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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
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The spatial morphology of Indian cities mirrors a disconnect between the urban statutory spatial plans and Revenue records. The Revenue Department instituted during the colonial times had an overarching mandate to collect land taxes and, till today, is referred to as the "custodian of the land." This was a key institution that prepared robust cadastre maps to support the revenue collection. Post-independence, these spatial records are not updated. The institutional disconnect between the Revenue and Registration departments and Urban Land Administration Institutions in the urban and peri-urban areas coupled with poor land records affect the overall confidence in the land administration system. This further limit the nurturing of a robust land market. Taking two land titling programmes: JAGA mission, Odisha, and LIFE mission, Kerala, this paper argues that to achieve the full potential of such land titling programmes, the role of the Revenue and Registration Departments need to be reimagined.
  • Topic: Governance, Urban, Resilience, Revenue Management
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Sharad Pandey, U Ranjan, Vastav Irava
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The ‘Study of State Finances 2020-21’ Working Paper delves into the revenue and expenditure performance of 17 States. As the COVID-19 pandemic tightens its grip, this timely analysis offers a unique window into the fiscal space available with States prior to the lockdown. This information is critical at a time when they are expected to craft adequate social protection responses and restart their economies.
  • Topic: Economics, Governance, Finance, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Ashwini K. Swain, Parth Bhatia, Ira Sharma, Prasanna Sarada Das, Navroz K. Dubash
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020, released on April 17, 2020, is an improvement from its predecessors. It has dropped some significant proposals that were resisted and has added new provisions. Are these reform proposals adequate and appropriate to address India’s long-standing electricity challenges? Are these prescriptions based on a proper diagnosis of current trends and future challenges? How will these reforms proposals affect India’s ongoing transition to 21st century electricity? While we appreciate the endeavours and intent, in our comments we focus on some serious concerns the draft raises, vital gaps and issues that need serious consideration.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Governance, Legislation, Electricity, Public Service, Utilities
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Shibani Ghosh
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has proposed a new notification to supersede the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2006 that is currently in force. The Ministry has sought comments from the public on this draft EIA Notification 2020. Shibani Ghosh, Fellow, CPR, in her comments to the Ministry has highlighted that there is a crying need to overhaul the EIA Notification 2006 and the regulatory framework built around it – not only to address its various inherent weaknesses that have been identified over the years, but also to put in place systems and processes that respond to the steadily degrading environmental quality in the country. However, the draft EIA Notification 2020 fails to do so. According to Ghosh, in its current form, the draft Notification is legally untenable as it does not conform to its parent Act – the Environment (Protection) Act 1986, and is in the teeth of various judgments of the Supreme Court, High Courts and the National Green Tribunal. It dilutes the already weak processes of environmental impact assessment, expert scrutiny and public consultation, and wrongly condones violations and illegalities. The comments are divided into two sections. Section I discusses four specific reasons why the draft notification is legally untenable and Section II highlights five major concerns that arise from the proposed regulatory design.
  • Topic: Environment, Governance, Judiciary
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Arkaja Singh
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: COVID-19 produced an acute and widespread crisis of hunger across India, which was felt most acutely by migrant workers and those who were outside the reach of India’s highly organised but rigid Public Distribution System (PDS). The hunger was incidental to the actual disease itself, but severe enough to be considered a crisis of governance on its own as it brought the Indian state face-t0-face with one of its oldest and most enduring challenges: how to ensure that essential supplies of food reach those in need of it? Could the Indian government simply have ‘universalised’ the PDS, and made it accessible to all? It was pointed out that the Indian state had adequate buffer stocks of food grain to make this feasible. However, for reasons that were never articulated, this option was never seriously considered by the government of India. Instead, governments tried to extend the reach of the PDS delivery mechanism, and to devise ways to deliver relief outside of the PDS framework. These strategies were however quite challenging for the risk-averse, (nominally) rule-bound Indian state that is disinclined to allow for discretion in spending of government funds, making purchases and allocation of largesse. Typically, the Indian state is all the more reluctant to delegate power to exercise discretion to lower levels of government. For this reason, the Indian state governments (who were at the frontline of this response) seemed to need to devise a framework of rules for the identification of beneficiaries, even in the middle of a humanitarian crisis. As a related problem, the states also did not necessarily have the organisational wherewithal to take up rapid, decentralised and locally grounded interventions. The organisational wherewithal, so to speak, could come in various forms. Some examples of this, which we saw at play, were decentralised government, the capacity to make non-state collaborations and institutionalised systems for the ‘continuous updating’ of beneficiary lists. More fundamentally, however, what is needed is the capacity for high levels of government to be able to formulate responsive policy and to be able to trust in the ability of their subordinate ranks to carry out new interventions, often in case-specific and individualised ways. Arkaja Singh’s working paper explores these issues in the context of state response to the COVID hunger crisis in the states of Delhi, Kerala, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana,
  • Topic: Governance, Food Security, Hunger, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Deepak Sanan, Sanjay Mitra
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Reforms designed to address core issues and their sequencing and timing would be critical to ensure the eventual success of the latest initiatives in the power sector. Lessons from the experience of earlier sectoral reform programmes and recommendations regarding the general architecture of central interventions, would need to be taken on board. Through a simple scenario building exercise, this paper concludes that the parlous financial position of the distribution utilities after lockdown requires that “reforms” follow “recovery”. The concurrent roll out of stringent reform measures on several fronts during a period of severe financial stress could seriously impair the prospects of a viable power sector in the near future. This, in turn, will not only hamper our planned promotion of renewables-based electricity but act as a brake on the entire process of economic recovery.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Namita Wahi
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This paper, the first in a series of three papers, constitutes the first systematic legal attempt since the late nineteenth century to describe the changing configuration of property rights of zamindars (landlords) and ryots or raiyats (peasants) relative to the English East India Company in colonial India over a period of two hundred years from 1600 to 1800. This period begins with the Company’s first arrival in India to the court of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir in 1600 as merely a trading company. It ends with the introduction of the Permanent Settlement in Bengal by Lord Cornwallis, the Governor General of Bengal in 1793, pursuant to the Company’s exercise of sovereign authority over the provinces of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa. As described in the paper, during this period of great political upheaval, scandal, and intrigue, as the East India Company gradually transitioned from a monopoly trading company to a conquering and then an administering power, Company officials, including the Governor General, and later the Supreme Council of Bengal, created, destroyed, and resurrected property rights of landlords and tenant cultivators. Following a series of experiments with land revenue administration and the lives of zamindars and raiyats, with the sole objective of maximising revenue for the East India Company, Lord Cornwallis introduced the Permanent Settlement of Land Revenue in 1793, which completely destroyed the rights of peasant cultivators in favour of zamindars, and wreaked great injustice and misery upon the people of Bengal. It would take nearly seventy years for British government to begin to reverse this injustice through tenancy protection legislation enacted in 1859, and this reversal in law would only be completed following land reforms introduced by provincial governments post India’s independence in 1947. These later developments will be the subject of the next two papers in this series.
  • Topic: Sovereignty, History, Governance, Property
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, 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: Mridusmita Bordoloi, Sharad Pandey, Ruchi Junnarkar
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This study is an attempt to provide an in-depth understanding of school education financing in India through an analysis of expenditures incurred across eight states from FY 2014-15 to FY 2017-18.
  • Topic: Education, Governance, Finance, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This study examined interventions addressing violence against women (VAW) and violence against children (VAC) in Maharashtra. The study, conducted between August 2018 and October 2019, analyses budgetary allocations, expenditures, and utilisation for measures addressing VAW and VAC over 5 years FY 2014-15 to FY 2018-19. This study was commissioned by UNICEF Maharashtra as a part of a larger project between UNICEF, UN Women and Government of Maharashtra on tracking outlays to outcomes for women and children.
  • Topic: Governance, Children, Women, Violence, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Tripti Singh, Anju Dwivedi
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Urban sanitation in the Indian policy space received focused attention only after the mid2000s with the introduction of a slew of programmes such as Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), followed by National Urban Sanitation Policy (NUSP), Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and the National Policy on Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM). However, there remains limited literature based on empirical research on urban sanitation in India from the perspective of inclusion. While India made considerable physical progress in sanitation infrastructure creation in the last decade, it continues to grapple with ground realities that are causing widespread social inequalities in accessing water and sanitation. These inequalities differently affect marginalised groups – women, adolescent girls, transgender and persons with disabilities – in accessing water and sanitation, and act as barriers to opportunities for them. For the country to fulfil the commitment to the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) based on the principle of ‘Leave no one behind’, it is imperative for it to place marginalised groups at the centre of programme and policy research. Often, those who are left behind face multiple marginalisations, as they live in poverty, under precarious conditions, with limited access to safe water and sanitation services. Against this backdrop, this study was conducted in 2018-19 across ten slums in Bhubaneshwar (Odisha) to explore to what extent marginalised groups access benefits of sanitation schemes and programmes. The government of Odisha has introduced a range of water and sanitation policies and strategies. These include the Odisha State Water Policy 2007, Odisha Urban Sanitation Strategies 2011 which was revised in 2017, Odisha Urban Sanitation Policy 2017, and Odisha State Urban Water Supply Policy 2013 that deal with provisioning of water and sanitation facilities for the urban poor. While this provides a conducive policy/ legal environment, it is critical to identify both the enabling mechanisms for inclusive sanitation and the barriers to inclusion that exist for marginalised groups in slums in the state. In this context, the study examined tangible and intangible effects of SBM-Urban at both household and community levels. At the household level, the study attempted to understand whether the programmes had a transformative impact on the gendered division of labour within the domestic sphere, particularly concerning water and sanitation roles and responsibilities. At the community level – in this case the slum level – the study examined whether the government programmes strengthened the participation of the most marginalised groups in decision-making processes of planning and implementation. The research proposes recommendations to support the government, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), researchers and academics in developing inclusive sanitation policies and programmes as well as promoting inclusive approaches on urban sanitation. Some of the key recommendations include developing a framework and guideline for inclusive sanitation, initiating inclusive WASH budgeting, and upgrading the design of existing community toilets (CTs) and public toilets (PTs) to cater to specific needs of transgender and persons with disability.
  • Topic: Governance, Sanitation, Slums, Inclusion
  • 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
  • Author: Anju Dwivedi, Shikha Shukla Chhabra, Shubhagato Dasgupta
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The overall vision of Project Nirmal is the demonstration of appropriate, low-cost, decentralized, inclusive and sustainable sanitation service delivery solutions for two small towns (Angul and Dhenkanal) in Odisha leading to improved sanitation access for all households and integration of FSM in the sanitation value chain, through enabling institutional and financial arrangements and increased private sector participation. The project is being implemented by Practical Action and Centre for Policy Research with support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Arghyam; Housing and Urban Development, Government of Odisha; and Municipalities of Angul and Dhenkanal.
  • Topic: Governance, Sanitation, Waste
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Anju Dwivedi, Shikha Shukla Chhabra, Shubhagato Dasgupta
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The overall vision of Project Nirmal is the demonstration of appropriate, low-cost, decentralized, inclusive and sustainable sanitation service delivery solutions for two small towns (Angul and Dhenkanal) in Odisha leading to improved sanitation access for all households and integration of FSM in the sanitation value chain, through enabling institutional and financial arrangements and increased private sector participation. The project is being implemented by Practical Action and Centre for Policy Research with support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Arghyam; Housing and Urban Development, Government of Odisha; and Municipalities of Angul and Dhenkanal.
  • Topic: Governance, Public Policy, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Shahana Chattaraj
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: How does the state govern cities where much of the economy is informal, on the margins of state regulatory institutions? In this paper, I draw on field research in Mumbai to a present an empirically-based conceptualization of the workings of the state in cities where’ informality is a pervasive feature of work and built environment.’ I draw on the popular notion of ‘jugaad,’- makeshift adaptations, workarounds and improvisation under constraints, to describe the state in Mumbai. ‘Jugaad’ practices and strategies of governance – adaptive, flexible, negotiated and contingent - are routinely applied by state actors at different levels in Mumbai, in spaces “illegible” to formal state institutions. ‘Jugaad’ governance practices are not arbitrary or merely corrupt, but rational, if ad hoc and extra-legal, adaptations around formal rules. These processes embed state actors in local power structures and crosscutting networks that span state, market and political organisations. While they enable the state to apprehend and partially incorporate the city’s informal spaces, they dissipate centralised state power and cohesiveness . The ‘jugaad’ state concept encapsulates how the formal and informal workings of the state interact and shape urban governance in largely informal cities. It draws attention to tensions and disjunctions within the state and in state-society relations in such contexts.
  • Topic: Infrastructure, Governance, Social Policy, State, Urban
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Meenakshi Kapoor, Nwe Ni Soe, Vidya Viswanathan
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Land transformation has been at the centre of economic growth of post-colonial, Asian nation-states. While their political reforms and economic policies have focused on land governance, the outcomes have resulted in promoting privatisation and speculative business interest in ecologically sensitive landscapes that are also under diverse forms of common use by resource-dependent communities. A three-year study undertaken to understand community-level responses to land use transformation in India, Indonesia and Myanmar shows that the current scale and approach of land–intensive development in these large democracies is facilitated by fast-paced, top down policy changes. These policies are ‘stacked’ (when multiple layers of current and revoked laws are simultaneously in use) rather than integrated and their implementation is the responsibility of various authorities and agencies that overlap. Growing private investments in land that has remained within varying degrees of state control have changed the way land is managed. Land has become increasingly securitised and ‘out of bounds’ for small farmers and other land-users with or without recognised forms of ownership and use rights. Land conflicts are caused due to coercive acquisition processes or land grabs, unlawful operations of projects and long pending remedies to social and environmental impacts. In many instances, these conflicts begin even before the final decisions on projects are taken and persist for years. Highly capitalised land use change brings powerful investors and corporations, governments and local communities in unequal and precarious arrangements of negotiation and confrontation. Citizens and communities affected by land use change, use varied strategies such as administrative complaints, protests, litigation, media campaigns and political advocacy, and engage in improving project design and implementation, increase compensations, restore community access to resources and get a review on the operations of harmful projects. These are done under conditions of political intransigence and criminalisation of those who speak up. While all three countries have recognised land conflicts and their impact on development plans and proposals, they are yet to give affected people a formal and effective role in land and natural resource governance. This is the study report on Myanmar.
  • Topic: Privatization, Natural Resources, Governance, Economic Growth, Land Law, Land Rights
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Mukta Naik, Gregory Randolph
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This report, jointly put out by the Centre for Policy Research and JustJobs Network, draws attention to geographies in India and Indonesia that are acting as migration junctions because they simultaneously experience high levels of in- and out-migration. The quantitative analysis is based on an earlier paper that measured ‘migrant-intensity’ of districts in India and kota (cities) and kabupatens (regencies) in Indonesia using Census data. In both countries, small cities, peripheral districts and centres of natural resource extraction feature as migration junctions. This prompts new ways of thinking about pathways that migrants take in, out and through places. The report highlights that migration junctions have particular policy challenges and opportunities including increased need for coordination across governance institutions, the ability to concerate workforce development efforts for incoming and outgoing populations and the need to develop robust rental housing markets to serve mobile populations.
  • Topic: Migration, Labor Issues, Governance
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Indonesia, India, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Ashwini K. Swain
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Despite sustained efforts to reform the sector, electricity distribution in India remains amidst complex problems, manifested in the form of loss-making distribution utilities, poor quality of service, governance ambiguities, and absence of basic data. The current wave of reforms seeks to turnaround the sector’s performance by transforming the generation mix, strengthening the network infrastructure, ensuring universal access and better consumer experience, and financial revival of discoms. While policy signals from the centre appear to be promising and ambitious, given the past records, execution of these reform plans at the state level is uncertain. Against this backdrop, the paper analyses the distribution reform initiated from the centre and the role played by the central government in shaping ideas and stimulating change at the state level. Looking into various diagnoses of the challenges and subsequent reform initiatives, the paper seeks to explain the political economy of successive reform attempts and their outcomes. It also identifies gaps in the current wave of reforms and raises questions for further exploration.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Political Economy, Infrastructure, Governance, Reform, Electricity
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Bhanu Joshi, Ashish Ranjan, Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In 2011, Mamata Banerjee and party, Trinamool Congress, stormed to power in West Bengal under the simple slogan poriborton (change). In this piece, Bhanu Joshi, Ashish Ranjan, and Neelanjan explore how Mamata went about demonstrating this change to the West Bengal, as well as the architecture of Trinamool Congress’ thumping victory in the 2016 state election.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Governance, Elections, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Kiran Bhatty, Radhika Saraf
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This study attempts to understand the effectiveness of education governance, specifically the monitoring function, through the perspectives of frontline officials in India. It locates institutions within social and political structures marked by deep inequalities and analyses the manner in which these institutional arrangements influence the behaviour of frontline officials. It finds that poor state capacities in terms of inadequate resources and systemic infirmities contribute significantly to ineffective monitoring. In addition, the social distance of frontline bureaucrats from their clients reinforces their low levels of motivation, preventing them from using discretion to achieve official objectives.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Infrastructure, Governance, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Over the past four years, the national policy environment and institutional response to sanitation have undergone a substantial change. The launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) have catapulted sanitation into the league of priority sectors. In the backdrop of such developments, Housing and Urban Development Department under the Government of Odisha sought to revise the Urban Sanitation Strategy 2011 with the able support from the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The revised Odisha Urban Sanitation Strategy 2017 and Odisha Urban Sanitation Policy 2017 make crucial strides towards the achievement of a Clean Odisha. The purview of the strategy has been expanded to address gaps in the entire sanitation value chain for the management of not only solid waste, but also liquid waste including faecal sludge/septage and menstrual hygiene. The revised strategy is grounded in the principles that have underpinned the Odisha government's efforts so far to provide the people with equitable and safe access to sanitation, along with establishing the most advanced sanitation infrastructure. Over the next ten years, concerned departments will work towards six objectives: (a) achieving open defecation free and (b) open discharge free urban areas; (c) effectively managing and treating solid waste; (d) ensuring that sewage, (e) septage/faecal sludge and liquid waste are safely treated and disposed; and (f) ensuring safety guidelines are followed in physical handling and management of waste. In addition, providing women and girls with safe access to menstrual hygiene has also been included as an objective in the revised strategy.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Infrastructure, Governance, Public Policy, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Shibani Ghosh
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The recent uproar about the toxic levels of pollution in the country’s national capital region has once again brought to fore the failure of the regulatory and legal mechanisms in India to control air pollution. Despite an early legislative acknowledgment of the issues relating to air pollution, and regulatory mechanisms set up consequently, India has not been able to restrict the sharp upward trajectory of air pollution. While several issues with regard to the legal and regulatory regime governing air quality in the country deserve serious and urgent consideration, this paper focuses on one issue in particular – the liability regime for violation of air quality standards. The paper is divided into three parts. The first part discusses the relevant provisions of the law pertaining to liability - civil and criminal - for causing air pollution. The second part identifies three critical issues that have emerged in the current liability regime: (1) the Pollution Control Boards do not have the power to levy penalties; (2) criminal prosecution is not an effective solution; and (3) the National Green Tribunal Act does not provide complete relief. The third and final part of the essay proposes a way forward. It is suggested that the Pollution Control Boards need to be granted additional enforcement powers, and administrative fines for violations should be introduced, albeit with certain conditions.
  • Topic: Environment, Health, Governance, Law Enforcement, Law, Reform, Pollution
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Anjali Chikersal
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: India is one of the few countries that has been estimated to have a “critical” shortage of health workers and therefore unlikely to be able to provide essential health interventions to its people (WHO 2006). The dire impacts of these shortages are evident from the fact that it has fallen short of meeting its MDG goals on several fronts. As the current discourse on Universal Health Care debates the means of expanding coverage to all citizens, the one aspect universally agreed upon is the persistent challenge that a shortage of health workforce in the public sector poses, and the pressing need to address this gap. This policy brief outlines the core issues at the root of the problem and examines the reasons for the severe shortages in the key element of this workforce, the physicians, in the Indian public sector. It then provides an overview of WHO’s Global Policy Recommendations to address this challenge and looks at the strategies that various Indian states have so far adopted. Finally, it offers a set of practical and goal oriented recommendations aimed at directly and urgently addressing the challenge in the Indian context.
  • Topic: Health, Governance, Health Care Policy, Public Policy, Public Sector
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India