b and is thus reflected in its in­
colonies. The d p r strangely notes that formance and legal and contractual obli­ come and expenditure statement.
piped water demand for this area shall gations; (d) approve the rebasing of tar­
arise only after 2015. Assuming that the iff as per contract; (e) make decisions Cost Recovery and Operator’ s Remu­
project begins in 2012, the first two core regarding new projects; and (f) minor neration: The revenue of the project ac­
activities, i e, rehabilitation and expan­ dispute resolution. cruing to the d j b is a product of the
sion, will be over by 2014. As a result, it Apart from these, private contractors water tariff and the volume of water
emerges that the Zone 111 colonies are can be hired for undertaking activities billed. The collected revenue will
not covered in the network expansion such as rehabilitation, expansion, me­ increase as the volume of water billed in­
core activity of the project at all. The tering, billing, etc. creases over the project years ( d r a and
d p r makes no mention of how or when s t c 2011:132). The remuneration of the

piped water will reach these colonies. What Is the Financial operator is to be deducted from the rev­
On the other hand, what is remarkable is Arrangement of the Project? enue collected with the assumption that
that all public standposts are to be re­ The total estimated cost of the project is the operator will earn an internal rate of
moved as part of the rehabilitation ac­ Rs 143.04 crore, out of which Rs 77.84 return ( i r r ) of 15% from his investment.
tivities. While it is not absolutely clear crore is for rehabilitation, upgradation The operator will be paid for 25 m l d
whether the standposts and other exist­ and expansion activities which are to be during the rehabilitation period of two
ing sources of water will be removed carried out in first two years of the project years even if the volume billed and col­
from Zone hi areas, if they are removed by the operator. An amount of Rs 65.20 lected is less. Thereafter, the operator
to establish the extent of piped water crore is for road restoration activities will be paid according to the actual vol­
demand, this would imply that the Zone which will be carried out by the d j b . ume billed and revenue collected (ibid).
hi areas will be left with no provision of Table 3 gives the detailed break-up of The fee of the operator is calculated
water for the entire project period! the project cost. The d p r explains that according to each cubic metres unit (m3)
the road restoration has been excluded of water supplied. In case of any supply
Who Are the Actors Involved in from the ambit of the operator since the not paid by the consumers as a result of
the Project and What Are Their Table 3: Estimated Project Cost
Roles? Sr Name of Particulars Unit Rehabilitation Expansion Total
No and Upgradation
There are four main actors involved Qty Cost in Qty Cost in Qty Cost in
in the p p p project and their roles are: Crore Crore Crore

1 R ep la cem en t and u p gra d a tion o f pip elin e RMT 97,938 20.39 23,097 4.2 1,21,035 24.59
2 R ep la cem en t o f ex istin g h o u se service
(1) DJB: (a) Decide the level of subsidy c o n n e ctio n N os 34,000 24.08 7,200 4.67 41,200 28.75
versus tariff; (b) establish the tariff 3 Valves and sp ecia ls 5.51 3.031 8.55
structure; (c) secure availability of re­ 4 Trench less M 800 2.22 200 0.57 1,000 2.79
quired water at the underground reser­ 5 Repair w ork s N os 0.62 0 0.62
voir; (d) pay energy bills to energy pro­ 6 E lectro m a g n e tic m etre N os 0.78 0.35 1.13
viders; (e) manage existing projects; 7 D ev elo p in g billing so ftw a re N os 1 0.2 0 1 0.2
(f) repay own loans and liabilities; and 8 A u tom ation N os 1 2 0 1 2
(g) pay subsidies (if any). 9 C on stru ction o f o ffic e and CFC cen tre N os 1 1.05 0 1 1.05
10 Civil w ork s 2.24 0 1.12 0 3.36
11 O th er w ork s 0.69 0 0.36 0 1.05
(2) Consultant: Project management
12 Cutting o f bitum in ous road and cem en t road cu m 52,228 2.77 20,247 0.981 3.76
consultancy for construction/rehabili-
Total BOQ (in Rs) 62.56 15.28 77.84
tation and monitoring during o & m for 13 R estoration and cu ttin g o f b itu m in ou s road sq m 3,70,624 52.02 84,014 13.18 65.2
specified period (15 months)7 after the Total p ro ject c o st 114.58 28.46 143.04
project begins. Source: DRA and STC (2011:131).

Economic & Political w e e k ly 13259 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 35

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subsidy, the water will be billed and it investment risk. Along with the assured lakh drawn up by the djb for the con­
will be the responsibility of the d j b to fees of the operator, in fact, it turns the tract. On 16 April 2010 the executive
pay the fees to the operator for such water “ reward for risk”argument for profits engineer ( e e ) referred d r a Consultants
supplied. As there will no unbilled and un­ for private investment on its head, where for award of the consultancy, noting that
metered water supply, the operator will be the reward seems to be tied to the in­ it quoted
free from any commercial risk of non-pay­ vestment itself, rather than a result of the lowest rate for Rs 2.85 crore against de­
ment by the consumers or because of any any risk undertaken! partmental justification of Rs 3.35 crore. No
such work has been done in this division in
“ free water”policies of the d j b .
the past. Since the rates of d r a Consultants
A d j b official claimed that the water Issues and Concerns are lower than the justification, hence,
tariff will not be increased to cover the The proposed p p p raises several issues “...for acceptance pi” (sic) (r t i document
operator’ s fee. This indicates that the and concerns of importance to the people available with the authors).

existing tariff structure of the d j b is al­ of Delhi and the Indian public at large. On 28 April 2010 the e e , assistant en­
ready high enough to bear the operator’ s gineer (a e ) and superintendent engi­
fee. However, these are moot points. Hiring Private Consultants: The d j b neer (s e ) further recommended accord­
Since 2009 the water tariffs have been claims that this is the first time it is en­ ing post facto approval to estimate and
raised annually: (a) Residential from Rs 5 gaging in such a consultancy project. approve of award of the work to d r a
to Rs 7.19 per m3, (b) Mixed from Rs 5 While this is untrue given the award of Consultants noting:
to Rs 14.32 per m3, (c) Commercial from the previous consultancy to p w c in Estimated cost of the work is Rs 283 lacs
Rs 34 to Rs 41.76 per m3, (d) Government 2002, the need for a private consultant against the suggestive cost of Rs 335 lacs,
institutions from Rs 33 to Rs 41.76 per m3. to design the reforms needed in Delhi’ s which have been seen by planning with the
comment that the rates are on purely tenta­
The total increase amounts to from water supply itself is questionable, espe­
tive basis and there is no authenticity of
Rs 19.17 to Rs 26.26 for 32,148 connec­ cially at considerable public cost. It is in­ rates taken, so it cannot be checked by plan­
tions. The d j b revenue increased from deed worth asking why the many uni­ ning. ...Sub technical committee examined
2009-10 to 2010-11 is from Rs 6.812 crore versities and research centres in the the case on 2 6 .04.10 and decided to recom ­
mend the case for award in favour of
to Rs 13.632 crore (ibid). capital region, including the esteemed
M/s d r a Consultants Pvt Ltd and also for ad­
Indian Institute of Technology, were not ministrative approval of the estimate. Techni­
Sources o f Finance: While the sources deemed worthy of offering expertise for cal committee in its meeting held on 27 .04.10
of finance for the project have not been improvements in the delivery of a ser­ also decided to recommend the case for award
finalised, the d p r indicates the follow­ vice so vital to the right to life for all. of work to L-i bidder and post facto adminis­
trative approval of the estimate (ibid).
ing break-up (ibid: 131): (1) Government The award of the consultancy con­
of India: Rs 71. 52 lakh (50%), (2) State: tract to d r a consultants also raises To the observation made by the
Rs 28.61 lakh (20%), (3) d j b : Rs 30%. accountability concerns. The budget ap­ finance division that the suggestive cost
(a) Bank loan: Rs 21.46 lakh (15%) proval of the consultancy contract is an “ has not been checked by the planning
(b) p p p : Rs 21.46 lakh (15%) interesting example in this regard. File- department on the ground that rates are
As per the information received from notings8 obtained through r t i reveal purely on tentative basis and there is no
a concerned d j b official, one source of that there was no approval by the plan­ authenticity of rates taken” , the reply on
finance could be j n n u r m . Given that the ning division for the estimate of Rs 335 6 May 2010 signed by the e e , a e and s e
suggested component of funding from
the Government of India for the project
is 50% and the d p r has been submitted
in the format prescribed under j n n u r m ,
Dr. V.K.R.V. Rao Road, Nagarabhavi, Bangalore 560 072
this further corroborates the likelihood
of j n n u r m as a major source of funding. Applications are invited for the following posts:
While we are not experts in the area, Cadre No. of Posts Cateaorv Centre
common sense indicates that the private Assistant Professor One BC CESP
sector investment in the project ex­ Assistant Professor One PH CESP
plained in the break-up mentioned earli­ Assistant Professor One BC CESP
er as “p p p ”is only 15% of the total project Assistant Professor One UR CSSCD
cost (Rs 21.46 lakh). Given that a major Assistant Professor One SC CEENR
justification for the p p p is the investment Assistant Professor One UR CHRD
by the private party/operator for the
Detailed advertisement and the prescribed application form can be
scale of improvement of services sought
downloaded from www.isec.ac.in. The last date for receiving applications
(see section Rationale for p p p s men­
with reference to the above advertisement is May 18,2012
tioned earlier), the sum of Rs 21.46 lakh
Note: UR: Unreserved; BC: Backward Classes; PH: Physically Handicapped;
in an overall project of Rs 143.04 crore
SC: Scheduled Caste s/d R E G IS TR A R
seems too paltry for any significant
36 APRIL 2 8 , 201 2 VOL XLVII NO 17 Economic & Political w e e k ly

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noted that the suggestive cost has been assessment of this demand in 2015. As strategy to exert pressure on all residents
accepted by the chief engineer (south) as we noted earlier, with the removal of to connect to piped water supply so that
also the sub-technical committee and public standposts, their situation would the d j b can generate more revenue. This
the technical committee and that this is only be further exacerbated. If the period would be of particular interest to the pri­
consultancy work and this type of work of the o & m contract is taken as 12 years vate operator because the remuneration
has not been done so far in the division. starting in 2012 (the bidding process is of the private operator depends upon the
On the basis of this reply, the award was already underway), the operator’ s man­ revenue generated from the project area.
recommended for further approval of date would not cover provision of water In this predominantly revenue-oriented
the chief executive officer of d j b and to these areas. The d j b is yet to decide reform approach, public standposts are
concurrence of finance at the appropri­ on whether it will undertake expansion seen as a source and reason of revenue
ate level - member (finance) of the d j b . of the existing network. Through our loss and public health and environmental
Finance finally concurred with the discussion with a d j b official we are given concerns are cited to justify the removal
observation that: to believe that there is no such plan for of such “ loss-making”facilities.
expansion and the focus of the p p p is We would like to clarify that we are
This consultancy work almost is touching Rs 3
crore. Project is concurred subject to: solely to contain leakages and improve not against individual piped water sup­
(i) Benchmarks to be achieved during con­ existing supply. Therefore, it is clear that ply per se and recognise that most peo­
sultancy work be clearly defined. the people living in these areas will not ple would readily sign up for such con­
(ii) sl a ’
s [Service Level Agreements] for
get any benefit of the “ improved water nections. However, public stand-posts
each benchmark may also be specified while
supply”promised by the Malviya Nagar serve an important purpose in providing
signing the agreement... (ibid).
p p p project at least in the next 12-13 access to water for the poor and the
It seems inappropriate that the sug­ years, defeating the objective of secur­ homeless. Any improvement in water
gestive estimate of nearly Rs 3 crore was ing access to water for the poor. services including the provisioning of in­
approved by the d j b without adequate dividual piped water connections should
checks, on the claim that such work has Removal of Public Standposts: Removal be based on the principle that safe and
not been carried out by the division be­ of all public standposts has been suggest­ adequate water is a right for all and the
fore. Why was the estimate and hence ed as one of the strategies to improve the government' must secure it for all with­
the lowest bid against it approved by water supply infrastructure. The ration­ out the commodification of this precious
level after level of concerned authorities ale for this action is the “
finding”that: resource. Any decisions on the best man­
in the d j b ? At the very least this indi­ waste water from public stand-post generally ner of securing this right must conform
cates an irresponsible and unjustifiable discharged into roadside drains or discharge to the principles of the right to water, the
directly in nearby (sic) are creating stagnation
hurry in the implementation of the right to life and the right to decentral­
of water. The filthy waters stagnate in the area
project undertaken for public good with giving rise to unsightly appearance, foul smell ised democratic decision-making.
public money. The dispensation of public and breeding of culex mosquitoes (which are
money clearly needs much more vigilant the vectors for filariasis), pollution of ground- Public Participation
water, due to back-siphonage (which may lead
processes and checks built into estimate It is recognised in the d p r that at present
to increased incidence of faecal - oral diseases
approvals. They indicate systemic ineffi­ such as diarrhoeas, enteric fevers and viral there is limited confidence in the techni­
ciencies that might be causing additional hepatitis) (d r a and s t c 2011: 118). cal feasibility and financial viability of
revenue loss to the d j b ! While the concerns regarding “ un­ implementing 24/7 water supply in Delhi
sightly appearance” , public health and amongst stakeholders because of lack of
Improved Water Supply for Whom? environmental quality are worth appre­ communication (d r a and s t c 2011: 14).
The proposed p p p project aims to pro­ ciating, the adverse implications of the Therefore, as a next step, it is recom­
vide improved water supply to the pro­ removal of public standposts also need mended that the project shall be imple­
ject area round the clock (24x7). How­ to be considered. Public standposts are mented with the involvement of all
ever, this does not mean that everyone the source of free water for the poor and stakeholders through effective commu­
living in the project area will get water the homeless. It is an extremely unreal­ nication strategies in pilot zones. The
for 24 hours a day. The project area has istic expectation that the poor and the project considers it the duty of the con­
been divided into three zones and Zone 111 homeless will get water from an “ im­ sultant to convince the stakeholders
areas (Paryavaran Colony, Freedom proved piped network” that will bill with effective communication. In a pre­
Fighter Colony, Western Avenue Colony) them for water provided. As of now bid consultation meeting for the consul­
are not covered under the existing water there are no indications of free or even tancy contract held on 24 February 2010,
supply network. The d p r does not talk subsidised water supply for any segment the d j b replied to a query about it as:
about the improvement of water supply of Delhi’ s population. The removal of
the consultant will ensure proper media and
in these areas. Instead, the d p r con­ public standposts thus means the denial press interface, track the development in
cludes that “
piped water demand for this of water to the poor, the homeless and press and media regarding the project, posi­
zone will arise only after 2015” . How­ pavement dwellers. In other words, the tively influence the public opinion and bring
ever, there is no clear procedure for removal of public standposts seems a consensus on the project through proper

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structural communication and media man­ lack of public consultations prior to “service provider”and “ consumers” . The
agement plan. The consultant will execute undertaking the p p p . Interestingly, the overwhelming objective of the p p p s is
all the components of communication and
objective of improving “customer services” the reduction in n r w , a term that again
media management plan, assist employer in
handling press conference, r t i , etc. The con­
to the urban poor finds no mention in the emphasises water as an economic good,
sultant should develop proactive public cam­ details of the initial consultancy Terms rather than a right. This commodifica­
paign for success of the project (r t i docu­ of Reference studied by us but found its tion of a resource so vital to life reflects a
ment available with the authors). way in the project summaries and the dangerous trend that will potentially re­
This reveals some fundamental flaws d p r ; we wonder if the point was added sult in denial of access to water for those
that go against the spirit of democratic as an afterthought and question how who cannot afford it. At the very least it
decision-making as envisaged under the these concerns have been determined as shifts the focus from the obligation of
74th constitutional amendment. It estab­ a priority area by the d j b . What was the the government to ensure water for all
lishes that the d j b and the Delhi govern­ involvement of the citizens of Delhi, to an overseer of an “ efficient revenue­
ment have not consulted the public be­ specifically the “ urban poor customers” generating service delivery to consum­
fore introducing such drastic reforms in in determining the “ improvements”for ers”through p p p s .
water supply and are in fact depending a service as vital as water supply? The idea of treating people as con­
on a private consultant to “ convince”the sumers in the case of water supply is
public instead of the d j b proactively Commercialisation of Water? inappropriate ethically as well as legally.
consulting the people of Delhi regarding d jb documents repeatedly use the term Ethically, water arises from nature and
the changes needed to improve and “consumers” , not “ residents” , or even is essential to life; it is inappropriate to
ensure access to water for all. “citizens”, underlining the emphasis on convert it into a “good”or “ service”to be
While the consultant’ s d p r elaborates water as a revenue generating economic exchanged for money. It is unethical to
the methodology of a 100% household good rather than a fundamental right. restrict access to this gift of nature
survey to determine the population of the The Malviya Nagar p p p project accord­ essential for survival of all living beings
project area, there is no mention of any ingly aims to improve the levels of serv­ to those who can pay for it or “ possess”it
“public campaign”to convince the resi­ ice to “
water consumers” . Thus, the objec­ as owners of land. From a legal point of
dents of the project area of the need for tive of the p p p project is to redefine the view, the linking access to water to eco­
the p p p . This transfer of accountability to relationship between the d j b and citizens nomic capacity of an individual is con­
a private entity is as unacceptable as the to make it a relationship between a trary to the concept of the fundamental

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38 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 CEEtS Economic & Political w e e k ly

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right to water. As noted earlier, the fun­ that there is no minimal criteria of sup­ methods need to be introduced within
damental right to water is part of the ply to all; and (c) evidence from across the binding framework of the govern­
fundamental right to life as recognised the world whether in Bolivia or Italy, ment’s obligation to provide water for all.
by various legal instruments nationally where such initiatives have been under­
and internationally. It is the duty of the taken through private participation re­ NOTES

government to take all possible measures 1 The term fundamental right to water in the
veal that tariffs rose exorbitantly and the
constitutional context denotes the inalienable
and use all available resources to ensure poorest were the hardest hit for access to right of every individual to water and imposes
the implementation of this fundamental water leading to popular uprisings that obligations upon the government to take all
possible measures to secure it.
right without any discrimination. This eventually wrested control over water 2 See Subhash Kumar vs State of Bihar 1991; Ha­
ideal of non-discrimination would be supply from the private sector to public mid Khan vs State of Madhya Pradesh 1997;
Vishala Kochi Kudivella Samrakshana Samiti vs
the first to be violated by the implemen­ or collective control (see Prasad 2006; State of Kerala 20 06 .
tation of a consumer-oriented water Lobina 2000; Dwivedi et al 2007; Wolfw 3 The term “ people”includes all residents and
service delivery mechanism. 2011). These experiences are extremely those who come to Delhi for work or for other
purposes but do not reside in Delhi.
As a result of ineffective action to­ pertinent to the Indian context and 4 A master plan for Delhi’ s water supply is also
wards securing the right to water, sev­ their lessons must be taken into account under preparation by Japan International Co­
operation Agency (JICA) which addresses non­
eral residents living in the so-called while formulating policy and imple­ revenue losses; inadequate distribution sys­
“unauthorised”colonies of the city are menting projects for the fundamental tem; loss of water in transit; inadequate infra­
at the mercy of private water mafias right to water. structure; and the supply of large quantity of
non-revenue water.
and/or the local political elite. This The water supply reforms in Delhi are 5 Ground reservoir and booster pumping station,
means that there is no check on the significant and far-reaching in their scope respectively.
6 The controversial 2005 water privatisation ini­
quality, quantity and frequency of water and are being undertaken without any tiative undertaken by the DJB with a World
to these residents. Rather than mitigat­ public debate, discussion and inputs. The Bank loan also claimed as its principal objec­
tives the “24/ 7”provision of water, efficiency
ing these serious issues of access, the implementation of the ppps has been a
and reduction of NRW.
creation of a revenue-oriented service quiet and secret affair without proactive 7 This is separate from the role of the monitoring
delivery mechanism for water would consultations with the people of the committee.
8 These are handwritten comments, observa­
allow the Delhi government to shrug its project areas they claim to benefit. The tions and criticisms by various concerned offi­
hands off provision of water to these manner of implementation of the reforms cials pertaining to approvals and decisions in
colonies altogether. Indeed, the remov­ and ppps are undermining the democratic any government file.

al of public stand-posts is a critical step principles of transparency, accountability

in this direction as most poor colonies, and people’ s participation in decision­ REFERENCES
whether under “ authorised”or “ unau­ making in an area as vital as the funda­ Cullet, P and S Koonan, ed. (2011): Water Law in
India: An Introduction to Legal Instruments
thorised”status, depend on a combina­ mental right to water. This right is also
(New Delhi: Oxford University Press).
tion of these stand-posts and private repeatedly recognised by the higher judi­ DRA and STC (2011): “ Reduction of NRW/UFW
suppliers. A field visit conducted by one ciary in India and by a number of interna­ with Improvement in Level of Service to the
Water Consumers and Improvement of Un­
of the authors in August 2010 in Hubli- tional instruments. The ppps do not ad­ interrupted Water Supply under the Command
Dharwad, Karnataka revealed that the dress the availability, quantity and quality Area of GR&BPS” , Malviya Nagar - Detailed
Project Report, August 2011.
removal of public stand-posts was part issues with water supply for all the peo­ Dwivedi, G, S Dharmadhikari and Rehmat (2007 ):
of the implementation of the 24x7 wa­ ple of the project areas and instead focus Water: Private, Limited: Issues in Privatisation,
Corporatisation and Commercialisation of Wa­
ter supply project in the city. This has on “ improving”water supply round the ter Sector in India (Badwani: Manthan Adhyay-
forced the residents to either pay for clock (24x7). The removal of public an Kendra).
Gol (2012): Draft National Water Policy, Ministry of
every drop of water including for live­ stand-posts further threatens to under­ Water Resources, Government of India, New
stock or rely on any other source of wa­ mine the fundamental right to water for Delhi.
ter which is not charged (for details on the poor and the homeless in the project Lobina, Emanuele (2000 ): Cochabamba- Water
War (London: PSIRU).
the 24x7 project in Hubli-Dharwad see areas and the obligation of the govern­ Parivartan (2005 ): 24/ 7 ? An Analysis of the Pro­
Sangameswaran et al 2008)! ment to provide water for all. The gener­ posed Restructure of the Delhi Water Supply
(Delhi: Parivartan).
The argument that a private operator ation of revenue through water is being Prasad, Naren (2006 ): “ Privatisation Results: Pri­
would not be bothered about the status made the foremost reform priority in the vate Sector Participation (PSP) in Water Serv­
ices after 15 Years” , Development Policy Review,
of the colony and would be interested in name of “ efficiency”, leading to the com­ 24 (6): 6 6 9 -92 .
expanding revenue generation through mercialisation of this vital resource. The Sangameswaran, P, M Roopa and C D’ Rozario
an expanded “ market”is a moot point: critical issues and concerns that emerge (2008 ): “ 24/7, ‘ Privatisation’and Water Re­
form: Insights from Hubli-Dharwad” , Economic
(a) Expansion of services to these areas from the ongoing ppp initiatives need to & Political Weekly, 4 3 /1 4 : 6 0 -67 .
is only envisaged after the pilot project be analysed, debated and discussed widely United Nations General Assembly Resolution on
the Human Right to Water and Sanitation,
is over; (b) if revenue generation is the with all the people of Delhi. Appropriate 2010 , UN Doc No A/RES/64 /292 .
overarching concern, the water would changes that secure the fundamental Wolfw (2011): “ Italy’s Public Says ‘ No’ to Water Pri­
vatisation” , 13 June (http://waterculture.word-
be supplied first to those who can afford right to water for all through decentral­ press.com/2011/06 /13/italys-public-says-no-
to pay for as much as they need, given ised and democratic decision-making to-water-privatisation/).

Economic & Political weekly E3353 a p r il 28, 2012 v o l x l v ii n o 17 39

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State Policy and the Twelfth Plan

through a Gender Lens


he advisory group of the Review of Women’ s Studies economy witnessed during the Eleventh Plan and the Plan’ s
(rw s) is grateful to the editorial team at the e p w for explicit claim to “ inclusive growth” , the question addressed
having been requested to assist the journal in bringing in the article is where a gender perspective is to be found, and
out this review issue twice a year. Over the years, the r w s has what needs to be done further to provide one. The express
evolved into one of the most significant spaces for showcasing task is to engender planning across all sectors, agriculture
new scholarship in the field of women’ s studies, thanks to the and manufacturing, rural and urban development, transport
extraordinary efforts and leadership of Maithreyi Krishnaraj. and infrastructure, health and education, among others. The
We would like to take this opportunity, therefore, to record article argues not only that inclusion must be explicitly em­
our appreciation and admiration for her pioneering role in bedded within the growth process, but the many advantages
encouraging new and established scholars to publish their of doing so.
work in the epw , and so deepen existing research and thinking The second article “ Gender Responsive Budgeting in India:
on gender related issues. We hope to carry Maithreyi What Has Gone Wrong?”explores the very instrument that the
Krishnaraj’ s efforts forward, for which we look to her support, Indian state has now adopted in order to achieve integration or
together with the assistance of the e p w and the wider commu­ “gender mainstreaming” , namely, gender responsive budget­
nity of scholars. ing. Since 2005, in some contrast to an earlier “ Women’ s Com­
This issue of the r w s focuses on questions of policy in the ponent Plan”approach, gender budgeting has been institution­
context of the upcoming Twelfth Plan. The relationship of the alised in India following the example of a growing number
women’ s movement in India to the State and more specifically of countries. Meant to be a tool that tracks how much of the
to aspects of development planning and policy is as old as the state’s budget addresses gender disparities and how pro­
movement itself, and has had a multilayered history. Making grammes and schemes can promote gender equality, the
demands on the state and its machinery in order to overcome article exposes the problems that currently beset the adoption
processes that marginalise women has taken many forms, of this approach by the government and what must be done
and there have b e e n significant ch an ges in orien tation over to change it.
the last decades. One might point to the truly remarkable The third article (“Ladlis and Lakshmis: Financial Incentive
report Women’ s Role in a Planned Economy produced in 1941 Schemes for the Girl Child” ) examines a set of schemes that
for the future nation state which “ disappeared”with inde­ have been recently promoted by several states in the country in
pendence; the subsequent adoption of a social welfare an effort to combat the declining child sex ratio. With various
approach to women in the First Five-Year Plan; and the find­ names such as Dhanlaxmi, Ladli, Bed Hai Anmol, and so on, a
ings and critiques of the Towards Equality Report by the Com­ number of Conditional Cash Transfer ( cct) schemes have been
mittee on the Status of Women in India in 1975, followed by deployed with the goal of reducing the burden of an unwanted
the first serious efforts at policy review with the lifting of the girl by providing cash payments to poor families with a daughter.
Emergency after 1977. It is not possible to go into the details The article describes the nature of the schemes, and points out
of the different pressures that sections of the women’ s move­ problems with the many conditionalities that accompany it,
ment have placed on the state planning process in the inter­ including population control norms that demand of most families
vening decades and the kinds of outcomes that ensued, such that they have just one or at the most two girls (no boys) followed
as the special chapter on women and development in by sterilisation. The study raises some fundamental questions
the Sixth Plan (1980-85), and the later use of terms such as about the very purpose that is sought to be achieved and the
“women’ s empowerment” . methods of doing so.
As the first article in this collection (“Gendering the Twelfth A very different intervention is the subject of the next
Plan: A Feminist Perspective” ) demonstrates clearly, the situa­ article on the Dilaasa Model, which deals with domestic
tion on the eve of the Twelfth Plan (2012-17) could not be more
challenging. The current context is one where there has been EPW is grateful to the Editorial Advisory Group for the Review
some acknowledgement of the need to move away from an of W omen’s Studies for putting together this issue. The members
of the group are J Devika, Mary E John, Kalpana Kannabiran,
isolated focus on women to a more integrated approach.
Sharmila Rege, Padmini Swaminathan and Lina Mathias (EPW).
Given the unprecedentedly high growth rates that the Indian
40 APRIL 28, 2012 v o l x l v ii n o 17 iwuvi Economic & Political weekly

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violence. Using a case study approach, the article (“ Addressing Opening Up Dimensions o f Public Policy
Domestic Violence within Healthcare Settings: The Dilaasa In different yet related ways, each of the articles opens up
Model” ) looks at how and whether women who have suffered dimensions of public policy in the contemporary moment, one
from domestic violence can be helped in a public health which has been transformed by the neo-liberal turn that
context. Crisis centres established in two public hospitals the Indian state has chosen to take. But this is also a moment
in Mumbai and the experience of women survivors of in which the state has made several claims about being more
domestic violence who came there for help are drawn upon gender aware - such as those to engender the entire planning
to make a case that there is a need to upscale such a model process; to institutionalise gender sensitive budgeting across
into a policy. all the ministries; to better target girls born into poor fami­
The final paper in this issue of the r w s (“
Beyond Feminine lies; to respond to domestic violence in a public health set­
Public Altruism: Women Leaders in Kerala’ s Urban Bodies” ) ting; and to expand the presence of women via reservations
moves into the realm of a less well known and certainly less within local bodies. The question therefore is what a critical
well studied dimension of development planning, namely, gender lens can make visible, from the most macroeconomic
urban local governance. In the context of Kerala and its poli­ of spaces to the most micro-level experiences of everyday life.
cies of decentralisation within which women’ s participation
has been foregrounded, the article discusses the ambiguous J Devika (devika@cds.ac.in) is at the Centre for Development Studies,
location of urban local politics between the realms of state Thiruvananthapuram, Mary E John (maryejohni@gmail.com) is at
politics and local (rural) decentralisation, and how this the Centre for Women’ s Development Studies, New Delhi,
affects the trajectories of women representatives who strive Kalpana Kannabiran (kalpana.kannabiran@gmail.com) is at the
Council for Social Development, Hyderabad, Sharmila Rege
for a political future. In particular, the constraints of urban
(sharmilarege@hotmail.com) is at the Savitribai Phule Centre for Women’
governance are being increasingly redefined by neo-liberal
Studies, Pune University, Samita Sen (samitasen@yahoo.co.uk) is at the
development policies of urban management, which in turn School of Women’ s Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, and Padmini
shape the kinds of women who are being elected and the Swaminathan (padmini.swaminathan@tiss.edu) is at the Tata Institute
power that they wield. of Social Sciences, Hyderabad.

EPW Research Foundation (a u n it o f sa m e e k sh a t r u s t )

w w w . e p w r f . i n w w w . e p w r f i t s . i n
India Time Series
A few months ago EPWRF introduced an online database service christened as ‘ India Time Series’ , www.epwrfits.in. The project
envisaged dissemination o f data in fifteen modules displaying time series on a wide range o f macroeconomic and financial sector variables
in a manner convenient for research and analytical work. This is targeted to benefit particularly students, research scholars, professionals
and the academic community, both in India and abroad.
This online service is a part o f the project funded by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and executed by the Tata Institute o f
Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai and the Economic and P o litic a l Weekly (EPW).
Time series data sets have been structured under various modules.
Modules released so far Following modules will be added soon
1) Financial Markets 1) National Accounts Statistics
2) Banking Statistics (Basic Statistical Returns) 2) Annual Survey o f Industries
3) Domestic Product o f States o f India (SDP) 3) Finances o f Government o f India
4) Agricultural Statistics 4) Finances o f State Governments
5) Price Indices 5) Industrial Production
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9) Health
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at www.epwrf.in will require no fresh registration. To gain full access, the subscription rates are available on our website.
For any further details or clarifications, please contact:
The Director,
EPW Research Foundation,
C-212, Akurli Industrial Estate, Akurli Road, Kandivli (East), Mumbai - 400 101.
(Phone: 91-22-2885 4995/4996) or mail to: epwrf@vsnl.com

Economic & Political w e e k ly BB 53 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 41

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Gendering the Twelfth Plan

A Feminist Perspective

M R ID U L E A P E N , A A S H A K A P U R M E H T A

A gendered analysis of the Approach Paper to the uring the preparation of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan of
Twelfth Five-Year Plan suggests that women must be 2007-12, the Planning Commission set up a Working
Group of Feminist Economists to review the sectoral
recognised as growth agents in India's political economy
chapters of the Eleventh Plan through a gender lens. Engaging
across all sectors. The gendering o f public policy must with the draft chapters, the group established the primacy of
move into macroeconomic space. While "inclusion" is women and their work in India’ s growth achievement. It argued
listed as an objective, there is lack of clarity on the that planning processes and methods exhibited an inadequate
awareness of these facts. The value of this initiative was that it
mechanisms for including the excluded, and for
advocated moving beyond a special focus in the chapter on
measuring and monitoring inclusiveness over the plan “Women and Child”to looking at women as growth agents in
period. From a gender point of view, the generation of India’ s political economy, across all sectors. Thus, the major
livelihoods and employment should be the central shift of this initiative was to move the gendering of public policy
into macroeconomic space (Planning Commission 2010).
driving force for growth, and the resources generated
The Planning Commission has reconstituted the Working
should support social policies that universalise Group of Feminist Economists for the Twelfth Five-Year Plan.
education, health and social security. This paper draws on an earlier gendered analysis of the ideas in
the Approach Paper to the Twelfth Plan (henceforth Planning
Commission 2011). While the wheels of the planning process
have been moving steadily forward, we believe that the direc­
tions proposed in the approach paper continue to shape planning.
The strategies for growth proposed in the Twelfth Plan appear
to be formulated with little consideration for the needs and roles
of large sections of the population of the country and especially
those of poor women (Planning Commission 2011). This paper
aims to highlight some of these glaring gaps in the overall
design of the proposed plan and to suggest ways of making eco­
nomic growth during the Twelfth Plan more truly inclusive.

Inclusive Growth Is Elusive

Despite several decades of struggle by women’ s groups to make
policy gender-sensitive, the approach to the Twelfth Plan
exhibits insufficient awareness of the specific problems of
women, their unpaid labour and their distinctive economic
contribution to the nation’ s economy. The overall theme for
planning is achieving “ faster, sustainable and more inclusive
growth”(Planning Commission 2011). The thrust is on increas­
ing the rate of growth of gross domestic product (gdp) or the
This paper is based on inputs provided by Nirmala Banerjee, Ritu
Dewan, Devaki Jain, Renana Jhabwala, Jayati Ghosh, Indira Hirway, rate of expansion of the total volume of output of goods and
Mary John, Maithreyi Krishnaraj, Santosh Mehrotra, Yamini Mishra services in the economy, especially at a time when there has
and her team, Ratna Sudarshan and Padmini Swaminathan. Support been a drop, relative to past rates of growth. The approach
provided by UN Women is gratefully acknowledged. paper notes that inclusiveness is a multi-dimensional pheno­
Mridul Eapen (mridul@cds.ac.in) is honorary fellow at the Centre menon. Inclusive growth should result in the lower incidence
for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram. Aasha Kapur Mehta of poverty, broad-based and significant improvements in health
(aashakapurmehta @gmail.com) is at the Indian Institute of Public outcomes, universal access for children to schooling, increased
Administration, New Delhi.
access to higher education and improved standards of education
42 A p r il 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 DBQ Economic & Political w e e k ly

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overall, including skill development, better opportunities for of their gendered impact, for example, in terms of women’ s
both wage employment and livelihoods, and improvements in poor access to credit.
the provision of basic amenities. Particular attention should be •Environment and Sustainable Development: Displacement
paid to the needs of the scheduled caste (sc), scheduled tribe (s t ) and environmental degradation in the name of rapid growth
and Other Backward Class (o b c ) populations, women and chil­ should be prevented, so as to prioritise livelihoods of poor
dren as also minorities and other excluded groups (Planning women and men over more profits to those who are rich.
Commission 2011). •Rights-based Approaches to the Delivery of Services: This
However, there is lack of clarity regarding how inclusion will requires granting basic rights and designing policies as well as
occur. What are the mechanisms for including the excluded? mechanisms to see that these rights are actually enforced.
How will inclusiveness be measured? How will inclusiveness •Health and Education: The need is to take responsibility for
be continuously monitored over the plan period? There is no ensuring access to health and education, not by shifting state
magic bullet solution to ensure inclusion. We know that the responsibility to public-private partnerships (p p p s ), but as a
goal leads to greater complexity, both in programme design universal right; and
and appraisal. The critical questions outlined above must be •Designing public spending in a way that the above goals are
addressed. For without a road map for achieving inclusion, this achieved.
objective will not be achieved in the Twelfth Plan. If inclusion is the goal, then employment generation of high
Inclusive growth was envisaged in the Eleventh Plan too, quality must be the central goal of planning and the pivot of
but there is little evidence to show that the fast growth rate of the Twelfth Plan. A fundamental concern is that the underly­
the economy during the plan period led to significant achieve­ ing assumption in the plan continues to be that output growth
ment of inclusion. There is a shying away from providing a in itself will generate the required employment, despite all evi­
report card on why the Eleventh Plan that promised so much dence to the contrary (Kohli 2006). In the current plan period,
by way of “ more inclusive growth”of excluded/marginalised the problem has intensified as revealed by the latest data from
groups including women failed in these objectives. Inclusive­ the National Sample Survey Office (n s so). Annual compound
ness through planned development has remained elusive. growth in employment of all kinds (by principal activity) of
Economic growth is a precondition for inclusive growth. persons aged 15+, fell to 0.82% between 2004-05 and 2009-10,
However, the nature and composition of growth have to be from 2.7% in the previous period. What is most alarming is the
conducive to inclusion. Growth has to include the poor, espe­ fall in total female employment in absolute terms during this
cially women, ethnic groups and other disadvantaged groups, period, mostly because of a substantial reduction in self-
as well as deprived regions, not as beneficiaries alone but as employment (Chandrasekhar and Ghosh 2012).
partners in the process. In other words, inclusion needs to be
embedded in the growth process. It therefore has to explicitly Explosive Issues
address the constraints faced by the excluded and the mar­ Unemployment and discrimination on grounds of caste, com­
ginalised and provide opportunities for them to be partners munity and gender are becoming increasingly explosive politi­
in growth. cal and social issues (Kannan and Ravindran 2011). Spatially
Some of the major components of inclusive growth would be too, the distribution of benefits from economic growth since
the following: the early 1990s has followed an identifiable pattern. Per capita
•Em ploym ent and Livelihoods: “
L ivelihood”
-led grow th should income adjusted for inflation fell between 1993 and 2005 in
be at the centre of inclusive growth. This requires correcting villages located more than five kilometres from the nearest
the existing trend of jobless growth that has excluded women town where half of India’ s population resides. The steepest
and disadvantaged socio-economic groups from the growth decline was experienced by the lowest income groups. This
process, providing capabilities that are linked to productive debilitating effect must be countered by better physical and
employment opportunities, increasing the productivity and social infrastructure (Krishna and Bajpai 2011).
more intensive use of factors of production owned by groups The problem is particularly critical for women who have been
that are poor; and directing investment flows and infrastruc­ losing jobs during the Eleventh Plan period and have found few
ture development to spatially disadvantaged locations where new work opportunities except in domestic and personal services,
the excluded are concentrated. apart from teaching in urban areas. The need to rethink the
•Agriculture and Allied Sectors: The Twelfth Plan seeks to growth strategy is absolutely urgent because a large population of
achieve a 4% or higher agricultural growth. The role of women young people - the much-discussed demographic dividend - is set
farmers will be critical in achieving this goal since the femini- to enter the labour market during the next few years, an increas­
sation of agriculture is growing. Research and development to ing proportion of whom have accessed education, including
increase yields of coarse cereals, pulses, oilseeds and vegeta­ higher education. Among them, young women are going to face
bles must be encouraged as this would encourage production greater difficulties in finding work. The few fresh work
of crops that are nutritious and provide food security. opportunities that have opened up for women have been in
•Macroeconomic Environment: Monetary, fiscal and interna­ occupations that the educated young among them are unlikely to
tional trade-related policies are closely intertwined with wom­ find palatable. Exclusion from the process of development can
en’s multiple roles in the economy. They must take cognisance have serious implications for the future of India’
s democracy.

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All policy measures, as well as incentives to boost economic (3) The contributions and needs of those who have been
growth therefore need to be tethered to or enabled by increasing neglected should get due recognition.
employment, based on the recognition that shifting to an This paper aims to view all three objectives through a gen­
employment-oriented macroeconomic strategy can have many dered lens and identify gaps in the design of the plan for differ­
direct and indirect positive effects. Three elements of this ent sectors in that light. It also gives concrete suggestions
approach require reinforcement: enabling small producers to about the possible actions that will not only be equitable but
become more viable and competitive, encouraging quality also efficient in promoting faster growth.
employment with adequate remuneration in social sectors,
and preventing displacement, loss of livelihoods and environ­ Inclusion for Workers
mental degradation in the name of rapid growth. Each of these For inclusive growth, it is essential that all potential workers
has strong gender dimensions. Growth and rapid growth are find remunerative employment in the mainstream. That is to
critical but they must be translated into a better quality of life say, generating productive work has to be an integral part of
for all of India’ s citizens - women and men as aggregate the plan model. It is now officially acknowledged, in particular
groups, as well as subgroups of women and men disaggregated by the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorga­
by class, caste, tribe, age, ability, religion, region, and so on. nised Sector (n c e u s 2007: 4) that economic “ development”
has seen not just the growth of the informal sector and the
Achieving Growth with Inclusion numbers of those employed informally, but also the “ informa­
In the vision of the planners, the primary focus tends to be on lisation of the formal sector” .
increments to g d p , independent of its distribution. However, Further, there is remarkable consistency in the manner in
g d p can hide the composition of output and the means used which larger numbers of women and their “ work”either become
for achieving that output, i e, the strategy for growth. Maximi­ invisible in data systems or get captured in categories that fall
sing returns is the goal of economic behaviour according to outside the purview of protective legislation (n c e u s 2007: 59).
conventional rationality but the reality in developing econo­ The organised or formal economy supposedly enjoys the protec­
mies is that households, poor groups and women exert effort tion of labour laws with some modicum of social security, but
to maximise not returns but the well-being of the group to even this apparent protection is elusive, n c e u s (2009) estimated
which they regard themselves as accountable. the effectiveness of the coverage of important labour laws for
Women regard the well-being of the family as their man­ 1999-2000. Among other things, this exercise revealed that the
date. Given the lack of adequate productive resources like cap­ effectiveness of coverage for the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961,
ital, technology and support systems like credit and favoura­ was only 16%. The International Labour Organisation’ s (i l o s )
ble laws that recognise their vulnerabilities, women’ s labour, recently concluded evaluation of maternity benefit schemes in
both outside and inside the household incurs higher costs and India carried this exercise further and revealed the manner in
receives poorer returns. There are many attempts to estimate which eligible women workers were denied maternity benefits
the enormous unpaid labour of women that sustains the statutorily due to them (Lingam and Krishnaraj 2010).
household. Such estimates of extended g d p should be pre­ Outcomes of the Eleventh Plan’ s efforts are especially worrying
sented together with g d p data. because, while national product grew at an unprecedentedly
In the view of the planners, inclusion is to be achieved fast rate, overall employment was virtually stagnant; it grew at
through the distribution of the gains through flagship pro­ a rate less than a third of that during the previous plan period. In
grammes and handouts to the needy. In other words, if gains the case of women, the rate of growth of employment was actu­
from growth do not trickle down to all as expected, equity ally negative. Claiming that the rate was low not because of a
among citizens is to be ensured through special policies that ca­ demand constraint but due to a supply constraint in the labour
ter to the needs of vulnerable sections. Perhaps this is why the market can only be temporary solace; those young people who
approach paper is not overly concerned about the failure of the had stayed away from the labour market during the Eleventh
economy to generate additional employment during the Elev­ Plan period for better education will be joining the labour force
enth Plan period. during the Twelfth Plan period with even greater expectations
In our view, however, the primary purpose of the state regarding the quality and quantity of employment.
undertaking planned growth is not just to assist those who In any case, the fact that growth under the accepted plan
are already in the mainstream of the economy but also to cor­ model was not hindered by the withdrawal from the labour
rect historical inequities and address factors constraining market of large numbers of young men and women only goes
participation in the growth process. Including all sections of to prove the argument that the Eleventh Plan model had not
the population in the process of development implies the fol­ been conceived with the idea of seeking ways to include large
lowing three aspects: numbers of new sections of people in meaningful work.
(1) All sections of people in the labour force must be included One often-missed positive effect of an employment-oriented
as productive workers and contribute to the process of macroeconomic strategy is the possibility of using social policy
development. and social expenditure to generate more employment, which not
(2) All of them should get an equitable share in the benefits of only improves quality of life but also has very strong multiplier
development. effects. Increased public spending on health, sanitation, education

44 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 CDE3 Economic & Political w e e k ly

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and other essential public services should be associated with the which livelihoods depend and confers net benefits on other
provision of regular and high quality jobs in these sectors, rather livelihoods. A livelihood is socially sustainable if it can cope
than the current exploitation of underpaid para-professionals with or recover from stress and shocks and provide for future
who increasingly carry the burden of service delivery. generations (Chambers and Convey 1991).
There is an urgent need for policymakers to take cognisance
Including Women in Developmental Activities: Equally im­ of the roles women have traditionally played in many vital
portant is the fact that if women did withdraw from the labour sectors of the economy. Improving their productivity in those
force during the last plan period, it was because the terms on occupations will not only be equitable but will also lead to a
which work was available to them, whether self-employment more efficient use of national resources.
or piece-rate work, were too poor to be worth their effort. It is
not that they did not need the work; after all, during the same Agriculture and Allied Activities: One of women’
s key roles is
period, large numbers of rural women undertook to migrate in the farm sector where their share of the workforce has been
singly or commute daily to seek work mainly in the unorgan­ increasing as men move to non-farm activities. Particularly in
ised urban domestic service. The three million increase in rain-fed areas and in arid hilly terrain, they are being put in
urban domestic service between 2000 and 2005 indicates not charge of small and marginal farms as virtual cultivators. This
so much women’ s reluctance to work, as the deteriorating is precisely the one sector where planners will have to focus
quality of alternative job opportunities available to them. their policies immediately if they are to achieve their plan
Currently the single largest public policy measure for pro­ target of 4% per annum growth in primary production, because
moting women’ s economic activities is to provide microcredit currently over three-quarters of all cultivable land falls in this
for promoting self-employment among them. However, category. Neglecting women’ s role in oilseed cultivation in such
numerous studies have shown that: areas, for example, has meant that India’ s productivity in this
(1) The capital provided to women’ s groups for generating self- crop category is perhaps the world’ s lowest. The country annu­
employment can at best create part-time, supplementary work. ally incurs a huge bill for imports of edible oilseeds.
(2) Without the help of a dedicated non-governmental organisa­ The use of land and water has become commerce-oriented.
tion (n go), it is difficult for poor women to design and execute Mining (legal and illegal) in Andhra Pradesh and in some dis­
viable new enterprises. tricts in Karnataka has devastated entire landscapes, polluted
(3) Women usually end up putting the money in family activi­ water bodies and robbed people of their traditional liveli­
ties controlled by men or using it to expand existing poor qual­ hoods. The gendered impacts of displacement via infrastruc­
ity enterprises. tural development need special attention.
(4) In many instances, expanding existing businesses have driven As cultivators become confined mainly to small or marginal
down piece rates for the work that women had been doing. plots, since paid work in agricultural labour is becoming
(5) By focusing almost exclusively on microfinance, the state increasingly scarce for women, it has been difficult to increase
transfers its responsibility of providing employment to women women’ s productivity. This difficulty can be overcome by encou­
by insisting that they undertake their own economic empow­ raging rural self-help groups to lease in land and pool their
erment through “ assisted”self-employment. plots to apply better inputs, and by providing them with train­
Hence, livelihood missions like the large National Rural ing in innovative women-friendly technologies. Training in im­
Livelihoods Mission (n rlm ) launched in 2011 that do not take proved farming techniques, especially for women, is required if
account of the macroeconomic context and demand for goods agricultural productivity is to be increased. Unless we boost
and services are unlikely to be successful. The n r lm ’ s focus on productivity in this sector, neither reduction in poverty nor in­
creating producer (self-help) groups will be effective only if it dustrial progress is feasible. Adequate capital investment, credit,
involves improved access to inputs, credit, marketing and tech­ technology and market outlets are required to re-energise this
nology. It is important that (1) incentives such as those offered sector. Its role in ensuring food security and relieving women of
to corporates in downswings should be offered to a greater ex­ the stress of household provisioning cannot be overemphasised.
tent for small producers; (2) there should be enhanced access The comment in the approach paper to the effect that “ [t]he
to institutional credit - not microfinance - to small producers issue of food security is perhaps the easiest one to resolve”and
of goods and services, especially women who are normally that the decline in net sown area is only 0.6% of the total sown
excluded; (3) efforts should be made for technology upgrada- area (Planning Commission 2011: 50) has inherent contradic­
tion in microenterprises, including training programmes and tions. The gradual fall in the net sown area is a major concern.
subsidies oriented towards this; and (4) the National Skill New technologies are also required in farm-based activities
Development Mission may be involved in this initiative. like dairy, poultry, sericulture and so on, where the conditions
A livelihood is more than the immediate means of earning a in which women work are poor. Moreover, the younger, better
living; it comprises people, their capabilities and the means of educated generation of workers (women included) may not in
living, including food, income and tangible assets. Tangible the future be willing to undertake such arduous work. Micro­
assets are resources and stores and intangible assets are claims level studies have captured the rural population’ s urge to get
and access. A livelihood is environmentally sustainable when away from a farm sector that has been rendered unviable over
it maintains or enhances the local and global access upon the years. Not only are relations of production in this sector the

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most oppressive, the designation of work in this sector is non­ their skills often have high marketability and the work can be
modem and therefore a poor indicator of “ development” . This decentralised to suit women with limited mobility.
likelihood too has not escaped the notice of the Planning Planners too appreciate the need to promote decentralised
Commission. It notes that (2011: 6): growth of the manufacturing sector; for this, they have proposed
much larger numbers of educated youth will be joining the labour setting up several new clusters of small units, but the way they
force in increasing numbers during the Twelfth Plan and in the years propose to do this is insensitive to the urgency of the problem.
beyond. The clear implication of this is that the pace of job/livelihood Developing new areas and putting in the necessary infrastruc­
creation must be greatly accelerated.
ture for building such clusters cannot but be a long drawn out
However, the poor performance of the economy in terms of process. And experience from the past has shown that opening
employment generation in the recent quinquennium casts industries in green areas has seldom provided jobs to needy local
serious doubts on the possibility of increasing the pace sub­ workers. We need an alternative strategy that uses existing skills
stantially in the coming five years. and workers but combines them with fresh entrepreneurial inputs,
new tools and techniques and better market information. Such
Manufacturing: The manufacturing sector currently poses solutions have been successfully tried elsewhere (for example, the
the most serious problem for the Indian economy; despite fast Third Italy model or China’s town and village industries) and one
growth in production during the last five years, its contribu­ fails to see why planners have not tried to explore these in India.
tion to the national economy still remains relatively small and
it has failed to generate additional decent employment. For Transport: Women’
s inclusion in developmental activities rests
women especially, manufacturing employment actually critically on their mobility. Transport needs to be viewed not
shrank in this period. These trends are contrary to the world­ merely as a support for rapid growth, but also as an agent for
wide pattern of economic development. change and development, for increasing physical and societal mo­
While mentioning the need for generating employment in bility, especially for women. It also needs to be noted that women
manufacturing, the approach paper does not explore the frequently use public transport while travelling with children. Fre­
sector’s potential, besides making the rather brave assumption quent plying of buses, safe stoppage of buses while boarding
that an additional 100 million decent jobs will be created by and alighting, as well as the safety and availability of public trans­
2025. Rather, it then focuses only on ways of enhancing the port will create an enabling environment for women’ s mobility.
sector’s contribution to the g d p and neglects all other concerns. Looking at the transport sector through a gender lens reveals
How such a massive number of jobs are to be created remains several differences that need to be addressed. These relate to the
an unknown, given that economic growth in the 15years up to intensity of transport usage, trip purpose, trip patterns, distance,
2010 generated not even a small fraction of this figure. What frequency of travel and mode of transport. Women-specific needs
makes the projection particularly brave is that manufacturing include transportation especially of primary products as head­
employment actually declined in the period 2004-05 to load, access to local markets, inter- and intra-village roads/paths,
2009-10, even though manufacturing output grew at an annual pedestrian sidewalk use and security. Other issues that need
com pou n d rate o f m ore than 8% over that period. attention are personal security risks at parking lots, buses, bus
The main reason for the sector’ s malaise is the decline of the stops, airports, highways, etc, that affect women’ s travel pat­
traditional household sector where large numbers of workers terns, design improvements to meet women’ s specific mobility
had been employed in decentralised units throughout the needs (lower height of entry steps, straps, etc, in buses and
country. These units have been producing varied goods for trains; installation of handrails, ramps, etc), demarcated serv­
both local and global markets, many with very high skill con­ ices such as ladies special buses/trains, and most importantly,
tent, and contributed significantly to our foreign exchange clean toilets with restrooms at major and mofussil bus stations.
earnings. It is difficult to see how the planners can fulfil their
target of tripling manufacturing employment over the next 10 Equitable Share in the Benefits o f Development
years without reviving these units. Inclusive growth implies that the gains of development are
With the availability of computerised technologies, manu­ shared between all citizens in ways that are just. That is to say,
facturing can once again be decentralised as has happened in the state takes positive action to compensate the traditional dis­
many globally important industries. In India, too, growth of advantages of the weak, the deprived and the vulnerable so that
production during recent years has chiefly been in small and each citizen attains a minimal level of capabilities necessary for
medium units. Planners are aware that these units’flexibility survival and functioning. India’ s record in this regard is far from
and capacity to absorb new skills has given them an edge in satisfactory; inequalities on grounds of religion, caste and ethni­
growth over the factory sector. However, although traditional city are rampant and these get compounded once again for women
workers are also known for a capacity for rapid adjustments, of all groups on grounds of gender. An unacceptably large section
they do not find mention in the approach paper. Worse still, of the population, among whom women form the majority, still
the document has completely ignored women workers - per­ continues to suffer from hunger, ill-health and ignorance.
haps in the misplaced belief that they are incapable of absorb­
ing modern skills. But traditionally, the sector has always been Education: Access to education and skill training exemplifies
the largest venue of employment for women after farm work; these failures. Despite the constitutional provision of a right to
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education and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan campaign, there are The Eleventh Plan fell severely short of raising the share of
still persistent gaps and discrimination in access to education public expenditure on health from less than 1% of g d p in 2006-07,
on grounds of religion, caste, ethnicity and gender. Regrettably, to 2-3% of g d p . The likely achievement will be only 1.4% of g d p .
this time too, policymakers do not appear to have any vision for The approach paper suggests that total health expenditure will
redressing that situation. Too much of early childhood education be increased to 2.5% of g d p by the end of the Twelfth Plan,
is being left largely to underpaid female teachers who, in spite but there is no basis for determining whether this is adequate.
of being state employees, are denied workers’ rights. Nor is there a road map for achieving this number.
The planners make no mention of action on the recommenda­ There is need for recognition of the critical care work provided
tions made by the various commissions and committees set up by women, that saves the public health system both time and
during the Eleventh Plan, which is when significantiy the big push cost. The primary burden of caregiving within the home falls on
for education was announced. There is an intention to bring in the women. This needs to be recognised and support provided to
private for-profit model into educational institutions. The empha­ alleviate the difficulties, drudgery and depression that surround
sis on the p p p model for all levels of education must be backed up provision of care. Macroeconomic policy takes the “ reproductive”
with evidence and justification to show how it has been success­ economy where women undertake most of the work for granted,
ful either in extending facilities to the deprived or in generally and assume that it will adjust to changes induced by macroeco­
improving the quality of education. This is especially true of train­ nomic variables. While the approach paper notes that the bur­
ing in skills. Access to skills has become a prerogative of those who den of financing healthcare falls excessively on households in the
can pay exorbitant fees. Women are deprived on several grounds form of out-of-pocket expenses, the solution suggested is publicly-
since families have reservations regarding spending large amo­ financed healthcare services through high quality, district-level
unts on a daughter’ s education. And if the family budget is con­ plans for health services, funded primarily by the states. This will
strained, then the choice automatically is in favour of the son. be a non-starter as several states will not have the required funds.
There is also no reason to believe that the p p p model will While ill-health affects both men and women, the problems
cater to the urgent need for skill training and upgrading among get compounded for women due to higher morbidity in both
numerous workers in the unorganised sector who, as men­ rural and urban areas, lack of access to and control over
tioned before, can find no markets for their traditional skills resources, restrictions on mobility, unrecognised care work bur­
unless these are coupled with modern inputs and some entre­ den, high levels of anaemia and greater fear of stigma.
preneurial skill. To universalise access to these skills at all levels Additionally, women are victims of domestic and other forms of
and to all social groups, the state needs to promote flexible violence. This is a public health issue but public provisioning for
vocational school education as well as enterprise-level training implementing the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence
that is sensitive to local opportunities and traditional skills. Act 2005 that has been passed falls far short of needs. In addi­
The Twelfth Plan must pick up the challenge of ensuring that tion to reducing maternal mortality and providing reproductive
all children, including differently abled children, are able to healthcare, the focus of health provisioning for women has to be
enjoy equal access to education and educational institutions. on planning for women’ s survival and health throughout the life
cycle. This requires that data on disease burden and health­
Health: The most glaring form of gender discrimination is in seeking behaviour be presented separately for males and fe­
the health sector, where it is visibly manifested in the low males. Data show that reported morbidity is higher among
female-male sex ratio, the high levels of and sex differentials in women than men. However, disease-wise information is spo­
morbidity and mortality as well as differential access to treat­ radic. Strategies are needed for identification of specific barriers
ment and care. The zero-to-six child sex ratio has continued to to access to healthcare and removal of these constraints.
decline from 927 to 914 as per the provisional results of Census Shortfalls in essential infrastructure, nurses, doctors, and other
2011. Differentials in morbidity and mortality and differential staff and drugs must be corrected and access to primary health
access to treatment and care for women are causes for concern. centres (p h c s ), community health centres (c h c s ) and medical
Juxtaposed against the high communicable and non-commu­ care be provided based on population and area norms. Access to
nicable disease burden is the low public sector provisioning for healthcare cannot depend on the vagaries of public-private or pub­
health and the unmet commitments on provision of access to care. lic donor partnerships. The state must take responsibility for acc­
Public expenditure on healthcare in India is among the ess to quality healthcare - preventive, promotive and curative -
lowest in the world, both as a proportion of total expenditure for all, with special responsibility for vulnerable groups. However,
on healthcare and as a percentage of g d p . Government expend­ the “ vulnerable”cannot be determined by ownership of a below
iture on healthcare in India constitutes only 19.67% of total poverty line (b p l ) card, since that will lead to errors of exclusion.
expenditure while 71.13% is spent by households themselves
(Ministry of Health and Family Welfare 2009). In contrast, Contributions and Claims o f the Voiceless
government expenditure on healthcare is 87% of total health- As in any democracy, in India too, the claims and needs of the
related expenditure in the United Kingdom (u k ), 80% in vocal and the powerful tend to get a priority over those of the
France, 64% in Thailand and 46% in Sri Lanka (ibid). Clearly, weak and the voiceless. But in planned development, policymak­
public expenditure on healthcare in India is among the lowest ers are expected to take note of the private costs undergone and
in the world. contributions made by these others in the process of development.

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Plans for state action are supposed to be modelled in ways that Urban Sector: Similarly, more and more women, with or
provide for the needs of the voiceless and duly compensate them. without families, are seeking livelihoods in urban areas. Earn­
ings in those occupations have become vital for the survival of
Energy Sector: Women of poor households contribute in many these families. While urban growth may create livelihood
ways to the welfare of their families and usually at great cost to opportunities, this will not automatically translate into inclu­
themselves. For this, they get little acknowledgement or com­ sion. Much of the work that is created is casual and the wages
pensation, whether from the family or from society. One major paid are irregular and exploitative. From urban policymakers,
service performed by most rural Indian women for their fami­ however, there is little acknowledgement of women's strug­
lies, as well as for the country, is to provide for the daily energy gles and the constant uncertainty they face regarding their job
needs of the vast majority of households, by collecting non­ opportunities and their claims on urban facilities.
commercial materials and processing these into fuel for cooking. Urban livelihoods are overlooked or undermined by policies,
The n s s o report on Household Consumption Expenditure regulations, and practices of municipalities and urban planners
(66th round 2009-10) shows that 87% of rural households and and are eroded by urban renewal schemes. The provisioning of
25.1% of urban households use firewood and wood chips, while basic water and sanitation are basic needs and should be delin­
41% of rural and 7.8% of urban households use dung cakes. ked from land tenure and the above poverty line ( a p l) / b p l dis­
These are collected by women and there is an opportunity cost tinction. Their needs too find no place in plans for the nation.
to the associated drudgery and time required for these tasks. If There is a strong gender dimension to safe water and sanitation:
the objective of the Twelfth Plan is “ inclusion” , this would re­ •There are effects on women’ s and girls’health, physical secu­
quire that the lifeline energy needs of poor women everyday be rity and exposure to violence, unpaid labour (because of the
met, through reducing the drudgery associated with collection need to care for sick household members). Sanitation signifi­
of firewood, and/or preventing the pollution and health haz­ cantly improves health and nutrition outcomes especially for
ards associated with using it for cooking the food that feeds the women and girls.
household. This issue deserves the attention of planners. •Lack of urban sewerage is a major problem. The vast majority
Also missing from the discussion is the importance of meet­ of cities and towns do not have even partial sewerage net­
ing the energy requirements of small and marginal farms and works, and in big cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad, half of
microenterprises that enable the survival of a large majority of all households do not have access to sewerage connections.
men and women as well as contribute to gdp. The supply of There has been an increase in the number of census towns
energy to vulnerable households is linked not only to improve­ with no such infrastructure or municipal arrangements.
ment in quality of life and drudgery reduction, but also to live­
lihood generation and increased contribution to gdp. Governance: The approach document harbours much faith in
The concern in the approach paper is with ensuring that the institutional reforms. How will these reforms be conducted
energy requirements of the major contributors to the g d p - and who will do them? Governance could include institutional
industry, transport, agriculture, etc, are met so that these sectors arrangements, managerial capabilities, legal and political
do not constrain the achievement of the 9% targeted g d p frameworks for delivery of justice, as well as rational conver­
growth rate. In achieving these goals, it seeks firstly to keep a gence of development delivery. While there is a general under­
check on the import bill for fossil fuels through increased energy standing that there are impediments to the effective delivery
efficiency of these (mainly imported) fuels, thus reducing the of policies and programmes, such as the “ silo”system (i e, cen­
energy elasticity of various activities in the growth scenario. tral ministerial control over schemes), and a focus on profes­
Second, it seeks to achieve growth in production while control­ sional managerial skills, there is no reference to the impor­
ling carbon emissions from energy-producing activities. tance of the panchayati raj institutions as well as the munici­
Despite the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (rggvy), palities or their role in providing that convergence.
a large number of habitations are still uncovered and a very large
population has no connectivity. While there is recognition of the Removing Biases
need for universalisation of access to power, it is crucial that there be In recent years, several developments have taken place that
a commitment to achieving this during the Twelfth Plan and provi­ can help to remove the various biases that are still very much a
sion of a road map on how this objective will be attained. part of our governance system. One of them is the machinery
For inclusion, when there are shortages and outages, supply must set in motion to decentralise governance authority through
be rationalised so that small farms get priority supply at stipulated panchayats, district councils and municipal bodies, with reser­
times and agriculture is not adversely affected. Similarly, the spatial vation of seats for various disadvantaged groups including
distribution of available energy supply should be equitable and not women. There is hope that the plans and policies executed
skewed in favour of more developed areas and rich households. thus could correct inequities in the system. However, planners
This must be followed through once again with a concrete road map. are yet to devolve sufficient powers to these bodies to make
The basic purpose of planning is to correct or compensate for the any impact. Too much authority is still centralised at the top.
imbalance between private and public costs; but in this case, plan­ Central schemes decide on the one design for programmes
ners show no awareness of the fact that women are saving on costs that are to be applied everywhere. This has foiled any hope of
to the nation at great private costs to themselves and their health. giving women a voice in future development plans.
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For women, in particular, with concerns cutting across sectors, and therefore improvement is not possible without more
an intersectionality framework must necessarily be included frequent and better quality gender-disaggregated data on
whereby the perspectives, interests and voices of women from the - Employment conditions (paid and unpaid work)
most disadvantaged groups are foregrounded. The role of gov­ - Migration
ernance, in particular local governance, where women can play - Health access and outcomes
an active role in developmental planning, given their high politi­ - Education, skills and training
cal presence (now over 50%), is critical in this convergence. - Access to food and nutrition outcomes
Women’ s participation as elected representatives in local bodies, - Use of public facilities
evolved over the last 15 years, has been noteworthy. Hence the - Control over private and public assets
strengthening of these agencies’ roles and powers, especially for -Access to credit
implementing “ inclusive”programmes at the grass-roots level -Access to land
would be enabling for women-led governance. - Access to and impact of flagship schemes
Needless to state, it is the combined effect of these inclusive - Fiscal and monetary gender-disaggregated data.
programmes that can ameliorate so much of rural deprivation
for women who perform some of these tasks in the unpaid Conclusions
“care economy” . While the approach paper recognises that the From a gender point of view, what is required is that the genera­
Total Sanitation Commission (tsc) without water is meaning­ tion of livelihoods and employment be the central driving force
less, that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment for growth and that resources generated through growth of g d p
Guarantee Act ( m g n r e g a ) without its demand-driven agenda feed the social policies that universalise education, health, social
would not improve outcomes, and that (for artisanal families) security, social welfare, culture and sports (see, for instance,
linking m g n r e g a with the National Rural Livelihood Mission Sarmiento 2011). This will involve a different approach than
is desirable, it makes little effort in working out a mechanism currently taken in the Twelfth Plan document. It is hoped that
to ensure such convergence. during the Twelfth Plan,
With the district now being identified as the first building •Livelihood-led growth will be at the centre of inclusive
block for planning and devolution of untied funds and flagship growth. This requires correcting for the existing trend of the
schemes, a district plan which includes gendered analysis of the poor quality employment generated by growth that in no way
s economy, postulates a goal of food and livelihood se­ benefits women and many other groups; enabling small pro­
curity and allocates funds accordingly is crucial. In short, gov­ ducers, in agriculture and non-agriculture, to become more
ernance should mean that with political democracy, women are viable and competitive; preventing displacement, loss of
enabled to build economic democracy. livelihoods and environmental degradation in the name of
The Indian government has in principle also accepted the rapid growth.
tool of gender-just budgeting for monitoring and evaluating •If inclusion is the goal, then employment generation of high
public expenditure for reducing gender-based biases. This can quality, and not primarily underpaid work in the social sector,
also be applied to plan schemes and their execution in order to must be the central goal of planning.
assess the orientation and progress of the plan from a gendered •Shifting to a livelihood-led growth strategy or an employment-
lens. However, gender-responsive budgeting (grb ) should go oriented macroeconomic strategy can have many direct and
beyond a number-crunching game of estimating the flow of indirect positive effects through strong multiplier effects, even
budgetary resources to women, “ to engage with the overall de­ for other policy measures.
termination of macroeconomic policy and the degree to which •Adequate public provisioning for healthcare must also be a pri­
there is adequate support for social investment and provision ority in view of the high communicable and non-communicable
of public goods”(Elson 2011:17). disease burden, the massive burden on households of out-of-
Strengthening the gender perspective in developmental pocket expenses for financing healthcare and the unmet com­
planning through sustained review, monitoring, evaluation mitments regarding equitable access to healthcare.

REFERENCES_______________________________ Kohli, Atul (2006 ): “ India’ s Growth by High - (2009 ): “ The Challenge of Employment in
Inequality and Capital Intensity” , Economic & India: An Informal Economy Perspective” ,
Chandrasekhar, C P and Jayati Ghosh (2012): “ The Political Weekly, 41(13): 1251-59 . NCEUS, New Delhi.
Latest Employment Trends from the NSSO” ,
Krishna, Anirudh and Devendra Bajpai (2011): “ Lin­ Planning Commission (2010): “ Engendering Public
MacroScan, 14 July. eal Spread and Radial Dissipation: Experiencing Policy: A Report on the Work of the Working
Chambers, R and G Convey (1991): “ Sustainable Ru­ Growth in Rural India, 1993 -2005 ” , Economic & Group of Feminist Economists during the
ral Livelihoods: Practical Concepts for the Twen­ Political Weekly, 4 6 (38 ): 44 -51* Preparation of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan,
ty First Century”, Institute of Development Stud­ Lingam, Lakshmi and Maithreyi Krishnaraj (2010): 2007 -12” , Government of India, New Delhi.
ies Discussion Paper 296 , University of Sussex. “Maternity Protection in India: A National - (2011): “ Faster, Sustainable and More Inclusive
Elson, Diane (2011): “ Economics for a Post-crisis Assessment” , Study Commissioned by the Min­ Growth: An Approach to the Twelfth Five-Year
World: Putting Social Justice First”in Devaki istry of Labour and Employment, Government Plan” , Government of India, New Delhi.
Jain and Diane Elson (ed.), Harvesting of India and ILO, New Delhi. Sarmiento, Marta Nunez (2011): “ Cuban Develop­
Feminist Knowledge for Public Policy: Rebuild­ Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (2009 ): ment Alternatives to Market-Driven Economies:
ing Progress (New Delhi: IDRC and Sage “National Health Accounts India, 2004 -05 ” , A Gendered Case Study on Women’ s Employ­
Publications). Government of India, New Delhi. ment”in Devaki Jain and Diane Elson (ed.), Har­
Kannan, K P and G Ravindran (2011): “ India’s Com­ NCEUS (2007 ): “ Report on Conditions of Work and vesting Feminist Knowledge for Public Policy: Re­
mon People: The Regional Profile” , Economic & Promotion of Livelihoods in the Unorganised building Progress (New Delhi: IDRC and Sage
Political Weekly, 4 6 (38): 6 0 -73 * Sector” , NCEUS, New Delhi. Publications).

Economic & Political w e e k ly DQ53 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 49

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Gender Responsive Budgeting in India

What Has Gone Wrong?


The manner in which the Indian initiative on gender lobally gender responsive budgeting (grb) has come to
responsive budgeting has panned out appears to be a light as an important tool in the ongoing struggle to
make budgets and policies more gender responsive.
classic case o f putting the cart before the horse. This
From just one country in the mid-1980s1to over 90 countries
article analyses the tw o prime strategies adopted by the now, the last two decades have witnessed an overwhelming
Government o f India for institutionalising grb, namely, endorsement of g r b as a valuable tool for engendering budgets
the "Gender Budget Statement" and Gender Budgeting and policies all over the world.
In India too, g r b has drawn significant attention from
Cells to highlight w hat has gone wrong, and what needs
policymakers. Both the Tenth and the Eleventh Five-Year Plans
to be fixed. The authors also draw on experiences from made explicit mention of how g r b should be used.2 With the
other countries, to argue that g r b in India needs a Approach Paper for the Twelfth Plan in the public domain, a lot
completely different rhythm if it has to translate into of effort will now be invested in formulating the Twelfth Plan.
Various steering committees, working groups and sub-groups have
better outcomes for the women of our country. With the
been constituted by the Planning Commission to draft recom­
formulation of the Twelfth Plan under way, the m oment mendations for the Plan. The moment is thus opportune to reflect
is opportune to push for groundbreaking changes in the on groundbreaking changes that we want from the Twelfth Plan.
policy discourse on grb. This article focuses on the experience of g r b in India - what has
gone wrong and what needs to be fixed in the Twelfth Plan.

Trajectory o f Gender Responsive Budgeting

While much groundwork had been done in the years preced­
ing its introduction in 2004-05,3it was arguably the report of
the expert group of classification of government expenditure,
which became instrumental in laying out the road map for
g r b . 4 One of the terms of reference ( to r s ) of the expert group
was to look into and suggest ways to integrate g r b in the
budgetary processes of the Government of India with plausible
institutional mechanisms. The expert group submitted its
report in July 2004 and broadly prescribed the norms
under which the ministries/departments would report their
gender budget.
Following this, the Ministry of Women and Child Develop­
ment (m w cd) adopted “ Budgeting for Gender Equity”as a mis­
sion statement in 2004-05. A Strategic Framework of Activities
to implement this mission was also framed and disseminated to
all departments and ministries of the Government of India (goi).
That same year, the Ministry of Finance initiated the process of
creating an institutional mechanism for mainstreaming gender
by mandating the setting up of gender budgeting cells ( gb cs)
in all ministries/departments. These g b c s were envisaged as
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official focal points for mainstreaming gender through g r b . The year
position o f UN Women.
2005-06 was a landmark one for g r b in India, with the intro­
Yamini Mishra (yaminlmishra@unwomen.org ) and Navanita Sinha duction of the gender budget statement (gbs) in the union
Cnavanita.sinha@unwomen.org) are with the United Nations Women budget, to reflect the quantum of budgetary allocations for
South Asia Sub-Regional Office.
programmes/schemes that substantially benefit women.5

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Although the Indian government’ s experience of g r b is empowerment (we) and gender equality (ge). However, a case
widely used as a reference point for other g r b initiatives, there for whether there is need for higher public spending can only
seems to be a visible gap between what was envisioned and be made if one knows how much is allocated. Therefore, to
what has been achieved under the rubric of g r b . In fact, the even begin assessing the adequacy or inadequacy of public
government’ s own road map for gender budgeting as envisioned spending on women, we need to first know how much the gov­
by the Ashok Lahiri Committee was far more comprehensive.6 ernment spends on women. This is where a quantitative for­
With the preparation of the g b s , our energies seem to have mat of the g b s becomes significant. At the very least, it helps
stagnated at step 1, and unfortunately no concerted efforts have us answer the most fundamental question of estimating how
been made to deepen g r b work beyond this stage. Further­ much the government spends on women.
more, commentators have also drawn attention to several Prior to the introduction of the g b s , there was no way of even
weaknesses in the way in which g r b is being done, particularly estimating how much of the government’ s total expenditure
the manner in which the g b s is prepared and the functioning of was flowing to women. Now, with the production of the g b s as
the g b c s . We will discuss these in detail below. part of the union budget documents, an institutionalised effort
Having reflected on both the policy endorsements as well as is being made to answer this basic question.
on the gaps in implementation, one is left wondering whether Despite certain limitations, the g b s has helped women’ s
these policy pronouncements have led to any tangible gains rights activists and civil society organisations place the call for
for the women of our country. Have budgets or policies of any better funding/provisioning for women’ s rights on a much
select ministry/department of the union or state government stronger ground. Without the g b s, it would have been extremely
become more gender responsive? Have any of these efforts difficult to estimate how much of the government’ s funds
translated into more gender responsive outlays and outcomes? flow to women - given the complex reality of the bureaucratic
Although cognisant of the fact that translating policy com­ machinery. At a preliminary level itself, this would entail not
mitments into tangible gains is invariably a long-drawn pro­ just looking at expenditure benefiting women through schemes
cess, can we construe the gap between what has been achieved exclusively meant for them but also scrutinising composite
and what could have been achieved by g r b in India, as essen­ expenditure schemes for their impact on women, as well as
tially only one of time lag? Or does g r b require a different assessing the difference between actual expenditure (ae), budget
rhythm all together if we want tangible outcomes? In this estimates (be) and revised estimates (re), among others.
paper, we argue in favour of the latter. We develop our critique By comparing the allocations of a particular department/
at two levels - first, we analyse the prime strategies adopted by ministry reflected in the g b s with its total outlay, one can assess
the government for institutionalising g r b , namely, the g b s and the priority given to gender equality/women’ s empowerment
g b c s ; and second, we build on experiences from other countries in that department/ministry. A high percentage does signify a
to map out certain alternative pathways for g r b in India. higher priority to w e / g e and vice versa. From an advocacy
point of view, thus low priority as reflected in the g b s can pro­
Gender Budget Statement vide the trigger for demanding higher allocation for critical
If one looks at the larger choice set of g r b tools available, the interventions in different sectors.
g b s is the only tool that has been institutionalised in India. Contrast this with a format wherein each ministry/department
The g b s performs the arduous yet important task of trying to submits bulky reports on how their schemes promote w e / g e .
assess what percentage of the total expenditure of the budget For instance, in the late 1980s the women’ s budget statements
flows to women. As an accountability tool, it showcases the produced by the Australian federal governments were about
programmes/schemes and corresponding budgetary outlays 300 pages long and included a detailed narrative from each
of line ministries/departments with respect to their endeavour ministry on what their budget meant for women. However, the
to advance and promote gender equality commitments. length of these documents became a major deterrent for those
The “ Gender Budgeting Statement”(Statement 20, Expen­ using them. Subsequently, the government had to issue a
diture Budget, Volume 1) has a purely quantitative format. shorter version of the statement to widen its outreach. As seen
Currently, 33 demands for grants out of a total of 106 disaggre­ in the Australian example, an extremely detailed document
gate their allocations by sex and report in the g b s . The state­ may limit the utility of the g b s as an accountability tool, for
ment comprises two parts: part a, which details schemes in key stakeholders such as media, parliamentarians or even citi­
which 100% allocations are for women; and part b, which zens. At the very least thus a “ one-number”format highlights
reflects schemes where allocations for women constitute at the priority for w e / g e in a simple user-friendly manner.
least 30% of the provisions. Furthermore, by asking line ministries to disaggregate allo­
The Indian g b s has been studied in great detail and both its cations by sex, a thinking process is being initiated or a “ cons­
strengths and weaknesses highlighted. In the next section we dis­ ciousness” , so to say, is being created of at least beginning to
cuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of the current g b s . assess and hence reflect on the impact of allocations of a
particular ministry on women.
Inaccurate Reporting or Design Flaw? While the current g b s has its fair share of advantages, there
Women’ s rights activists and lobby groups have persistently are several gaps as well. Several commentators have drawn
pressed for committed resources to promote the goals of women’ s attention to the limited scope of the exercise - from the low

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levels of allocations for women as revealed in the gbs, to the Child Development budget (approximately 80 % of the total
number of ministries’ demands for grants covered in the scope outlay in union budget 2011-12 b e ) is meant for the Integrated
of the gbs, as well as the various methodological inaccuracies Child Development Services (icds), a child-focused programme.7
that mar the current g b s (Das and Mishra 2006a, 2006b; However there are certain limits to this approach. The first
Jhamb and Mishra 2007). Despite several attempts at refine­ major problem with the current g b s pertains to the practice
ment and restructuring to ensure accurate reporting, the g b s of disaggregating allocations by the sex of the beneficiary. For
remains fraught with huge methodological errors. Some of the instance, under part A of the g b s for 2011-12 is the item “ Wash­
main anomalies are listed below: ing Drying/Women’ s Laundry”(demand no 54 - Police, itbp).
(a) Schemes are reported in part a of the statement even This expenditure was (or will probably be) incurred on women
though it is clear that 100% of the beneficiaries are not women. police officers and is thus reflected in the gb s. Similarly, the
For instance, the Indira Awas Yojana continues to figure in line item “ Engaging women employees on a contract basis”
part a, despite the fact that all of its allocations do not benefit (demand no 52, Ministry of Home Affairs), women employees
women. In 2008-09, for instance, of the 20.94 lakh houses were (or will be) engaged on a contract basis and hence the
constructed, only 17.16 lakh houses were allotted to women, money allocated for them is reflected in the gbs.
the remaining being jointly allotted to men and women from In both these examples, while the allocation reflected is meant
the same household (Government of India 2010a). for women, the question that escapes scrutiny is whether these
(b) Schemes reported in part b frequently claim that 100% of allocations, in any way seek to redress gender imbalances. For
the allocations are for women, as opposed to reflecting the instance in the second example, the women employed on a con­
percentage that actually flows to women. For example, most tract basis could actually be worse off in terms of the employment
schemes of the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Ministry of Earth contract than their corresponding women or men counterparts
Sciences and Ministry of Labour and Employment report 100% in permanent jobs for similar work. Does this expenditure then
of their allocations in part b, whereas they are clearly not promote wom en’ s empowerment or gender equality in any way?
meant exclusively for women. In contrast, consider for instance, a hypothetical expendi­
(c) Schemes reported in part b, where the reported percentage ture: a training programme organised for the gender sensitisa­
is less than 100% but there is no clarity on how the ministry tion for male police officers. This expenditure clearly falls on
estimated the percentage flowing to women. For instance, men. Therefore, if one were to go strictly by the logic of our
under the department of higher education, the budget line current gbs, it probably will not feature in the gbs. But looked
“National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language”shows closely, the expenditure in this case, is clearly meant to address
approximately 33% of its total allocations under the gbs. What a critical gender concern - the need to make service delivery
was the basis of arriving at this figure? Take another example, more gender responsive. Such expenditure is therefore more
under the same department, the Central Hindi Directorate likely to promote gender equality than expenditure incurred
shows approximately 31% of its allocations in the g b s (figures on laundry of women officers’ uniforms. Yet our current format
not adjusted for the north-east component). Again, there is no does not leave any space to ask these questions.
clarity on the assumptions made to arrive at this number. What these examples demonstrate clearly is that it is not enough
These are but a few examples of glaring methodological to focus on disaggregating expenditure by the sex of the benefi­
inaccuracies in the gb s, and it is critical that all necessary steps ciary but that a broader perspective is needed, one that is inter­
be taken to correct them. Equally important is the need to monitor ested in the objective of the expenditure. Various g r b proponents
the gbs. Presently no such monitoring or audit mechanism of the have proposed categorisations reflecting the latter. The most fa­
g b s is in place in India. Therefore, there is no way to ascertain mous perhaps is Rhonda Sharp’ s three-way categorisation of
whether what has been promised in the g b s is actually being expenditure where expenditure is divided into the following:
fulfilled or not. This needs to be supplemented by a closer look (a) gender-targeted expenditure; (b) equal opportunity expendi­
at the format of the gbs, which remains purely quantitative. ture for civil servants; and (c) mainstream expenditure (the
What are the possibilities and limits of this approach? In the rest) considered in terms of its gendered impact (Sharp 2003).
following section, we discuss some of these challenges. Another categorisation has been proposed by Nirmala
Banerjee. In her pioneering work Gender and Fiscal Policies:
(a) Limits in Disaggregating Allocations by Sex of the The Case of West Bengal she proposes sub-categorising expen­
Beneficiary: The current format of the Indian g b s disaggre­ ditures on public schemes for women in the following manner
gates allocations by the sex of the beneficiary. In other words, (Banerjee and Roy 2004):
it breaks down the allocations in terms of whom it falls on - men (a) Relief policies, which are not aimed at solving any peren­
or women. The fundamental question that the g b s therefore nial or structural problems (e g, widows).
answers is - what percentage of allocations is meant for women? (b) Gender reinforcing assistance, which supports women
Disaggregating allocation by sex of the beneficiary is critical but strictly for their needs in accepted gender roles (e g, pro­
to assess targeted expenditure towards women, especially in a grammes that address wom en’ s reproductive functions).
country like India, where allocations for the promotion of w e/ g e (c) Empowering schemes, which focus on removing gender-
remain extremely low. This is perhaps best illustrated by the based disadvantages of women (e g, schemes such as creches
fact that the largest proportion of the Ministry of Women and to allow women to work and extra toilets for girls in schools).
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She argues that many programmes targeted specifically to be made more gender responsive” ? Unfortunately, this is not
women serve to reinforce traditional roles, and spending on at the centre of current g r b discourse in India.
them should not be counted as equality promoting expenditure. There is a further limitation as well, with significant impli­
But if our overall aim is to harness the state’s help in achieving true cations about how we conceive of gender and its relationship
equality between men and women, we need to push for policies to other forms of disadvantage. By having a format that insists
that not merely assist women to fulfil their traditional roles, but also on a binary disaggregation between men and women, there is
to promote them in roles that will change existing gender positions a direct reinforcement of homogeneous conceptions of mascu-
(Banerjee 2 0 0 3 : 16).
linity/femininity, and by extension an implicit invisibilisation
Though the format used is purely quantitative, the Nepalese of alternative sexual identities such as bisexual, transgender
g b s too presents an interesting alternative. It uses an interest­ and intersex within public policy. Furthermore, the question of
ing mix of disaggregating expenditure by both - its incidence intersectionalities across other categories of discrimination or
(on men and women) as well as its objective. The indicators exclusion is not raised.
used in this case are (with an equal weight of 20% each):
(a) wom en’ s capacity development; (b) wom en’ s participation (b) Limits in Relation to Policymaking: The second major
in programme formulation and implementation; (c) benefit problem with this format of the g b s is that it neither serves as a
incidence of public expenditures on women; (d) support to tool that informs policymaking nor does it enable policymakers
women’ s employment and income generation; (e) positive impact to assess the additional steps needed to make policies/schemes
on wom en’ s time use and care work. gender responsive.
We argue that an objective-based disaggregation is a much Gender relations are complex, and any exercise which seeks
more useful way of disaggregating public expenditure. It is to capture these complex relations through a number is evi­
clearly more informative about the direction public policy dently problematic. At times, what may be required to address
ought to take to be more gender responsive. key gender gaps may be resource-intensive (such as construct­
There is a further consideration as well. Classifying alloca­ ing separate toilets for girls in schools), but at times they may
tions and expenditure by sex can be relevant only for specific require certain modifications to operational guidelines, such
ministries - those that are “ divisible”(i e, where beneficiaries as creating a sexual harassment committee. The current for­
can be counted). For ministries where beneficiaries cannot be mat provides no fillip to officials to take small but critical steps
easily counted, one is bound to get stuck in a hair splitting towards engendering programmes, such as setting up creches,
exercise of how to arrive at the proportion flowing to women. providing maternity leave, flexi-timings, etc.
Perhaps this is one reason why the number of ministries Therefore, the second major limitation of a purely quantita­
reporting in the g b s has stagnated over the years. tive format is this: while it helps us answer the question as to
A similar problem has been experienced with regard to the how much is supposedly being allocated and spent on women,
implementation of the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (scsp) and it does not directly facilitate gender responsive planning and
Tribal Sub Plan (tsp).8 The Narendra Jadhav Task Force, set up budgeting. Thus, it would be more useful if the g b s began with
by the Planning Commission in 2010 to review and re-examine (a) identifying the pressing gender gaps in a particular sector/
the s c s p and t s p guidelines suggested several progressive steps scheme, followed by (b) what steps the ministry/department
for better implementation of s c s p and tsp. However it also made will take, in the particular year, to address the gap and (c) then
it non-obligatory for 43 ministries/departments to implement identifying the budgetary resources needed to address these
s c s p and tsp. The reason for this exemption is that there was pressing gender gaps and ensure that the requisite funds are
not enough scope in these ministries/departments to create made available and spent well. Unfortunately, because the cur­
exclusive schemes for development of s c s and s t s (Government rent format reduces g r b to an allocation exercise, and, more­
of India 2010b) and therefore it was difficult for these to report over, takes the form of something that is done as an after­
expenditure in the s c s p and tsp. These ministries/depart­ thought, it is not in a position to inform policymaking.
ments include those largely engaged in policymaking without Take the example of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (ssa). The
any significant beneficiary-oriented schemes; engaged in basic department of school education and literacy has entered 48 to
scientific research; implementing large infrastructure projects, 53% of the s s a funds in the g b s which follows the pattern of
whose benefits to s c s are difficult to quantify, etc. enrolment ratios of girls and boys. Evidently, the reporting of
The important point to note here is that so long as one insists s s a in the g b s is based on a mechanical division of the total
on disaggregating expenditures based on the identity of the bene­ spending on boys versus girls by simply reproducing the pro­
ficiary (whether based on gender or caste) and not on the objec­ portions of the respective enrolment ratios. For the g b s to be
tive of the expenditure, it is most likely that several so-called used as a tool to engender policymaking, the process should
“ indivisible”ministries/departments will remain off the hook.9 instead commence with identifying the additional activity
This is also why the only question that has occupied the which the ministry would undertake in that particular year to
mind space of most officials is unfortunately, “ how do we dis­ make a programme like s s a more gender responsive, and then
aggregate allocations for our ministry” ? Instead, the more follow it up with a more precise estimation of the resources
fundamental question that needs to be asked is this: “ how can required for its implementation. While this would surely have
the policies and budgets of different ministries and departments to include divisible items such as toilets for girls, girls’hostels,

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and even a sufficient number of women teachers at all levels the only tool which has been institutionalised. Valuable though
of the school system, as much emphasis must go towards the g b s is, it is important to reiterate that it is just one of the
engendering the curriculum, teacher training materials, etc. g r b tools. The g b s by its very design is best suited for certain
As discussed, both the purely quantitative and qualitative ministries, particularly those engaged in service delivery. For
formats of the g b s have their own limitations and strengths. other ministries, it is critical to engage with other tools.
We argue that a format of the g b s that uses a mix of both qual­ It is important to look at the entire choice-set of g r b tools
itative and quantitative methodologies - winnowing out the available and accordingly reflect on which tool is most appro­
most fundamental limitations of each of these approaches and priate to meet the larger objective of making policies and
capitalising on their strengths - can address these gaps. programmes of different ministries/departments more gender
Countries such as Indonesia have experimented with formats responsive. For instance, gender disaggregated revenue analysis
that have such an appropriate mix. Although qualitative (in which one tries to assess how men and women are affected
formats also differ with regard to the scope and depth of the differently by the kind of revenues raised by government) is a
exercise, most are drawn from the five-step framework10of g r b , tool that revenue-generating ministries (and only they) can use.
one of the important contributions made by Debbie Budlender A gender-disaggregated analysis of the impact of budget on
to the field (Budlender et al 2002). Here a gender analysis or time use, which analyses the impact of government resource
identification of the gender problem that a particular line allocation on the amount and the way time is spent by men/boys
ministry is trying to address becomes part of the g b s. In Table 1, and women/girls, for instance is a tool that the Ministry of
two such templates are provided. Statistics (m os) may be best suited to use, although it should
Table 1: Format of the GBS in Pakistan (Punjab Province) and Indonesia inform policymaking by other line ministries as well. Given that
Format for Pakistan's GBS (Punjab Province) Format for Indonesia's GBS the central statistical offices (usually located within the m os) are
• P rogra m m e n am e • N am e o f m inistry the key in-country institutions that have the capacity to conduct
• S u b - p ro gra m m e n a m e (w here relevant) • A ctivity regular, comprehensive time-use surveys, the m o s can become
• G en d er issu es • O u tpu t
an extremely significant actor in g r b as well.
• Planned activities • O b jectiv e
Globally too, the g b s is one of the most popular tools but there
• B u d get for previou s and current • Situation analysis
financial year is a need to reflect more carefully on which tool is most appropri­
• Inputs (including ta rgets and actual • A ction Plan ate in keeping with the specificities of the context and the sector.
p ro g re ss on groun d) There are a few examples from the south Asian region itself,
• O u tpu ts (including ta rge ts and actual • B u d g et alloca tion for activity where governments have taken the lead in institutionalising
p ro g re ss on groun d) • O u tpu t
other tools. In Pakistan, for instance, the g r b initiative was
• Overall a ch iev em e n ts • Im p a ct/ resu lt o f activity o u tp u t
introduced in 2005 at the federal level and in two pilot districts
With sectoral ministries being asked to report in the g b s with­ of the province of Punjab and the implementation strategy
out an institutionalised process of either a gender analysis of the developed highlighted the priority areas and provided a road
situation or gender analysis of policies, we are essentially starting map to be followed, g r b tools used were - gender aware policy
with step-three of Budlender’ s five-step framework. The starting appraisals, conducted for the education, health and population
point of any good g r b initiative has to be a strong gender analysis welfare sectors which became part of the gender-related inputs
of the situation or the issue that one is trying to address. Unfor­ for the sector review reports of the government; gender - aware
tunately the current format does not provide any space for this. beneficiary assessment survey, undertaken in the two districts
In Cambodia, for instance, till date, 26 line ministries have of Punjab province; a nationwide time use survey, which
created gender mainstreaming action groups (gm ags). The g m a g s revealed the macroeconomic implications of the unpaid care
are responsible for formulating a Gender Mainstreaming Action work of the family; and in 2006, a pilot gender budget state­
Programme (gm ap) - a document in which the line ministry ment was prepared for the education, health and population
identifies the key gender gaps within the sector and delineates welfare sectors in Punjab (Budlender and Mahbub 2007;
priority action points to address them ( n g o - c e d a w and c a m b o Government of Pakistan and u n d p 2008). In Bangladesh, on
2011). g m a p s thus offer an opportunity to integrate gender con­ the other hand, the government allocated funds for undertak­
cerns in the line ministries plans and budget (Wong and Lay ing gender disaggregated beneficiary assessment.
2010). Although there are gaps in the capacities of these g m a gs,
what needs to be underscored here is that the starting point for Gender Budget Cells
the ministries is preparing the g m a p and then implementing it. As mentioned earlier, in India the second major step taken by
g r b comes in later as a tool to ensure that there is adequate the g o i to institutionalise g r b was the formation of g b c s in
funding to address the gender gaps. A 2007 review noted that various ministries/departments. While the idea emerged from
“an impressive amount of high quality work has gone into the the recommendation of the Ashok Lahiri Committee, it was a
development of these plans which can provide a model to be fol­ charter issued by the Ministry of Finance (mof) on 8 March 2007
lowed by other countries”(as quoted in Wong and Lay: 18). which finally mandated the formation of g b c s . As per the gender
budget charter, g b c s were to be set up with the objective of:
(c) Engaging with Other GRB Tools: As mentioned earlier, ...influencing and effecting a change in the Ministry’
s policies, pro­
although other g r b tools have been used sporadically, g b s is grammes in a way that could tackle gender imbalances, promote

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gender equality and development and ensure that public resources consider gender to be a priority. This de-prioritisation of the
through the Ministry budget are allocated and managed accordingly. gender agenda manifests itself in two peculiar syndromes.
(Government of India 2 0 0 7 3 :6 4 ).
The first is what we call the “ too high up or too low down”
Much attention was paid to the composition of the g b c s as syndrome and relates to the position of officials responsible for
well. As per the charter: the gender agenda within a hierarchical bureaucratic order. In
...the Gender Budget Cell should comprise a cohesive group of senior/
many countries the prime responsibility rests with officials who
middle level officers from the Plan, Policy, Coordination, Budget and Ac­ are too senior in the hierarchy and are therefore unable to dedi­
counts Division of the Ministry concerned. This group should be headed cate the time required for pushing the gender agenda. In the
by an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary. The functions and Maldives, for instance, the gender focal points are at the level
working of the g b Cell may be reviewed at least once a quarter at the of deputy ministers (Government of Maldives 2009). While
level of Secretary/Additional Secretary of the Department (ibid: 65 ).
these officials are senior enough and carry the weight to push the
The functions listed were also a good start. Amongst others, gender agenda, they are often so busy with other commitments
three important tasks assigned to the g b c s were: that gender issues do not get the time and attention they deserve.
(1) Identifying a minimum of three and maximum of six larg­ On the other hand, in countries where a relatively junior official
est programmes (in terms of budget allocation) implemented is responsible for this, it is seen that on account of his/her low
by the ministry to analyse gender issues addressed by them. placement within the hierarchy he/she is unable to garner
(2) Conducting/commissioning performance audit (at the field the buy-in required from higher officials to push the gender
level wherever possible) for reviewing the actual physical/ agenda within sectoral ministries. For example in Cambodia,
financial targets of the programme, the constraints if any, in the gender focal points are usually deputy director level offi­
implementation, the need for strengthening delivery systems, cials, although some ministries have deputed undersecretar­
infrastructure/capacity building, etc. ies, heads of office or advisors for the job. While there is no one
(3) Organising meetings/discussions/consultations with g b c s way out, it is important to ensure buy in at the highest levels of
of related departments within the ministry, field level organi- decision-making. Without the commitment of the senior-most
sations/civil society groups/NGos working in the sector for ex­ in the hierarchy, ministries where gender is not the primary
changing ideas and getting feedback on the efficacy of sectoral concern will not address/take on gender concerns with any
policies and programmes. seriousness. Once this commitment at the senior-most level is
The Eleventh Plan also noted that efforts will continue to built, the details of the intervention can be worked out and
create gender budgeting cells in all ministries and departments implemented by dedicated staff lower down in hierarchy.
(Government of India 2007b). Going by the number of g b c s The second is the “ individual versus group”syndrome. Many
formed within various ministries and departments (56 as of countries have appointed gender focal points in line ministries/
2011), one would tend to assume that considerable work has departments. These gender focal points are mostly individual-
been done on this front. driven. Though they benefit from the energy or commitment
Unfortunately, however, the g b c s have not been able to exe­ that the individual brings in, there is a major weakness in this
cute the tasks assigned to them. Despite a commitment in the arrangement as well. Oftentimes, when they are transferred or
Eleventh Plan that “ data from these cells will be collated on a shifted, the work has to be initiated all over again. In contradis­
regular basis and made available in the public domain”(ibid: tinction, some countries have set up gender mainstreaming
200), not much is known about the functioning of these cells. groups or cells within ministries/departments. While these
Within policy circles, there seems to be a latent feeling that structures have the advantage of not being individual centred,
these cells have been largely ineffective and remained mostly on it is often a challenge to get a group together in line ministries,
paper. What is even more disturbing is that no comprehensive whose priorities lie elsewhere than with gender-related con­
review of these g b c s has been conducted by the government, cerns. Therefore, in this tussle between individuals and groups,
so far. Our critique of the g b c s is not only based on the specifics unfortunately efforts to strengthen g r b get diluted. The under­
of the Indian experience, but also draws on the experiences of lying problem is that in most countries the focus has not been
similar gender architectures/machineries in other countries - on developing the necessary institutional capabilities - but
to highlight what has worked, and what has not. remained largely individual centric, and have therefore failed
to bring about transformations at the level of institutions and
(a) Low Priority Given to the Gender Agenda: It must be systems. Since a lot of energy has been invested in conducting
acknowledged that the non-functioning of g b c s is a non-problem g r b trainings and capacity building exercises in several coun­
unique to India alone. The gender architecture/machineries tries including India, it would be valuable at this stage to take
( g r b architecture is a sub-component of the larger gender archi­ stock of all these efforts towards capacity building in g r b . For
tecture) in many countries face similar challenges and constraints g r b to move forward now, it is important thus to reflect in a
that have had an adverse impact on their working. One such fun­ strategic way on whose capacities need to be built, what kinds of
damental problem is that despite being articulated as a priority capacities need to be built and what is the best way of doing so.
in policy circles, the gender agenda continues to be relegated to an
“additional charge”status, and oftentimes falls into the lap of over­ (b) Lack of a Coordinating/Monitoring Mechanism: Since
worked officials who are unable to give it attention, even if they grb by its very definition entails cross-sectoral work and

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requires coordination between various sectoral ministries, and second, it will assist the sectoral ministries in identifying
some institutional mechanism to facilitate the process is ways in which their policies and budgets can be made more
required. Different countries have experimented with differ­ gender responsive. Creating such a space for the g r b machin­
ent structures - some have set up committees and task forces, ery within the formal budgetary process would be pivotal for
others have set up cells within line ministries and/or a secre­ realising the objective of making budgetary outlays and out­
tariat to coordinate, among others. comes gender responsive.
Unfortunately in India, g r b efforts have been severely impeded (c) It is important for certain ministries to act as key drivers for
due to the absence of such a coordinating mechanism for har­ g r b . Given the nature of work, the Finance Ministry, W omen’ s
monising the work of g b c s across line ministries.11Based on the Ministry (in India, the Ministry of Women and Child Deve­
experiences of other countries, it can be argued that a basic lopment) and the Planning Agency (Planning Commission for
minimum in terms of an institutional mechanism is required to India and ministries of planning in other countries) are critical in
make g r b a success. Some of these criteria are outlined below: this equation. In several countries one has witnessed the debate
(a) It is imperative that the g r b machinery involved in the sec­ as to where the key responsibility for g r b should be placed -
toral ministries (not just in the Ministry of Women and Child within the Finance Ministries or the W omen’ s Ministries or the
Development and the Ministry of Finance) is robust and func­ Planning Ministries. While there is no one mantra for this difficult
tional. This is critical because it is the sectoral ministries question, what can be said with confidence is that the involvement
which need to use g r b as a tool to make their policies and of the m o f is critical, since it is mandated with the important
budgets more gender responsive. task of deciding the resource envelope for sectoral ministries.
An interesting example is Cambodia, where the Ministry of Some instances of what other countries have tried out are as
Women’ s Affairs convenes a technical working group on gen­ follows: in Indonesia, for example, these three ministries along
der every six weeks which brings together all the gender focal with the Ministry of Home13have come together to constitute a
points from various ministries and departments (Kingdom of steering committee and have taken the lead as “ drivers”of g r b
Cambodia and United Nations, Cambodia 2010). in Indonesia. In Nepal, as part of broader efforts to institution­
It must be mentioned here that the need for a similar mecha­ alise g r b , a Gender Responsive Budget Committee has been
nism was highlighted in India by the Ashok Lahiri Committee, established within the m o f comprising representatives from the
which recommended an Interdepartmental Steering Commit­ National Planning Commission, Ministry of Women, Children
tee (isc) on gender budgeting in addition to g b c s in individual and Social Welfare, Ministry of Local Development and u n
departments/ministries, for identifying and sharing “ the Women. Global experience has shown that active involvement
issues of gender budgeting which cut across departments, of the m o f is one of the critical factors of success of g r b .
for instance, the issues of budgetary allocations related to
domestic violence, microfinance, homelessness, etc”(Govern­ Putting the Cart before the Horse?
ment of India 2004:12). The manner in which the Indian initiative on g r b has panned
(b) Since g r b is about budgets, the g r b architecture must also out appears to be a classic case of putting the cart before the
find legitimate space in the budget making cycle of the country. horse. Starting off with the g b s and the g b c s was perhaps not
This is one of the most critical weaknesses of the g r b the best way to begin. As the experience of g r b in other coun­
architecture (or the gender architecture that g r b uses) in tries reveals, for g r b to be meaningful, it must necessarily
many countries. In India, for instance, the m o f issues circu­ begin with purposive gender planning for each scheme/sector
lars, gender budget statements are produced by the sectoral - first by identifying the gender gaps in the sector and then
ministries, but there is no space for the g r b machinery within delineating prioritised actions points to address the gender
the formal budget making process. gaps. Scrutinising budgets and ensuring good quantity and
A rare model which the Philippines uses includes the National quality of budgetary spending should come in only after that.
Commission on the Role of Filipino Women ( n c r fw ) (which Instead, as discussed in the previous sections, the current format
has taken the lead in g r b in Philippines)12in all budget discus­ of the g b s has reduced g r b to nothing but an exercise with
sions conducted by the m o f for sectoral ministries (Encinas- numbers. With the formulation of the Twelfth Plan underway,
Franco et al 2010). To put it in context, since 1998 all agencies there is a massive window of opportunity to redraft the format
have been required to formulate gender and development of the g b s and thereby chart a different course of action for
(gad) plans and submit these to the n c r f w for approval. The g r b . It would be timely to recommend the formation of a
n c r f w management committee members sit in on the techni­ committee to review the format of the g b s and suggest a more
cal budget hearings conducted by the department for budget appropriate one, which can concretely inform policymaking.
management and also sit in on Congress meetings where agency It is equally critical that the Twelfth Plan reflects on the
officials defend their budgets (Budlender et al 2002). institutional architecture for g r b in our country. Clearly, the
The presence of the g r b machinery in the formal budget g b c s have remained an exercise on paper, and failed to propel the
negotiations between the m o f and the sectoral ministers is criti­ g r b agenda further. There is thus a pressing need to rethink or
cal for the following two reasons. First, this will help ascertain reinvigorate these g b c s . Without a robust institutional mech­
the extent to which sectoral ministries have been able to fulfil anism to support g r b across the various line ministries, India
their commitments for g r b (whether in the g b s or elsewhere) will not be able to harness the potential that g r b offers.
56 a p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 E3329 Economic & Political w e e k ly

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N OTES 2,225 and minor head 789 and 796 ). Moreover, A Review of the Philippine GAD Budget Policy
1 Australia was the first country to begin GRB in allocations shown by ministries are notional (Philippines: Miriam College-Women and
the mid-1980 s. See Government of India (2007 a). and lack criteria/assumption, transparency Gender Institute), National Economic and De­
2 The Tenth Plan (2002 -07) stated the process of
and uniformity in fund allocation. Hence, it is velopment Authority, UNDP.
dissecting the government budget to establish impossible to quantify the total amount allo­ GOI (2002 ): Tenth Five-Year Plan 2002 -2007, Vol 2,
its gender-differential impact and to translate cated and/or spent by the central government Planning Commission, Government of India,
gender commitments into budgetary commit­ under SCSP/TSP. Taking into account the prob­ viewed on 6 August 2011 (http://planningcom-
ments will be continued. The Eleventh Plan lems, the task force recommended that sub­ mission.nic.in/plans/planrel/fiveyr/10th/
(2007 -12) stated that gender budgeting and stantial reforms be introduced in the SCSP/ volume2/ioth_vol2 .pdf)
gender outcome assessment will be encour­ TSP from 2011-12 for central ministries/depart­ - (2004 ): Classification of Government Transac­
aged in all ministries/departments at central ments with a further aim to refine it from the tions Report of the Expert Group Constituted to
and state levels. See Government of India Twelfth Five-Year Plan, available at http:// Review the Classification System for Government
(2002 , 2007 b). planningcommission.nic.in/aboutus/task-
Transactions, Ministry of Finance, Government
force/tsk_scsp.pdf. of India.
3 In India, the initiative for gender-sensitive
budget analysis began during the Ninth Plan 10 The Five-Step Framework of GRB lists the fol­
- (2007 a): “ Charter for Gender Budget Cells,
lowing 5 steps: Step 1: Analysis of the situation
period (1997-2002 ), with the adoption of the Department of Expenditure” , Ministry of
of women, men, girls and boys in a given sec­
Women’ s Component Plan to ensure that not Finance, 8 March, mentioned in Appendix,
tor; Step 2 : Assessment of the extent to which
less than 30 % of funds and benefits flow to Gender Budgeting Handbook for Government of
policies address the gendered situation; Step 3 :
women from developmental sectors. For a India Ministries and Departments, Ministry of
Assessment as to whether budget allocations
critique of the WCP approach, see Das and Women and Child Development, Government
are adequate, in order to implement gender-
Mishra (2006 ). of India, viewed on 2 September 2011, http://
responsive policies; Step 4 : Assessment of
4 The expert group on “ Classification System of wcd.nic.in/gbhb/Link%20 hand%20 pdf/Gen-
short-term outputs of expenditure, in order to
Government Transactions” was constituted der% 2 oBudgeting% 2 oHand% 2 oBook.pdf)
evaluate how resources are actually spent,
under the aegis of the Ministry of Finance, - (2007 b): Eleventh Five-Year Plan 2007 -2012,
and policies and programmes implemented;
Government of India in 2 003 . The expert Vol 2, Planning Commission, Government of
Step 5 : Assessment of the long-term outcomes
group called for the budget data to be present­ or impact expenditures might have (Budlender India, viewed on 4 August 2011 (http://plan-
ed in a manner that the gender sensitivities of et al 2002 ). ningcommission.nic.in/plans/planrel/
the budgetary allocations of line ministries/ fiveyr/iith/ii_v2/nth_vol2 .pdf)
11 The Ministry of Women and Child Develop­
departments were clearly highlighted. See - (2010a): Outcome Budget, Ministry of Rural
ment has proposed the formation of a Gender
Government of India (2004 ). Development 2 0 0 9 -10.Viewed on rural.nic.in/
Budgeting Directorate (GBD) which would
5 In the subsequent years, GRB principles have serve as the focal point for coordination, facili­ budget/outcome_budget_rd_0 9 -io.pdf, accessed
been extended to the Performance and Out­ tation and support of gender budgeting acti­ on 12 September 2011.
come Budget. Another strategy used by the vities across departments. However, this is yet - (2010b): Task Force to Review Guidelines on
government was capacity development and to be formed. Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan and Tribal Sub-Plan
knowledge building. A large part of the GRB Recommendations to Revise Guidelines for Imple­
12 In the Philippines, the Gender and Develop­
work has focused on creation of knowledge mentation of Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan and
ment (GAD) budget as introduced in 1996 . It
products including the production of a training Tribal Sub-Plan by Central Ministries/Depart-
states that every government-related agency
manual in 2008 as well several training initia­ ments, Planning Commission, 25 November,
must allocate at least 5% of its budget for gen­
tives undertaken under the leadership of the viewed on 4 August 2011 (http://planningcom-
der and development.
MWCD. Following the initiative at the union mission.nic.in/aboutus/taskforce/tsk_scsp.pdf)
13 In Indonesia, the Ministry of Home is impor­
government level, several state governments Gol, Union Budget (2011-12): “ Gender Budgeting
tant to this equation since it is playing an
have also begun engaging with specific tools of
important role in the recent efforts towards Statement” , Expenditure Budget, Vol 2 , State­
GRB. Some GRB activities have also been
decentralisation. ment 20 , viewed on 21 September 2011 (http://
undertaken at the level district and sub-district
indiabudget.nic.in/v0 l2 .asp)
level as well (Gender Sub Plans).
Government of Maldives (2009 ): The Strategic
6 The road map outlined by the Ashok Lahiri R E F E R E N C E S _______________________________________ Action Plan, National Framework for Develop­
Committee included: (1) undertaking a review
Banerjee, Nirmala (2003 ): What Is Gender Budget­ ment 20 09 -2013, viewed on 4 September 2011.
of the public expenditure profile of relevant
ing? Public Policies from Women’ s Perspective (http://www.presidencymaldives.gov.mv/
union government departments through the
in the Indian Context, “ Follow the Money” Documents/AP-EN.pdf)
gender lens; (2) conducting beneficiary incidence
analysis; (3) recommending specific changes Series 1 (New Delhi: UNIFEM South Asia Government of Pakistan and UNDP (2008 ): Gender
in the operational guidelines of various deve­ Regional Office). Aware Policy Appraisal: Education Sector, Sindh
lo p m e n t s c h e m e s s o as to im p ro v e c o v e r a g e o f Banerjee, Nirmala and Poulumi Roy (2004 ): by Saba Gul Khattak. Strengthening PRS Moni­
women beneficiaries of the public expendi­ Gender in Fiscal Policies: The Case of West toring Project. Finance Division, viewed on
Bengal, “ Follow the Money”series, South Asia, 5 August 2011 (http://www.grbi.gov.pk/grbi-
tures; and (4) encouraging village women and
their associations to assume responsibility for 7 (New Delhi: UNIFEM South Asia Regional doc.asp)
all development schemes related to drinking Office; Calcutta: Sachetana Information Centre). Jhamb Bhumika and Yamini Mishra (2007 ): “ What
water, sanitation, primary education, health Budlender, Debbie and Nadeem Mahbub (2007 ): Does Union Budget 2007-08 Offer Women?”
and nutrition. Gender Responsive Budgeting in Pakistan: Economic & Political Weekly, 21 April, 1423-28 .
7 ICDS provides a comprehensive package of Experience and Lessons Learned (Islamabad: Kingdom of Cambodia and United Nations, Cambodia
services targeting children in the age group of UNIFEM) viewed on http://www.gendermat- (2010): United Nations Development Assistance
0 -6 years, pregnant women, lactating mothers, ters.eu/resources_documents/UserFiles/File/ Framework: 2011-2015, viewed on 5 Septem­
women in the age group of 15-45 years and Resourse/GRB_in_Pakistan_Article_Novem- ber 2011, http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/
adolescent girls. ber_2007 .pdf, accessed on 5 August 2011. public/—asia/—ro-bangkok/documents/pub-
8 SCSP and TSP mandated that ministries must Budlender, Debbie, Diane Elson, Guy Hewitt and lication/wcms_i24787 .pdf
earmark plan funds for the development of SCs Tanni Mukhopadhyay (2002 ): Gender Budgets NGO-CEDAW and CAMBOW (2011): Implementa­
and STs in accordance with the proportion of Make Cents: Understanding Gender Responsive tion of the Convention on the Elimination of All
these communities in the total population - Budgets (London: The Commonwealth Secre­ Forms of Discrimination against Women in
16% and 8 %, respectively, at the national level tariat). Cambodia, 2010,March, viewed on 10 August 2011
as of 2001 . Das, Subrat and Yamini Mishra (2 00 6 a): “ Gender (http://www.ngocedaw.org/reports/Shado-
9 Realising the inadequacy in the implementa­ Budgeting: A Long Way to Go!” , Yojana (New w 2010 English.pdf)
tion of SCSP and TSP, the Planning Commis­ Delhi: Ministry of Information and Broadcast­ Sharp, Rhonda (2003 ): Budgeting for Equity:
sion constituted a task force chaired by Naren- ing), Government of India, 50 , October. Gender Budget Initiatives within a Framework
dra Jadhav to review, re-examine, and revise - (2 006 b): “ Gender Budgeting Statement: Mis­ of Performance Oriented Budgeting (New York:
the existing SCSP/TSP Guidelines in 2010 . The leading and Patriarchal Assumptions” , Eco­ UNIFEM).
task force found that the implementation of the nomic & Political Weekly, 41(30 ): 3285 -87. Wong, Franz F and Samkol Lay (2010): “ Mid-Term
guidelines has remained inadequate and hard­ Encinas-Franco, Jean, Jon Michael R Villaseiior, Review of the Partnership for Gender Equality”
ly any ministry is showing its SCSP/TSP out­ Maria Daryl L, Leyesa Frances Chariza I, de los (Phase 2 Extensions), March, Phnom Penh,
lays under a separate budget head (major head Trino (2010): Accounting for Women and Gender: Cambodia.

Economic & Political weekly IBEQ Ap r il 28, 2012 v o l x l v ii n o 17 57

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Ladlis and Lakshmis

Financial Incentive Schemes for the Girl Child


A desk review o f 15 girl child promotion schemes relying he introduction of the conditional cash transfer schemes
on conditional cash transfers across the states and ( ccts) is a marked departure from the traditional ap­
proaches in social programming. Through the provision
discussions w ith a few non-governmental organisations,
of financial incentives to poor families following the fulfilment
implementing officials and beneficiaries show up some of certain verifiable conditions, c c t s seek to provide short­
of the shortcomings. The eligibility criteria, term income support and at the same time promote long-term
conditionalities and registration procedures need to be behavioural changes. They, therefore, have the potential to
become an effective means of channelising the limited re­
simplified. Despite the pumping in of huge financial
sources to the poor and socially disadvantaged sections; more
resources, there is no field-level m onitoring to study the specifically to girls and women. With persisting gender in­
impact of such schemes nor is there a grievance equalities in India, the girl child is at a disadvantage and faces
redressal mechanism. An in-depth analysis would help discrimination at every stage of her life - sex selection, infanti­
cide, little or no access to education, lack of healthcare and
in assessing whether in the long run conditional cash
nutrition, child marriage, and teenage pregnancy. The condi­
transfers could lead to a significant change in the tionality linked cash transfer attempts to correct such discrim­
parental attitude towards daughters. inations. These programmes represent a shift in the govern­
m ent’ s approach of focusing on the supply-side to a demand-
driven approach. Experiences from various countries illustrate
that the conditional cash transfer programmes were successful
in increasing enrolment in school, improving immunisation of
children, and raising household consumption levels. This is
true for poor and low income countries as illustrated from the
experiences of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Nicaragua ( ifp r i
2002; Briere and Rawlings 2006; Son 2008; Fajth and Vinay
2010). Poor mothers received financial incentives conditional
to their promoting certain activities on behalf of their children.
In the Indian context, the adverse influence of negative so­
cial attitudes towards girls has left many girl children vulner­
able and disadvantaged. Their survival, education, healthcare,
development, security and well-being are a matter of national
concern. A significant impact of this discrimination is reflected
in the deterioration of the male-female ratio, particularly
among children. The 1991 Census indicated the worsening
trend in child sex ratio ( csr) and the 2001 Census revealed
that the situation was alarming in some states. The dwindling
number of girl children on account of increasing incidences of
female foeticide is a matter of great concern nowadays (Sekher
This study was commissioned by the United Nations Population Fund-
India at the request of the Planning Commission, Government of India. and Hatti 2010). Even after legislations such as the Pre-
I am thankful to Syeda Hameed, Vandana Jena, N K Sethi, Firoza Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act of 1994,
Mehrotra (Planning Commission), Sangeeta Verma (MWCD), Ena Singh, popularly known as the p n d t Act and many campaigns to pro­
Dhanashri Brahme, K M Sathyanarayana and Sanjay Kumar (United mote the value of the girl child, the scenario has not improved
Nations Fund for Population Activities), state-level programme officials
and in fact has further deteriorated as evident from the 2011
and NGOs for useful discussions and suggestions.
Census. Programmes and policies clearly state that it is neces­
T V Sekher (tvsekher@gmailcom ) is with the International Institute for sary to empower girl children in all aspects of life so that they
Population Sciences, Mumbai.
become equal partners with boys and enjoy freedom and equal
58 Ap r il 28, 2012 v o l x l v ii n o 17 BBSS Economic & Political weekly

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opportunity. It is also realised that special measures are re­ welfare of a girl child. Discussions with a few non-governmental
quired to protect the survival and security of the girl child organisations ( n g o s ) and government officials implementing
from conception to birth, in infancy, and throughout the pe­ the schemes provided an overall idea about the functioning of
riod of her childhood. It is a fact that in many families, poverty each scheme. Interactions with few beneficiary families also
is the major constraint that prevents the raising and educating helped in gaining useful insights. The findings presented here
of girl children. Given the limited financial resources available rely heavily on the interactions with officials and the analysis
to these families, they would prefer a son to a daughter. With of the scheme-related available data at the state level.
this in mind and against the background of the deteriorating Though most of these schemes are steps in the right direc­
condition of girls as reflected in the worsening male-female tion, very little is known about their implementation and
ratio, the Government of India and many state governments effectiveness. Through a desk-review and interaction with gov­
have introduced innovative schemes of conditional cash and ernment officials and n g o s , this study examines operational
non-cash transfers. By providing a set of staggered financial aspects of 15 selected girl child promotion schemes across the
incentives to encourage the families to retain the girl child and states and gathers first impressions regarding the performance
of these schemes. The schemes selected for secondary review
Table 1: Girl Child Schemes: Number of Beneficiaries
Name of the Scheme Number of Beneficiaries are Dhan Lakshmi scheme of Government of India, Ladli
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 scheme of Delhi, Ladli Lakshmi Yojana of Madhya Pradesh,
Dhan Lakshm i sc h e m e (Govt o f India) - 79,555 42,077 Bhagyalakshmi scheme of Karnataka, Balri Rakshak Yojana in
B hagyalakshm i sc h e m e (Karnataka) 1,23,789 2,97,764 1,44,749 Punjab, Ladli scheme of Haryana, Kanyadan scheme of Mad­
Ladli Lakshm i s c h e m e (M adhya Pradesh) 2,14,134 2,09,848 40,854 hya Pradesh, Girl Child Protection scheme in Andhra Pradesh,
Girl Child P rotection sc h e m e (Andhra Pradesh) 96,487 72,046 70,302 Indira Gandhi Balika Suraksha Yojana in Himachal Pradesh,
Ladli s c h e m e (Delhi) - 1,35,645 1,40,006
Mukhya Mantri Kanya Vivah Yojana of Bihar, Rajalakshmi
Balika Sam riddhi Yojana (Gujarat) 26,031 30,263 1,32,684
Balika Sam ridhi Yojana (HP) 7,955 13,031 17,038
scheme in Rajasthan (discontinued), Balika Samriddhi Yojana
Ladli S ch e m e (Haryana) 49,558 72,624 1,05,113 in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Kunwarbainu Mameru
Balri Rakshak Yojana (Punjab) 62 53 62 scheme in Gujarat, Beti Hai Anmol scheme in Himachal
M ukhya Mantri Kanya Suraksha Yojana (Bihar) 4,75,220* Pradesh (initiated in 2010) and Mukhya Mantri Kanya Surak­
K unw arbainu M am eru sc h e m e (Gujarat) 8,762 6,775 7,628 sha Yojana of Bihar. The number of beneficiaries enrolled dur­
M ukhya Mantri Kanyadan Yojana (MP) 32,621 43,297 19,579 ing the last three years under each of these schemes is pre­
M ukhya M antri Kanya Vivah Yojana (Bihar) 1,57,256* sented in Table 1. The Ladli Lakshmi Yojana (mp), Bhagyalak­
Indira G andhi Balika Suraksha Yojana (HP) 152 318 233
shmi scheme (Karnataka) and Mukhya Mantri Kanya Surak­
"Total num ber of beneficiaries since inception.
Source: Compiled by the author based on state governm ent documents and discussions sha Yojana (Bihar) which have more than four lakh girls regis­
w ith officials.
tered within a span of three years, are indicative of the huge
to educate her, the ultimate objective of these schemes is to popularity of some of these schemes.
change the attitude and mindset of parents towards the girl
child (Government of India 2007). In most traditional Indian Intent and Objectives
families, girls are considered a liability and a burden. These The schemes that were reviewed had varying objectives and
schemes reiterate that by providing cash inflow to the girl’ s preconditions, upon fulfilment of which, benefits were pro­
family, the parents should feel that the very existence of the vided. In general, all schemes attempted to enhance the value
girl is an asset to the family. The conditional cash transfer is of the girl child in terms of her being considered as an asset to
subject to the completion of certain requirements such as birth the family. However, a review of the objectives of the different
registration, institutional delivery, childhood immunisation, schemes also reveals a multiplicity of outcomes expected from
school enrolment, completing school education, and delaying the scheme, leading to a somewhat diffused focus in achieving
marriage till 18 years. This would result in improvements in the original objective behind the provision of incentives -
the value of the girl child, more specifically measured through change in the perceived value of daughters in the eyes of the
improved sex ratio at birth (srb) and c s r , increased school family. For example, some schemes provide the incentive only
enrolment and attendance in primary, middle and high if the couple accepts sterilisation after two children, others
schools, and enhanced age at marriage. limit the incentive only to two girls, with a larger incentive for
This study was undertaken to examine the extent to which the first girl as compared to the second. Dhan Lakshmi is the
financial incentive schemes have contributed towards enhanc­ only scheme that provides incentive to all girls born in the
ing the value of daughters within a family. These incentive- family. Clearly, the intention behind some of the schemes is
based schemes aim at improving the value of the girl child on also to ensure smaller families and promote family planning
the premise that financial benefits would trigger behavioural alongside ensuring the birth of girls.
changes among parents and communities. In the long run such
initiatives hope to ensure the survival and well-being of girls. Eligibility
However, with very limited or no documentation/assessment Table 2 (p 60) provides the eligibility criteria to avail benefits
in place, the first task initiated under this study was to gather at different stages under each scheme. Apart from fulfilling
information about different incentive schemes aimed at the the eligibility criteria, the beneficiary families need to produce

Economic & Political weekly (BBS Ap r il 28, 2012 v o l x l v ii n o 17 59

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Table 2: Eligibility Conditions to Avail Benefits Yojana in Madhya Pradesh, Ladli

Name of the Scheme Registration Immuni­ Family Anganwadi School Completion of 18 Years of Age
scheme of Delhi and Bhagya-
of Birth sation Planning Enrolment Enrolmenl Standard 10 and Unmarried
(Sterilisation) lakshmi scheme of Karnataka are
Dhan Lakshm i sc h e m e S - - S S y a few examples. The state govern­
(8th standard) ments are ready to invest huge
B hagyalakshm i s c h e m e (Karnataka) S S S s
amounts for implementing these
(8th standard)
Ladli Lakshmi sc h e m e (MP) S - s schemes. For example, the Madhya
- S S
(after 21 yrs) Pradesh government spent Rs 250
Girl Child P rotection sc h e m e (AP) s - S crore in 2007-08 for this scheme.
(12thstandard) ( a fte r2 0 yrs) Delhi spent Rs 87 crore in 2009-10
Ladli sc h e m e (Haryana) s - S S
and the Government of Haryana
Balika Sam ridhi Yojana s - - - S S -
Ladli S ch e m e (Delhi) y - - - S S spent Rs 52 crore for the Ladli
Indira Gandhi Balika Suraksha Yojana - - - - - - scheme in 2009-10 (Table 4, p 66).
M ukhya Mantri Kanyadan Yojana s - - - - - The Karnataka government had
Balri Rakshak Yojana (Punjab) y - - - - - earmarked Rs 358 crore exclusively
Beti Hai A nm ol sc h e m e s - - - - -
for the Bhagyalakshmi scheme for
Rajalakshm i sc h e m e (discontinued) y - - - - - 2010-11. The chief ministers pub­
Source: Compiled by the author based on documents of various schemes of state governments.
licly announced that money would
a set of documents to register for each scheme (Table 3). This not be a constraint in expanding these “ popular”schemes.
varies from birth certificate to income certificate to proof of Some governments are also seriously considering enhancing
undergoing sterilisation by any one of the parents. Most of the cash incentives to make the schemes more attractive. Hence,
these schemes are specifically aimed at people belonging to proper negotiations with financial agencies for ensuring the
the poor families (below poverty line ( b p l ) households). There promised terminal benefits is important, as the experience of
are a few schemes that are open to all categories of households the Rajalakshmi scheme which was discontinued in Rajasthan
irrespective of their education, income levels and caste. An is well known. Though it was attractive and many clients were
analysis of the c s r data from the 2001 Census has revealed hoping to reap its benefits, the Rajalakshmi scheme was dis­
that ratios are lower amongst the educated and affluent, continued in 2000 due to the perceived loss by the Unit Trust of
though rural areas are not far behind. Given this, it is critical India ( u t i ) . The premature closure of the scheme disheartened
to revisit the target groups under these incentive schemes the beneficiaries and people lost interest and faith in similar
based on the perception of the value of the incentive by differ­ schemes (Sharma et al 2003). Before terminating it, the state
ent income groups. Even for not so affluent households, the government should have considered alternatives such as
more immediate perceived benefit from not having a daughter investing in mutual funds, increasing the deposit amount,
may appear more tangible than the final benefit which will ac­ reducing the total maturity amount for tie-up with banks or
crue after their daughter turns 18. Only through a systematic other financial institutions.
evaluation can it be established if the incentives help to ad­ In most of the schemes, the terminal benefits can only be
dress both pre- and post-birth discrimination against girls. In availed when the girl completes 18 years of age and remains
other words, it is not yet clear whether these incentives ensure unmarried (Table 5, p 62). Discussions with the implementing
that girls survive once born and receive better care and atten­ officials provided very useful insights into the functioning of
tion or the benefits also ensure their birth itself. Table 3: Documents Required
Again, by limiting the benefit to two girls or by Name of the Scheme Birth Domicile Income Sterilisation Immunisation Marriage
Certificate Certificate Certificate Certificate Certificate Certificate
providing a larger incentive for the first girl, the
Dhan Lakshm i sc h e m e S - - S -
scheme inadvertently ends up valuing girls differ­
B hagyalakshm i sc h e m e (Karnataka) S S S -
entially depending on their position in the birth
Ladli Lakshm i sc h e m e (MP) S - S -
order. The eligibility criteria therefore potentially (withdrawn)
may lead to mixed perceptions about the intent of Girl Child P rotection sc h e m e (AP) S s -

the scheme. Ladli S ch e m e (Haryana) s - - S -

Balika Sam ridhi Yojana - - - -

Views o f Implementing Officials Indira G andhi Balika Suraksha Yojana - s - - -

Ladli S ch e m e (Delhi) s s - - -

Involvement of State Governments: It is inter­ M ukhya M antri Kanyadan Yojana (MP) s s _ -

Balri Rakshak Yojana (Punjab) s s - -

esting to note that most state governments took
Beti Hai A n m ol s c h e m e (HP) s s - - -
pride in implementing the scheme and publicising
Rajalakshm i s c h e m e (discontinued) - - - -
it as one of their biggest achievements. Many of
M ukhya Mantri Kanya Suraksha Yojana s - - -
the schemes are closely associated with the M ukhya Mantri Kanya Vivah Yojana _ s - -

respective chief ministers and sometimes even Kunw arbainu M am eru s c h e m e - - s - -

closely monitored by them. The Ladli Lakshmi Source: Compiled by the author based on documents of various schemes o f state governments.

60 April 28, 2012 vol xlvii no 17 DBS9 Economic & Political weekly

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the schemes. Most of the schemes are administered by state governments utilised the existing infrastructure and man­
governments through the department of women and child power (mainly i c d s or health workers). In most of these
development. Two schemes under review are sponsored by the schemes, the involvement of local panchayats, n g o s , and
department of health and family welfare in Punjab and wom en’ s groups was said to be limited. The scheme has been
Himachal Pradesh. Dhan Lakshmi is the only scheme which is largely implemented as a programme of the given department.
fully supported by the Government of India and is imple­ However, in some cases the local panchayat leaders and n g o s
mented as a pilot in n backward blocks from seven states. The have helped in popularising the schemes and identifying the
Balika Samridhi Yojana (b s y ) was originally initiated by the beneficiaries. State governments have also helped in the pub­
Government of India in 1997 but since 2006 it was taken over licity of the schemes by distributing certificates/bonds in mass
by the state governments. It was also observed that in some public gatherings at times, in the presence of the chief minis­
cases the state governments changed the name of the scheme ter. While fund allocation for the schemes has been substan­
and implemented it under a new name with additional finan­ tive in the initial years, proper monitoring mechanisms are
cial incentives. The b s y in Himachal Pradesh was discontin­ almost absent as are procedures for addressing grievances
ued in July 2010 and the state government launched a new of beneficiaries in most states. Progress has been reviewed
Table 4: Annual Budget and Expenditure (2007-11) through routine depart­
Name of the Scheme 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 ment level meetings. Some
Budget Expenditure Budget Expenditure Budget Expenditure Budget
of these schemes under­
Dhan Lakshm i s c h e m e (Govt o f India) - - 10 Cr 5.95 Cr 10 Cr 5 Cr -
went modifications with
B hagyalakshm i s c h e m e (Karnataka) 150 Cr 132.43 Cr 266.65 Cr 316.65 Cr 229.89 Cr 229.64 Cr 358 Cr
regard to the eligibility
Ladli Lakshm i s c h e m e (MP) 276 Cr 250 Cr 135 Cr 100 Cr 24 Cr 26 Cr 302 Cr
criteria, required docu­
Ladli s c h e m e (Delhi) - - 81.30 Cr 86.44 Cr 83.17 Cr 86.97 Cr -
mentation and the amount
Ladli s c h e m e (Haryana) 21 Cr 25.1 Cr 29 Cr 29.61 Cr 34 Cr 52 Cr 38.65 Cr
Balika Sam riddhi Yojana (Gujarat) 50 lakh 51.4 lakh 1 Cr 2.38 Cr 10 Cr 1.36 Cr -
of incentives provided.
Balika Sam ridhi Yojana (HP) 40 lakh 60.88 lakh 75 lakh 59.01 lakh 80 lakh 80.92 lakh - Officials feel that proce­
Balri Rakshak Yojana (Punjab) 1 Cr 9.48 lakh 50 lakh 24.26 lakh 60 lakh 12.13 lakh - dures and eligibility con­
M ukhya Mantri Kanya Suraksha Yojana (Bihar) - - 28 Cr 27.44 Cr 67 Cr 65.66 Cr 42 Cr ditions need to be further
M ukhya M antri Kanya Vivah Yojana (Bihar) 10 Cr 10 Cr 40 Cr 39 Cr 80 Cr 79 Cr 60 Cr simplified to make the
M ukhya M antri Kanyadan Yojana (MP) 19.20 Cr 19.57 Cr 26.18 Cr 25.98 Cr 25 Cr 14.88 Cr - schemes more citizen-
Indira G andhi Balika Suraksha Yojana (HP) 95 lakh 93 lakh 91.10 lakh 33 lakh 95.50 lakh 33 lakh - friendly and accessible.
Source: Compiled by the author based on documents of various state governments.
However, systematic moni­
scheme called the Beti Hai Anmol with similar objectives and toring remains an urgent need to allow proper implementa­
benefits as that of b s y . In many states such as Orissa, b s y has tion, gain a better understanding of bottlenecks and to obtain
been discontinued due to lack of funds. a sense of the overall impact. So far no review or evaluation
has been conducted to examine whether the financial incen­
Coordination between Departments: It is important to men­ tives provided have had an impact on the parental attitude
tion here that most of these schemes are implemented through and behaviour towards girl children.
the vast network of anganwadis and the Integrated Child De­
velopment Services ( i c d s ) machinery. Successful implementa­ Beneficiaries and Civil Society
tion of the scheme also requires support and cooperation from The discussions with beneficiaries revealed that there were
other departments such as education, health, panchayats, etc. considerable delays in registration under some of the schemes
The officials responsible for implementing the schemes spoke as well as in the distribution of certificates. Some beneficiaries
about not receiving the necessary support from other govern­ stated that they had to pay money to the local functionaries to
ment departments, resulting in delays and difficulties. For ex­ get registered. Though, in a few cases, the officials admitted
ample, if the birth certificate is not received on time, it delays that those who were not eligible received benefits under the
the financial incentive to be received by the family following scheme, pointing to corrupt practices that prevent the benefits
the birth of a girl. Sometimes there are problems with finan­ from reaching the intended target group. Though random ver­
cial agencies like banks and the Life Insurance Corporation, ification is carried out by the district-level officials to examine
including delays in opening zero balance accounts. Lack of co­ the authenticity and eligibility of applicants, it is possible for
ordination between departments and financial institutions some to misuse the scheme in connivance with local officials.
has led to delays in issuing bonds/certificates in some states. For example, it was found that some of the beneficiaries of the
In some instances the infrastructure bottlenecks at the level of Bhagyalakshmi scheme are not from b p l households and the
banks, post offices and insurance companies also contributed parent of the girl child has not undergone sterilisation as
to unnecessary delay in providing financial assistance. required (Government of Karnataka 2010).
Nonetheless, one advantage of c c t s is that the money di­
Implementation, Allocation and Disbursements: According rectly reaches the households and beneficiaries, thus minimis­
to the information available, very little money is spent on the ing the possible leakages in the process. Some beneficiaries
administrative cost for implementing the schemes. Most state felt that the financial incentives provided have helped in

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providing education for their girls. Some of them even stated resources for the son. There is a need to simplify the schemes
that girls are perceived as a lesser liability since the govern­ to further enhance usefulness and thereby expand reach. For
ment is meeting the cost of their education and marriage. This example, schemes such as Dhan Lakshmi and Bhagyalakshmi
perhaps means that the families appreciated the role of the can be simplified for operational purposes by cutting down on
State in helping to offset the liabilities involved in educating the number of conditions attached at various levels of immuni­
and marrying girls as opposed to the incentives being seen as a sation and school attendance, as with every conditionality the
way of recognising the value of their daughters. The n g o s and beneficiaries have to meet the corresponding documentation
wom en’ s groups felt that state governments are not able to uti­ and certification formalities and provide proof of fulfilment
lise their services for better implementation and a few n g o s (see Table 6, p 63, for Dhanlakshmi scheme). Likewise, domi­
also believe that some of these schemes need to be better tar­ cile certificate is mandatory for many schemes and poor mi­
geted with focused attention to specific groups. For example, grant families are likely to be excluded. Inflexibility in the tim­
under the Ladli scheme of Haryana, the cash incentives are ing of joining the scheme is also a major deterrent for availing
provided to all irrespective of caste or income criteria. In a way benefits among the illiterate families. Barring, the Ladli
this helps to reach out to all socio-economic groups as the data scheme of Delhi, most others insist on registration of the girl
does show a decline in c s r across the state. However, financial child within a year of birth.
incentives are likely to be of greater value to poorer house­ A common complaint from the beneficiaries across states is
holds than affluent ones. Also given the quantum of benefit, the difficulty in obtaining various documents required to reg­
the scheme needs to take this aspect into consideration while ister such as birth certificate, income certificate, immunisation
determining the eligibility criteria. Some n g o s also felt that certificate, school attendance certificate and sterilisation cer­
providing gifts in kind to the girl at the time of her marriage tificate. Officials and n g o s also point out that in some cases
may send out a wrong message to the community which may money is paid by the beneficiaries to hasten the documenta­
perhaps perceive it as an implicit involvement of the state in tion. There is a need to minimise the number of cash transac­
covering marriage related financial transactions. tions per beneficiary. An option of clubbing together some of
the conditions and enhancing the incentive provided at that
Usefulness o f the Incentive Schemes stage could be considered. The emergence of panchayati raj
On the whole, both the government officials and the benefici­ institutions ( p r i s ) at the local level provides an opportunity to
aries did recognise some positive aspects of the incentive implement these schemes through local bodies. They are in a
driven schemes. Clearly, direct financial support for girls with better position to identify the beneficiaries, monitor the
the funds being transferred to the bank account in the name of progress of implementation and ensure the transfer of funds to
the girl child was seen as a useful mechanism. Further, cash the rightful beneficiaries. Though some of the schemes pres­
transfer was possibly proving a motivational factor for at least ently involve p r i s and n g o s to a limited extent, there is a need
poor families to invest in the education of their daughters, to formulate clear guidelines for their direct involvement and
wherein the tussle is always about prioritisation of limited active participation.

Table 5: Year of Initiation, Implementing Agency, Terminal Benefits and Financial Institutions
Name of the Scheme Yearoflnitiation Implementing Agency Terminal Benefit Financial
Age Amount Institution
Dhan Lakshmi sc h e m e (Govt o f India) 2008 D ept o f W om en and Child D ev elo p m en t 18 years Rs 1 lakh N ation alised Bank/
P ost O ffice
B hagyalakshm i sc h e m e (Karnataka) 2006 D ept o f W om en and Child D ev elo p m en t 18 years Rs 1,00,000 LIC
Ladli Lakshmi Yojana (MP) 2006 D ep t o f W om en and Child D ev elo p m en t 21 years Rs 1,18,300 P ost O ffice (NSC)
Girl Child P rotection sc h e m e (New) (AP) 2005 D ept o f W om en D ev elo p m en t and 20 years Rs 1 lakh for o n e girl child and LIC
Child W elfare (in c a se o f tw o girl children)
Rs 30,000 for ea ch
Ladli S ch e m e (Haryana) 2005 D ept o f W om en and Child D ev elo p m en t 18 years Rs 96,000 LIC
Rajalakshm i sc h e m e (discontinued) 1992 D ept o f M edical, Health and Family W elfare 20 years Rs 21,000 UTI
Balika Sam ridhi Yojana 1997 D ept o f W om en and Child D ev elo p m en t 18 years Rs 6,700 (with m a xim u m N ation alised Bank/
(transferred to sta tes in 2006) rate o f interest) P ost O ffice
Ladli S ch e m e (Delhi) 2008 D ep t o f W om en and Children D ev elo p m en t 18 years Rs 1,00,000 SBI/SBIL
Balri Rakshak Yojana (Punjab) 2005 D ept o f Health and Family W elfare 18 years Rs 1 lakh N ation alised Bank/
P ost O ffice
M ukhya Mantri Kanya Suraksha Yojana 2008 Social W elfare D ep artm en t/ 18 years Rs 18,000 UTI Children's Career
State W om en D e v elo p m en t C orpora tion Plan G row th O p tion
M ukhya Mantri Kanya Vivah Yojana 2007 Social W elfare D ep a rtm en t 18 years Rs 5,000 Bank
Kunw arbainu M am eru sc h e m e 1995 Social Justice and E m p o w erm en t At m arriage Rs 5,000 Bank
D ep artm en t
Indira Gandhi Balika Suraksha Yojana 2007 Health and Family W elfare D ep a rtm en t At m arriage Rs 25,000 to o n e girl child Bank
or m aturity and Rs 20,000 to b oth in
c a se o f tw o girl children
M ukhya Mantri Kanyadan Yojana 2006 D ept o f Social Justice At m a rriage G o o d s w orth o f Rs 9,000 -
Source: Compiled by the author based on documents of various schemes of state governments.

62 april 28, 2012 vol xlvii no 17 BBS Economic & Political weekly

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Table 6: Dhan Lakshmi Scheme Girl Child Schemes and Family Planning
State District Block
The acceptance of the terminal method of family planning is
A S e le c te d districts and blo ck s one of the eligibility criteria in many schemes. It also raises a
1 Andhra Pradesh K ham m am A sw a ra opeta
W arangal N arsam pet larger question: Why is family planning linked with girl child
2 C hhattisgarh Bastar Jagdalpur promotion schemes? It is possible that many poor families
Bijapur B hopa lpa ttn a m with strong son preference and who have only daughters
3 Orissa M alkangiri Kalimela (often more than two) are unlikely to be enrolled under the
K oraput S em iligu da
scheme. An appraisal of the Girl Child Protection scheme in
4 Jharkhand Giridih Tisri
K odarm a M arkachor Tamil Nadu (Srinivasan and Bedi 2009) observed that two
5 Bihar Jam oi Sono conditions of the scheme - sterilisation and “ no sons in the
6 Uttar Pradesh Rae Bareilly Shivgarh family”- need reconsideration as it may actually work
7 Punjab Fatehgarh Sahib Sirhind against daughters, forcing families to choose between the
Conditions Amount (in Rs) schemes (daughters) or sons. If the basic philosophy of these
B Financial b en efits schemes is to promote birth and survival of girl children par­
All girl children born after 19 N o v em b er 2008 and registered 5,000 ticularly from poor families, why restrict the benefits to only
Im m un isation
In 6 w e ek s 200
one or two girls? In other words, in reality many of these
In 14 w e ek s 200 schemes may attract those who do not have a strong son pre­
In 9 m on th s 200 ference. Most of the schemes are mainly focused on poor
In 16 m on th s 200 households, whereas son preference and daughter elimina­
In 24 m on th s 200 tion are widespread across different economic categories.
On co m p le tio n o f full im m u n isation 250 The girl child promotion incentive schemes can potentially
E ducation have far-reaching implications and therefore financial con­
On e n ro lm e n tto prim ary sc h o o l 1,000
straints should not come in the way of their implementation.
In class 1 + a tten d a n ce 500
It may be appropriate to consider a proposal wherein both
In class 2 + a tten d a n ce 500
the central and state governments jointly finance these
In class 3 + a tten d a n ce
In class 4 + a tten d a n ce 500 schemes through improved targeting of beneficiaries and at­
In class 5 + a tten d a n ce 500 tractive incentives. It is true that the promise of cash trans­
On e n r o lm e n tto seco n d a ry sch o o l 1,500 fers provided a sense of security and confidence among fami­
In class 6 + a tten d a n ce 750 lies to invest in girls.
In class 7 + a tten d a n ce 750
In class 8 + a tten d a n ce 750 Key Findings
Insurance m aturity cov er* 1,00,000 Study findings point to the need to simplify the eligibility cri­
* LIC will provide a lump sum of Rs 1 lakh per girl child on completing 18 years.
Cash incentives in classes 9 to 12 will be borne by the Ministry of Human Resource teria and conditionalities, and also the procedures of regis­
Development. tration under each of these schemes. Though year after year
Source: Ministry of W omen and Child Developm ent, Governm ent of India.
substantial financial resources have been directed towards
Plugging Implementation Gaps promoting these schemes, there is a lack of field-level moni­
The schemes are introduced with a specific set of objectives in toring. In the absence of a proper grievance redressal mecha­
order to have a desired impact. In many instances, it is too nism the challenges often multiply. In some states, the lack of
early to say whether such an impact is visible or not. This desk coordination across different sectors such as health, educa­
review of the select schemes has its own limitations. However, tion and social welfare is adversely affecting the programme
based on the available information and feedback from the implementation. The implementing officers complain that
officials, certain drawbacks in programme implementation have they do not receive the required support from other agencies,
been identified and suggestions to improve/rectify the prob­ resulting in delays and difficulties. In some states, the lack of
lems have been listed (Table 7, p 64). These observations will coordination between implementing departments and finan­
be useful in plugging the operational gaps, so that the benefits cial institutions (l i c , u t i , banks, etc) also led to delays in
from the existing schemes manage to reach the intended bene­ issuing bonds/certificates and dispersal of funds. In most of
ficiaries. However, a thorough assessment of the effectiveness these schemes, the involvement of the local panchayats
of the scheme and its impact can only be ascertained through (p r i s ), n g o s , and w om en’
s groups is rather limited. The p r i s
a detailed evaluation. Each of these schemes requires inde­ may be in a better position to identify the beneficiaries, mon­
pendent review and evaluation by taking into consideration itor the progress of implementation and ensure timely trans­
the views of beneficiaries, the local n g o s , panchayats and fer of funds. Some of the state officials highlighted the fact
functionaries. This will help in identifying the problems in that in many cases, the guidelines for implementation are
programme implementation; such as the need to simplify the not clearly understood and the staff is not oriented towards
eligibility conditions, the required number of documents, ways different aspects of the schemes. In India, the government
and means of involving n g o s , wom en’ s groups, panchayats, has greater familiarity in delivering physical goods and ser­
and the optimum utilisation of funds. vices to enhance well-being and has very little experiential

Economic & Political weekly OBQ April 28, 2012 vol xlvii no 17 63

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REVIEW OF WOMEN'S STUDIES -r ~ " ^ £ = -i i ■
== £ ~ ~ ----- - £- ------- ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ = - , —

Table 7: Girl Child Schemes - Problems in Implementation and Suggestions for Improvement
Name of the Scheme Limitations/Drawbacks Suggestions
Dhan Lakshm i sc h e m e T oo m any con dition s. M inim ise th e con d ition s o f cash transfer.
(G ov ern m en t o f India) D ifficulties in o p e n in g zero b a la n ce a ccou n t in p o st o ffices or banks Presently cash transfer for im m u n isation is giv en at six
in s o m e areas. sta ges. This can b e re d u ced to o n e sta g e (com p letion
D elays in su b m ittin g p ro ject p ro p o sa ls from various sta te gov ern m en ts. o f full vaccination).
D elay in transfer o f fu n ds from cen tre to states. A p p oin t G rievan ce R edressal Officer.
No o pera tion a l p ro ced u re to d isp e rse th e cash in cen tives at th e sta te level. In trodu ce in co m e criteria in ord er to b etter ta rge t th e
G rievan ce redressal officer has n ot b ee n a p p o in ted in m o st places. p ro g ra m m e to th e poor.
S o m e o f th e pilot b lock s are Naxal a ffected, th ere are d ifficu lties in Issue g u id e lin e sfo r m o n ito rin g th e p rogra m m e.
im p lem e n tin g th e sch em e. Involve gra m p an ch a y ats in iden tify in g th e ben eficiaries.
D elays and p ro b lem s in g e ttin g birth certifica tes from th e co n ce rn e d Issue d irectio n s to th e bank s and p o st o ffic e s for o p e n in g
authorities. zero b a la n ce account.
Bhagyalakshm i In 25% o f th e cases, th e paren ts o f th e girl children had n ot u n d e r g o n e Avoid delays in issu in g in suran ce b o n d s to th e beneficiary.
sc h e m e (Karnataka) sterilisation. The con d ition s for u n d er g o in g sterilisation can b e relaxed.
Nearly 3 % o f th e b en eficia ries b e lo n g to th e a b o v e p o v erty line categories, A ction m ay b e taken a ga in st a n ga n w a d i w ork ers w h o
w h ich in dicated violation o f stipu la ted n orm s o f th e sch em e. d em a n d b rib es for filling up th e registration form .
In 3% o f th e cases, th e n ece ssa ry d o cu m e n ts w e re n ot properly m ain tain ed M easures m ay b e initiated to avoid d ela y in issu in g th e
in th e con ce rn e d offices. LiC b on ds.
In a fe w cases, it w a s fou n d that p e o p le availed th e b en efits w ith ou t P roper verification o f d o cu m e n ts and m o n ito rin g to
p ro d u cin g a birth certifica te and did n ot atten d th e a n ga n w a d i centre. avoid m isu se o f th e sch em e.
A n gan w adi w ork ers d e m a n d e d b rib es from th e b en eficia ries for registration
D elays in issu in g th e in suran ce b o n d s to th e b en eficia ries
Ladli Lakshm i Yojana Explaining th e sc h e m e to th e p e o p le p o s e s a p roblem . M easures m ay b e initiated in ord er to avoid dela y in th e
(MP) P e o p le are su sp iciou s a b o u t th e b en efits prom ised. registration o f ben eficiaries.
L engthy p ro cess o f th e c o m p le tio n o f dep a rtm en ta l form a lities and PRIs sh ou ld b e in v olved in th e iden tifica tion o f th e
colle ction o f d o cu m en ts. ben eficiaries.
In cid en ces o f corru ption are re p orted a tth e tim e o f registration B etter IEC c a m p a ig n s to crea te a w a ren ess a b o u t
o f th e sch em e. th e sch em e.
T im ely availability o f NSC.
D elays in registration o f th e ben eficiaries.
Ladli sc h e m e (Delhi) D elay in su b m ittin g th e a p p lica tion and lack o f essen tial d o cu m e n ts (in N eed coo rd in a tio n b e tw e e n e d u ca tio n d ep a r tm en t
sc h o o l g o in g and birth cases) prev en ted so m e from registerin g fo r th e and ICDS for b etter im p lem e n ta tio n o f th e sch em e.
sch em e. To avoid delay in registration d u e to lack o f d o cu m en ts,
Lack o f coord in a tion b e tw e e n differen t sta k eh old ers like th e ed u ca tion p ro ced u r es m ay b e initiated to issu e certifica tes rega rd in g
d ep a rtm en t and NDMC. birth and sc h o o l a tte n d a n ce in a h assle free m anner.
S h o rta ge o f sta ff and infrastructure at district level offices.
O fficers o f th e ed u ca tion d ep a r tm en t felt that p ro m o tin g th e s c h e m e w a s
n ot part o f their responsibility.
Ladli sc h e m e D eaths o f th e girls are n ot re p orted by th e parents, w ith th e result that th e P roper m o n ito rin g o f th e p rogra m m e.
(Haryana) m o n e y d e p o site d in th e n a m e o f b en eficia ry ca n n o t b e returned. In crease th e incentive.
Sin ce th e sta te has lim ited resou rces, th e central g o v e rn m e n t sh ou ld The in co m e criteria m ay b e in tro d u ced in ord er to ta rge t
su p p o r t th e sch em e. th e p ro g ra m m e to th e p o o r and n eedy.
Balika Sam ridhi Yojana Delay on th e part o f banks. PRIs and th e urban local b o d ie s sh o u ld have a m a jor role
PRI fu n ction a ries d o n ot c o o p e r a te w ith th e im p lem e n tin g agen cy. in th e iden tification and en ro lm e n t o f th e b en eficiaries.
Im p lem en ta tion o f th e sc h e m e is lea d in g to o v erb u rd en in g th e ICDS M any sta te g o v e rn m e n ts d iscon tin u ed th e p ro g ra m m e after
and a n ga n w a d i w orkers. th e cen tre s to p p e d a llotm en t o f funds.
N eed to in crease th e a m o u n t o f post-birth gra n t from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000. Th e sc h e m e can b e taken up join tly by th e cen tre and
sta te go v ern m en ts.
Balri Rakshak Yojana Lack o f pu blicity cam p a ign , p o o r p ro g ra m m e im plem en tation , lack o f To a ttract m o re b en eficiaries, th e sterilisation con d ition can
su fficien t atten tion and m o n ito rin g by th e health d ep artm en t. b e relaxed.
Th e a m ou n t sp e n t u n der th e sc h e m e is m u ch less than th e m o n e y a llotted N eed for b etter pu blicity ca m p a ign s.
by th e sta te gov ern m en t. A m o n ito rin g m ech a n ism n e e d s to b e in place.
C h a n ge s in eligibility criteria n eed ed . The a p p lica tion p ro ced u r e n e e d s to b e sim p lified (instead o f
N eed to p o p u la rise th e sch em e. civil su r g e o n at th e d istrict level, th e resp on sib ility can b e
Incen tives sh ou ld b e en h a n ced. given to th e low er level officials like taluk/block health officer).
Very fe w b en eficia ries s o far
M ukhya Mantri Kanya A n ga n w a di w ork ers are n ot giv in g e n o u g h a tten tion to register th e N eed for an in crea se in th e a lloca tion o f funds.
Suraksha Yojana right ben eficiaries. C om pla in ts a ga in st a n ga n w a d i w ork ers and b lo ck level
M ore b en eficia ries ca n n o t b e en rolled d u e to sh o rta g e o f funds. officials n e e d to b e a d d ressed .
A m ou n t eligib le to th e b en eficia ry sh ou ld b e in crea sed substantially. In corporate an addition al criterion that th e girl sh ou ld
A n gan w adi w ork ers ask th e b en eficia ries for m o n e y to fill th e rem ain u n m arried till 18 years.
a p p lica tion form s. Involve PRIs in p ro g ra m m e im p lem en tation .
M any o f th e b en eficia ries have n o idea a b o u t th e sc h e m e and th ey are
so le ly d e p e n d e n t u p on th e a n ga n w a d i w orkers.
Block officials w e re c o lle ctin g m o n e y to p ro c e ss th e application .
P eriodic in cen tiv es m ay b e m o re attractive rather than giv in g o n e tim e
financial b en efit after a lon g gap.
M ukhya Mantri Kanya The p ro g ra m m e is n ot d em a n d -d riv en s o far. M ore attractive financial a ssistan ce.
Vivah Yojana Local officia ls g o in search o f b en eficia ries a ccord in g to th e b u d ge ta ry P assing o u t o f Standard 10 (m atriculation) can b e in clu d ed
allocation. as an eligibility con d ition to avail th e ben efit.
Th ere w a s c on sid era b le delay in receiv in g th e a m ou n t The delay in sa n ctio n in g th e a m ou n t n e e d s to b e a voided.
D elay in o p e n in g an a ccou n t in th e bank.
Bribe paid to th e officials

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Table 7: Problems in Implementation and Suggestions for Improvement (continued)
Name of the Scheme Limitations/Drawbacks Suggestions
Kunw arbainu M am eru No evalu ation has b ee n d o n e to review th e p e rfo rm a n ce o f th e s c h e m e N eed to en h a n ce th e p re sen t in co m e limit.
S ch e m e sin ce 1995. E volve a m o n ito rin g p ro ced u re and gu idelin es.
No m on itorin g m ech a n ism in place.
Indira Gandhi Balika Lack o f a d eq u a te publicity. N eed to p o p u la rise th e sc h e m e th rou gh b etter pu blicity
Suraksha Yojana No m on itorin g m ech a n ism in place. cam p a ign s, p ro p e r m o n ito rin g and h igh er incentives.
The eligibility criteria o f having n o m a le child at th e tim e
o f sterilisation can b e relaxed.
M ukhyam antri P rob lem s in g e ttin g a g e certificate. Th ere sh ou ld b e a con d ition that th e girl sh ou ld h ave p a sse d
Kanyadan Yojana There w ere in sta n ces w h e re un der-a ged girls g o t m arried. at least stan dard 10 to avail th e ben efit.
T h orou gh verification is requ ired to avoid fake m arria ges and
child m arriages.
Girl Child P rotection In eligible ca n d id a tes are a d m itted into th e sch em e. P roper verification to b e d o n e b e fo re issu in g th e certificates.
S ch e m e (GCPS) D ifficulties in g e ttin g d o cu m en ts. Evolve m on itorin g p roced u res.
No m on itorin g m ech a n ism in place
Source: Prepared by the author based on discussions with programme officials, NGOs and beneficiaries.

learning on providing and monitoring income transfers incentives, i e, change in the perceived value of daughters in
closer to the point of impact (Prabhu 2009). In that sense, the eyes of the family.
the introduction of c c t s implies a formidable capacity devel­ Though c c t s offer governments the scope to positively dis­
opment challenge. criminate in favour of girls, it is not clear how far c c t s have
led to a change in parental preferences and attitudes towards
Reflections and Recommendations their daughters. This desk review has helped to highlight the
These promotional schemes for the girl child could poten­ operational challenges in the implementation of such
tially have far-reaching positive implications in enhancing schemes. However, the effectiveness and impact of these ini­
the value of a daughter within a family. Therefore financial tiatives towards ensuring desirability of daughters cannot be
constraints should not come in the way of implementation of absolutely established. An impact evaluation and an analysis
such initiatives. The study discovered that the promise of of beneficiary perspective would be undertaken in the sec­
cash transfers provided a sense of security and instilled con­ ond phase of the study. An in-depth analysis would also help
fidence in these families to invest in their girls. Wherever in addressing certain unanswered questions on the percep­
benefits were availed, to a large extent families ensured tion of these families towards such schemes. Issues such as
birth registration, immunisation, school enrolment and de­ perceptions regarding linkages between incentives and fam­
layed age of marriage of their daughters. It may be appropri­ ily planning, differential incentives for the first and the sec­
ate to consider a proposal wherein both the centre and the ond daughter, marriage incentive and whether it helps to
state governments jointly finance these schemes through im­ value delayed marriage or only offsets marriage costs needs
proved targeting and attractive incentives. Schemes aimed to be explored. More importantly, such an analysis would
at improving the value of the girl child and addressing the help establish whether c c t s could lead to a significant change
decline in sex ratio may not meet these objectives in their in the attitude towards daughters, in the long run.
entirety if they target the b p l families alone. This could be
attributed to the adverse sex ratios across different economic REFEREN CES
classes in the country. Majority have reflected on the need to Briere, B D L and L B Rawlings (2006): “ Examining Conditional Cash Transfer
simplify the schemes to further enhance its usefulness and Programmes: A Role for Increased Social Inclusion?” Social Protection
Discussion Paper; No 0603, Social Safety Net Primer Series, World Bank
thereby its reach too. For example, schemes such as the Dhan Institute, Washington DC.
Lakshmi and Bhagyalakshmi can be simplified for opera­ Fajth, G and C Vinay (2010): “ Conditional Cash Transfers: A Global Perspec­
tive”,MDG Insights,Issue No 1, February.
tional purposes by cutting down on the number of condition­
Government of India (2007): Girl Child in the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-
alities attached with various levels of immunisation and 2012), Working Group on Development of Children, Ministry of Women
school attendance. With every conditionality the beneficiar­ and Child Development, New Delhi.
Government of Karnataka (2010): Ninth Round Sample Check on Selected Devel­
ies have to fulfil the documentation formalities to provide opmental Programmes - 2008-09, Directorate of Economics and Statistics,
the proof of fulfilment. Likewise, domicile certificate is man­ Bangalore.
datory for many schemes and poor migrant families are International Food Policy Research Institute (2002): Progresa: Breaking the Cyde
of Poverty, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC.
likely to be excluded from these schemes. Inflexibility in the Prabhu, Seeta (2009): Conditional Cash Transfer Schemes for Alleviating
timing of joining the scheme is also a major deterrent for Human Poverty: Relevance for India, Discussion Paper No 1, United Nations
Development Programme - India, New Delhi.
availing benefits among the illiterate families. It was felt that Sekher, T V and Neelambar Hatti, ed. (2010): Unwanted Daughters: Gender
enhancing the cash incentives, simplifying the registration Discrimination in Modern India (Jaipur: Rawat Publications).
procedures and perhaps minimising the number of condition­ Sharma, R, R Goel and H Gupta (2003): “ Rajalakshmi - An Initiative for Improving
the Status of Girl Child in Rajasthan”
, The Journal ofFamily Welfare,49(T> 66-72.
alities would make these schemes more attractive. The multi­ Son, H H (2008): Conditional Cash Transfer Programmes: An Effective lool fo r
plicity of outcomes expected to be achieved by a single Poverty Alleviation?, Economics and Research Department, ERF Policy
Brief Series No 51, Asian Development Bank, Manila.
scheme, is likely to lead to a somewhat diffused focus in Srinivasan, S and A S Bedi (2009): “ Girl Child Protection Schemein Tamil
achieving the original objective behind the provision of Nadu: An Appraisal” ,Economic & Political Weekly, XLIV (48), 10-2.

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Addressing Domestic Violence

within Healthcare Settings
The Dilaasa Model


Women experiencing violence most often decide to his paper critically reflects on the Dilaasa model, a
seek legal action only after the violence has escalated health sector intervention for survivors of domestic vio­
lence. While the women’ s movement in India has been
and that too without having any documentary evidence.
engaged with the issue of domestic violence for over three dec­
The Dilaasa crisis centres at two public hospitals in ades now, with campaigns, legal advocacy and support/case
Mumbai since 2001 have been established out of the work being the predominant modes of engagement, violence
recognition that the public health system is an against women has not been seen as a public health concern.
This has been so, despite accumulation of evidence on the far-
important site for the implementation of anti-domestic
reaching physical and mental health consequences of violence
violence intervention programmes. The crisis centres of domestic violence (Jesani 2002; Bhate-Deosthali et al 2005).
therefore straddle both discourses of public health and The Dilaasa project - consisting of two public hospital based crisis
gender. The paper offers critical insights into the model centres in Mumbai - represents the first such attempt in India to
work with the public health system. It was established through a
and its impact in terms of Usability to reach out to
joint initiative of the Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied
women who are undergoing abuse and offer them Themes (ceh at),1 a Mumbai-based non-governmental organisa­
multiple services in one setting. tion ( n go ) and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (bmc).
Originally established in a municipal hospital, K B Bhabha Hospi­
tal, Bandra in 2001, Dilaasa has since been replicated in three
more sites: another municipal hospital, K B Bhabha Hospital,
Kurla, Mumbai, at a medical college hospital in Indore and a
civil hospital in Shillong. The Mumbai-based crisis centres were
formally handed over by c e h a t to the staff of the b m c in 2006.
Since then, c e h a t has been providing mainly technical support,
and Dilaasa has been functioning as a project of the bm c.
The study is based on (1) an external evaluation of the
project carried out in 2010, and (2) an analysis of case records
of the centre from 2001 to 2006. The external evaluators
reviewed project documents such as annual reports, process
documentation of trainings, reports of the crisis centres, and
of the intervention research conducted; and carried out inter­
views with the staff of c e h a t responsible for the project and
the staff of the Bhabha hospitals at Bandra and Kurla. In addi­
tion, data from case records of survivors (2001-06) of the
Dilaasa crisis centre were analysed to understand their socio­
demographic profile, their entry into Dilaasa, and the type of
violence experienced by them.
This paper offers critical insights into the model and its
impact in terms of its ability to reach out to women who are
PadmaBhate-Deosthali (padma.deosthali@gmaiLcom) is with the undergoing abuse and to offer women multiple services in one
CEHAT, Mumbai. T K Sundari Ravindran (ravindrans@usa.net) setting. It makes the case for upscaling the model and for
is with he Achuta Menon Centre for Health Science and Studies, bringing about changes in health policy to recognise the role
Thiruvaianthapuram. U Vindhya (u.vindhya@gmail.com) is with the of health professionals and health systems in preventing
Tata Insttute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
domestic violence and caring for survivors.
66 A p r i l 28, 2012 v o l x l v i i n o 17 ES2Z2 Economic & Political w e e k ly

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1 Placing Dilaasa within the Women's Movement aspects of their lives - in social, economic and political spheres.
“ When the women’ s movement burst forth onto the public The state also responded to the growing pressure created by
stage in the years following the Emergency, it did so most dra­ the sustained campaigns taken up by these groups on the issue
matically under the banner of ‘ violence against women’ ”(John of violence. During the 1980s and 1990s, the establishment of
2008: 227). It was issues of rape and “ dowry deaths”that free legal cells, family counselling centres, family courts and
galvanised formation of women’ s protest groups, bringing special cells at police stations initially formed in Mumbai, and
violence against women as an issue into the public domain in subsequently, in several places across the country, created many
the 1970s. Internationally, the rise of the women’ s movement spaces for victims of domestic violence. These have helped
in the 1960s brought to light this hitherto invisible problem, individual women, and to a certain extent, sensitised the pub­
which eventually led to its recognition as a major public health lic systems to respond to the issue of domestic violence.
issue and a violation of the human rights of women. Milestones In 2005, the landmark legislation, “ The Protection of
included the passing of the first resolution against violence Women from Domestic Violence Act”(pw dva) was enacted,
against women by the United Nations General Assembly in making it the first significant law in India to recognise domestic
November 1985; the formulation of “ Women’ s Rights as Human violence as a punishable crime, extending its provisions to
Rights in 1993 with the adoption of the u n Declaration on the those in live-in relationships also, and to provide for civil
Elimination of Violence against Women” ; and the appointment remedies such as emergency relief for the victims and ensur­
of the u n Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. ing women’ s right to the matrimonial home, in addition to
Since then, much has been done to gather evidence on the di­ legal recourse.
mensions of the problem and to create awareness on the issue. Defining domestic violence as “ any act that harms, injures,
The Indian women’ s movement first drew public attention to endangers, the health, safety, life, limb or well-being of the
violence against women in the early 1980s when it organised a person or tends to do so” , p w d v a includes “ physical, sexual,
campaign against the gender-biased judgment by the Supreme verbal, emotional abuse or intention to coerce her or any per­
Court in the case involving the rape of a young tribal girl, son related to her to meet any unlawful demand for dowry or
Mathura, by policemen. The anti-rape struggle that began in any other property/valuable security”...[and] “ also have the
Mumbai with the establishment of the Forum against Rape in effect of threatening her or any person related to her”(pw dva,
1980 raised the issue of male violence for the first time in India 2005). The act recognises public health facilities as service
in addition to class and caste violence (Kumar 1993). The fol­ providers and mandates that all women reporting after do­
lowing decades witnessed agitations, mass campaigns, public mestic violence must receive free treatment and information/
education, legal reform and advocacy to raise awareness about appropriate referral to protection officers under the act. The
domestic and sexual violence and eliminate them. Support Act is the result of cumulative efforts made by women’ s move­
groups to provide help to individual women facing domestic ment for a law that provides specific remedies for women ex­
violence were started and services such as legal aid and shelter periencing domestic violence, whereby they could approach
homes were set up by autonomous women’ s groups and n g o s . the state directly and get a protection order to stop violence in
Legal strategies too were evolved such as the amendments to the home without having to put the husband behind bars or
laws on rape, the most significant being shifting the onus of having to leave her matrimonial home to escape violence (Jaising
proof to the accused in cases of custodial rape; the amendment 2002). Under the aegis of the Lawyers Collective that drafted
made to Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code in 1983 that the bill, the implementation of this law too has been moni­
formally recognised “ mental and physical cruelty to wives”as tored annually since it was passed and consistently drew
a crime, the laws pertaining to dowry deaths and sati, the attention to the continuing challenges such as scarce budgets,
Supreme Court guidelines for sexual harassment at the work­ problems with nature of appointment of protection officers un­
place, and the introduction of the law criminalising sex-deter­ der the law (contractual vs regular, independent charge vs
mination tests (Bhate-Deosthali et al 2005; Burte 2008). additional charge), lack of training of police and judges on the
Violence within the family drew serious attention through law (Lawyers Collective and Women’ s Rights Initiative 2011).
dowry deaths or bride burning and later, the issue of battering. While the women’ s movement’ s engagement with the prob­
It was also realised that women faced domestic violence that lem of violence finds several forms, its interface with the
were not necessarily related to dowry demands alone. Silence health system has been a complex one. In many instances the
and social stigma over the issue of domestic violence were women’ s movement has had to take an antagonistic stance
broken when women publicly fought against the abuse experi­ against the health system as, for instance, in its confrontation
enced in the “ safe haven”of the home (Agnes 1990, 1992; against its role in the implementation of coercive population
Kumar 1993; Burte 2008). The feminist slogan “ the personal is policies, its lack of sensitivity in dealing with reproductive and
political”was used to effectively demystify the “ private”space sexual health needs of women and the overall lack of gender
of the home, making it possible for individual women to come sensitivity within the system. At the same time, the move­
forward and share their agony and pain. The movement ment, in its attempts to sensitise the system, has highlighted
brought to the fore the assertion that all women have the right several lacunae in the existing health system, as for example,
to violence-free lives and that domestic violence inhibits drawing attention to the failure to document important
women from realising their rights and full potential in all forensic evidence in the event of sexual assault, which severely

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limits survivors’ability to attain justice. Working with the public institutions with the healthcare needs of those living in
health system becomes critical in the efforts to address domes­ urban low income settings getting marginalised despite a high
tic violence against women for several reasons. Most often density of public and private healthcare providers and institu­
women experiencing violence decide to seek legal action only tions, Dilaasa’s venture is a modest attempt to plug this gap.
after the violence has escalated but they have no documentary
evidence to prove it. Health providers fail to document the 2.2 Organisational Structure and Mechanisms
woman’ s history of victimisation as well as recent episodes of Dilaasa was set up with the following strategic objectives:
violence, which are critical in divorce and criminal cases to (a) partnership of an ngo with the public health system,
seek compensation. When women victims of violence present (b) sensitisation of the public health system to domestic violence
themselves at the emergency room or other departments of and institutionalisation of domestic violence as a legitimate
hospitals, they are usually treated for their physical symptoms public health concern, and (c) building the gender-sensitisation
and no further probing is done. However, working closely with capacity of the hospital staff.
the health system has not been among the strategies employed The distinctiveness of this initiative lies in the fact that it
by the women’ s movement in its struggle against gender-based was conceptualised as a joint project in terms of human re­
violence (Jesani 2002). sources and management. The team, consisting of profession­
The Dilaasa centre, set up in 2001, seeks to address precisely als from cehat and the staff deputed by the public hospital,
this gap. It has emerged out of the recognition that the public was led by the medical superintendent of the hospital. All deci­
health system is an important site for the implementation of sions regarding the project on the policy or programme were
anti-domestic violence intervention programmes, for more taken jointly by cehat and the hospital management, facilitat­
than one reason. Public hospitals are often the first contact for ing creation of a sense of ownership of the project among the
survivors as violence of any form causes physical and/or psy­ hospital staff.
chological trauma. Women survivors may or may not report to Dilaasa was created as a department of the hospital so that
domestic violence but will seek treatment. Furthermore, medi­ there could be clarity on the chain of command and decision­
cal evidence forms important documentary evidence. There is making processes, and on the definition of roles of doctors,
fairly extensive evidence that domestic violence has an impact nurses and social workers. Since the project director was the
on women’ s health in myriad ways - both directly and indi­ medical superintendent of the hospital, it was possible for her
rectly - and can lead to chronic debilitating conditions and to make various systemic changes to integrate this programme
even death. Apart from injuries, disability, mental health con­ within the hospital setting. Her role in involving the hospital
sequences of violence include feelings of anger and helpless­ staff unions, in deputing staff for training and subsequent
ness, self-blame, anxiety, phobias, panic disorders, eating dis­ responsibilities, and in ensuring that other facilities and
orders, low self-esteem, nightmares, hyper vigilance, height­ resources were made available, proved to be vital to the con­
ened startle response, memory loss and nervous breakdowns. tinued functioning of the project. Within a few years, once the
Self-harming behaviour is also a serious consequence of concept was demonstrated and administrators and health pro­
victimisation and includes refusal of food and drinking, suicide viders were convinced that domestic violence was indeed an
ideation and attempts, and generally neglecting oneself and important public health issue, an enhanced sense of owner­
one’ s health (who 2005; Campbell and Lewandowski 1997; ship of the project was seen from within the health system.
Heise et al 1994). This attitude of the hospital staff is best demonstrated by the
fact that the replication of this centre was carried out by a core
2 The Dilaasa Model group of another hospital out of a sense of deep concern for
women reporting at this hospital. Another hospital’ s core group
2.1 Dilaasa's Perspective on Domestic Violence went beyond this and identified the poor management of sex­
The ideological position guiding the Dilaasa project can be de­ ual assault and demanded support from cehat in improving
scribed as twofold: (a) locating the importance of domestic vi­ their response to the issue (Ravindran and Vindhya 2009).
olence as an issue within the larger societal context of gen­
dered inequalities and violence, and (b) pushing for recogni­ 3 Major Components o f the Model
tion of domestic violence as a public health concern within the The Dilaasa model comprises a public hospital-based crisis
medical context that is largely unresponsive to issues per­ centre for women which provides counselling services informed
ceived as falling beyond the medical purview. The Dilaasa by a feminist perspective to which women are referred from
project, therefore, straddles both these discourse - of public within the hospital and from other health facilities. In its pur­
health and of gender - and represents an example of the con­ suit to provide comprehensive care at one place, Dilaasa liaises
flation of the two, demonstrating its viability and achievability with Majlis, a Mumbai-based legal services organisation for
in practice. The concept of public hospital-based crisis centres legal support to Dilaasa clients; and with several shelters that
is well-established globally, and lessons learnt from such cen­ provide temporary or permanent shelter. Linkages with com­
tres in the United States, Malaysia and Philippines shaped the munity-based organisations and/or mahila mandals too have
conceptualisation of this project. In the context, in India, been established so that women coming to the centre could be
which is presently witnessing weakening of national and local referred to them for local support and other needs if any. The
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second major component of the model is training of health patriarchal values and social constructions. This awareness,
providers and all other staff of the hospital. coupled with an emerging voice and the skills to resist domi­
nant norms, allows clients to locate the source of their distress
3.1 Women's Referral to the Dilaasa Crisis Centre not within themselves, but in the social context.
Women are referred to the crisis centre not only from the casu­ In addition to making connections between the personal
alty, but also from the outpatient and inpatient departments. and the political, it is the creation of a space where women can
This is because the casualty department deals mainly with seri­ be heard with respect, sensitivity, genuineness, and without
ous injuries, and hence, could be tapping only a small propor­ being blamed. Women have overwhelmingly said that Dilaasa
tion of cases of violence. Cases coming to the outpatient de­ indeed provided a non-threatening atmosphere which was
partment (opd) with less serious injuries could go unreported. facilitated by counsellors, as revealed in the following excerpts
Doctors and nurses in all departments of the hospital have from interviews with the survivors.
been trained to ask screening questions and identify women I felt... like... I could share whatever problem I had with them and I
experiencing domestic violence. Women from o p d s are pro­ could get a direction, help from them for future, what I must do next.
vided medical care, referred to casualty for medico-legal docu­ ...They [the counsellors] nicely heard everything I said. When they
mentation and then referred to the crisis centre. If the woman were listening to me, thus, I also felt that I should tell them everything
that’ s happening with me. They also listened very well and explained
is admitted in the hospital, the counsellors are called to the
the steps ahead.
ward to speak to the woman concerned. When two friends are talking, then they talk right from the heart. This
In addition, crisis centre staff visit the casualty department Dilaasa also makes you talk from your heart. I feel benefited by it.
everyday and make sure that all women registered as medico­ I was very confident that all these things would remain confidential,
legal cases (m lcs) get the services of the centre. Referrals to so I could talk freely (Counselling Impact Study 2004, c e h a t , unpub­
Dilaasa are also made from other hospitals and health facilities
of municipal corporation. Besides referrals, with increasing Safety assessment and planning form essential components
publicity, women are now found to come on their own, after of counselling women facing domestic violence. In addition,
having heard of the services provided by the centre. efforts to provide multiple sources in consonance with wom­
Systems have been introduced to track the referral process. en’s needs are made as, for instance, there are referrals for medi­
The hospital’ s case sheet has been modified to stamp “ Referred cal help, preparation of a medico-legal statement and register­
to Dilaasa”on the case sheets of women reporting injuries. The ing of a police complaint if needed. The goals for counselling
hospital’ s management information system ( m is ) has been are set up in consultation with the woman after an under­
modified to include a field in which casualty medical officers standing of her expectations. An appointment for follow-up
can keep a daily record of women referred to Dilaasa. This counselling is fixed at the end of the counselling session.
report is sent to the project director. When women present Women who are afraid of returning home because of threat of
themselves at the crisis centre, the counsellor first obtains the violence are admitted “ under observation”for a period of 24
woman’ s consent after explaining the services provided by hours, which allows time for working out the next steps such
Dilaasa. An intake form is filled with details of the woman’ s as referring the woman to a shelter or finding a safe space with
socio-demographic characteristics and past history of violence. relatives/friends. Extending her stay at the hospital also pro­
This is followed by counselling. vides her necessary time and space to make a decision. Quality
control measures in place for counselling include case reviews
3.2 The Counselling Process on a regular basis in the presence of an expert. The needs of
There is a marked difference between the mindset of a woman the woman user are at the centre of the functioning of the
who steps into Dilaasa and another who may go to any other crisis centre. Utmost importance is given to ensure the safety
counselling centre. A woman coming to Dilaasa has been of the woman user, to her healing, and adhering to the princi­
referred by a hospital staff when she comes to the hospital for ple above all of “
doing no harm” .
treatment and may not be prepared to talk about personal
issues, especially domestic violence. The time factor is another 3.3 Impact of Counselling
distinguishing one which poses a challenge as women coming Interviews with survivors showed that they provided the most
to Dilaasa are rarely able to sit for more than 45 minutes unlike positive feedback for the rapport the counsellors had been able
other counselling centres where counselling sessions are long- to establish with them and the counsellors’ability to make
drawn. Their follow-up, therefore, depends on their first contact them relax and open up. They appreciated that the counsellors
with the centre. Dilaasa’ s counselling practice is embedded in a treated them with regard and without being condescending or
strong feminist framework (Worell and Remer 2003). patronising; that they did not blame the woman for her prob­
Feminist counselling practice questions abuse; it provides lems; and that they validated the woman’ s experiences of abuse.
the necessary tools and strategies that equip women with
Till today I could not tell anybody what I had hidden in my mind that
skills that facilitate healing and stop violence. While keeping
how the people from my in-laws side are. They never allowed me to go
the individual’ s experience in focus, feminist counsellors strive to the neighbours, not to any relatives nor even to my mother. That is
to provide a larger picture of how clients’ problems, fears, in­ why I could not talk to anybody. I kept everything in my mind only.
securities, and negative self-cognitions are entwined with After coming to Dilaasa and talking to [the counsellor], I opened up

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my mind and told her everything and now my mind is relieved and I was possible to come to the hospital (Counselling Impact Study 2 0 0 4 ,
feel my head has also cooled down. There are some incidents which c e h a t , unpublished).
still make me cry when I remember them. But in that situation I think I
However, women felt that counsellors’ suggestions for strat­
can come out.
I have suffered a lot and now onwards I have to be strong and carry on. I
egies for the woman’ s safety - (e g, shouting aloud/moving out
have got three daughters. If I live in fear... for how many days can I live of the house/holding the perpetrator’ s hand) were not very
fearing my husband? I have to face him so whatever I have to do should be practical and realistic. This was not necessarily because of the
done with firm mind, at once... .1 have been suffering from this torture of counsellors’errors of judgment, but was more a reflection of
getting beaten for so many years. But now I cannot bear it any more. So I
the dearth of options and resources for women in abusive rela­
am going to be strong and will not allow him to even touch me.
Now I have become very strong that I can talk. Fear has gone (Coun­
tionships, particularly for women from low-income backgrounds.
selling Impact Study 2 0 0 4 , c e h a t , unpublished). Suggestions of temporary shelter were viewed as untenable. Ina­
bility of the crisis centre staff to undertake home visits was viewed
While emotional support was the most frequently cited posi­ rather unfavourably since they felt this could have been an effec­
tive impact, the survivors also reported positive changes in tive strategy to reduce/prevent further violence. Joint meetings,
health status, more so in psychological well-being and less so the only intervention strategy used with abusers, were not fre­
in physical health. They also reported changes in conscious­ quently employed by Dilaasa, but women’ s perception was that
ness - that women should not be blamed, should not accept counselling should focus also on the abusers.
violence and that women are not fated to suffer silently. The feedback provided also highlights major challenges
related to addressing domestic violence that are rooted in the
I feel nice, w orry has reduced. I feel that somebody is there w ith me
[I feel] courage has come in me. I am not scared of anybody. wider social context. These include deeply-entrenched and
...After my marriage, my co-sister-in-law (Jethani) had told me that negative beliefs about women, those living alone, the lack or
women’s lives are like this only. We have to live like that! So that stuck dearth of shelter and economic resources for women, the in­
in my head. She had told me not to say anything back home, not to say sensitivity of agencies such as the police to the issue of domes­
anything to my mother. That brings even more shame/defamation
tic violence, the inability of crisis centres to function as one
(badnami). So that also stuck in my head. So I had never thought that
there exists any organisation where we can share our problems. But stop solutions for women in distress:
now that I have discovered, I can now come here and open my heart...
They [the counsellors] said they w ill arrange for my stay somewhere.
It [the change in my thinking] is due to the fact that they [counsellors
But in Mumbai one cannot get any place. So for many years I have
at Dilaasa] explained things to me, that I have been able to move
been staying w ith my husband for the house only. I am not at all im ­
ahead in life. Earlier I used to think, I have to live like this only but
portant to him. The room is in his name ...Only for one man we four
now I do not think that way.
souls are suffering (Counselling Impact Study 2 0 0 4 , c e h a t , unpub­
I felt it this way earlier, because all of them blamed me. ...M eaning
whatever I did they made me feel this way and they beat me. I felt like
this, ‘Yes, I have done something wrong.’ But later I thought, ‘No, I am It may not be within the scope of individual crisis centres to
not wrong. I have not done anything wrong. They only forced things find solutions to all these challenges, and a much larger effort
[marriage] on me’.
is needed to bring about changes in social perceptions, policies
...T ill my marriage I used to think that women must be wrong, they
are doing some mistakes. But now I know a woman is not wrong. So I and to in crease investm ents in interventions to prevent and
am sure that the violence I was facing was total injustice. I had not address domestic violence.
committed any mistake why I should be blamed? I do not know about
other women. So the whole thing is wrong, unless she is pressurised a 3.4 Training
woman w ill have no interest in spoiling the peace of the house (Coun­
Domestic violence has not been addressed as a public health
selling Impact Study 2 0 0 4 , c e h a t , unpublished).
concern even within the medical and other health professional
The intervention of Dilaasa in matters related to registering curriculum, training and practice in medical settings. Conse­
of complaints with the police was also reported to be effective. quently, medical staff in hospitals are neither equipped nor
Women recognised the importance of registering complaints sensitised to the issue, posing a major barrier to running an
with the police and of medico-legal documentation. effective crisis centre. Detection of injuries arising from
...It is for our safety also [to file n c and m lc ] . W hen there is nobody domestic violence against women, providing treatment and
then the help is available there only....Earlier I had no knowledge referrals to other related services such as counselling and legal
about it (Counselling Impact Study 2 0 0 4 , c e h a t , unpublished). aid are all steps that need to be undertaken by medical staff
Survivors also commented on the relevance of the model. but these are seldom done. The dominant perception of health
professionals is of domestic violence as a “ personal issue”and
One gets two kinds of help - physical as w ell as mental. Here one
gets mental support that helps in increasing one’s self-confidence
not within the domain of health and illness. The training mod­
and when one gets treatment for physical wounds, one must be ules for Dilaasa are designed based on this assessment of the
recovering fast. dominant view. The training prototype created by Dilaasa,
Women in emergency receive treatment and services. aims to build the capacity of hospital staff and systems to ade­
Medicines are provided, which saves cost and we do not have to travel
quately, sensitively and appropriately respond to the health
to another place for meeting lawyer and getting other help as every­
thing is available here.
needs of victims and survivors of domestic violence. A two­
The location provides more privacy, confidentiality and for women pronged training strategy was adopted, involving intensive
who had restrictions on mobility or whose partners were suspicious, it training for a “core group”within each hospital; and coverage
70 Ap r il 28, 2012 v o l x l v ii n o 17 EEE9 Economic & Political weekly

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of all hospital staff to orient them to domestic violence as a months with one day of training every month. While doing
gender and public health issue as well as essential messages on this, it was ensured that a large group was selected to partici­
the role of health providers. The training was found to be most pate in the trainers’ training, to allow for a substantial attrition
effective when staff of the hospital or the “core group of train­ due to transfer or workload. Forty members were trained at
ers”conducted training for the rest of the staff. This facilitated Bhabha Hospital in Bandra and a team of 12 key trainers even­
recognition by hospital staff of Dilaasa as their own pro­ tually emerged.
gramme, and not as an n g o activity foisted from outside. The If the training of core group was a challenge, the orientation
core group was encouraged to become an inhouse team that was even more so. The training had to be conducted without
owned the project, had imbibed the perspective of the project, disturbing any of the hospital functions and so the training
acted as advocates within and outside the hospital for the duration could be only two to two and a half hours. At times
project and was responsible for preparing training modules these sessions were reduced to only one hour. In such times,
and training of all hospital staff. Active participation of male the trainers had to rely on their training skills and creativity in
doctors as core group members and key trainers is an impor­ changing methods, using posters to role plays to skits to sus­
tant ingredient in the success of the training. Gender-based tain the interest and involvement of the trainees. The training
violence does not get relegated as a “ women’ s activity”
, but workshop usually started immediately after the outpatient
gets acknowledged as a public health concern because of the services were over. The orientation training was compulsory
participation of male professionals. Ongoing inputs are pro­ for all hospital staff, and participants were deputed for train­
vided for core groups to enhance their perspectives and skills, ing by their departments, with the option of stating that they
for example, on topics such as improving quality of care and were “ unwilling”to go for training. Most staff members chose
patient rights. not to offend their superiors, so “ unwillingness”was rare.
Steps have been taken to institutionalise training through
the formation of a training cell for bmc, with experienced 3.6 Barriers Faced
members from core groups of different hospitals. The training Since medical training does not orient professionals to be
cell would eventually be responsible for planning and running interested in the social dimensions of health problems, most
regular training sessions for orientation and for updating health professionals come with a view that domestic violence
knowledge and skills. The module for orientation of all hospi­ is an issue that does not concern them. To make an impact on
tal staff, developed by the core group has similar objectives such participants through mandatory training sessions of
and topics as the core-group’ s training. The methods used vary about three to six hours in total is a formidable task. Another
according to the comfort level and skills of the core group of issue is that every year there are some new staff joining the
trainers. A three-hour orientation was conducted for all staff hospital and orientation sessions have to be organised for
of the hospital. Following this, the follow up training sessions them. So the task is a never-ending one. This is clearly demon­
were also conducted to build skills for screening and gain strated by the fact that c e h a t has invested in training of 88
deeper understanding into domestic violence and its causes. staff as trainers but there are only 49 members currently in the
Inclusion of various cadres of hospital staff in the core group is training cell. The ongoing training of core group members and
an imperative, and 100% coverage of all hospital staff with sustaining a core group in the hospital despite transfers/
orientation training is aimed for. promotions/workload requires lot of perseverance.
Getting resident medical officers (rmos) and interns to at­
3.5 Design o f Training tend the training is difficult. Their posting in the hospital is
The training process and content were planned with a view to only for a short period, but they are an important group to be
perspective-building, as well as developing knowledge and trained because it is they who actually manage the opds. The
skills for screening women experiencing domestic violence introduction to Dilaasa was therefore included in their regular
and for counselling. Using a participatory methodology, with orientation to the hospital. This ensured that all batches of
concepts explained through stories, individual and group ex­ doctors were introduced to Dilaasa as one of the several
ercises and case studies, the emphasis was on understanding departments of the hospital.
domestic violence as an issue of power and control rather than
only looking for symptoms and providing medical care. This 3.7 Impact of Training
also helped health providers to identify various forms of The impact of training was assessed by the evaluators through
domestic violence and its possible health consequences. a group discussion with a select group of health providers at
The training content was packaged to fit into the busy the two hospitals and also members of the training cell con­
schedule of the public hospital without compromising on qual­ ducted by the evaluators. From this discussion where the eval­
ity and weakening its impact on trainees. The training of core uators asked the group to reflect on the impact the training
group was an intensive exercise that involves high quality had on them, it emerged that the key trainers seemed to be
inputs from experts in the field and this requires at least eight convinced that domestic violence against women is indeed a
full days of training. At first this seemed impossible. Staff public health issue, and that addressing domestic violence is
could not be pulled out of the hospital routine even for a day at a part of a health provider’ s responsibility. More than one
a time. The training was conducted over a period of eight person could articulate with clear arguments why this was so,

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citing examples from within the hospital. Some illustrative exceptional, do something extra over and above regular duties
themes and excerpts from this discussion are presented here: as hospital staff. Another said that when trainees realised that
their behaviour with patients could have been more sensitive,
Making a Difference: “
If only I had spoken to her, if only I had and it was within their capacity to help women in distress,
referred her to Dilaasa (from another hospital)” . This state­ they became convinced of the need for Dilaasa and were ready
ment was made by a trainer referring to how she had been to do their part in the process. A matron explained how she
personally shaken up when a woman who had repeatedly would discuss with trainees about how to make time within
appeared at the op d complaining of headaches was admitted their busy schedule to talk to women who had been admitted
later after she had made a suicide attempt consuming poison. after attempting suicide, and how just a few minutes of talking
Luckily, the woman survived the suicide attempt and the to a woman in distress could make a big difference to her well­
healthcare provider got involved with Dilaasa activities. Key being and safety.
trainers were convinced that Dilaasa was a valuable interven­ A casualty medical officer who had recently attended an ori­
tion and a worthy cause. For example, by providing a space for entation training was able to list all the major steps related to
the women to ventilate their distress, health providers were what a health provider should do to help a woman survivor of
able to detect suicidal ideation and prevent suicides. The staff domestic violence. This is a pointer to the level of internalisa­
reported that they felt good about being able to make a small tion of the issue by the staff. This medical officer also empha­
difference in the lives of the women who approached them for sised the need for screening women beyond the casualty
help. Some observed that another positive feature of the centre department, because a significant proportion of women pre­
was that currently Muslim women who formed a sizeable sented with signs and symptoms other than assault or injury.
population in the catchment area of the two hospitals were He believed that the Dilaasa department in his hospital was
also accessing the services of the centre. By rendering itself performing an important task. It appears from these excerpts
accessible (through its publicity materials distributed in the that the orientation trainings had played an important role in
neighbourhoods nearby and placed in several places in the sensitising the hospital staff and increasing ownership of the
hospital, and through word of mouth), the centre was thus Dilaasa project.
able to remove a key barrier to access to healthcare by specific
socially and economically disadvantaged groups. 3.8 Strategies to Integrate Dilaasa within
The casualty record keeper told the evaluators that it was the Hospital System
only after the establishment of Dilaasa and the training that It was realised early on in the project that training sessions
hospital staff realised that they can do something to help alone were not enough to change the everyday practice of
women survivors of domestic violence. He said that the Dilaasa health professionals. Even if they participated wholeheartedly
department was playing a very useful role. “ Now we can give in the training and agreed that health professionals had a role
them moral support. Awareness of staff has increased.”He in helping women survivors of violence, they often found this
said that because of the training, medical officers have begun difficult to practice. Over the years several efforts were made
writing the exact identity of the assaulter in the m lc register, to facilitate the health providers’task in order to translate the
rather than just mention whether it was assault by known or training and sensitisation into practice.
unknown person. They have started referring the women A department-specific list of signs and symptoms was pre­
and stamp the register saying “ referred to Dilaasa”. He added pared as a tool to guide screening of women by doctors from
that women experiencing violence also came to other opds, several departments. Ongoing discussions and regular interac­
often repeatedly, and because of the training, doctors and tions were held with health service providers in the different
nurses were able to refer them to Dilaasa. When asked of what departments to reinforce the need for screening. In addition,
use was this to the women, he said “ Women are confident that Dilaasa team members (and subsequently, hospital staff)
the hospital people understand their problem and are willing actively screened women in inpatient wards. This also served
to help”. to demonstrate how-to-screen for domestic violence to the staff,
especially nurses. The medical superintendent/project direc­
Recognition in the Hospital: One person said that the train­ tor of Dilaasa made it mandatory for casualty medical officers
ing gave her a lot of confidence, and inspired her because it to report on the numbers they referred and those that they did
was an opportunity to be a “ part of something different, some­ not refer to Dilaasa. The Dilaasa team followed-up this list to
thing socially worthwhile” . Others mentioned that the train­ track doctors who usually failed to refer and to have a dialogue
ing contributed to growth at a personal level. One trainer said with them on referring women to Dilaasa for counselling.
that when someone went beyond the call of duty to be involved Efforts were also made to publicise Dilaasa within other
in work such as Dilaasa training, s/he usually earned the health facilities and in the community by putting up posters
respect of his/her colleagues. about Dilaasa in all opds within the two hospitals where the
crisis centres were established, and in all peripheral hospitals,
Setting an Example: Two key trainers explained how they maternity homes and health posts; conducting poster exhibi­
sought to inspire the trainees in the orientation. One said that tions once a month in different opds of Bhabha Hospital, Bandra
he tapped on every person’ s desire to help others, and to be and organising meetings in the communities served by this
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hospital in collaboration with n g o s working in these communi­ what they should do and 7% wanted financial support.
ties. All these efforts have been instrumental in increased referral Amongst those who articulated a specific expectation, most
by hospitals, direct access by survivors and acceptance of do­ wanted help from the centre to stop violence in some way,
mestic violence as a public health issue by the hospital system. threaten the abuser, call for a joint meeting, “ tell him to
improve” , and so on. It is important to understand this
4 Effectiveness of Public Hospital-based Crisis Centre against the fact that most of the women may be speaking
out for the first time. When women find it difficult to even
4.1 Evidence from Case Records label and state their ongoing experience as violence, it is
Dilaasa offers some important lessons on the suitability of a understandable that most of them may not have specific
public hospital as the setting for a crisis centre. This section is expectations. It, therefore, poses a challenge for the centre
based on the evaluation as well as analysis of case records of as the first contact becomes most critical in order to reach
1,357 survivors who accessed services from 2001 to 2006. out to women.

4.2 Survivor Profile 4.5 Type o f Complaint Reported by Survivors

Since public hospitals are used largely by people from the Around two-thirds (62%) of the women registered at Dilaasa
lower socio-economic strata, the survivor profile of Dilaasa too who had come to the hospital for treatment of a health com­
indicates a similar picture. On an average 250 women regis­ plaint, were screened for violence and referred to the crisis
tered each year in one hospital (Bhabha Hospital, Bandra) and centre for counselling. Thirty-eight per cent of the women
70 per year in Bhabha Hospital, Kurla which is fairly smaller came directly to Dilaasa for counselling services with no
with limited clinical departments and operates only for two specific health complaint.
days a week. These numbers are significantly large when com­ Amongst those reporting health complaints, 31% reported
pared to the numbers accessing counselling centres located in an assault, 16% had attempted suicide, 13% came for some
non-health settings in India that are said to register less than medical complaint and were referred to the crisis centre.
100 women in a year.2 Table 1 depicts the number of women Seven were instances of homicide, and three women reported
accessing the services of the two crisis centres. rape (Table 2). The women who were admitted in hospital
Table 1: Number of Women Counselled The centre is accessed after an attempted suicide were categorised by the hospital as
at Dilaasa Crisis Centres (2001-08) by large number of young “accidental poisoning” . As a result of active screening by
Year Crisis Centre 1 Crisis Centre 2
women. More than a third counsellors and nurses, it was realised that these were actually
2001 82 Not opera tion a l (36%) of the survivors dur­ cases of attempted suicide following experience of violence.
2002 185 Not opera tion a l
ing 2001-08 were in the The family had misreported it because of fear of legal pro­
2003 257 N ot opera tion a l
age group 18-25 years and ceedings. Medical com- Table 2: Type of Health Complaint Reported
2004 319 Not opera tion a l
40% were aged 26-35 plaints mainly included by Survivors at the Time of Referral
2005 264 Not opera tion a l Number PerCent
2006 250 80 years. Two per cent of sur­ reproductive health com­
A ssault 426 31
2007 221 80 vivors were less than 18 plaints (50 women),
A ttem p ted su icid e 207 15
2008 233 90 years old. Those women mental health complaints
M edical com p la in ts* 169 13
Source: Case records of Dilaasa 2001 -08. who were below 30 years (37 women), and ortho­
A ssault and a tte m p te d su icid e 16 1
appear to be most affected by domestic violence; these women paedic complaints (23 M edical com p la in ta n d assault 13 1
also come to the hospital for pregnancy, delivery and contra­ women). Eight per cent H om icid e 7 1
ceptive services and for healthcare for their young children. were pregnant when they R ape 3 0
Therefore, if there is routine screening and referral of all sought Dilaasa services. No health com p la in t 516 38

women who attend the hospital, there is scope for reaching out Besides them, 52% of Total 1,357 100

to women at a much earlier stage of the onset of violence than the married women re­ *The medical complaints included reproductive
health complaints (50), psychiatric complaints (37),
would be possible through a stand-alone crisis centre which ported that they had orthopaedic complaints (23), BP/heart (8),
women have to voluntarily come to. faced violence during TB/asthma (12), weakness (13) and other 15.
pregnancy. Although they were likely to have come in con­
4.3 Type of Violence Reported tact with health professionals for pregnancy-related care,
Emotional violence was reported by almost all women (96%), they were not screened for domestic violence.
while 82% reported physical violence. About 71% reported
financial violence and 42% of the women reported sexual vio­ 4.6 Referral Path
lence. Fifteen per cent of those reporting financial violence More than half (56%) the survivors were referred to the crisis
reported that there were dowry demands. Of those reporting centre by health professionals. While 32% of these came from
sexual violence, 67% reported marital rape. casualty, 26% were screened in wards, 20% were referred by
staff from various levels of the hospital. Eleven per cent came
4.4 Expectations o f Survivors from the o p d and 3% from the inpatient departments, 8% came
Forty per cent of survivors wanted information on rights: they from other hospitals or were referred by community health vol­
wanted to know what their rights are, 25% wanted advice on unteers employed by bm c. Ten per cent (10%) of the women

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came to Dilaasa after seeing the project’ s posters or pamphlets. constrained as there is no way to reach women until they come
These have been put up in all departments of the hospital as back. It also relies on the commitment (often voluntary) of the
well as distributed to other municipal hospitals. The promo­ hospital staff to take on the tasks of training and referral in the
tional material is also distributed to all patients and their fami­ absence of a clear policy statement. It may have expanded to
lies. This works in many different ways, survivor may read it several hospitals, but it rests on the commitment of the admin­
and come to the centre, a family member - father or brother - istrator and staff of that facility.
may read about it and bring the survivor, reading the poster may The consequences of violence on the health of women are
encourage the survivor to speak out about abuse to the doctor recognised in the definition of domestic violence itself given in
and nurse which may result in a referral. the p w d v a . The Act also mandates a clear role for health facili­
ties and health professionals that includes identification, pro­
4.7 Number o f Years o f Violence before Detection viding information, documentation and referral. However, the
by Health Professionals health departments have till date not issued any government
The presence of a crisis centre within a public health facility resolution or circular in this regard which is a serious lacuna
coupled with active screening by health professionals facili­ as the health system is the first contact for any survivor of vio­
tates the early detection of domestic violence, because women lence. In their fourth monitoring and evaluation report on the
who approach it for a health concern are referred to the crisis p w d v a , 2005, Staying Alive, 2010, the Lawyers Collective
centre. One-third of the women who sought services had faced notes the role health facilities can and should play citing Di­
violence for less than two years. More than 50% women were laasa as an example. It is important that this is followed by the
able to reach within six years of abuse. A significant propor­ necessary policy directions from the central and state health
tion (70%) of women who sought services within one year was departments. Such a government order or policy on the role of
screened by health professionals (Figure 1). health providers and health facilities in responding to domes­
Figure 1: Referral to Centre and Years of Abuse tic violence will ensure that health managers, administrators
120 and doctors take this seriously.
Others Self Health system
There is a need to start similar crisis centres in public health
institutions all over India and the following are our recom­
80 mendations:
•Crisis centres can be ideally located within secondary hospi­
tals (200 plus beds) with a casualty department in cities or
district/rural hospitals more than 60 beds with casualty. Such

Less than
■ ■ ■ ■
3 -6 6-10 10-14 More than
hospitals are large enough to have sufficient workload without
the bureaucratic hurdles of a medical college hospital.
•Crisis centres can be created as separate departments within
1 year years years years years 14 years
a hospital setting. If this is not feasible, they could he placed
Another important indicator of early detection of violence is under the social work department or the nursing department
the fact that for many women Dilaasa is the first formal agency - both of which have “ caring”function within health facilities.
that they have approached. Sixty per cent of the women had Locating it as a part of a clinical department would be a mis­
never been to the police, while 40% had approached police take since it would medicalise the issue. If there is no other
before coming to Dilaasa. These were largely women who option, the department of obstetrics and gynaecology is
reported to Dilaasa after assault or had come to the centre another possible site to locate the crisis centre. It is important
directly. These were also women who had faced abuse for that the crisis centre is integrated into the routine functioning
more than four to five years. of the health facilities rather than an add-on service. All levels
of staff can play significant roles, and, therefore, they should
5 Challenges and the Way Forward be trained for enhancing their respective roles.
The model and experience of Dilaasa demonstrates that public •Training of in-service personnel in domestic violence (and
hospitals are indeed an important site for setting up crisis other issues) should become part of the health system func­
intervention services dealing with domestic violence and can tions, recognised as a vital activity, have dedicated staff and
play a critical role in providing services to women facing such an adequate budget, and carried out in a systematic and
violence. Due to its location in a public hospital, it is accessible methodical manner. Training cells such as the one in b m c may
to a large number of women, especially those from the mar­ be constituted with members from “ core groups”of hospitals
ginalised groups. The trained staff are able to see the signs of with crisis centres. These training cells would be valuable
domestic violence amongst their patients and thus identify resources for training other health professionals. People from
abuse at an earlier stage. The location also makes follow-up health departments are likely to be more receptive to hear
easier for women as they can come on the pretext of a hospital from their own ilk.
visit. However, it represents an intervention that is possible •In addition, social workers or their equivalent in all health
only at the secondary and tertiary level of healthcare system. facilities with crisis centres should be trained in the pers­
As it is not integrated with the other levels, follow-up care is pective as well as skills required in order to provide feminist

74 APRIL 28, 2012 VOL XLVII NO 17 nr!?! Economic & Political weekly

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counselling to women facing domestic violence. They can play These guidelines could inform health sector policies related to
a critical role in responding to immediate needs and preventing domestic violence and also be endorsed by professional asso­
further abuse and harm. ciations. Carrying out a sustained media campaign on domes­
•Since women experiencing domestic violence may access a tic violence as a public health issue, and on the role of crisis
public health facility at any level, there should be an integrated centres based in public health facilities in providing support to
system of screening and referral. At the primary care level, women survivors of domestic violence would go a long way in
auxiliary nurse midwives and medical officers may be trained influencing policymakers, health professionals, women and
to screen and refer; at the secondary level, counselling serv­ society at large.
ices as well as referral to legal and other resources may be pro­ To conclude, while efforts such as providing services to indi­
vided. Initiatives to address domestic violence within health­ vidual women survivors in the public hospital setting may
care settings would, therefore, have to systematically engage seem depoliticised, and a departure from the original advo­
with different levels of the healthcare system. cacy campaigns and political aims of the women’ s movement,
•While one cannot underscore the importance of training of the problem remains of what is to be done when an individual
in-service professionals, it is critical that efforts be made to influ­ woman in distress seeks help. There is dearth of spaces where
ence medical and nursing educators/educational institutions and women experiencing domestic violence can receive empa-
students to integrate violence against women into the curricu­ thetic support, where their experiences are validated and they
lum, so that those newly entering the system have some exposure are not blamed for the violence perpetrated against them, fol­
to the issue. At the same time, training on the new domestic vio­ lowing principles of feminist counselling. While campaigns
lence law could form part of continuing medical education so that and advocacy are essential for eliminating domestic violence,
medical professionals are made aware of the law and their role. there is a need to underscore the importance of such spaces
• Dilaasa has produced guidelines on the role of health and services for women in abusive relationships to rebuild
professionals in addressing domestic violence against women. their lives and well being.

NOTES_____________________________________ Bhate-Deosthali, Padma, Purnima Maghnani and Works”, Samyukta: A Journal of Women’ s Studies,
Seema Malik (2005): Establishing Dilaasa: 2 (2): 57-73-
1 CEHAT is the research centre of Anusandhan
Documenting the Challenges (Mumbai: CEHAT). John, M, ed. (2008 ): Women’ s Studies in India:
Trust engaged in health research and policy
Burte, Aruna (2008 ): Breaking the Culture of A Reader (New Delhi: Penguin Books).
advocacy on right to health and healthcare.
Silence, Uniting to Fight Domestic Violence Kumar, R ( 1993): The History of Doing: An Illustrated
2 Documentation of counselling practices across
(Mumbai: CEHAT). Account of Movements for Women’s Rights and
the country (22 such services) indicates that
CEHAT (2004 ): “Counselling Impact Study: Draft Feminism in India 1800-1990 (New Delhi: Kali
other centres receive less than 70-75 women
Report” (Mumbai: CEHAT). for Women).
per year (Bhate-Deosthali, Prakash and Rege,
Feminist Counselling Practices in Domestic Vio­ Campbell, J and L Lewandowski (1997): “Mental Lawyers Collective and Women’s Rights Initiative
and Physical Health Effects of Intimate Partner (2011): Staying Alive, Fifth Monitoring and
lence, forthcoming).
Violence on Women and Children”, Psychiatric Evaluation 2012 on the Protection of Women
Clinics of North America, 20 (2): 353-74- from Domestic Violence Act 2005 , New Delhi.
Heise, L, J Pitanguy and A Germaine (1994): Ravindran, S and U Vindhya (2009 ): External Eval­
“Violence against Women: The Hidden Health uation Report of Dilaasa (unpublished).
Agnes, Flavia (1990): My Story - Our Story of Re­ Burden”, World Bank Discussion Papers; 255 WHO (2005): Multi-country Study on Women’ s
building Broken Lives (Mumbai: Majlis). (Washington DC: The World Bank). Health and Domestic Violence against Women:
- (1992): Journey to Justice: Procedures to be Fol­ Jaising, I (2002): Campaign for a Civil Law on Initial Results on Prevalence, Health Outcomes
lowed in a Rape Case (Mumbai: Majlis). Domestic Violence 2002 : Update and Briefing and Women’ s Responses, WHO, Geneva.
Bhate-Deosthali, Padma, Prakash and Rege (forth­ Note (New Delhi: Lawyers Collective). Worell, J and P Remer (2003 ): Feminists Perspec­
coming): Feminist Counselling Practices in Jesani, Amar (2002): “Violence against Women: tives in Therapy: Empowering Diverse Women
Domestic Violence. Health Issues Review of Selected Indian (New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons).


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Beyond Feminine Public Altruism

Women Leaders in Kerala's Urban Bodies


The rapidly changing urban scenario seems to have he 33% reservation offered to women in local bodies
important implications for gendering governance in has certainly provided women in Kerala with a major
opportunity to enter politics and public life since the
Kerala. Thus, besides the different histories mediated by
mid-1990s. There was much hope about the empowering ef­
caste and community, the spatial location of women fects this would produce in the national debate as well, strong
leaders in local governance appears to be of central enough to convince sceptics (Ghosh and Lama-Rewal 2005: 7).
importance in shaping their agency. This article which is For instance, Susheela Gopalan of the Communist Party of India
(Marxist) (cpi(m)), well known for her efforts to organise women
based on the research about women leaders in local
and women workers, remarked in an interview in 1999 thus:
governance in Kerala in 2005-10 explores the extent to
Initially I was against reservations but today there is no option.. .when
which success in local governance allowed these women become Panchayat members they acquire earning capacity
and become independent.. .They develop confidence and can be
women entry into politics and gave them a greater
trained as potential candidates for Assembly and Parliamentary elec­
presence within the public life. Generally it is seen that tions in the future (Kumari and Kidwai 19 99 : 163- 64 ).

successful women leaders are often the bearers of a Has women’ s participation in local governance delivered on
specific form of power that has been historically this promise? Our research on women leaders in local govern­
associated with the deployment of sentiment and affect, ance in Kerala in the 2005-10 term was mainly driven by
this basic question (Devika and Thampi, forthcoming).1 We
and ideal femininity, and that such power is understood
focused on “ successful”women leaders - those who have not
to be crucial to local governance as well. However, an only gained goodwill in their local communities, but also
entirely different picture emerged from this study on converted this into durable support, evident in their ability to
women leaders of urban governance. Besides gentle return to power in later terms - and this choice was deliberate.
The reasons why women fail in leadership positions are rela­
power, successful women attribute their success equally
tively better explored than the reasons for their success. We
to knowledge - of official norms and procedures. feel that it is necessary to ask questions of the nature of
“ success”itself. It is too readily assumed that women’ s success
implies the decline of entrenched patriarchal gender norms.
As we were increasingly convinced in the course of our inter­
viewing, in the present case, success is often contingent on
women leaders’ conformity to entrenched gender norms, which
are not entirely disempowering, but part of a “ patriarchal
bargain”(Kandiyoti 1988: 274-90).
In Kerala, we found that successful women leaders are often
the bearers of a specific form of power linked to the deployment
of sentiment and affect which has been associated with
an ideal femininity since the late i9th-early 20th centuries
(Devika 2007). The same form of power has also been pro­
jected as crucial for the smooth functioning of local govern­
ance. This is perhaps only to be expected in a society in which
women are most often directed towards the domestic and the
sentimental as true domains of femininity which they may le­
gitimately claim, and from which they may derive resources to
J Devika (devika@cds.ac.in) is w ith the Centre for Development Studies, make sense of and deal with the world in general. However,
Thiruvananthapuram and Binitha V Thampi ( binithavthampy@google.
besides “ gentle power” , successful women attribute their suc­
mail.com) is w ith the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai.
cess equally to knowledge - of official norms and procedure,
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which is certainly not associated with sentiment and affect, but Scholars have pointed out that some unique steps towards
with the rule of the state, clearly beyond sentimental considera­ democratising urban governance were evident in Kerala. For
tions. This advantage arises from the superior level of education example, parastatals were dismantled to make space for demo­
that women in Kerala often possess, and their practical experi­ cratically-elected local bodies (Kundu and Kundu 2004:140);
ence of working in government institutions, often in positions unlike in many other states, ward committees were set up to
of leadership, such as that of the school headmistress or gov­ promote deliberation and consultation from below; Kerala
ernment official. Thus, it appears that the ground has been set has also passed legislation to set up metropolitan planning
for the flourishing of a certain “ feminine public altruism”which committees. However, the gains from these seem to be
draws upon new elite gender norms, remains largely subservi­ ambiguous from a perspective critical of the new public man­
ent to bureaucratic norms and rules, and rings quite differ­ agement framework. As the literature on neo-liberal urbani­
ently from the militant class politics of the mid-to-late 20th sation in other parts of the world (Harvey 1989; Lovering
century Kerala. It was, however, clear from our research that 1995: 109-26; Werna 1995: 353-59) observes, such measures
both these bring at best ambiguous and partial gains. Not only tend to overlook the political dimension of social justice,
is maintaining the dividing line between “ genteel”and “ docile” reducing questions about welfare and redistribution of re­
behaviour tedious, it also traps women leaders in the role of sources in urban space to technical issues dealing with mainly
welfare distributors, and undermines their emergence as physical aspects of life - social services, infrastructure, and
leaders of local politics and development, besides making housing (Mahadevia 2005). Policy documents in Kerala display
them overdependent on rules and norms. The elite moorings an unmistakable neo-liberal perspective. The document
of “ gentle power”were also evident from its relatively poor “Urban Policy and Action Plan for Kerala”( g o k 2002) notes
availability to dalit women. that urban bodies have been given the authority to formulate
However, an entirely different picture emerged from our spatial plans and therefore urban development authorities
interviews with women leaders of urban governance. The have lost their significance - they have been abolished in five
rapidly changing urban scenario seems to have important towns. However, this does not mean a divergence from the
implications for gendering governance in Kerala. In our inter­ neo-liberal thrust of urban policy in India. It seeks to replace
views, we observed that besides the different histories medi­ the urban development authorities with the urban regulatory
ated by caste and community, the spatial location of women authority, which is to be
leaders in local governance was crucial in shaping their
entrusted w ith the responsibility to ensure private sector participation
agency. Indeed, as Mary John (2007: 3986-95) remarks, the in municipal services, avoid creation of monopolies in municipal serv­
study of women leaders in urban governance may perhaps ices, maintain quality of services, make sure that the cost of services to
yield better insight into questions about women’ s entry into the public is reasonable...[and] function as a forum for receiving com-
plaints/suggestions on all urban services. This authority w ill be given
and access to political power.
statutory powers to enforce these objectives... (ibid).

Urbanisation and Urban Governance in Kerala The formation of master plans by urban bodies through con­
Political decentralisation in Kerala in the mid-1990s coincided sultation does not necessarily indicate a shift since land
with a spurt in urbanisation. The pace of urbanisation in Ker­ markets are largely in private hands (Kundu and Kundu 2004:
ala over the 20th century has been consistent but one of the 142). As confirmed by all our interviewees unanimously, the
slow est in India, rising from 7.11% in 1901 to 18.78% in 1981 most daunting task in heavily urbanising contexts is the
(Sreekumar 1993: 27). Metropolises were absent; agricultural enforcement of building regulations, which are largely honoured
and trading activities dominated the urban economic environ­ in the breach. There is also research that shows that ward
ment (ibid: 58). Urban areas here were better dispersed spa­ committees may not enhance democratic participation by
tially, leading to a “rurban”pattern of settlement (ibid: 73-74). themselves. A study based on fieldwork in two city corporations
However, this pattern was changing since the late 1980s, accel­ and two municipalities in Kerala (Thomas 2006: 138-200)
erating in the 1990s and after. Heightened urbanisation is linked notes that the selection of ward committee members was
to the inflow of remittances from the Gulf which fuelled con­ heavily influenced by the preferences of local politicians
sumption, leading to service-sector-led growth, the boom in (ibid: 167, 181). Moreover, the contractor-raj seems rampant
the house construction sector, which has hiked the demand for now in wards, where in the early phase of decentralisation
real estate (Gopikuttan 1990: 2083-88; Sooryamoorthy 1997; funds were made directly available to ward committees
c d s 2005:44). Added to these was the emerging post-liberalisa­ which formed beneficiary committees to execute works (ibid:
tion national context which generated an intense thrust to­ 170). Women’ s participation is low, and their presence is on
wards reshaping the city-spaces throughout the country, in the strength of the positions they hold (such as that of the
which the prospective arrival of globalised capital and emer­ local Kudumbashree self-help-group functionary) (ibid: 161).
gence of neo-liberal policy frameworks of urban management Importantly, ward committee members reported that they
were key influences. These crucially informed the shape of were rarely consulted by the municipal/corporation authori­
emergent decentralised urban governance in the mid-1990s ties regarding the use of public land in their wards (ibid: 178).
(Kundu and Kundu 2004:132-70) and this applies to Kerala as They complained that there was no mechanism to solve
well, which spelt out an urban policy in 2002 ( g o k 2002). conflicting interests in wards and ensure equitable distribution

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of resources. Those with political clout usually avail of the projects, such as the Kerala State Urban Development Project
benefits (ibid: 184). Empowering Committee and the Kerala Road Fund Board.
Cities and towns in Kerala are increasingly perceived as spaces
Neither High Politics Nor Local Governance meant for corporate and non-corporate capital (these are often
Reflecting on the effects of decentralisation in the field of in conflict) and their “ development”is often treated as synony­
politics in Kerala, we argue that, first, a key effect has been mous with the new urban management,2which has the dual
the division of political space into “ high politics”and “ local aim of setting up infrastructure for global capital and managing
governance” . The former is characterised by hyperactivity, poverty among the urban poor. Urban bodies, therefore, cannot
especially in political decisions and policy innovation, char­ focus exclusively on welfare, but have to accord priority to the
acterised by dramatic instances of state action undertaken by creation of urban infrastructure. Also, urban policy explicitly
leaders, including the dramatic ushering of political decen­ encourages private sector participation and this gives the notion
tralisation itself (called the “ big-bang approach” ). In contrast, of “governance”advanced in urban contexts a rather different
“local governance”is marked by governing-by-rule-and-pro- spin when compared with its connotations in panchayats.
cedure, and squarely under the supervision and guardianship This means that many issues that are perceived as more rel­
of several agencies such as the department of local self- evant to high politics than to local governance are of key sig­
government and the Ombudsman. Second, the modes of rule nificance in urban governance. Thus, in contemporary, urban
prominent in each are different: in high politics, political and governance in Kerala, we typically find a mix of bureaucratic
moral authoritarianism and use of force, if not violence, to control along with intense power struggles characteristic of
silence critics, is evident, whereas in local governance, there is high politics, which, however, increasingly rejects urban
a concession to working with the opposition. Third, the rela­ “ political society” , even those elements of political society
tion of each domain to capital is also different: while in high integrated closely with mass organisations of the dominant
politics leaders struggle to smoothly translate the earlier agenda of Left parties.3 While Kerala has put in place measures that
state-led large-scale industrialised development into approval seem to yield urban governance that is more democratic (like
for neo-liberal growth, the domain of local governance tries ward committees), a huge amount of business is transacted
out “ sustainable and small-scale development programmes” . through informal channels. Residents’associations, for example,
High politics, of course, remains the more powerful of the two have been given a prominent place in urban governance; how­
domains, since all major policy decisions, including those rel­ ever, it has been observed that “ they are actually quite strong
evant to local governance, are shaped within it. lobbies for the interests of their members, who are mostly
It must not be assumed, however, that these are watertight the middle- and upper-middle class. Though they have more
compartments. There are instances in which features of the access to local governments than any other organisations,
former are shared by the latter, especially in panchayats where usually they do not follow the formal democratic channels
earlier left militancy is somewhat more prominent, where the (gram sabhas, ward assemblies, etc) but have access through
styles and concerns of high politics overrides those of local informal channels to secure favourable decisions”(cses , crm ,
governance. The political spaces opened up in and through capdeck 2003: 39). There has also been much discussion in
the municipal councils and city corporations in contemporary the press of how building rules are being systematically
Kerala are also of an ambiguous nature, partaking of features flouted by the real estate players who have access to powerful
of both high politics and local governance. First, the ideal of figures in high politics and higher bureaucracy (Basheer 2006: 5;
the hypermoralised local community cannot be easily pro­ Bhaskar 2007). Given the high degree of political fragmentation,
jected on urban spaces as it is on village panchayats. As else­ municipal councils have been often rocked by no-confidence
where in the world (Stren and White 1989; Mattingly 1995), motions and heated politicking, especially when the ruling
urban spaces in Kerala too are being fragmented economi­ party had only a thin majority (Muraleedharan 2010:4). There
cally, politically and socially; mutually-incompatible interests is reason to think that welfare distribution in the urban local
- business interests, realtors, local middle-class residents, bodies serves to bolster political patronage.4
migrant workers and working-class poor - jostle for space in The councils’powers are also limited through multiplica-
urban wards. The evocation of “ community”in urban con­ tion/duplication of authorities in the wake of large urban de­
texts seems less related to democratising local governance so velopment projects such as the Asian Development Bank (adb)-
that the urban poor participate, and more to what has been funded Kerala State Urban Development Project.5 Both critics
referred to as the “ rhetoric of enablement” , which helps mobi­ (Raman 2010: 135-56), and more sympathetic commentators
lise resources (McCarney et al 1995: 91-141). Community often of the adb loan were critical of the conditionalities that it im­
refers to more exclusively middle-class residents’ associations posed. As a more sympathetic commentator argued,
(cses , crm , capdeck 2003), counted as “ community-based or­ the a d b ’
s financial plan, while desirable, lacks respect for the robust­
ganisations” , collaborators in current urban development ness of local democracy... Given the economic potential of the urban
projects (see The Hindu, 19 February 2008: 3). However, urban local bodies, the language of and the compulsions following from

local bodies too function under the department of urban affairs these clauses need modification (Oommen 2 0 0 7 : 737).

and the Ombudsman, and also have to take into consideration Further, as elsewhere, urban bodies in Kerala too are over­
of the decisions of bodies set up for various development loaded with new responsibilities and grievously understaffed

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( g o k 2009: 83); they lack technical support for projects (Kundu urban governance as urban management, with all its elite and
and Kundu 2004; g o k 2009: 75, 145-46) which often need to civil connotations. Highly educated women with minimal
be produced in complicated formats required by the central links with politics appear to be fit to be the new urban manag­
government agencies ( g o k 2009: 30). The common lack of ers. “ And somehow, city governance is identified with a mid­
clarity on town planning and problems with implementing dle-class issue. That is why women like me, with more con­
building rules as well as identifying the nature and sites for tacts in the middle class, were chosen.”
urban welfare, are present in Kerala too ( g o k 2009: 145-46). However, almost without exception, all our interviewees
In short, urban governance in Kerala seems to offer plenty of from highly urbanised areas agreed that higher education
loopholes and opportunities for patronage and corruption. alone was of limited value in confronting the actually-existing
From the above discussion, it is evident that the urban urban scene (an exception was a chairperson of a relatively
scenario is an extremely challenging terrain for women, espe­ new, still largely rural municipality). The more one’ s educa­
cially those who have no experience at all in “ high politics”
. tion prepared one for public life, the better, they said. Thus,
Neither “ gentle power”nor “ knowledge of the rules”seems to lawyers felt that their experience in law practice not only pre­
be of much use, at least by themselves, in urban governance. pared them better to deal with urban politics, it also made
Rather, the ability to negotiate with local politicians, increase them appear less vulnerable than others. One of the lawyers
influence and connections with powerful groups and seize remembered:
emergent opportunities seem all-important for enduring suc­ W hen I entered municipal governance, I was already a practising
cess - or perhaps even for sheer survival. lawyer of many years’ experience and held superior degrees in law.
This paper is based on our interviews with 11women leaders But the truth was that I knew little about governance. I had to ask my
junior-most staff about what the Kudumbashree was, I had no clue
in urban governance from the past term. They range from lead­
about the abbreviations that were commonly used to refer to officers
ers regarded as “ highly successful”to those considered “ utter and various committees... But nobody dared to climb on my head or call
failures” . Eight were chairpersons of municipal councils (out me ignorant. Somehow, they never noticed that I was so ignorant -
of 18 such posts reserved for women in the past term and two and that, I feel, was because I was an experienced professional in law.

mayors of city corporations). We also interviewed an ex-mayor. This was, indeed, in sharp contrast with the experience of
The most striking feature of this group was the remarkably another woman leader of the same Kochi metropolitan area, who
high educational achievements of its members. A good number had been a schoolteacher. She had worked in administration
were lawyers and professors; almost all (with the exception of and knew the basics of office management. Yet, she was con­
one dalit woman leader, who had been a worker) were from sidered, in the early days, to be “ inexperienced”and hence faced
middle-class or affluent backgrounds. This is perhaps not sur­ more of interference from both local politicians and officials.
prising given the present identification of urban development The narratives of women leaders in urban governance
with urban management. Age-wise, most of them were above reveal a different relation to “ gentle power”- even when
30 and below 60; those who had young children were sup­ endorsed, those who favoured it did feel that it could be used only
ported by other female members of their families. Spouses selectively and strategically, and not as a “ natural”capacity.
(with one exception) were well-educated and well-placed, They, thus, differed from many “ successful”women leaders of
and/or with considerable influence in “ high politics” . Though panchayats, who associated it with the “ naturally feminine” .
many reported to be not interested in re-election, some who Many reasons were cited: the urban poor are far more frag­
reported thus did contest the 2010 elections to local bodies. mented than the rural poor; beneficiary lists in urban areas
The urban areas in which they held their terms were also di­ are often means of the local councillor’ s political patronage,
verse, ranging from towns that retain many rural features, to and trying to bring about transparency through patience
fully-urbanised municipalities. and persuasiveness is near-impossible. Though some of our
interviewees did attempt to exercise gentle power, they
Neither G entle Power' Nor k n o w led g e o f the Rules' granted it largely strategic and limited value. As one of our
A majority of our interviewees were conscious of their middle- interviewees remarked:
class moorings. While many of them came from families with The officials, well, they are pretty sharp and quite wily. The secretary
explicit political sympathies, they themselves had remained is powerful and one should be careful not to antagonise powerful offi­
apolitical or at the fringes of mass organisations, pursuing pro­ cials. So you need to be gentle, “soft” (mayatthil nilkkanam). But you
fessional careers. But they regarded their middle-class status also give the message that if necessary you w ill be tough, and that you
know the norms and procedures.. .The vice-chairman is usually a pow­
not as an anomaly, but as a feature that political parties recog­
erful local politician and much senior to you. Again, do not make ene­
nised as valuable in the context of changing notions of urban
mies of him. But never be totally dependent - yet give the impression
governance. A leader from one of the municipalities in the that you are taking his views on everything.
Kochi metropolitan area pointed to a political change that she
felt had occurred over the past 40 years. In the 1970s, the Left The exceptions to the above are, however, interesting pre­
trade unions were an invincible force in Kochi; they could cisely because their experience seemed to reveal the limited
“ hold the place to ransom, if they wanted” . But things have value of gentle power. To quote one of them:
changed now. The clout of the unions has decreased consider­ I had contested as an independent supported by a political front, and I
ably, and this seems to coincide with the rise of the notion of felt, early on, that I should preserve my neutral image. It worked well.

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I also gave a lot of respect to the leader of the opposition who is a very out that she was relatively junior in the party compared with
experienced councillor and that served me very well, though my own the chairmen of the standing committees. “ That does not
party colleagues were sometimes uncomfortable. But you have to
matter if you have strong connections in places where the
carry w ith you a large number of councillors, so I could not pay atten­
tion to their discomfort!... I have also been very respectful to senior
party does not have any. That makes you indispensable” .
politicians w ithin our party... They treat me like a sister.. .and the m l a She said:
here, he is from the other front, he too has been extremely well-
W hen I first became councillor, I took care to see that my work did
disposed towards me. He has helped us w ith many things...and I am
not focus exclusively on my ward. I saw to it that my ward was
almost like a daughter to him.
well-provided, but I gradually acquired a lot of experience working
Commenting on another woman leader who has been gen­ on general issues relevant to the municipal area as a whole, which

erally judged an utter failure, she linked this failure to her made me indispensable to both fronts. I also gained a large number of
contacts w ith both ordinary people and those in positions of influ­
unwillingness to exercise gentle power: “ She was always
ence. I was already very successful in my profession which involved
too stern, too openly confident of her abilities...she never meeting a lot of people. This gave me a lot of confidence in dealing
would even bother to smile at officials or show respect to party w ith my own party as well ...and I have stood as firm as a rock on
leaders... That made her very unpopular!”However, she did many issues.. .my advice to ladies is - ‘stay utterly firm when you have
admit that male leaders did not have to project themselves taken a decision about which you are completely convinced’. Do not
step back even an inch. Stepping back only makes you look like a
thus; this was because “ our society is still unprepared to accept
paavam (docile person).
a woman leader” . And it did become apparent that gentle
power actually brought unstable gains. In a later interview, This leader, who has excellent connections with all sections
she admitted this, speaking of her experience of unexpectedly of people in her municipality, including businessmen, power­
losing the 2010 elections to the same municipality (quite un­ ful community leaders, and religious organisations, was also
like the panchayats, where women who exercise gentle power insistent that alliances have to build on “ negotiations”and not
do get re-elected frequently). She had been too successful in on gentle power, which, she felt, “ reminds them all the more, that
her deployment of gentle power - “ they (her own party work­ this is a woman, a ‘ paavam’ ” . Her first act as the leader of the
ers) felt I had established myself without their help...so they municipality was to distribute copies of the Municipality Act to
allotted me a ward where I had a slimmer chance of winning. all the members. “ I told them that I know this Act well, and I
They set up things so carefully that I did not even have a slight expect them to know it well too. We have to work by it, and not
doubt until four days before polling. And they succeeded” . by what the officials may say. The chairperson has executive
Her party had lost power in her municipality by a very narrow powers - the power to make an official do something which he
margin of seats but elements in the local party wanted her out says cannot be done.”
“even at the cost of the party losing power - since I would She was also keen to stress her distance from all possible
have cooperated with whoever who won to ensure that all manifestations of gentle power. She was not intimate with
the projects that I had initiated be successfully completed” . welfare beneficiaries - “ I think it is my duty to listen to them
Another interviewee who vouched for the efficacy of gentle very, very carefully. We are public servants and owe them that
power in overcoming defections and no-confidence motions respect. But I do not listen to their sorrows - that will immedi­
from rebel members of her own party is, however, now ately relegate me to the paavam woman’ s status” . Again, deal­
completely out of politics, and does not contemplate any kind ing with opposition members successfully, she said, had noth­
of public life. ing to do with being gentle: “ do not be a paavam, be fair.
Women think that they need to assert themselves only when
Negotiating for Connections necessary. That is an illusion. Be firm from the very beginning,
It appears that women in urban politics need means other than but be utterly transparent and fair in all dealings with the op­
gentle power, like the ability to negotiate shrewdly - quite position. Convince your own members - and stay firm - that
similar to the situation in high politics. Women in high politics being unfair will only make things difficult for us.”This seems
negotiate actively for connections, and also take advantage of to have worked for her, judging from her success in the present
strategic opportunities and family and other connections. elections and acceptance as the unquestioned leader of her
Successful women leaders of urban bodies draw on both these party in the municipality.
styles. The first was well-illustrated by the experience of a But connections were perceived in other ways as well, as
highly successful woman leader of a municipality who has “ family”connections. In this case, women leaders had power­
been elected unopposed from her ward a second time in the ful male kin in political parties, sometimes in positions that
2010 elections - and her party managed to retain power de­ enabled them to negotiate with the opposition informally. The
spite massive setbacks throughout the State. This leader also husband’ s experience in politics and local governance was cru­
stressed the importance of building alliances across political cial, often to the rise of women leaders of less-urbanised mu­
fronts, but rejected gentle power entirely. Knowledge of the nicipalities. The leader of the least-urbanised municipality in
rules was prescribed as the best way of dealing with officials, our sample claimed that she relied entirely on her party to
while negotiating alliances and networks with more groups in build connections for her; the metaphor of the extended family
civil society and business, she felt, was the best way to deal was frequently used by her to refer to the party. Indeed, this
with local politicians, especially party colleagues. She pointed leader, who was formerly a leader of women’ s self-help groups,
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was keener to talk of their activities than about her role as urban What people count are the more visible things. They felt that
leader. However, such submissiveness is relatively rare among we had done nothing - why? Because, we did not build a
urban leaders compared to the panchayat leaders. town hall, a stadium, or large buildings.” 8The poor financial
The importance of building connections through multiple condition of her municipality prevented her from hiring
routes was also evident from the experience of a woman leader consultants; because of this, they failed to secure key central
with relatively less experience in politics, the mayor of a major funds. Some interviewees did identify welfare distribution as
city corporation. Anti-corruption, transparency and efficiency the most satisfying responsibility, but notably, they were usu­
measures may be high up on the urban governance agenda, ally of relatively less-urbanised municipalities.
but even this or other tasks cannot be performed without ade­ But it is also important to see that urban governance is not
quate political support. Such failure or “ inefficiency”gets high politics: leaders in urban governance are closely super­
quickly translated into gendered accusations of women’ s vised by a number of bodies, often constituted by politicians
inherent incompetence at dealing with complex situations. powerful in high politics and senior bureaucrats. A woman
She told us: leader of a highly urbanised municipality in central Kerala
The corporation’s problems did not spring up suddenly. The issue of
complained vehemently about how urban bodies had to seek
waste disposal, the traffic congestion, the City Centre getting over­ “permission”from “ innumerable officials, officers, clerks, i a s
crowded - all these are old .6 But media and other politicians behave as officers, and who else...” :
if they were new issues, and as a woman’s failure. But I have tried to
This was about the solid waste recycling plant project which was
intervene effectively in people’s issues. In this office, earlier, people
approved and about to be tendered. W hen we approached the k su dp
could come only via agents. That is not the case today.
[Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project] office, they said that
This leader sought to build a political base through improv­ the empowered committee had to take a decision. This committee
ordered that the tender should be routed through the Kochi Corporation.
ing administrative efficiency, by efforts to reduce corruption,
We were not even consulted; we were told after the decision was
but this did not rescue her from gendered accusations of in­ taken! This was unacceptable to us, and I protested quite strongly on a
efficiency. In a rapidly-urbanising city like Kochi, anti-corruption public platform where senior politicians and bureaucrats were
measures may be regarded as relatively less complex than present. But they were unwilling to re-examine the decision. This
others like waste management, which she failed to resolve, caused us such distress - 1 had to be in and out of the Kochi Corpora­
tion, goodness knows how many times, to get it done!
and this was related to her inability to garner enough political
support. This was read in gendered terms, she observed, as Further, it is important to note that in the present context of
the “ inadequacy of an inexperienced woman” . The mismatch intense political fragmentation, it is all the more difficult for
between the demands of urban politics and those of the new political leaders, male or female, to build political bases
urban management is such that what were deemed upper among city populations.9 And the middle-class backgrounds
middle-class woman leader’ s merits may end up being per­ of these leaders do not seem to be translating into special
ceived as her weaknesses. Thus, this leader’ s highly-educated influence on the urban middle-class. Political fragmentation
status came to be perceived as a disadvantage which predis­ often leads to all sorts of unexpected coalitions which prove
posed her to elitism.7 insurmountable. The frustrating experience of trying to set up
The other feature vital to success in urban areas relates to waste-recycling plants in city areas which almost all women
leaders’ability to grasp the changing urban scenario and the leaders from more urbanised municipalities recalled, indi­
increasing stakes in it of the private sector on the one hand, cated this. The experience of trying to find land for this pur­
and the middle-classes on the other. Most of our interviewees pose was described as truly harrowing. Many interviewees
were uncritical of the new urban management agenda - and reported that this turned many of their ardent supporters into
this is not surprising, given their middle-class, relatively apo­ enemies almost overnight, and when support was not forth­
litical backgrounds. Thus, one of them proudly reported that coming from all sections of the municipal council, the project
she had got all the roadside hawkers off the road: “ I used to be would simply have to be dropped.
very particular... would even stop my car, get out, and scold In this complex scenario, dalit women appeared clearly dis­
hawkers who plied their carts on the main roads...” . Indeed, advantaged, unlike in the panchayats where many of them did
the most successful ones in urban governance swam with the surmount a number of hurdles, including those of caste. The
tide. Commenting on the losses to the cpi(m) and the Left two dalit interviewees presented two models of disempower-
Democratic Front ( ld f) in the 2010 panchayat elections, one of ment. One appeared to be completely embedded in her local
them argued that it was because the party failed to see that party, and insisted that all decisions were taken in and
people perceived “ development”differently: “ People are not through the party, and she had little more to add except her
interested in welfare anymore. For them, development means view that the “ party is like a family and we meet all our social
roads, large bridges, buildings, modem amenities. We have to needs through it” . The other seemed quite unable to take
work towards that and borrow large sums, if necessary.”In advantage of the fact that she became the chairperson because
contrast, less successful leaders were reluctant to borrow large the party which won the majority did not have a successful dalit
sums. One of them admitted that she had streamlined woman candidate. During the interview, she was continuously
welfare distribution and made it transparent; however, this interrupted and corrected by the vice-chairman. She seemed
went unnoticed: “ Welfare, after all, is distributed to individuals. to be disadvantaged by her relatively poor education, lack

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of connections, and working-class status and seems to have sources other than one’ s own party, to draw upon diverse
suffered considerable latent violence from both sides: the forms of social capital (in Bourdieu’ s sense), and to put
ruling side, which wanted to keep her in check through the together the technical expertise to access funding for infra­
vice-chairman, and the opposition to which she belonged, structure projects.10
which wanted to ensure that she would not make mistakes. Access to powerful politicians in high politics and the ability
But her experience certainly does not represent that of dalit to negotiate across parties is also vitally necessary even in the
women in urban governance in any general sense. There are panchayats, when the panchayat leader, male or female, seeks
others, such as V Devayani, the (former) chairperson of the to get beyond welfare distribution and intervene seriously in
Palakkad Municipal Council, who survived such a situation local development priorities (Sharma 2009: 123; Devika and
quite adeptly. But it may also be that she had greater space for Thampi, forthcoming). In Kerala’ s village panchayats, we
manoeuvre, since the council was deadlocked without a chair­ found that women are less likely to possess these skills. How­
person for long and Devayani was sworn in following a direc­ ever, wherever development continues to be perceived largely
tive of the Kerala High Court to fill the post reserved for as welfare distribution, women who exercise gentle power and
scheduled caste (sc) candidates. She apparently remarked that knowledge of the rules continue to gain popularity, with
from being completely ignorant of urban governance, she strong chances of re-election. But rapid urbanisation does
vaulted into high levels of self-confidence “the day I realised mean that women will increasingly have to face the challenge
how important my signature was”(Mathrubhumi, 28 July of governing urbanising spaces. It appears that women leaders
2010: 4). Indeed, she left the Congress during the negotiations do not always fail. Perhaps it is befitting to end this paper with
around candidature in the 2010 panchayat elections, protesting a quote from an interview with a highly successful woman
that the Congress had denied her a sc reservation ward to join leader, who had to not only keep the opposition on her side,
the Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp) (The Hindu, 1 October 2010, but also curb the intrigues of her party colleagues, without,
Thiruvananthapuram edition). however, letting the constant internal struggle for power spill
into the public:
Conclusions Now I do know that I am absolutely necessary for the survival of my
As Mary John has noted, the relative neglect of women in party here; so I am hardly challenged directly. But one must always
urban governance by scholars studying decentralised govern­ remain alert. I have always been careful to follow the rules myself
and so no one has yet got a chance to attack me personally. Now,
ance is a serious flaw because it is the urban scene “ that
recently, I had been abroad for 14 days. I took permission from the
includes many more dimensions of the political arena”(2007: government through proper channels but did not hand over charge to
3992). Contemporary urban governance in Kerala, we find, the vice-chairman, because I was coming back w ithin 15 days (and
shares many key features of high politics while remaining there is no rule that I should do this unless I exceeded the 15-day
bound by the constraints of local governance. This produces lim it). Now, some of the hostile press caught hold of this and kicked
up a fuss - that I had left for a long period w ithout handing over
significant challenges for women leaders of urban bodies.
charge to the vice-chairman. They apparently asked him, who told
Unwillingness to engage with politics appeared to us to be the them that I was away - but he did not bother to tell them that I would
surest recipe of failure in the urban scene. A women leader be back really soon. Now, that is the kind o f hidden missile aimed at a
of a municipality who had grappled hard with bureaucracy successful woman! It looks minor but can damage our moral authority
complained thus: to take to task the shirkers and rule-breakers in the municipal office!
I took it in my stride, though. As soon as I came back I clarified my
I have no talent for politicking and these days, unblemished conduct position, but when asked why the vice-chairman did not reveal this, I
in politics seems to be of least value. I tried my best - was very con­ did not take the bait! They, of course, wanted to probe whether there
ciliatory to the opposition and insistent that I w ill not support corrup­ is a hidden power struggle in the municipality. But I wanted to convey
tion. But it was quite useless. Overcoming unwarranted interference a message to this vice-chairman, someone from my own side, that I
took up all my time and getting the bureaucracy to get something did see his game only too w ell and that I knew how to put him in his
done...that was another torture. I still remember how we were made
place. And so I responded, ‘the vice-chairman is on the best terms
to run from one government office to another to get a project ap­
w ith me; if your intention is to provoke us, it w ill not work. He com­
proved, and my pleas were useless. Finally, I got our vice-chairman
m itted a mistake perhaps, and that is probably because he is not very
and some male members to come and they dealt w ith the issue in a fam iliar w ith rules generally, and the M unicipal A ct....’
language only politicians can speak. Only then did the department
officials clear the hurdles without delay. I cannot speak that language,
and so this is not my field. NOTES______________________________________________________________
1 Our research involved semi-structured, open-ended interviews with 75 vil­
These skills and orientation are of value, too, in panchayats lage panchayat presidents, 12 block panchayat presidents, and two district
panchayat presidents, besides the leaders of urban bodies discussed in this
undergoing rapid urbanisation in Kerala, which are not paper-all women. We also interviewed more than 58 women politicians of
few. Here, powerful processes of political fragmentation different parties. We sought to record and interpret these rich narratives,
in their emergent and historical contexts and also read them along with
often render councils unstable. Diligence in welfare distribu­ quantifiable data from the field, which told us much about how this new
tion pales into insignificance as a useful strategy for building generation perceived of “politics” and “welfare”. This paper draws upon
our book New Lamps for Old? Gender Paradoxes in Political Decentralisation
a political base; rather, a set of very different skills emerge in Kerala (New Delhi: Zubaan, forthcoming).
as vital for not just success, but survival itself. These include 2 See, for example, the discussion on the blog Kochi Now\ http://www.forum.
kochinow.com/, accessed 15 November 2010.
the skill to negotiate with all the players in the political 3 This was not so a few decades back. The organised working class, into which
field, to summon support from a range of diverse political many political societies had been integrated, was a powerful presence in

82 APRIL 28, 2012 VOL XLVII NO 17 M l Economic & Political w eekly

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cities like Kochi and Kozhikode, which is now 09 /land-racketeers-thrive-under-political.html, Muraleedharan, K G (2010): “Votebankukalil
in decline. See, Noronha 2006 (pp 1-22). accessed, 15 November 2010. Nikshepakar Kurayunnu”, Mathrubhumi, 29 July.
4 See Thomas (2006); GoK (2009). GoK (2009) CDS (2005): Human Development Report: Kerala, Mattingly, M (1995): “Urban Management in Less
notes that in urban bodies, the chances of ben­ Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvanantha­ Developed Countries”, DPU Working Paper No
eficiary lists being transparent look slimmer: puram, Government of Kerala. 72, Development Planning Unit/University Col­
[in] the absence of city/town level data CSES, CRM and CAPDECK ( 2003): “Emerging Issues lege, London.
bank, ad hoc lists are prepared in several cases in Panchayati Raj in Kerala: A Study Report”, McCarney, P, M Halfani and A Rodriguez (1995):
for every scheme often in a partisan manner Centre for Socio-Economic and Environmental “Towards an Understanding of Governance:
favouring those who line up behind the ward Studies, Centre for Rural Management, Capac­ The Emergence of an Idea and Its Implications
councilor/member or those who are with the ity Development for Decentralisation in Kerala, for Urban Research in Developing Countries”
ruling party” (p 146). Kochi, Kottayam, Thiruvananthapuram. in R Stren and J Bell (ed.), Perspectives on
5 This refers to the approximately $1,000 million Devika, J (2007): En-Gendering Individuals: The the City; Urban Research in the Developing
loan from the Asian Development Bank routed Language of Re-forming in Early Twentieth World, Vol 4 (Toronto: University of Toronto),
through the Government of India to be repaid Century Keralam (Hyderabad: Orient Longman). pp 91-141.
in 25 years, aimed at modernising government Devika, J and Binitha V Thampi (forthcoming): New Nair, C Gouridasan (2011): “Bifurcation May Hit Local
programmes, fiscal reform, power sector re­ Lamps for Old: Gender Paradoxes of Political Governance”, The Hindu, 23 May, Thiruvanantha­
forms, and the Kerala Sustainable Urban Dcentralisation in Kerala (New Delhi: Zubaan). puram edition.
Development, Environmental Improvement Gopikuttan, G (1990): “House Construction Boom Noronha, Ernesto (2006): “Headload Workers of
and Poverty Reduction Programme (Raman in Kerala: Impact on Economy and Society”, Kerala, India: The Critical Role o f‘Detrading’”,
2010: 140). Economic & Political Weekly, 25, 37. Labour and Management in Development
6 See Suchitra and Venugopal (2009 ). The Ghosh, Archana and Stephanie Tawa Lama-Rewal Journal, 7, 2 .
former mayor, C M Dinesh Mani, had been (2005): Democratisadon in Progress: Women Oommen, M A (2007): “Kerala: Why the ADB Loan
severely reprimanded by the ombudsman for and Local Politics in Urban India (New Delhi: for Urban Development?”, Economic & Political
inefficient waste disposal in Kochi ( The Hindu, Tulika). Weekly, 42 , 9 .
“Corporation Officials Non-Committal about the GoK (2002): “Urban Policy and Action Plan for Kera­ Patnaik, Utsa (2010): “Trends in Urban Poverty un­
Next Move”, 13 February 2004 , Kochi edition). la”, Government of Kerala, http://www.kerala. der Economic Reforms: 1993-94 to 2004 -05”,
gov.in/annualprofile/urban.htm, accessed 15 Economic & Political Weekly, Vol XLV, No 4 .
7 It may be interesting to compare the political
November 2010. Raman, K Ravi (2010): “Asian Development Bank,
biography of Mercy William, the mayor of Ko­
chi in the last term, with that of C Jayan Babu, - (2009 ): Report of the Committee for Decentral­ Conditionalities, and the Social Democratic
her counterpart in Thiruvananthapuram. W il­ ised Planning and Development, Government of Governance: Kerala Model Under Pressure?” in
Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram. Development; Democracy, and the State: Critiq­
liams was the Head of the Department of Soci­
Harvey, D (1989): The Condition of Postmodernity: uing the Kerala Model of Development (London,
ology at St Theresa’s College, Ernakulam, and
An Enquiry into the Origin of Cultural Change New York: Routledge).
head of the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Ma­
(Oxford: Blackwell). Sharma, Rashmi (2009 ): Local Government in In­
hatma Gandhi University. Her husband is a
John, Mary E (2007): “Women in Power? Gender, dia: Policy and Practice (New Delhi: Manohar).
businessman and her parents were govern­
ment employees. She did not have prior experi­ Caste and the Politics of Local Urban Govern­ Sreekumar, T T (1993): “Urban Process in Kerala”,
ence in politics. In contrast, Jayan Babu is a ance”, Economic & Political Weekly, 42 , 69 . CDS Occasional Paper Series, Thiruvanan­
Kandiyoti, Denise (1988): “Bargaining with Patriar­ thapuram.
full-time politician with local roots, a high-lev­
el functionary of the CPI(M). He first contested chy”, Gender and Society, 2, 3 . Suchithra, M and P M Venugopal (2009 ): “The En­
and served as a councillor in 1988 and was the Kundu, A and D Kundu (2004 ): “Urban Local Gov­ vironmental Refugees of Brahmapuram”, India
mayor during 1988-89 and chairman of the ernment and Private Sector Partnership in Gu­ Together, 20 January, http://www.indiatogeth-
jarat” in P Wijnaraja and S Sirivardana (ed.), er.0rg / 2007/jul/env-bpuram.htm, accessed, 3
Trivandrum Development Authority in 20 00 .
Pro-poor Growth and Governance in South Asia: December 2010.
The lags in road construction as part of the
KSUDP did generate accusations of inefficiency Decentralisation and Participatory Develop­ Sooryamoorthy, R (1997): Consumption to Consum­
against him, but the discourse was strikingly ment (New Delhi: Sage Publications). erism in the Context of Kerala (New Delhi:
Lovering, J (1995): “Creating Discourses Rather Than Classical Publishers).
Jobs: The Crisis in the Cities and the Transition Stren, R and R White (1989): African Cities in
8 It has been argued that urban poverty in Kerala
Fantasies of Intellectuals and Policy Makers” in Crisis: Managing Rapid Urban Growth (San
has been grossly underestimated in the official
P Healey, S Cameron, S Davoudi, S Graham Francisco: Westview Press).
urban poverty ratios (Patnaik 2oio: 42-53).
and A Madani-Pour (ed.), Managing Cities: The Thomas, Jacob (2006 ): “Functioning of Ward Com­
9 T Devi, a senior CPI(M) leader, spoke to us New Urban Context (Chichester: John Wiley). mittees in Kerala: A Case Study” in K C Sivarama-
about her work as the only woman among 50
Kumari, Abhilasha and Sabina Kidwai (1999): krishnan (ed.), People’ s Participation in Urban
members in the Kozhikode urban body in 1979.
Crossing the Sacred Line: Women’
s Search for Governance: A Comparative Study of the Work­
She spoke of how she organised the urban poor P o l it i c a l W o r k (H yd erab ad: O r ie n t L ongm an ). ing of Ward Committees in West Bengal, Mahar­
deprived of basic services, led militant protest ashtra and Kerala (New Delhi: Concept Pub­
Mahadevia, Darshini (2005): “Sustainable Urban
for water and other amenities, and organised lishers).
Development in India: An Inclusive Perspec­
squatting on government land (despite the op­
tive”, http://www.archidev.org/IMG/pdf/Sus- Wema, E ( 1995): “The Management of Urban Deve­
position of local leaders) to build a strong base, tainable_Urban_Development_in_India_An_ lopment, or the Development of Urban Man­
especially among poor women there. Such a Inclusive_Perspective.pdf, accessed 15 Novem­ agement? Problems and Premises of an Elusive
possibility is rare now with urban politics be­ ber 2010. Concept”, Cities 12, 5.
ing fragmented and the political priorities of
all parties now shifting mostly away from the
issues of the urban poor.
10 The 2011 move to separate urban and rural F o r t h e A t t e n t io n o f S u b s c r ib e r s a n d
local governance in Kerala generated consid­ S u b s c r ip t i o n A g e n c i e s O u t s id e I n d ia
erable protests from the LDF and their sup­
porters (Nair 2011: 4). Whatever the reasons it
is clear that there is a perceptible difference It has come to our notice that a large number of subscriptions to the EPW from outside the
between the ways in which leaders of urban
country together with the subscription payments sent to supposed subscription agents in India
and rural governance comprehend the notion
of development. have not been forwarded to us.

We wish to point out to subscribers and subscription agencies outside India that all foreign
R E F E R E N C E S _______________________________________ subscriptions, together with the appropriate remittances, must be forwarded to us and not to
Basheer, K P M (2006 ): “Land Revenue Department unauthorised third parties in India.
to Demolish Illegal Buildings”, The Hindu, 20
January, Kochi edition. We take no responsibility whatsoever in respect of subscriptions not registered with us.
Bhaskar, B R P (2007): “Land Racketeers Thrive
under Political and Official Patronage”, 10 Sep­ M anager
tember, http://keralaletter.blogspot.com/2007/

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Administering Goods and Services Tax in India

Reforming the Institutional Architecture
and Redesigning Revenue Agencies


The long process of introducing a comprehensive Goods ndia has been working to introduce a comprehensive Goods
and Services Tax at the national level has thrown up and Services Tax ( g s t ) for almost a decade, though the wait
now seems perennial. However, one thing that appears
many complex challenges. The question of the nature
reasonably certain at this point of time is its inevitability despite
and structure of the agency for administering and so many roadblocks, g s t as a tax policy and economic reform
collecting the g st is one of the most crucial ones. It package is in itself a huge area and is not the focus of this study.1
appears that the existing institutional and organisational Instead, this article is more about tax administration and (re)
organisation of revenue agencies for effective and efficient
structure with multiple departments (one at the union
operationalisation of the proposed g s t as it is widely recognised
and one in each of the states) would be maintained for that “tax administration is tax policy” , especially for developing
collection of what is essentially a single tax (though with countries. This applies even more so in the case of diverse, fed­
two components), thereby severely eroding most of the eral and competitive democracies like India. Fiscal federalism
in India is tilted towards the union with important tax powers
expected benefits of a national g st as well as putting a
lying with the union government and with a constitutional
heavy burden on taxpayers. The influence of the mechanism for mandated rule-based devolution of tax revenue
bureaucratic complex and power politics of the to states, which share major expenditure responsibilities.
organised civil services as well as a lack of political will The institutional framework of revenue administration con­
sists of two large union revenue agencies as well as a large
are the major reasons for such a possible outcome. The
number of state- and local-level revenue agencies which coexist,
need is to move towards a harmonised, modern and more of less oblivious of each other’ s existence. Against this
professionally managed national revenue agency for g s t backdrop, an integrated, modernised and harmonised revenue
with a proper safeguard mechanism for preserving the administrative architecture is a sine qua non for successful ex­
ecution of an ambitious tax reforms agenda, especially g s t .
fiscal federal nature of India and its states.
However, the emerging administrative architecture for g s t
appears to be a severe compromise due to the overarching
landscape of the bureaucratic complex and power politics of
the Indian civil service as well as a lack of political will. If not
tackled, it could lead us to a situation where most of the envis­
aged benefits of the proposed g s t would be severely eroded.

1 Fiscal Federalism and Revenue

Collection - Union and States
The world over, tax systems have undergone significant
changes during the past two decades as many countries,
including India, have undertaken comprehensive tax reforms.
Though the evolution of the Indian tax system was motivated
by international concerns, yet in some ways it is different and
even unique (Rao and Rao 2006: 4). Unlike most developing
countries, which were guided in their tax reforms by multi­
lateral agencies, Indian tax reform attempts have largely
borne a domestic brand (ibid). They have been calibrated in
response to changes in the development strategy over time
Praveen Kishore (praveen.irs@gmail.com ) is currently director.
while keeping in tune with the institutional arrangements in
Integrated Child Development Services, Bihar.
the country (ibid). The reforms of the past two decades have

84 Ap r il 28, 2012 v o l x l v ii n o 17 lasiYi Economic & Political weekly

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Figure 1: Share of Major Taxes in been remarkably succe­ Disaggregating state tax collection data state-wise gives us
Government's Total Tax Revenue in 2008-09 ssful in many respects. interesting insights especially on institutional and organisa­
Other income tax Yet, a lot more still needs tional capacity. There are considerable variations among states
to be done, especially in terms of their revenue productivity and efficiency. Whereas
on the institutional and on the one hand, we have states collecting between 10% and
organisational front. It 12% of state g d p as taxes (Karnataka, Delhi, Tamil Nadu), on
would be instructive to the other there are states which collect less than 5% of their
have an idea of the g d p as taxes (Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, north-eastern states)
shares and trends in (rb i 2010 - Statements 18 and 19; g o i 2009 - Table 4.13). On
revenue collection by the the whole, the economically more advanced states have high
Other union and state govern­ tax-GSDP ratios, whereas poorer and less developed states
2% Service ments separately. have low tax-GSDP ratio. One factor behind this could perhaps
tax 6% 11% Figure i gives the per­ be that underdeveloped states also lack the institutional and
Source: Compiled from Governm ent o f India (2010):
E c o n o m ic S u r v e y 2009-10, Ministry o f Finance, Chapter
centage share of major administrative capacity to tax revenue resources. However,
3,and Reserve Bankof India (2010): S ta te F in a n c e s: A taxes in the national making such simple conclusions may be naive. There could be
S tu d y o f B u d g e t s o f 2009-10, Chapter 3 and Appendix.
revenue collection for other important socio-economic and political reasons behind
2008-09. It can be seen that six taxes yield the bulk of tax reve­ such a diverse performance. In any case, it is widely believed
nue forming around 85% of the total. Out of these, five are lev­ that state-level tax departments are on the whole less efficient
ied and collected by the union government contributing around and effective than union agencies.
two-thirds of the total tax revenue collected by all levels of gov­ In such a scenario, the widespread differences in adminis­
ernment (union, state, local/municipal). In 2010-11, income trative capabilities of different states’revenue agencies and
taxes (individual income tax and corporate income tax), which the difficulty of carrying out institutional reforms of these
are levied by the union government have contributed to 37% of agencies due to various political-bureaucratic reasons can lead
total revenue (and this proportion is increasing continuously) to a situation where they become a bottleneck for any
whereas the remaining 63% is contributed mainly by “ con­ wide-ranging tax policy reform at the national level like the
sumption taxes”levied both by the union (excise duty, custom envisaged g s t , which requires considerable harmonisation
duty, service tax - 28%) and the states’(value added tax (vat), between union and state governments not only in the tax base
entertainment tax, etc, 35%) ( g o i (2011), Economic Survey and the tax rate, but also in tax administration.
2010-11, Table 3.3, 3.11). In Figure 1 “ other state/local taxes”
include local and municipal taxes like property and house tax, 2 Attractiveness o f Goods and Services Tax in India
entertainment tax, etc. Looking at the data of the past 30 years, There are many differences in the way v a t (or g s t , as we now
we notice that the relative shares of union and state govern­ tend to call such taxes) are understood and implemented
ment taxes in total tax collection has remained almost stagnant around the world. Nevertheless, there are certain common
at around two-thirds and one-third, respectively. Though large- characteristics of such taxes which can help us in understand­
scale systematic reforms of union level tax policy and structure ing and analysing various related issues, v a t is a tax on con­
started in 1991, the share of the states has only marginally sumption, paid ultimately by the final consumer. The tax is
changed. This has happened due to the dynamic nature of taxes generally levied on a broad base (as opposed to, for example,
levied by the states, mainly being retail sales tax / v a t which are excise duties that sometimes cover specific products). The sys­
dependent on economic activity and growth. tem is generally based on tax collection in a staged process,
States spend more than half of the total combined expendi­ with successive taxpayers entitled to deduct input tax on pur­
ture while collecting around one-third of revenue. The differ­ chases and account for output tax on sales. In general, many
ence is largely met by mandated transfers of union tax revenue countries with v a t impose the tax at all stages and normally
to states. Thus, the states’own tax revenue constitutes only allow immediate deduction of taxes on purchases by all but
around 60-64% of their total tax revenue, the rest being trans­ the final consumer ( o e c d 2006: 6). The main feature of v a t /
fers from union government tax revenue as per the formula of g s t is their neutrality, irrespective of the nature of product
the finance commission. Out of their own tax revenue, the and services, the structure of the distribution chain and the
major source of tax for states is sales tax/vAT, which has been technical means used for its delivery.
contributing around 60-65% of total states’tax revenue over It is widely felt that for operation of a common market, India
the years. Due to the predominance of sales taxes, any attempt needs a unified g s t levied nationally. Further, administra­
to improve the revenue productivity of the states’tax system, tively a centrally administered v a t / g s t is highly suitable for
therefore, is inextricably intertwined with the reform of the federal nation states. Within the constitutional assignment of
sales tax system and in this respect, the recent reform of mov­ tax powers in India and the current political environment,
ing towards a destination-based v a t has been extremely however, a purely federal v a t is not considered feasible even
important (Rao and Rao 2005: 39). The gradual move from though it may be considered desirable (Rao 2008: 3-4). The
sales tax towards v a t has been the groundwork for eventual power to levy sales tax/vAT constitutes the most important tax
move towards a comprehensive nationwide g s t . powers of Indian states. Further, the power to levy this tax is a

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“ power”in itself and not just revenue power and taking this Thus, we have union government tax departments which func­
away will grievously reduce states’ fiscal autonomy. tion under overall control of the Union Ministry of Finance as
It is widely agreed that g s t is a major improvement over the well as tax departments under each state government which
present system due to many reasons. The excise at manufactur­ function under the ministry/department of taxation of respec­
ing level gives rise to definitional (“ what is manufacturing?” ) tive state governments with their own structures, processes
and valuational issues (cost of production or the value at which and bureaucracy. In addition, there are local-level revenue
the tax to be levied) and makes its effective burden dependent agencies (mainly urban municipalities) which have been
on the supply chain (Poddar and Ehtisham 2009: 3). As per the entrusted with the responsibility for collection of some specific
constitutional arrangement, the state government cannot levy local taxes mainly house property, entertainment, etc, by the
taxes on services. This makes it difficult to tax goods supplied in state governments. Thus, the overall macro-institutional struc­
a composite form bundling both goods and services. Further, with ture is somewhat akin to “ type of tax”model,2where different
high buoyancy in service taxes, there has been demand from levels of government are responsible for different types of
states that they should also have express power to tax services, taxes and have established separate agencies for this purpose.
which today forms almost 50% of India’ s g d p . Another problem The broad concepts of taxation economics and the suitability
in the present system of indirect taxation is tax cascading. The of different types of tax instruments for different levels of
whole structure has become quite complex, with high compli­ government3can be found broadly applied in India.
ance cost, inefficiency and administrative lacunae (ibid: 13). The upshot is a multiplicity of revenue agencies in India,
Due to all these difficulties, the basic objective of g s t reform where taxpayers often have to deal with different revenue
has been to establish a tax system that is economically efficient agencies for different types of taxes. It has often the effect of
and neutral in its application, distributionally attractive and unnecessary fragmentation of tax management systems, dupli­
simple to administer (ibid: 11). The task force on g s t of the cation of functions and inconsistent treatment of legal as well
Thirteenth Finance Commission noted that a conventional g s t as accounting issues, increased compliance cost, difficulties and
cannot be implemented without the states losing their fiscal even increased harassment of taxpayers. The need for a mod­
autonomy (Government of India 2009a: 3). However, this does ern and taxpayer-friendly revenue agencies for g s t assumes all
not appear to be politically feasible since revenues from state the more importance against this backdrop. From a taxpayer’ s
v a t account for substantial proportion of the states’ revenues. point of view, it is always desirable to have a single revenue
Therefore, a solution has been found within the existing fed­ agency taking care of all tax liabilities. In not for all taxes, one
eral framework where both levels of governments would have agency for g s t would be the minimum which most of us would
concurrent powers to tax domestic trade in goods and services agree to in principle. A consideration of the present system and
(ibid: 4). Thus, it has been agreed that India will have a dual institutional structure are important because it broadly deline­
g s t - a concurrent levy to be imposed by the centre/union (to ates, in some sense, a landscape in which any redesign idea can
be called the Central g s t - c g s t ) and state governments (to be be constructed administratively and politically within the larger
called the State g s t - s g s t ) separately on the same base and sociopolitical, institutional and organisational environment.
implemented by multiple statutes. However, the basic features At the union level, there are two large government organi­
of law such as chargeability, definition of taxable event and sations, each separately responsible for administration and
taxable person, measure of levy including valuation provisions, collection of “ direct taxes”(being taxes mainly on income
basis of classification, etc, would be uniform across these stat­ and wealth) and another responsible for management and
utes as far as practicable ( g o i 2009b: 14). g s t would be paid to collection of “ indirect taxes”(being taxes mainly on con­
the accounts of the union and state government separately, sumption and production). There two departments function
which will also require utilisation of input tax credit paid for under the overall control of two boards called the Central
union or states separately (ibid: 14). Within this broad frame­ Board of Direct Taxes ( c b d t ) and Central Board of Excise
work, further progress on the actual design of process, struc­ and Customs ( c b e c ) . These boards are responsible not only
ture, rules and regulations as well as institutional and organi­ for overall supervision and control of the field departments,
sational mechanism has been proving quite difficult. but are also entrusted with all policymaking and decisions in
the areas of union taxation.
3 Institutional Structure o f Revenue Agencies in India These agencies function through their line organisations,
The Indian federal structure has uniquely shaped the way field offices, and innumerable specialised bodies often called
revenue organisations have taken root in India. At the fore­ directorates. The line departments are organised in matrix
most, the division of tax powers between the union and the form along (territorial x functional x taxpayer) axes in differing
states has made it imperative to have three layers of organisa­ fashion and at different levels. The c b d t and c b e c together are
tion, first at the union level, second at the state level, and third one of the largest organisations of the union government
at the local level, though the last is the least developed. Further, employing as many as 1,30,000 people with a presence in more
states in India being large independent politico-administrative than 1,000 locations having more than 1,200 offices across the
units as well as sociocultural entities with democratic form of length and breadth of India.4 These organisations are an inte­
provincial governments, each state has its own institutional gral part of the Government of India and are staffed by perma­
structure, administrative machinery and large bureaucracy. nent government employees. The highest levels of these
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organisations are manned by professional permanent bureau­ early 1990s, in themselves the agencies have seen major
crats of the Indian Revenue Service (irs ). changes in structure, process and organisation of not only
At the state level there are generally a single tax department human and infrastructure resources, but in almost all the ar­
entrusted with management and collection of states’ taxes. For eas of tax administration. As a result, there have been some
all state governments, as sales tax/vAT forms the single largest significant changes in tax administration machinery, with
source of tax revenue, the departments are generally called some far-reaching consequences. The historical change in rela­
sales tax or v a t or commercial tax department and are respon­ tive share of direct and indirect taxes is a case in point. If we
sible not only for sales tax/vAT but other taxes like the Table 1: Staffing and Revenue Collection of Union Government
entertainment tax, entry tax, luxuries tax, and professional Revenue Agencies_____________________________ _________________
Organisation Staffing/NumberofEmployees Tax Tax
tax, etc, as and when levied. However, some specific activity
Total Senior Junior Support Collection Collected
taxes like excise on alcoholic liquor, taxes on vehicles, stamp Staffing Officers Officers Staff (Rs billion) Per
duties, land revenue, etc, are assigned to the respective line (2008-09) Employee
(Rs million)
departments which are otherwise in charge of such functions.
CBD T/incom e tax d ep a rtm en t 61,300 3,000 6,000 52,300 3,382 55.17
In many states, some of the taxes belonging to the state list like
CBEC/central excise and custom s 67,400 2,500 10,000 54,900 2,695 39.98
taxes on land and property have been assigned to local level/ 1,28,700 6,500 16,000 1,07,200 6,077 47.22
municipalities and are thus administered by them. The num ber of employees has been rounded o ff to nearest hundreds. The numbers
State-level tax departments are an integral part of the state are those of "sanctioned posts" as against the "working strength" being the num ber of
employees actually w orking/em ployed at a particular point in tim e. Over past few years,
government machinery and are staffed with permanent gov­ there has been severe shortage of staff in CBDT going to the extent o f as much as around
ernment employees of the respective states. The middle levels 20% for some of the cadres. The situation of CBEC has also not been much different.
Source: Compiled from Government of India, Ministry of F \ n a n ce:E c on om ic S u r v e y 2009-10,
of these organisations are filled with state civil servants and A n n u a l R e p o r t o f M in istry o f F in a n c e 2 0 0 9 - W a n d C o m p t r o lle r a n d A u d ito r G e n e r a l o f In dia:

the higher level are managed by both state civil servants as A u d it R e p o r t o f I n c o m e Tax a n d C en tra l E x cise a n d C u s t o m s of various years, and personal
knowledge of author.
well as professional bureaucrats of the Indian Administrative
Service (ias). The state-level tax departments are compara­ look at the relative figures for tax collected per employee for
tively smaller with an obviously limited jurisdiction within the these two agencies, we find the direct tax agency to be more
physical boundaries of the respective states. As the states vary efficient, as shown in Table 1but again, this has happened only
in size, the state agencies do as well considerably, employing recently and may not reflect the whole story. There has been a
anywhere from 1,000 to 13,000 employees. The organisational wide-ranging technical upgradation programme, increasing
structure of state-level departments is simpler, with basically a use of information technology for improving the service to
(territorial x functional) structure. Generally, the department taxpayers and for taxpayer management and automation of
is headed by a commissioner or secretary/principal secretary routine processes, etc, in both the agencies. As a result, these
who has a secretariat with middle and lower management two agencies are better managed, more efficient and effective
level support officers and staff. Then, there are field offices, than most of the state-level tax agencies, with few exceptions,
quite similar to that of union government offices. Often the where reform efforts have not been very effective due to
designation and hierarchies are also similar like commi­ various reasons.
ssioners, additional/joint commissioners, deputy and assistant There are wide-ranging differences among revenue agencies
commissioners, tax officers, inspectors, assistants, etc, but the of different states not only in terms of their potential for revenue
span of control and reporting relationships may vary. Further, collection but also in terms of size and operational efficiencies
these do also vary across different states.4 which can roughly be measured in terms of tax collected per
employee, though there are other measures also, like cost of
4 Question of Efficiency and Harmonisation collection, which we will examine briefly. Although data in this
am ong Multiple Revenue Agencies respect is not readily available, the calculation has been made
An appropriate strategy for tax reform would first involve for seven medium/large states for which some information
studying the tax structure and setting appropriate policy goals, could be accessed as given in Table 2 (p 88). We can see wide
and then modifying them in the short term by taking cogni­ variations in the tax collected per employee from as little as Rs 1.8
sance of the associated administrative problems. If the ordering crore to as much as Rs 4.8 crore. It must be noted that the high­
is reversed, and administrative consideration became the bind­ est figures are lower than the figures for the all-India average of
ing constraint in tax reform, which by its very nature is a longer the Income Tax Department (itd). It is indicative that most of
term process, the tax system is likely to play only a very limited the state-level tax agencies are less efficient than union agen­
role in achieving economic policy objectives (Shome 1995). As cies. However, some states like Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu can be
often happens in India, it is the administrative bottlenecks considered as better managed. The short comparison also points
which start playing the dominant role in directing tax policy. in the direction that the economically more developed states
Organisational structure and operational requirement as are able to generate more taxes per employee, which may not
well as reorganisation of the two union government agencies always be linked to the efficiency of their tax departments.
have always been on the agenda of the various tax reform ini­ To have some more analytics, we can look at another impor­
tiatives. Though it has mostly been tackled as part of larger tax tant and popular measure of administrative efficiency and
reform initiatives, started by the union government in the operational effectiveness - the “ cost of collection”. It is roughly

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defined as expenditure incurred on collection of taxes as g s t administration: How to coordinate and design a well-

percentage of tax collection. Table 3 gives these figures for integrated operational and administrative structure with so
central departments and two state agencies. many diverse institutions across the nation having widely varying
For the income tax department, the cost of collection has capabilities, structure, organisational cultures and histories?
been decreasing continuously and significantly for the past dec­ As of now, there is minimal coordination and cooperation
ade. But all this may not be due only to an improvement in ad­ between union and state-level revenue agencies as well as
ministrative and operational structure. On the c b e c side, which among various state-level agencies, all functioning independ­
is much more relevant here for the g s t question, there has been ently in virtually their own silos. Here, a pertinent question
an improvement in the cost of collection but its precise reason would also be as to whether there is actually a need for multi­
Table 2: Staffing and Revenue Collection of Few State ple agencies to administer and collect a comprehensive nation­
Government Tax Departments wide g s t ? As the excise/service tax wing of c b e c and state-
States Staffing/Number of Employees Tax Tax
Total Senior Junior Support Collection Collected
level revenue agencies (vAT/commercial tax departments)
Manpower Officers/ Officers Staff (2008-09) Per would have a similar tax base and would require similar
Managers (RsCrore) Employee
processes and even organisational structure, it would not
Andhra Pradesh 9,500 130 2,090 7,280 35,700 3.76 make much sense to have two agencies for the same function,
Bihar 3,020 80 440 2,500 6,300 2.08 leading to duplication on many fronts.
Gujarat 5,000 180 490 4,330 24,200 4.84
Tamil Nadu 10,400 150 2340 7,910 34,500 3.32 5 Single or Multiple? Envisaging Revenue
Uttar Pradesh 13,000 29,100 2.24 Administration for Indian GST
M adhya Pradesh 4,700 130 650 3,920 8,500 1.81 Although the task force on g s t of the Thirteenth Finance Com­
The numberofemployees has been rounded offto nearest 100.The numbersarethose
of "sanctioned posts" as against the "working strength" being the number ofemployees
mission has come up with an administrative architecture for a
actually working/employed at a particular point in time. proposed dual g s t , it is too sketchy and has only concentrated
Source: Compiled from websites of state governments' commercial tax or sales tax
departments, tax collection figures from Reserve Bankof India (2010): State Finances:
on a few issues like registration of taxpayers, the g s t invoice,
A Study of Budgets of 2009-10, statements 18,19. periodicity of g s t payments and on the administrative struc­
ture of g s t (Government of India 2009a: 49-53). The thrust of
Table 3: Cost of Collection for Union Government Revenue Agencies
and Some State Tax D ep a rtm en ts_____________________________ the administrative recommendation is on maintaining two
Organisation Cost of Collection (as % of Tax Collection) in the Year separate entities for the operationalisation of g s t at the union
1999-2000 2005-06 2009-10
and state level. Thus, it has been recommended to have two
CBD T/incom e tax d ep a rtm en t 1.83 0.86 0.71
departments/agencies, one for the union and one for each
CBEC/central ex cise and cu sto m s 1.71 1.37 1.21
state g s t under the control of union and respective state gov­
Tamil Nadu com m ercia l tax d ep a rtm en t <1 0.71 0.83
ernments. These agencies would be separately responsible for
M adhya Pradesh com m ercia l tax d ep a rtm en t 0.85 1.00
Sources: (1) Compiled from Government of India, Ministry of Finance, A n n u a l R e p o r t
functions like assessment, enforcement, audit/scrutiny, etc, of
o f M in istry o f F in a n ce 2009-10 a n d 2010-1 7, A d m in istra tiv e H a n d b o o k o f i n c o m e Tax their respective portion. However, it has also been recommended
D epartm ent-2011,and C o m p tr o lle r a n d A u d ito r G enera/ o f India: Audit Report o f Income Tax
of various years.
a n d C en tra l E x cise a n d C u s t o m s
that all the processes and procedures would be the same under
(2) Compiled from Government ofTamil Nadu, Commercial Tax Department, Demand No 10, both c g s t and s g s t . This appears to be a contradiction. It
Policy Note 2011-12 and of 2006-07, as well as Government of Rajasthan, Commercial Tax
Department, A n n u a l A d m in istra tiv e R eport, 2010-11.
becomes salient when we closely examine some of the
harmonised operational structures envisaged and discussed.
needs to be further researched. A lot of reduction in the cost of •The jurisdiction between the union and state agencies needs
collection may be due to policy improvement in tax design and to be properly divided and operationalised. If it can be done in
the resulting growth in tax collection as well as buoyant such a manner that a taxpayer has an interface with only one
economy. The data for states are difficult to find, and only two agency, it will be ideal. Instead of having one agency, the alter­
states could be compared. The fact that Tamil Nadu is a better- native - though much more difficult to operationalise on vari­
managed state is again reflected here with its cost of collection ous other considerations - is to have a jurisdictional division
always below 1%. However, it has almost been stagnant over between the two agencies on some economic criteria like turn­
the past decade. Madhya Pradesh could be a typical state with over threshold, etc, (ibid).
an archaic institutional and operational structure. Its cost of col­ •All the procedures under c g s t and s g s t need to be uniform.
lection has, in fact, increased during the past five years. Further, It is important to have a common information technology
the cost of collection may also be misleading in one sense. The infrastructure, and this can be done only at the national level.
low cost of collection may point towards a low level of adminis­ It would also be desirable to have taxpayers’ information net­
trative and infrastructural capacity of the agencies which has work (on the lines of i t d ’s t i n ) and it should be shared between
the effect of increasing the cost of compliance for the taxpayers the union and the states. All the information should be stored
as has been pointed out in many studies (Chattopadhyay and in a common data base. Some progress has been made in terms
Das-Gupta 2002). Nevertheless, the cost of collection figures as of devising a g s t network ( g s t n ) to be set up on the line of
well as collection pe