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Livelihoods

Backgrounders

Livelihoods : Background & Perspective

By Mari Marcel Thekaekara

 Several UN and world summits now accede that the achievement of sustainable livelihoods is intricately linked with the eradication of poverty. But between international and government fora where 'sustainable livelihoods' is the new buzzword and the situation at the grassroots is a huge gap. For a decade of structural adjustment and the development-at-any-cost doctrine have conspired to deprive millions of Indians -- adivasi tribals, marginal farmers, weavers and others -- of their traditional means of livelihood.
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Analysis

'Land reform: More problems than solutions'

By Mukul Sharma

Land is the most contentious problem in India today. Although land policy development is taking place, the issue is being looked at in isolation, rather than in the overall framework of human rights, says Mukul Sharma

There are few more contentious and complex problems in India today than those dealing with land and land rights. Rather than focusing on land as an issue in isolation, a continuum of rights has to be established regarding land, especially in the areas of access and reform, law and enforcement, use planning and management, administration and information, and other cross-cutting issues.
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Features

Invisible, exploited: Home-workers of Agra’s footwear industry

By Aakash Mehrotra

Informal sector employment in footwear industry

Agra turns out 250,000 pairs of shoes every day. Most of them are made by invisible home-workers at the bottom of the global supply chain, who earn as little as Rs 30 a pair

Agra turns out 250,000 pairs of shoes every day. Most of them are made by invisible home-workers at the bottom of the global supply chain, who earn as little as Rs 30 a pairSarojini is a home-worker at one of the 4,500 home-based units in Agra, the footwear capital of north India. For her, each new day marks a search for work to keep food on the table, a roof over her family, and her children in school. To her sub-contractor, she is known by a number. She is, quite simply, one piece in the supply chain of a footwear brand -- one of the million invisible workers in this industry.

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Microfinance

Micro-Credit : Background & Perspective

By Laxmi Murthy

More than 10,000 micro-lending organizations are today providing loans to 25 million poor people throughout the world, most of them women. The number of these organisations grew dramatically during the 1990s, spurred by the notion of 'self-help' and a faith in the creditworthiness and entrepreneurial potential of the poor. But is the current euphoria over micro-credit missing some fundamental questions? Does micro-credit really reach the poorest? Does it really empower women?


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Books & Reports

Captured By Cotton

 The Sumangali Scheme in Tirupur and Coimbatore districts lures young girls – often minors and dalits -- from impoverished areas of Tamil Nadu to work in MNC garments-manufacturing units on the promise of nutritious meals, comfortable accommodation and a lumpsum payment. What they actually encounter is poor work conditions, low wages, restricted freedom of movement, and limited privacy, says a study by SOMO and ICN

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Changemakers

Fighting for Chilika

By Aditya Malaviya

Maghi Mantri FamilyFor years Maghi Mantri of Panda Pokhari on Chilika Lake watched as local fishermen were squeezed into smaller and smaller spaces by unscrupulous politicians, non-traditional fishermen and illegal shrimp and prawn traders. In 1992 she set up two self-help groups and began to mobilise the local village women

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Stories of Change

The building blocks of change

Belaku started as a small health research project in rural Karnataka. But then the women said it was all very well to tell them about nutrition and eating right, but who was going to pay for it? Thus began the livelihoods initiative, Kirana 

Belaku Trust started as a small health research project in rural Karnataka, in 1995. One of its founders, Dr Saraswathy Ganapathy, a paediatrician turned public health professional, recalls how bleak the project appeared then. “The women wouldn’t speak to us, or even look at us. The nutritionist came out from the first health session and wondered how to talk ‘calories’ to them.”

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News

Orissa first off the block with National Rural Livelihoods Mission

Orissa became the first state to launch the NRLM, aimed at reducing rural poverty by providing self-employment and skilled jobs to people below the poverty line

Orissa became the first state in the country to launch the National Rural Livelihoods Mission on April 18, 2011. This comes even as the state faces a CBI inquiry ordered by the Ministry of Rural Development to probe alleged corruption and irregularities in the implementation of another major social sector scheme -- the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

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Statistics

Total number of main and marginal workers by sex

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Sidelines

'Making a difference in Mudumalai'

By Mari Marcel Thekaekara

Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

Sometimes, all it takes to transform a place is one man doing his job well. Rajiv Srivastava, field director of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, has made that difference, involving adivasis in forest and animal conservation, writes Mari Marcel Thekaekara

We’ve lived near the Mudumalai Sanctuary in the Nilgiris for over 27 years now. Collectors, police chiefs, forest officials have come and gone. Sometimes, however, someone comes along who makes a definite difference. You feel a buzz. See a district transformed.
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Analysis

Bleak future for traditional salt

By Anosh Malekar

Agariyas are worried heavy vehicle movement will impact the salt qualitIn 1930, Mahatma Gandhi turned salt into a powerful symbol of freedom for Indians. In Independent India, the traditional salt pan workers of Gujarat say they are living like slaves, thanks to the government’s negligence and privatisation policies


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