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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
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Linear projects like highways have the potential to change existing land use of large areas. These changes are not limited only to the stretches made for transportation of vehicles. The effects of construction are also visible on landscapes on both sides of highways. This study presents the findings of a two-year long groundtruthing study carried out between June 2016 and August 2018 along 187 kilometres of National Highway 66. The study is a collaborative effort of the Centre for Policy Research-Namati Environmental Justice Programme and communities from towns and villages situated between Karwar and Kundapur, especially the 27 Panchayats, in the district of Uttara Kannada in Karnataka. The study presents evidence of non-compliance of environmental safeguards resulting in social, economic and health impacts on the local communities in the project areas. It also highlights several aspects that were not taken into account in the project’s impact assessments. The study includes a broad assessment of the project’s scale of direct impacts. During the course of the study, the following types of non-compliance were identified: Permissions for blasting, groundwater and river water withdrawal were not taken; Dumping soil on wetlands and creeks caused flooding and salt water intrusion; The construction caused soil erosion and landslides along embankments; Non-submission of six-monthly compliance reports by the project proponent; Non-compliance of other laws and compensation agreements; The report includes a case study of a stone crusher unit operating in Bogribail village and causing water and dust pollution.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Infrastructure, Law, Social Policy, Pollution
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Ritwik Shukla
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Integrated Child Development Services is the Government of India’s (GoI’s) flagship programme aimed at providing basic education, health, and nutrition services for early childhood development. This brief uses government data to analyse ICDS performance along the following parameters: Allocations, releases, and expenditures; Component-wise trends; Human and physical resources; Coverage, and Outcome.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Government, Health, Budget, Children
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Navroz K. Dubash, Ashwini K. Swain
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: India’s move to electrify every village and household in the country has been lauded as a success. Building on decades of targeted programmes and public investments by multiple governments, the country completed 100% village electrification in April 2018; a year after, it has electrified nearly all ‘willing’ households. Despite the time it took to get here, these achievements are important milestones in India’s development trajectory. But does connecting households to the electric grid resolve the electricity access challenge? The answer depends on whether electrons flow through the wires and whether all consumers are served equally and adequately.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Infrastructure, Investment, Electricity
  • 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: Arkaja Singh, Anindita Mukherjee
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Rural areas in India are experiencing significant gains in toilet coverage under the public funded programmes. Given the rate of ‘in-situ urbanization’ in a growing urban paradigm,the rural areas, in many parts, seems to emulate urban infrastructural preferences for their toilets. This may remain annulled due to non-availability of urban like service facilities in the rural context. The first part of the report focusses on establishes the urbanising characteristics of the Large and Dense Villages (LDVs) in India for usage of a specific typology of Sanitation Infrastructure which in turn links to the gaps in terms of service availability across the Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) value chain. In this context, in the second half of the report, the authors examine the various environmental and municipal laws applicable to Sanitation in rural areas. The report also sheds light on how the capacities of various institutions and legal instruments may be leveraged for graded interventions, ensuring safe and sustainable sanitation in rural areas in India.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Urbanization, Sanitation, Services
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Ashwathy Anand, Ajai Sreevatsan, Persis Taraporevala
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • 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. The Mission categorically states that there is no one definition of a 'smart city' and implies infinite liberty for cities to self-define their understanding of 'smartness'. Towards demystifying the Mission, the researchers utilised government documentation from the 99 cities to answer one question-What constitutes a smart city in India.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Urbanization, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Devashish Deshpande, Avani Kapur
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This report is the culmination of a study conducted by the Accountability Initiative (AI) on Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin in 2017 on the request of the Udaipur district administration. The study understands the outcomes, and the processes, which led to Open Defecation Free status in selected Gram Panchayats.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Social Policy, Sanitation, Services
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia