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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: Avani Kapur, Sanjana Malhotra
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Swachh Bharat Mission- Gramin or SBM-G is the Government of India’s (GoI’s) flagship rural sanitation programme run by the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MJS). Using government data, this brief reports on trends for SBM-G along the following parameters: Allocations and expenditures; Physical progress of toilets built; Expenditures incurred under Information, Education, and Communication (IEC); Solid Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) activities; and Coverage and Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Infrastructure, Budget, Social Policy, Rural, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Vastav Irava
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In Financial Year (FY) 2019-20, the National Rural Drinking Water Mission (NRDWM) was restructured and subsumed into Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM). It is Government of India’s (GoI’s) flagship rural drinking water programme to provide functional tap connections to every household for drinking, cooking, and other domestic needs on a sustainable basis. Using government data, this brief reports on: Overall GoI allocations; Trends in releases and expenditures; Component-wise trends; and Progress on coverage.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Water, Infrastructure, Budget, Finance, Rural
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Sanjana Malhotra
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Swachh Bharat Mission- Urban (SBM-U) is the Government of India’s (GoI) flagship programme targeting universal sanitation coverage in urban areas. Using government data, this brief reports on: Allocations, releases, and expenditures; Progress on toilets built; Progress on Solid Waste Management (SWM); Open Defecation Free (ODF) status, and; ODF+, ODF++ and garbage free cities.
  • Topic: Government, Infrastructure, Urbanization, Budget, Urban, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Aditya Bhol, Shubhagato Dasgupta, Anindita Mukherjee
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This report aims to explore the nuances of the prevalence of on-site sanitation systems in large and dense villages of India. Villages which have a population of 1000 persons or more and a density of greater than or equal to 400 persons per square kilometre were classified as large and dense villages in earlier research – Towards a New Research and Policy Paradigm: An Analysis of the Sanitation Situation in Large Dense Villages. Stimulated by the findings revealing a preferential pattern for selection of on-site sanitation systems in these settlements, a primary household survey was conducted in large and dense villages from five Indian states - Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The survey also included qualitative components – stakeholder interviews and transect walks. In this study the survey data has been canvassed to explore the preference patterns of households and the factors guiding them in their decision making for the construction and maintenance of on-site sanitation systems. We find that these large and dense villages exhibit a higher preference for septic tanks over pits in all states except West Bengal where pits are preferred. A majority of households have reported their toilets were private constructions. Broad findings and trends emerging from the survey were discussed in details in the report – Sanitation in Large and Dense Villages of India: The Last Mile and Beyond. In this report we discuss targeted questions on the preference patterns for on-site containment systems that are manifested not only by the choices of building septic tanks or pits but also through the large variations in their design and sizes which are influenced by socio-economic, technical and behavioural factors. We also find specific trends in deviations from prescribed design and demand for desludging services by households which are influenced by internal factors such as their social status and economic well-being and by external factors such as availability of mechanised operators or continued reliance on manual cleaning and their costs which cumulatively constitute the supply side of sanitation services.
  • Topic: Government, Water, Infrastructure, Social Policy, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Anju Dwivedi, Shikha Shukla Chhabra
  • 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: Environment, Infrastructure, Sanitation, Land, Inclusion
  • 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: Infrastructure, Urban, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Mridusmita Bordoloi, Ritwik Shukla
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This paper attempts to add to the given literature by undertaking a detailed analysis of school consolidation process in Rajasthan. It seeks to answer the following questions:- First, what are the specific criteria and conditions for closure of schools and their consolidation with other schools and whether they were adhered to by the state administration? Second, whether school consolidation led to improvements in enrolment, availability of teachers, and essential school infrastructure facilities as mandated by the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2010.
  • Topic: Education, Infrastructure, Social Policy, Legislation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Kanchi Kohli
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This essay examines the role of India’s 2006 Forest Rights Act in the procedures that regulate transfer of forest land to large infrastructure projects. Specifically, it shows the gap between the legally mandated requirements and how these are implemented in project approval processes. This is illustrated through a case study of the coal mining approvals in the Hasdeo Arand forest region in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh. The essay also outlines the different actors who have influenced the discourses on forest rights of Adivasi and other forest dwelling communities and what they identify as factors that challenge the implementation of this law on the ground. It juxtaposes this analysis in the context of the recent decision of the Supreme Court of India on eviction of forest dwellers and examines whether that would bring in any structural change in the way the law is implemented.
  • Topic: Environment, Human Rights, Infrastructure, Courts, Conservation, Land Rights
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • 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: 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
  • 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: Shubhagato Dasgupta, Neha Agarwal, Anindita Mukherjee
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: As per the National Sample Survey 2018, nearly 60% of urban India relies on On-Site Sanitation (OSS) systems, like septic tanks and leaching pits, for the management of faecal waste. Augmentation of toilet access over the last five years under the Swachh Bharat Mission has only served to entrench this dependence, despite a push for centralized sewerage systems underwritten by schemes like AMRUT in Class I cities during the same period. Notwithstanding their scale and criticality to public health outcomes, OSS systems are poorly regulated and consequently ill-constructed in India. Therefore, it is vital to address the deficiencies in the downstream sanitation service chain beyond the toilet – beginning with the OSS system - to ensure that India meets its targets toward providing ‘Safely Managed Sanitation Services’ under the Sustainable Development Goal 6. The present study is a novel attempt to systematically analyse the state of OSS in urban India through a sample survey of 3000 households and more than 50 key informant-interviews across ten cities in four states. It shows that septic tanks, confused in common parlance and practice for a septic tank system, comprise the majority of all OSS systems at over 90%. However, in meeting household-level preferences, these systems exhibit variations along each of the principal design parameters, which cumulatively result in less than 2% of all surveyed septic tanks meeting the major requirements of the national governing standards. It finds OSS fraught with several compelling needs, including the inefficacy of septic tanks as primary treatment units, the lack of secondary treatment and safe disposal of pathogenic effluent, their delayed maintenance, and the lack of greywater management. In systematically identifying these issues, the report also recommends interventions in design, planning, and governance for safer and more sustainable on-site sanitation.
  • Topic: Water, Infrastructure, Urban, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Navroz K. Dubash, Sunita S. Kale, Ranjit Bharvirkar, Ashwini K. Swain, Elizabeth Chatterjee, Hema Ramakrishnan, Jonathan Balls, Kalpana Dixit, Meera Sudhakar, Megha Kaladharan, Rohit Chandra, Siddharth Sareen
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This is a compilation of blogs by the authors of 'Mapping Power: The Political Economy of Electricity in India’s States' (Oxford University Press), edited by Navroz K. Dubash (Centre for Policy Research), Sunila S. Kale (University of Washington), and Ranjit S. Bharvirkar (Regulatory Assistance Project). Featuring analysis from the book, this compilation highlights the politics of electricity access and distribution in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, and the National Capital Region in India.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Political Economy, Infrastructure, Social Policy, Electricity
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Vastav Irava, Avani Kapur
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In FY 2017-18, the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) was expanded and is now known as the National Rural Drinking Water Mission (NRDWM). It is Government of India’s (GoI) flagship rural drinking water mission to provide safe and adequate water for drinking, cooking, and other domestic needs on a sustainable basis. Using government reported data, this brief reports on: Allocations for NRDWM, Releases and expenditures, Component-wise trends, and Progress on coverage.
  • Topic: Development, Water, Infrastructure, Budget, Rural, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Sanjana Malhotra
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Swachh Bharat Mission- Gramin or SBM-G is the Government of India’s (GoI) flagship rural sanitation programme. Using government data, this brief reports on trends for SBM-G along the following parameters: Allocations and expenditures, Physical progress of toilets built, Expenditures incurred under Information, Education and Communication (IEC), and Solid Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) activities, and Coverage and Open Defecation Free (ODF) status
  • Topic: Infrastructure, Budget, Rural, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Sanjana Malhotra
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Swachh Bharat Mission- Urban (SBM-U) is the Government of India’s (GoI) flagship programme targeting universal sanitation coverage in urban areas. Using government data, this brief reports on: Allocations, releases, and expenditures, State-wise and component wise trends in releases, Progress on toilets built, Progress on Solid Waste Management (SWM), and Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.
  • Topic: Government, Infrastructure, Budget, Urban, Sanitation
  • 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: Aditya Bhol, Shubhagato Dasgupta, Anindita Mukherjee, Aastha Jain
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The aim of this white paper is to explore the nuances of the prevalence of on-site sanitation systems in large and dense villages of India. Villages which have a population of 1000 persons or more and a density of greater than or equal to 400 persons per square kilometre were classified as large and dense villages in an earlier research – Towards a New Research and Policy Paradigm: An Analysis of the Sanitation Situation in Large Dense Villages. Stimulated by the findings revealing a preferential pattern for selection of on-site sanitation systems in these settlements, a primary household survey was conducted in large and dense villages from five Indian states - Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The survey also included qualitative components – stakeholder interviews and transect walks. In this study the survey data has been canvassed to explore the preference patterns of households and the factors guiding them in their decision making for the construction and maintenance of on-site sanitation systems. We find that these large and dense villages exhibit a higher preference for septic tanks over pits in all states except West Bengal where pits are preferred. A majority of households have reported their toilets were private constructions. We find the preference patterns are manifested not only by the choices of building septic tanks or pits but also through the large variations in their design and sizes which are influenced by socio-economic, technical and behavioural factors. We also find specific trends in demand for desludging services by households which are influenced by internal factors such as their social status and economic well-being and by external factors such as availability of mechanised operators or continued reliance on manual cleaning and their costs which cumulatively constitute the supply side of sanitation services.
  • Topic: Government, Water, Infrastructure, Sanitation
  • 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: Bhanu Joshi, Kanhu Charan Pradhan
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Financial incentives including government support grants for infrastructure creation, health and education development in many countries is contingent on where people live. In India, the allocation of critical government subsidies explicitly recognises urban population as a criterion for budgetary allocation. Yet, the fundamental question about what is an urban area and what does it entail to be recognised as an urban settlement in India remains understudied. This paper aims to understand the definitional paradigm of statutory towns in India. We create a novel dataset of all state laws in India on the constitution of urban local governments. We analyse the eligibility criteria that would qualify any area to become urban local bodies under the law in different states and find large variation among states. In our dataset, only fifteen of the twenty-seven states explicitly define and have laws on urban settlements. Within these fifteen states, we find that many small and transitional urban areas violate the eligibility criteria laid down by the state laws constituting them. We further find that states which do not provide statutory laws rely on executive fiat, i.e. it is the prerogative of the state government to declare the creation of a statutory town. What then becomes or “unbecomes” urban in these states is open to dispute. The full extent of this variation and reasons thereof can open up new avenues of scholarship.
  • Topic: Government, Infrastructure, Urbanization, Budget, Legislation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Aditya Bhol
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Burgeoning urbanisation coupled with policy implementation gaps have resulted in growing disparities in the provision of public infrastructure services in urban areas of India. Apart from the impact of this, a household’s ability to procure basic amenities is also subject to its economic and social condition and the prevalence of social or spatial inequalities. This paper considers a basic household amenity – toilets – and using survey data gauges a household’s likelihood of owning one based on economic and social conditions and infrastructural parameters such as water supply and drainage using a binary multivariate logistic regression model. Horizontal or social group-based inequalities, which are often neglected in the sanitation discourse in India, are found to have a significant impact on access to toilets along with the existence of disparities based on consumption expenditure and drainage. The findings ascertain the existence of multidimensional disparities at the state level, refuting centralised programmes adopted to meet Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Topic: Infrastructure, Urbanization, Inequality, Sustainable Development Goals, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Kiran Bhatty, Radhika Saraf, Vrinda Gupta
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The focus of the study, and the analysis in this paper, is on the issue of student attendance, in order to capture its extent – both continuous and sporadic - as well as to highlight its relevance in the larger meaning of an “out-of-school child”. The analysis is focused on possible household and school factors that can explain the variation in attendance across social groups and gender as well as across school type. In other words, this paper is an attempt to i) provide a more accurate estimate of OOSC using both household and school level data on children as well as an expanded definition of dropped out by including sporadic attendance data; ii) document the variation in attendance patterns by social groups and iii) unpack reasons for low attendance based on a set of household and school level factors. Accordingly, after describing the research and data collection, the paper is divided into two parts: Part I describes the survey findings and estimates of OOSC and attendance patterns of students and teachers. Part II provides an analysis of the links between child attendance and various household and school level factors.
  • Topic: Education, Infrastructure, Children, Child Poverty
  • 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: 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: 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
  • Author: Ashish Ranjan, Bhanu Joshi, Neelanjan Sircar
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: We were warned not to take the bus from Silchar to Guwahati. Unfortunately, the train was fully booked, so we had no other option. As soon as we left the city limits of Silchar, we began to make our way through the soggy, bumpy mess that was supposedly the route to Guwahati. We could only discern that this was intended to be a road by the fact that a few other buses, trucks and cars were similarly trying to maneuver through this muddle. A fellow traveler offered, “Roads in Sikkim and Meghalaya have improved in the last five years; here we still search for a pucca road.
  • Topic: Government, Migration, Politics, Infrastructure, Elections
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia, Assam
  • 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: Nimmi Kurian
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: China’s One Belt One Road Initiative has virtually been a lightning rod for divisive debate and a polarised narrative since it was announced in 2013. For India, it has been the proverbial elephant in the room, as it awkwardly swings between willful pretence and wishful erasure. The policy brief looks at the clues this initiative could offer on the likely drivers of China’s economic diplomacy in the region. There could be three signals for India to watch out for. A clear pointer is the growing role of domestic determinants in setting the direction and pace of China’s regional economic engagement. Another pointer could be China’s role in shaping and defining Asia’s new institutional financial architecture. Lastly, the initiative could be a signal of how China is likely to engage with the larger questions of benefit sharing, trade-offs and the allocation of risks and burdens in subregional Asia.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Infrastructure, Economic Growth, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Krithika A. Dinesh, Meenakshi Kapoor, Kanchi Kohli, Manju Menon, Preeti Venkatram
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: People around the world live in areas that have been altered for industrial, infrastructure or mining projects. Their lives and occupations are being negatively impacted by problems of access, encroachment or pollution. Though governments in many countries have regulatory procedures for implementing environmental and social safeguards that are applicable to such projects so that problems can be minimised or mitigated, the qualitative difference of such regulatory systems depends on the efficacy of their compliance safeguards. Typically, in countries where compliance is low, projects meant for development have also resulted in substantial environmental and social costs. Governments and investors fear the implementation of environmental policies and claim that these are bottlenecks or speed breakers to growth. Several new studies show that stringent compliance of environmental policies will neither affect competitiveness nor slow down GDP growth. On the contrary, it may result in bottom line benefits at the level of projects as well as sustain economic growth by enhancing efficiency and innovation. India promulgated a series of environmental legislations between 1980 and 2005 to ensure that environmental and social impacts of land use change, infrastructure development and industrialisation are kept in check and timely mitigation is undertaken. The laws establish detailed procedures for assessing the environmental impacts of the proposed projects that are likely to cause land use change. The laws also involve the laying of conditions that are attached to the approvals granted to these projects. These conditions are meant to mitigate or prevent damage or impacts to the extent ascertained by the project proponents and the government or regulator. Since the time these laws were first designed, there have been numerous amendments to them to change the scope of applicability of these laws, the time taken by regulators for decision-making and the sharing of responsibility between state and central governments in implementing these laws. However, one aspect of these laws that has seen minimal change is in their monitoring and compliance regimes. What happens to the projects once they are granted approvals? Do they comply with all the conditions imposed on them for mitigating or minimising environmental and social impacts? Who oversees these processes and what is the extent to which compliance is achieved? This report is the outcome of a research project undertaken to understand the efficacy of conditional compliance, institutional monitoring and enforcement of environmental regulations to address the impacts faced by communities living around industrial and infrastructure projects. The project identified the institutions responsible for monitoring and compliance under various environmental laws, their procedures and practices by which these roles are realised. While it has been known that government agencies and regulatory bodies hold the formal duties of monitoring, the project also focused on how affected communities engage these institutions for greater compliance and remedies in case of environmental and social impacts of various kinds, such as encroachment or damage to common or private property, loss of livelihoods and loss of access to public spaces. By analysing the efforts made by affected parties to engage with environmental institutions to craft remedies for existing environmental impacts, this research aims to highlight regulatory ingredients that are necessary for sound environment regulation and better outcomes through compliance. If translated into concrete policy on environmental monitoring and compliance, these lessons could address the chasm between enforcement of environmental regulations and the ever-growing difficulties of meeting environmental challenges.
  • Topic: Environment, Industrial Policy, Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Legislation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Anjali Chikersal, Aditya Bhol
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Since the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission in October 2014, sanitation issues in India are receiving immense attention from policymakers, media and civil society alike. The sector however received enormous funds even before this scheme with little positive results. This paper argues that the translation of the current hype into the right policies and practical schemes for amelioration of the poor conditions depends upon a complete rethinking of the entire approach to the issue. Brazil has gone through a series of transformations in the sector that provide a useful lens to India to examine the issue with. It will need similar radical changes, starting from recognition of sanitation as a basic human right to effective regulation, for India to begin to address this massive challenge.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Infrastructure, Regulation, Social Policy, Urban, Sanitation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Brazil, South America