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  • Author: Manju Menon
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In 2000, the central government declared Northeast India as India’s hydropower hub. Over 165 large dam projects were proposed to come up in the region. These projects were held as crucial to India’s energy and environmental security as well as the economic development of the country’s marginalised northeastern borderlands.However, nearly two decades on, this proposal to regulate the region's water resources remains unimplemented. In addition, the projects have generated a lot of public opposition in Arunachal Pradesh where most of these dams are supposed to be situated, and in the downstream Brahmaputra valley of Assam. This article will look into the government's hype and failure to construct hydropower dams in the Northeast region. It points to the need for a reflexive political decision on water resource management from the BJP-led governments in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and at the Centre.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Government, Natural Resources, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Persis Taraporevala
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The newly elected federal Government of India (GoI) launched the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) in 2015 with the stated purpose of improving the governance and infrastructural deficiencies that plague Indian cities. Missing, however, in the pageantry of the new programme is a cohesive understanding of a smart city. While the government documentation repeatedly implies infinite liberty for cities to self-define their understanding of ‘smartness’, the actions demonstrate that there is a larger idea of ‘smartness’ that the federal government seeks to implement. It is at this disjunction, between the rhetoric and practice of the Mission, that this paper finds its core research question – ‘What constitutes a smart city in India?’ Through a detailed reading of the government documentation of the top 99 cities, the paper argues that the there is a profound chasm between the professed objectives of the Mission and the strategies enacted to achieve these objectives.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Infrastructure, Social Policy, Urban
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Shamindra Nath Roy, Jaya Prakash Pradhan
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The surge in census towns (CTs) during Census 2011 has drawn a lot of attention to the ongoing and future dynamics of these in-situ urban settlements in India. Using the village level information from the previous and current censuses, the present study attempts to identify the villages that can be classified as a census town in 2021. While the prevailing dataset bears some obstacles for a neat identification of such settlements, it can be observed that a fairly high number of rural areas may be classified as CTs in future, which currently accommodates a population of 17.9 million. While the current nature of regional distribution of these areas may not vary much over the future, their areal characteristics over time portray multiple spatial processes undergirding India’s urban trajectory. A lot of these prospective CTs are also relatively prosperous than their current rural neighbourhoods, which reinforces the persistence of similar pattern of urban transformation in future.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Urbanization, Census, Rural
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Partha Mukhopadhyay
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: It is now almost axiomatic that cities are the engines of growth. Historically, federal support programmes have focused on rural areas, but over the past fifteen years, the need to devise such programmes for urban local bodies has come to be recognised, with JNNURM in its various forms, being the most visible early manifestation. This trend has continued, even strengthened, in this government and among the menu of urban support programmes on offer from the Government of India, the vision of the city as the engine of growth is most clearly evident in the Smart City Mission, with its focus on area based development – like an engine within the city. Yet, even in the mainstream economics literature, while there is evidence for cities as places of higher productivity, there is less evidence for cities as drivers of growth – with learning being the primary driver and urban primacy being an important obstacle. The primary questions are whether cities are places of learning, whether there are identifiable mechanisms of such learning and the kind of city institutions – economic, social and political – that facilitate such learning. This paper will interrogate the empirical characteristics of such urban institutions in India in the context of the theoretical literature and learning mechanisms that emerge from international evidence. In particular, it will argue that the nature of the labour market, which is largely contractual, the transfer of rural fragmentation in social relations to cities and the absence of city-level political agency, all reduce the potential of the city as a location of learning economies. For cities to even have the possibility of being engines of growth, we need to ensure that drivers of these engines are in place and we have a mechanism to think about paths to follow.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Urbanization, Economic growth
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: S. Chandrasekhar, Mukta Naik, Shamindra Nath Roy
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Beyond summing up salient migration trends from existing data sources; a new working paper by researchers from Centre for Policy Research and Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research (IGIDR) builds on a critique of the estimations made by the Economic Survey 2017 to outline fresh ideas for developing leading indicators that will help inform policy. This is particularly needed because even as Indian policymakers are increasingly recognising the linkages between migration, labour markets and economic development, the lack of frequently updated datasets limits our understanding of migration.
  • Topic: Development, Migration, Labor Issues, Economy, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Kiran Bhatty, Ambrish Dongre
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Even as the reach of education has expanded enormously in India in the last few decades, it has been accompanied by differential access and the continuing spectre of inequalities. This inequality could take various forms but the extent to which opportunities, access, and outcome are distributed across different sections of the population, broadly describes a measure of the inequality that exists. There are different causes of inequality in education – the most common being the consequence of inequality in income, wages and living standards. But, in addition, social parameters also affect access to education. While some of these, such as caste, tribe and religious minority affiliation, might have bases in economics as well, others such as gender run across economic and social categories. Needless to say, girls from lower caste or tribal communities, thus suffer the burden of multiple disadvantages. While outcomes have dominated the discourse on education in recent years, in order to understand inequality more comprehensively, it is important to move beyond measuring inequality as the difference in the final outcomes and encompass the differences in equality of opportunity as well. The latter approach pays greater attention to the wider social, political and economic circumstances, which hinder individuals from accessing and competing at the same level. Various sets of contingencies affect the real opportunities people have, generating variations in the process of converting economic resources or social contexts into educational achievements. This approach follows the shift in twentieth century thought on inequality and justice, which made a distinction between “outcomes” (i.e., utility and welfare) and “opportunities” (i.e., primary goods; capabilities etc.). 2 The main arguments in this system of thought are that the process of acquiring outcomes must also be considered in determining justice (Dworkin, 1981) and that the process is dependent not only on initial endowments but on individual agency as well. This shift from a utilitarian approach, which focused on equality of outcomes to one that highlighted equality of opportunity as the basis for social justice marked a major shift in the philosophical traditions surrounding social policy. Not only did it give primacy to the “original position” (Rawls, 1971) it brought in the idea of individual responsibility, which had been the major criticism of anti-egalitarian thought. However, in recognizing the extent to which individuals are responsible for the outcomes they enjoy allowance must be made for the fact that outcomes may also be determined by factors beyond individual control. This is especially so for children, where inequalities experienced by them are predominantly due to their circumstance, and thus mostly beyond the pale of their agency. Primary and secondary education, for instance, take place when the person is still, arguably, below the age of consent, that is, the age at which children could be held at least partially responsible for the various choices they make (Paes de Barros et al 2009, Reomer 1998). In other words, the contribution of this tradition is to suggest that a just society could be achieved through ensuring equality of opportunity by providing “primary goods” (Rawls, 1971) or a set of “capabilities” (Sen, 1980) that would enable every citizen to achieve his/her life plan. Following this approach, we examine the broad trends in education in India to unpack the implications for social policy with respect to the objective of equality of opportunity.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Infrastructure, Inequality, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Kanchi Kohli, Debayan Gupta
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: For the last two years, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 has been in the eye of debate and discussed for the controversial changes the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had sought to bring about through ordinances. Even though fate of the amendments rests currently with the Joint Parliamentary Committee report, several states have already brought about changes through Rules under Section 109 of the Act. An examination of these state specific Rules reveals they are headed towards: Adopting the changes proposed in the ordinances amending the central law; Diluting the applicability of the progressive clauses like consent or SIA; Clarifying procedures for implementation at the state level. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had replaced the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 with the newly enacted RFCLARR Act, 2013. Though critiqued for expanding the definition of public purpose to include the private sector, the new legislations had been welcomed by social movements, farmers groups and NGOs. This is primarily for the need for a Social Impact Assessment (SIA), the requirement for prior consent, food security provisions and clear compensation related provisions. What was also central to this discussion were the clauses which allow for unused land to be returned to original owners. The Rules framed by the States aim to make the process of land acquisition much simpler for investors. While certain States reduce the time period for the conducting of the SIA process or do away with it in its entirety, there are others who make reductions in the compensation award or modify the applicability of the retrospective clause. There are also States which directly adopt the provisions in the ordinance that aim to remove the requirement for consent from the land acquisition procedure. This working paper paper attempts to trace and analyse how the state governments have modified and built upon the central Act. It also looks briefly at litigation that has emerged especially around the applicability of the retrospective clause of the law, ie. which requires the return of unused land to original owners or reinitiating processes under the 2013 law.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Law, Food Security, Land Law, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Delhi is India’s richest city and as the capital of the nation has long enjoyed favourable treatment from the Centre. As the home to the country’s national bureaucracies, it also benefits from a large base of secure, well-paid, government jobs. Over the last decade the city has grown at an average real rate of 10 percent, and has benefitted from a dramatic increase in large-scale infrastructure development. Yet, despite these advantages, Delhi is a deeply divided city marked by layers of social exclusion. In the modern imaginary, the city represents the promise of freedom and opportunity. It marks a social space that is less constrained by traditional identities and one in which greater social interaction and density support economic dynamism. If development must, as Amartya Sen has so influentially argued, be based on strengthening basic capabilities, then the city can surely be a privileged site of capability-enhancement. Indeed, the migrants who flood the city often come in search of better livelihoods, education, health, and basic services. But as any resident of Delhi knows, the quality of such services varies dramatically across neighbourhoods, and the part of the city one lives in significantly impacts one’s ability to take full advantage of what the city has to offer. The Cities of Delhi (CoD) project starts with the simple recognition that India’s capital is marked by different settlement types, defined by diverse degrees of formality, legality, and tenure, which taken together produce a highly differentiated pattern of access to basic services. This report provides an overview of the findings from CoD. It builds directly on the place, process, and institution reports available at citiesofdelhi.cprindia.org, but in no way substitutes for these reports, all of which stand on their own as original empirical contributions. This overview is instead a synthesis, an effort to tie together the findings from the reports, to paint a broad picture of patterns of unequal access to basic services in the city and to provide an analysis of how these patterns of inequality are linked to structures and practices of governance.
  • Topic: Development, Urbanization, Inequality, Economy, Capital Flows
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia