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  • Author: Anindita Mukherjee, Anju Dwivedi, Neha Agarwal
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The state of Odisha has made unprecedented strides in increasing access to individual toilets from 14% in 2011 to a purported 100% in 2019 under the Swachh Bharat Mission - Gramin. In light of the clarion call of a ‘Swachha Odisha, Sustha Odisha’, and the national imperatives set by the National Rural Sanitation Strategy, 2019-2029, the state has created a systematic framework towards the achievement of total sanitation in the form of the Odisha Rural Sanitation Policy, 2020. To inform the creation of the Policy and shape its contours for responding optimally to ground realities, we undertook a rapid assessment of the prevailing sanitation practices in three districts of the state. The present report discusses the resulting findings relating to varied aspects of rural sanitation - ranging from trends in toilet use and on-site sanitation systems to the availability and state of Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) infrastructure.
  • Topic: Infrastructure, Governance, Rural, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Mekhala Krishnamurthy, Deepak Sanan, Karnamadakala Rahul Sharma, Aditya Unnikrishnan
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has caused extraordinary hardship since India’s first case was reported in Thrissur, Kerala in January 2020. Individuals and communities have since then made drastic changes to their behaviours, daily routines and lives, quite often in response to announcements or regulatory direction provided by the state. Officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) are important actors at the forefront of framing, implementing and evaluating the state’s response to the pandemic, and uniquely positioned between the political executive and India’s massive frontline state. Their views on the state’s response, preparedness, the public and stakeholders in governance, and their positions on important normative debates underlying policy formulation and implementation therefore offer useful insights into both how the Indian state governs, and how it might govern better in the future. This report presents the results of a representative survey of over 500 IAS officers conducted between August and September 2020, 7-8 months into the pandemic. The survey sought to engage members of the IAS in reflecting on the critical challenges, decisions, and trade-offs that confronted public administrators charged with managing the state response at different levels. In doing so, it revealed both widely shared and sharply contested views on a range of subjects, including the role of the civil servant, executive and bureaucratic functioning in a crisis, and perceptions of and relations between the state, the public, and other important actors and institutions. The report finds that on the one hand, IAS officers are remarkably consistent in expressing high levels of motivation and public service commitment and endorse the view that the Indian state and bureaucracy galvanise resources and deliver reasonably well in times of crisis. On the other hand, there is a consistent tension between some strongly expressed ideals and the realities of administrative action, especially on engagement and communication with, and trust in the public. Finally, there is significant diversity among IAS officers when it comes to perceptions of key stakeholders (civil society, international agencies and the media) and a striking distrust of the private sector. The report also highlights the diversity in responses of officers across state cadres and seniority in several places through disaggregated analysis. This report, by the State Capacity Initiative at the Centre for Policy Research is part of a larger body of work on understanding the norms and values underpinning different state institutions in India. As we develop this body of work over the coming years, our goal is to continue to probe not just how the state performs, but how it perceives its own capacity, why and how it makes choices, imagines possibilities for governance, and engages with citizens.
  • Topic: Governance, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Aparna Das, Anindita Mukherjee, Baisakhi Sarkar Dhar, Sudeshna Chatterjee, Arushi Gupta, Aastha Jain
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Government of Kerala dovetailed its state housing programme with the national scheme of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in 2015 to realise the vision for ‘Housing for All’. The State Poverty Eradication Mission of the Government of Kerala, or Kudumbashree, is the state-level nodal agency for implementing the scheme in Kerala. The PMAY (U) is converged with the LIFE Mission (Livelihood, Inclusion and Financial Empowerment), the comprehensive housing scheme of the Kerala government, and is implemented as PMAY (U)-LIFE. In Kerala, the PMAY’s Beneficiary-led Individual House Construction or Enhancement (BLC) vertical emerged as the most preferred vertical, owing to an increased subsidy outlay by the Government of Kerala. Further, recognising the lack of state-owned land as a significant hindrance to the uptake of the BLC scheme, the state government converged the implementation of the BLC scheme with the third phase of the LIFE Mission in 2017. This convergence provided an additional subsidy to the landless households to purchase private land, thereby enabling their inclusion under the ambit of the BLC scheme in the state. This report is based on a primary assessment of the state of habitat improvement in Kerala, under the ambit of PMAY (U)-LIFE, through a quantitative household survey in three cities of Kerala – Kochi, Trivandrum and Mukkam. It finds that the State’s interventions towards the Housing for All agenda have underscored the importance attributed to the landless and the homeless in the state, rather than slum dwellers exclusively. The State’s interventions have also successfully demonstrated an approach towards enabling livelihoods through housing and imbibing financial empowerment among women. While the Kerala model has exhibited various successful interventions to achieve a higher uptake of the BLC under PMAY, Kerala now needs to focus on adopting a city-wide, inclusive spatial planning approach. This report concludes by advocating for the provision of allied basic civic infrastructure across the new and existing housing in the state and for a spatial integration of the beneficiaries, to ensure habitat improvement.
  • Topic: Poverty, Governance, Urban, Housing
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Aparna Das, Anindita Mukherjee, Baisakhi Sarkar Dhar, Sudeshna Chatterjee, Arushi Gupta, Aastha Jain
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In response to the national housing scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), the Government of Odisha designed the Odisha Urban Housing Mission – Awaas in 2015 to realise the goal of housing for all in the state. With an additional outlay as subsidy from the state government and the Centre to the economically weaker sections for building houses on their own land, the Beneficiary-led ‘Individual House’ Construction or Enhancement (BLC) vertical emerged as the most preferred. During the initial days of implementation, the lack of documentary evidence for the land occupied by slum dwellers continued to exclude the majority from the purview of the BLC subsidy. To address this impediment and to enable a wider traction of the scheme, the State introduced the Odisha Land Rights to Slum Dwellers Act, 2017, entitling the urban poor to rights on the land parcels they had been residing on, depending on the tenability. After the completion of the pilot phase of the Act, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha launched the JAGA Mission, to expand the land rights programme and to transform the existing slums into liveable habitats, with the provision of all essential civic urban infrastructure. Against this background, this report aims to understand (a) the impact of the distribution of Land Rights Certificates (LRCs) among the urban poor on their ability to leverage the housing subsidy under BLC and (b) the existing conditions and challenges in the construction of houses through BLC under PMAY in Odisha. For this purpose, a stratified sample survey of 250 households was carried out in three cities of Odisha – Dhenkanal, Gopalpur and Berhampur – in addition to Key Informant Interviews (KIIs). The study finds that the dissemination of land rights to the urban poor, after the commencement of the JAGA Mission, enhanced the potential beneficiary base in the state for leveraging available BLC housing subsidies. However, the ensuing ‘house only’ approach in the State and the limited focus on improving access to basic services require urgent redressal. While the steps adopted by the Government of Odisha are vital to address the issues of urban planning and housing for slum dwellers, there is now a looming need to adopt a multi-pronged approach towards ensuring an overall habitat improvement and an integration of slums into the city fabric.
  • Topic: Poverty, Governance, Urban, Housing
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Santosh Harish, Shibani Ghosh
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Air quality was gradually gaining political salience in India in the last few years, but COVID-19 and the deepening economic recession may now change the speed, and possibly the direction, of progress. The aim of this report is to begin the process, even amidst uncertainties, of understanding the effects of the COVID crisis on the air quality discourse in the country, and on the mitigation efforts already underway. We begin with a brief overview of the air quality improvements observed during the lockdown, and then identify some likely implications of the pandemic on how we frame the air quality problem. In view of state actions and public response during the COVID crisis, how should we, if at all, adapt our current framing of air pollution as a public health crisis? In the next section, we discuss broad financial, regulatory and institutional implications: in particular, the need to engage with the available funding channels to initiate and sustain measures to improve air quality amid significant fiscal constraints. There is a worrying erosion of environmental safeguards, which may – in part – be justified as a prerequisite to restarting the economy, and facilitating “ease of doing business”. Given that air quality management in India needs a multi-pronged approach across disparate sources, we then reflect on how the disruptions affect each of the major sources, and the resultant opportunities and challenges.
  • Topic: Environment, Governance, Pollution, Public Health, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India