A constituent institute of the University of Allahabad

Completed Projects

 

 

Research Projects: Completed (2016-17)

Migration and Cultural Traditions of Bhojpuri Region: A Research and documentation project, Badri Narayan Tiwari 
(Funded by The Sir Jamsetji Tata Trust (SJTT), Mumbai on 15.08.2013 for a period of three years) 

The project studies and documents the cultural heritage of Bhojpuri speaking migrant labourers who left their native village sin Bihar and UP to work in different industrial and big cities like Surat, Delhi and Mumbai while leaving behind their cultural heritage and family members. While it is their economic need , which drives them out from their native lands, it is their culture that helps them to emotionally connect with their homeland. After a hard day’s grueling labour, when they get together in their slums and ghettoes and sing songs together, they are able to mitigate some of the pain at separating from their native villages and loved ones. For the people who are left behind in the homeland too, like the wives, children, parents and siblings, this cultural repertoire provides solace and helps them to surmount the pain and anguish at the going away of their loved ones. It also lends insight into the continuity and change that takes place in the two cultures of homeland and destination due to migration. This project aims to transcend the mere documentation of songs or memories but rather swathes a wide area that includes forging connectivity between the migrants and their homelands using culture as the medium, bringing the unknown poets and story tellers into the mainstream, supporting higher studies in culture and migration studies, and sensitizing the general public about the rich cultural repertoire of the Bhojpuri migrants by setting up exhibitions and archives, launching a website, publishing books, resource books and so on. The project identifies the ‘tangible heritage’ and will link it with ‘intangible heritage’. 

Social Movements in Chhattisgarh: A Tribal Perspective (Coordinator: G. C. Rath)

The history of tribal uprisings in Chhattisgarh, started in colonial period, preferred to be termed as ‘customary rebellion’; defined as ‘pre-colonial and pre-capitalist in form, aimed at conserving or improving traditional orders’. This form of rebellion was broken out in 1876 in Bastar, when the tribal subjects forced open the granaries of the raja and took away the grain. The rebellion became widespread and the king sought the help of the colonial administration to control it. Usually, this rebellion could come under the category of customary rebellion but Nandini Sunder (1999:103) preferred to call it as new encounter between the Bastar peasants, their ruler and the British paramount power. Taking this form of rebellion into background, the present research has attempted to explore the continuity of the movement tradition in this state after colonial period and its present form in specific reference to the tribe as active participants.  

After independence, the movements were spearheading against the democratic state and other stake holders. In the post-liberalization period, though the multinational forces curtailed the role of the state and played the primal role in creating the situation of crisis, the movement continued to target the state for remedies, not against the multinational power centers.  The present study has analyzed the feature of the social movements raised in the state since 1950s and clubbed them into three broad categories: cultural movements; protest movements and rights based movements.  In the cultural movement, the tribal leaders tried to reform the religious behavior to make the people adjust with the change. The role of the state and local sources of exploitation were addressed through the religious performances. The protest movement, no doubt, is raised against the injustice at the workplace; but it is not always remained confrontational. The leaders also go for negotiation if it is needed so. For instance, Shankar Guha Niyogi, one of the exponents of the protest movements in the State, took advice of the Bhilai Steel Plant’s management for an alternative semi-mechanization plan capable of delivering the requisite productivity. He did so as there was threat of retrenchment of larger workforce. At the same time, it is not anti-culture. Niyogi formed the Chattisgarh Mukti Morcha (CMM) with the commemoration of the martyrdom of Veer Narain Singh, a tribal leader who had been hanged to death  by the British on December 19, 1857. He came to realize that culture is the important medium of organizing the members of the closed society like tribe. This is how the cultural traits of the earlier movement continued to find place in the present protest movement.  

Monitoring & Evaluation of Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan (RMSA) in 18 Districts of Uttar Pradesh (Coordinator: S. K. Pant)

The scheme was launched in March, 2009 with the objective of enhancing the access to secondary education and also to improve its quality. The implementation of the scheme started from 2009-10. It is being envisaged to achieve an enrolment rate of 75% from 52.26% observed in 2005-06 at the secondary stage of implementation of the scheme by providing a secondary school within a reasonable distance of any habitation. The other objective includes improving the quality of education imparted at secondary level by making all the secondary schools conform to prescribed norms, remove  gender, socio-economic and disability barriers and provide universal access to secondary level education by 2017, i.e., by the end of 12th Five Year Plan and achieving universal retention by 2020. The whole exercise of monitoring and evaluation has been carried out on the basis of terms of reference (TOR) prepared by Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India and covers a total number of 25 schools available in each of the district. Adequate care has been taken to include every type of school in the sample even if their presentation was quite small. The study covers 18 districts of Uttar Pradesh namely Kushinagar, Deoria, Maharajganj, Varanasi, Chandauli, Shravasti, Sonebhadra, Unnao, Sultanpur, Sant Ravidas Nagar (Bhadohi), Sant Kabir Nagar, Siddharth Nagar, Mirzapur, Fatehpur, Jaunpur, Mau, Azamgarh and Ghazipur respectively.

The study comprehensively establishes that RMSA has succeeded in enhancing the state of physical infrastructure, enrolment level of students etc. since its inception in 2009. However, in the areas like soliciting support through School Management and Development Committee (SMDC) and training of teachers not much success  has been achieved. The study also shows that quite a large proportion of schools also suffered from lack of teachers, weak supervision and other support services.

Recovering Lost Histories: Nara Maveshi Movement among Dalits in Uttar Pradesh (Coordinators: Badri NarayanTiwari and Archna Singh; Funded by the Indian Council of Historical Research)

This project proposes to study and analyze the various aspects of the Nara Maveshi Movement (NMM) an uprising by the Chamars (shoemaker caste) around the fifties to shed their caste based profession. It traces and documents the history of the NMM, in UP, ranging from the minor incidents of 1950 to the various sporadic incidents at different places between 1955 and 1985. Furthermore field studies are being undertaken and in the oral tradition, following the baat se baat techniques detailed interviews are being conducted with the NMM activists, exploring the collective dalit memory. This study is based on primarily the field survey of five villages namely Shahabpur, Bihra, Katka, Babusarai and Jugrajpur located in Allahabad and Bhadohi districts in east UP. 

NMM was one of the precipitating factors of the dalit politics that emerged in the decade of the sixties. In fact the activists of the NMM later formed the foot-soldiers of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and were instrumental in its emergence as a viable political force. The research documents the politicization of Dalits in the rural society during the process of such grassroots level social movement by establishing links between NMM and Dalit politics.

Sufi Saint and Their Relevance in Contemporary Society (Coordinator: AR Mishra)

Islam in contemporary times infected with terrorism is commonly perceived as a monolithic religion ever arguing for a homogenous way of life and, for it, attempting to retrieve the past. What is of importance is that within the same religion developed another form popularly known as Sufism which has undergone various phases of change with new events occurring in history. The project was an attempt to study the Sufi Shrines of Barabanki district which was established in the 19th century a period of political turmoil and social shifts. 

It was found that they developed a common space for both Hindus and Muslims (sometimes Christians also) with changed language. Brahma and Allah were considered the same. Kabir at one  Sufi centre is considered to be one of the greatest Saints of the world. Malfujat of one Saint is descriptive of his spiritual journey which he travels. Some Sufis also composed Bhajans and Urdu Couplets with words drawn from Awadhi lexicon. They have become centres of peace with hope of liberation. Music and dance prohibited in Islam has gained immense popularity. Local commerce has also created Sufi saint space for itself.

Understanding Brahmanism: A Critique of Day to Day life of Brahmins in an Identified Village (Coordinator: AR Mishra) 

Few terms have been in used so frequently in modern politics and sociology as Brahmanism. But what is Brahmanism in contemporary times is mentioned nowhere. Studies conducted slip into an understanding of Brahmins rather than understanding Brahmanism. The present study attempts to understand Brahmanism through a critique of their everyday life and their perception of their own self and others.   

Sustainability, Livelihood and Freedom: The Development Challenges in the Stone-quarry sector in Uttar Pradesh (Coordinator: Sunit Singh)

The study is an attempt to address three basic issues which the mining sector in general and the stone quarry sector in particular is confronting at present in our country. Sustainability, livelihood and freedom are the triple development challenges that need to be addressed simultaneously at policy as well as practice level in the mining and quarrying sector. Rampant environmental degradation, prevalence of debt-bondage and absence of community based collective action for livelihood security are posing serious threats to the entire development process.  Consequent to the apex court orders the central and the state governments are struggling to regulate the mining and stone quarrying sector. However, the ongoing efforts are far from the comprehensive approach towards sustainability. The goal of environmental sustainability is strongly being challenged by the champions of labor rights.

The study seeks to suggest a community-based participatory model to achieve sustainability equilibrium by balancing environmental sustainability with inclusiveness and freedom of laborers trapped under bondage conditions for generations. Further, it attempts to suggest a roadmap to move forward in the direction of sustainability with humane face. 

The Freedom Plans: Collective Resistance to Situations of Un-freedom at Local Level (Coordinator: Sunit Singh)

Moving forward along the freedom plans prepared by the SHGs of bonded laborers by themselves has been a unique initiative in the field of development planning and action research. It is based on community driven participatory approach. It is a multi dimensional and a long term outcome based process oriented initiative. It is an attempt to consolidate the multiple coping strategies to address the debt-bondage issue by the extremely poor and hunger prone families. These plans represent a paradigm shift in the risk management planning at local level. It provides insights to bridge the existing gaps in the food security system through a convergence approach. These plans are rolling plans based on progressive learning. These plans do not have any predictable or measurable indicators for assessing their progress instead they move forward through continuous participatory mapping and assessment of outcomes. It is quite close to the post-modernist perspectives of development planning (Maxwell 1995) and therefore provides new insights to the freedom and security debate in particular. The Freedom Plans have five components. First, the identification of multiple forms of existing vulnerabilities being faced by the marginalized stakeholders at the grassroots level, their interdependent and mutually reinforcing nature, and their role in creating chronic conditions of extreme poverty, hunger and debt-bondage. The identification is done collectively by the group members by themselves. Second, the identification of the challenges that are responsible for the existing vulnerabilities. These challenges include all dimensions of livelihood security, a prerequisite for sustainable food security. While preparing the plans the participants acknowledge the importance of challenges being faced by all the members of the household. This helped making the plan comprehensive with due care to gender issues and the needs of young children and old age persons as well.  

Other Backward Classes in Uttar Pradesh: Politics and Culture (Coordinator: Satendra Kumar; Funded by Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi)

Since January 2014, I have been working on the ICSSR funded project on the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in UP.  The OBCs has emerged as a powerful political category in North Indian politics and has transformed the composition of the Indian Parliament over the last two decades. However, we still know very little about the ground reality of this category.  This project explores the questions: who are the OBCs? To what extent they form a coherent block or social category, with similar hopes and aspirations, and how different caste groups’ vision of the social justice, equality and democracy articulated? How and why some of the caste groups within the OBCs have been able to corner more benefits of state welfare than others? Taking a comparative study of Meerut and Allahabad districts, his research project aims to understand meanings of being an OBC in contemporary India. The project was concluded in January 2016.

We found that the OBCs is highly heterogeneous category-- not only in terms of wealth-land and political power but also culturally. There is a big division between landowning dominant caste groups such as Jats, Gujjars and Yadavs on the one hand, and artisan-services castes such as carpenter, blacksmith and Dhimvar on the other. Inherited economic and political inequalities play important role accessing government jobs and participating in democratic politics, and gaining political positions. We recommend government and policy makers should avoid treating the OBCs as a homogenous group. This treatment had affected the artisan-service OBCs badly since the major benefits, for the OBCs, have been cornered by the dominant OBCs. India’s reservation policy should disaggregate the OBCs and it should advance redistribution mechanism. This research brought out that the use of the OBC category as homogeneous, passive and static had reinforced existing socio-economic and cultural inequalities among the different caste groups within this category, instead of redressing them, the main purpose of reservation policies. Understanding the various complex ways that reservation policies are exacerbating caste inequality, while in other ways decreasing it can guide policymakers in modifying reservation policies in the future. 

The struggle for Recognition and Redistribution of Dalits; A proposal for Documenting and Researching Madigas' Culture, Identity and Struggle for Justice in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh (Coordinator: Chandraiah Gopani; Funded by Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi)  

The main aim of the project is to explore the Madigas' culture, identity formation and struggle for SC (Schedule Castes) sub-categorisation and due share in opportunities and resources in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. It has traced and analyze the historical trajectory of Madigas’ movement and its implications on Dalit movement and politics. Broadly the project attempted to address the following Research questions; Who are the Madigas? What are their socio, cultural resources for their identity formation and articulation? Why, there are internal struggles for recognition and redistribution within Dalits? What are the new issues and concerns of Dandora or MRPS movement in erstwhile Andra Pradesh? What are the legal and policy level challenges to SC sub-categorization? What are the implications of SC categorization on Dalit movement and politics?. In Essence project is documented and analyzed the 23 years of Madigas Mobilization and struggles in Telugu region.

 

Projects Completed (2013-14)

Cultural Resources and Forging a Democratic Order: Marginalized Groups in Northern India: A Research, Documentation and Dissemination Project’.
The project was sponsored by Ford Foundation on 1st August 2009 for a period of three years.
(Badri Narayan)

 

The project focused mainly on the contemporary socio-cultural political situation of Uttar Pradesh. It planned to explore the socio-cultural roots of Dalit empowerment and their struggle against inequality generated through the hierarchical caste system which deprived them in all spheres of their socio-cultural and political life. It aimed to do an extensive and intensive study of the socio-cultural roots of Dalit life which appear as the basis of the formation of contemporary Dalit political language and mobilization for equality against the deprivation and exclusion of marginal communities in Indian society.   This project also studied the various innovative processes of cultural production, reproduction and circulation among marginalized communities and their role in the making of the subversive socio-political consciousness of the Dalits in their everyday life-culture. It also investigated how the dalit’s democratic consciousness, visible in the contemporary period is being used by them for strengthening their struggle against social inequality and their socio-political and cultural exclusion. Alongside, the project also analysed the cultural resources of the sects in question that are the underpinning of the present day Dalit cultural resources, in order to explore how they are facilitating the dalits to develop a critical thinking to fight against the century old social injustice faced by them and to participate in the democratic discourse of the society. The project studied how the interaction with sects like Kabirpanth ,Ravidas panth, Satnami panth, Shiv Narayani panth, Mahima Dharma  have led to the formation of cultural notions of social justice within marginalized communities that is sustaining them in their struggle against the social, cultural and political exclusion which they face in their everyday life. 

 

‘The case study of best performing Panchayats’ by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj’. The report of 9 Panchayats(4-UP.2-Rajasthan, 2-Odisha and 1-Uttarakhand)
(G. C. Rath)

 

There are three purposes in the study of the best performing Panchayats as assigned to me by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Govt. of India : i) to understand the dynamics of these Panchayats that lead to favourable outcomes, ii)  to disseminate these practices and iii) to use the collected materials in training programmes.  I have undertaken study of the Panchayats spread over the states of Uttar Pradesh (4 no.s), Odisha (2 no.s) Rajasthan (2 no.s) and Uttarakhand (1 no.). Each Panchayat was visited four to five days. Though it is a very short period for a case study but it provides a comprehensive understanding about the ongoing political process in grass root democracy, mostly across the Panchayats of central India. I have submitted the reports to the Ministry.

During the study, I found that the people are seriously thinking for a change in the existing structure of the Panchayat. One stream of such thinking was to conduct the Panchayat election in the party line, so that, according to them, it could lead to an effective decentralization. The present study will discuss about this debate on the basis of the views of the Panchayat members and common villagers.  As these awards winning Panchayats have been selected through a government process, the view of its members and the villagers will possibly carry immense importance in this case.  I will take six months to write a paper after analysing it.

 

Projects Completed (2012-13)

Research Support to Education - Leadership Programme in Uttar Pradesh (Phase II) (funded by the NEG FIRE) 
(Pradeep Bhargava)

 

This project provided research support to the Education-Leadership Programme of the NEG-FIRE (New Education Group - Foundation for Innovation and Research in Education, Delhi. It monitors the programme visualizing the final outcome of the programme given the milestones in different programme phases for which key indicators were identified. This would help bridge the gaps between expected output and actual performance suggesting various measures including key inputs required for edu-leaders, interaction with community, innovation in pedagogy, and community support.

The eduleadership programme tends to promote quality education in primary schools through leadership. Its prime objectives are to increase access of marginalized children to schools and increase the learning level of children with the support of community and local governance. The eduleaders are the key components of the program and they will strive to bring changes in the way school functions, teachers teach, children learn, communities participate and accountability of officials. This programme has been running in the four districts which are relatively backward in education namely Maharajganj, Badaun, Muzaffarnagar and Azamgarh. The project studies the emergence of eduleaders as a transformative force; the transformation that takes place in schools and among teachers; the transformation of the children of marginalities; struggle of the community to engage with educational processes and the progress made as per the Base line survey.

The Project is supported by NEG-FIRE, New Delhi

 

Cultural Resources and Forging a Democratic Order: Marginalized Groups in Northern India: A Research, Documentation and Dissemination Project’
Badri Narayan

Working on a major project ‘Cultural Resources and Forging a Democratic Order: Marginalized Groups in Northern India: A Research, Documentation and Dissemination Project’ sponsored by Ford Foundation on 1st August 2009 for a period of three years.

The project focuses mainly on the contemporary socio-cultural political situation of Uttar Pradesh. It plans to explore the socio-cultural roots of Dalit empowerment and their struggle against inequality generated through the hierarchical caste system which deprived them in all spheres of their socio-cultural and political life. It aims to do an extensive and intensive study of the socio-cultural roots of Dalit life which appear as the basis of the formation of contemporary Dalit political language and mobilization for equality against the deprivation and exclusion of marginal communities in Indian society.   This project will also study the various innovative processes of cultural production, reproduction and circulation among marginalized communities and their role in the making of the subversive socio-political consciousness of the Dalits in their everyday life-culture. It will also investigate how the dalit’s democratic consciousness, visible in the contemporary period is being used by them for strengthening their struggle against social inequality and their socio-political and cultural exclusion. Alongside, the project will also analyse the cultural resources of the sects in question that are the underpinning of the present day Dalit cultural resources, in order to explore how they are facilitating the dalits to develop a critical thinking to fight against the century old social injustice faced by them and to participate in the democratic discourse of the society. It must be clarified that we are not proposing to study the sects Kabirpanth ,Ravidas panth, Satnami panth, Shiv Narayani panth, Mahima Dharma, per se but will only study how the interaction with these sects have led to the formation of cultural notions of social justice within marginalized communities that is sustaining them in their struggle against the social, cultural and political exclusion which they face in their everyday life.

Completed project Violence and political process in UP (1989-2009) by the ICSSR as an Individual scholar 

 

Projects Completed (2011-12)

An Assessment of the Family Strengthening Programme
A study funded by SOS
(Pradeep Bhargava)

 

The project evaluated Family Strengthening Programme run by SOS, Varanasi. The evaluation covered child holistic development within a caring family environment, strengthening social support network in their families and quality management of the organization. The study found that the programme has inculcated a spirit of living into the beneficiaries. Children are now more healthy, enrolled and regular in schools; and the gender difference among them has lessened. Women are more autonomous, organized and aware of their rights and duties. They negotiate their relations with husbands and also challenged government authority. The programme has enhanced livelihood and employment generation opportunities of the poor. There is substantial increase in income due to expansion in economic activities. A report titled “Mother Courage and her Children” was submitted.

 

5% Sample Checking of DISE Data of Varanasi and Khusinagar Districts of U. P. (funded by the MHRD)
(S. K. Pant)

 

            Planning, in the modern time, has assumed a far more significance than it used to have earlier. In an effort to speed up the growth, no nature, how so ever small or big, can afford to commit mistake in planning and get away with it because a single mistake, no matter have trivial by nature, could not only push back the nature on the development path but may also herald upteam unforeseen disastrous consequences that may take unprecedented amount of time and resources to put back the deranted economy into a higher trajectory of growth. The success of planning, these days, not only depends upon the availability of infrastructure and its efficiency in creating the plans, but also on the latest update and current status of data on the resources available. Obsolete, out dated and irrelevant data on resources not only make the planning highly superficial and ritualistic but also unrealistic.  Thus, realising the need, relevance and importance of data, the government created District Information System for Education (DISE) at district level in 1975. DISE since its inception has undergone extensive reviews and modifications that has not only enlarged its coverage and scope and has also made it more compatible to the needs and requirements of the situations. Acknowledging the importance of validation exercise, the government has now made it mandatory to get all the records periodically validated on sample basis. The existing exercise proportion of un-aided schools was reported to be over 26 percent. The study found in the majority of cases, the DISE data matched with sample survey data on a large numbers of parameters pertaining to school information. However in some few  indicators like establishment year of schools, the position of class rooms in the schools, the level of variation was quite large, whereas in most of the cases, it was quite marginal and non significant. The study also found that the overall level of supervision and monitoring was not high and quite a few of the sample schools also suffered from high incidence of absenteeism. Similarly most of the Principals/Head teachers had remained untrained, which was in contravention to SSA guidelines.

 

External Evaluation of Mid Day Meal in 10 Districts of Uttar Pradesh (funded by the MHRD)
 (S. K. Pant)

 

            The study intends to cover the overall performance of MDM programme in the following ten districts of Uttar Pradesh namely Sitapur, CSM Nagar, Kannauj, Lalitpur, Mahoba, Aligarh, Shravasti, Basti, Chandauli and Rampur. In other words, it intends to examine how is MDM being implemented in these sample districts. The study follows the research design suggested by the sponsoring agencies viz. Mid Day Meal Authority, Lucknow. Accordingly, it covers a total of 100 schools from each of the sample districts. The study focuses on the following aspects:

 

Whether MDM is being served in the sample schools or not? Whether the menu of the day for MDM programme is being displayed in the school premises, preferably, on the black board on the school’s wall? Study whether the quantity of food being served under the programme is adequate and served according to the norms of the programme. Examine whether the quality of food served under MDM is being maintained. Attempt would also be made to study whether the socio-economic and gender profile of the persons entrusted with the task of cooking MDM has been as per the prescribed guideline’s norms. Study whether the venue of cooking of Mid Day Meal has been as per the programme’s guidelines or not? Whether the food grains are being kept within the school premises or not? Suggest appropriate measures to improve the overall functioning of MDM programme.

 

The detail analysis of MDM programme in the ten sample districts provides a bag of mixed experiences and outcomes. It has succeed in areas like ensuring the functionality of the programme, following the guidelines regarding display of MDM menu, quality and quantity of meals, providing separate kitchen shed, providing gender sensitization in the recruitment of cooks, utensils for cooking, provision of potable water for cooking of meals in an overwhelming proportion of schools. However, in other aspects like organizing health check-up camps or maintaining health register/health cards, distribution of micro-nutrients, or even invoking the community participation and supervision etc., it has not met with success as was expected of it. Nevertheless, it could be safely argued that MDM has succeeded in positively influencing the perception of children as well as parents towards school and school related activities. What is required is to not only sustain the relevant and appropriate social interventions but also apply it more regoursely and intensively in those areas where the outcome/results have not come up as per our expectations. What needs to be remembered is that MDM in a social intervention, which is being applied in what is called is a traditionally hard or difficult states (one of the BIMARU) that has been a traditional seal of conservatism, feudalism, backwardness etc. These intervention may take a relatively more time to fructify. The other positive fallout of the Mid Day Meal programme was that it has succeeded in promoting not only the process of gender sensitization but also mitigating the incidence of caste discrimination. Hence, it could be said that the MDM programme has succeeded to a large extent in influencing the mind set of the people in the state and therefore, it can be safely stated that the beginning has already been made, though much more is to be achieved.

 

External Evaluation of Resource Centre for Adult & Continuing Education (State Resource Centre) BHOPAL and Indore, M.P. (funded by the MHRD)
 (S. K. Pant)

 

            State Resource Centres could be defined as the professional institutions sanctioned to reputed NGOs and universities under the scheme of Assistance to Voluntary Agencies. The SRCs receive cent percent grant from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, Department of School Education and Literacy. Their main responsibility has been to provide technical and academic support to all agencies working in the field of adult and life long education in the states in which they are located.

 

            The study follows the research design suggested by the sponsoring agencies viz. National Literacy Mission Authority, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India. The study covers the SRC Bhopal and SRC Indore for the evaluation exercise. The general objective of the evaluation, as stated in the guidelines, has been to ascertain the extent to which the SRC has been able to achieve the objectives or the purpose and identify the factors that have been hampering its performance or achievement level.

 

            Since SRC is expected to achieve its objectives by organizing an array of activities in producing materials, training, networking and research, the evaluation exercise, therefore, seeks to find out what inputs, human and non-human (like resource persons, administrative personnel and financial resources), have been available for these activities. It also analyses how the activities (the through-put) have been carried out by SRC and what has been its outcome (output).

 

            It is relevant to recall that a comprehensive evaluation goes beyond the assessment of various elements of input, throughput and output, and tries to explain the success or failure of SRC in achieving its objectives by identifying the factors that have affected the activities of the SRC both positively and negatively.

 

A study of Value Chain of Rice in India, in collaboration with IFPRI (funded by IFPRI)
(Sunit Singh)

 

This study was part of a larger research study that addressed three major questions relating to domestic staple food value chains in Asia: (1) Are staples value chains transforming structurally? (2) Is the conduct of staples value chains’ actors transforming? (3) Is the performance of staples value chains leading to the inclusion of small-scale farmers, small-scale midstream actors, and workers, and (all else being equal) to lower food costs for consumers? To address the questions, about 3,500 farmers, traders, millers, cold storage facilities, and modern and traditional retailers of rice and potato value chains were surveyed in key rural producing centers that serve the large urban centers (Dhaka, Beijing, and Delhi) of three economies (Bangladesh, the People’s Republic of China [PRC], and India). Domestic value chains were chosen, as they accommodate 98% of the staples in the region. Rice and potatoes are the main grain and the main vegetable staple in these countries. The survey’s findings indicate that a transformational modernization is under way in these staple food chains, albeit at different speeds. In the rice value chain transformation, the leader is the PRC, which appears to be changing faster or has transformed further, especially in the remarkable development of its rice milling sector. In the potato value chain, India is taking the lead, with the spectacular rise of potato cold storage facilities (CSFs) in Agra.

 

Rapid but Differentiated Transformation

 

This transformation is a “quiet revolution,” as these changes are grassroots in nature. Important drivers of the transformation of rice and potato value chains have been the increase in scale and change in technology of rice milling and potato storage. On the demand side, there was a surge in the demand for potatoes and other vegetables with increases in incomes and in megacities’ populations. This created, in turn, a demand for offseason supply of potatoes and for higher-quality rice. On the supply side, the number of medium–large mills with modernized technologies and of modern CSFs has increased rapidly. Both the diffusion of CSFs and the modernization of mills have been favored by direct government subsidies as well as indirect government support through major investments in road improvement and the installation of energy grids so crucial to milling and cooling. Specific features of the transformation by value-chain segment are as follows:

 

Upstream segments of the value chains. There is great heterogeneity in farm sizes and distribution of non-land assets. But all farmers, regardless of how small their plots are, are commercializing as they engage in nonfarm labor markets and use more external inputs per hectare. Factor markets for farm machines, water, and land rental are vibrant. Armed with mobile phones, farmers are more informed of what, how, and for whom to produce.

 

Midstream segments. Rice mills are modernizing. Driven primarily by the private sector, and coupled with technological change, mills are consolidating. The number of small village mills has declined rapidly, particularly in PRC and India. Especially in the PRC, and to some extent in Bangladesh, rice mills have changed their procedures and are buying directly from farmers, selling directly to agents in wholesale markets, and branding and packaging the rice. These changes may make the chain more efficient, and certainly help in quality differentiation and traceability. The rice and paddy wholesale segment has also been transforming rapidly, especially in the PRC and Bangladesh, and somewhat in India. The roles of village traders linking farmers and rural wholesale markets or mills, and of semi-wholesalers linking rural mills and urban wholesale markets or supermarket chains, have diminished greatly. Traders in wholesale markets have made important investments in warehouses and trucks and have on average increased their scale.

 

Downstream segments. Supermarkets have penetrated urban rice retail, most deeply and widely in Beijing, where they have about half the market. Delhi supermarkets have only started to penetrate the rice market, with about 7% of sales. This penetration can be expected to accelerate, given that foreign direct investment in retail was liberalized in September 2012. In Bangladesh, supermarkets have barely started to enter the market. Supermarkets and traditional rice shops and stalls have been shifting from loose, unbranded rice to packaged, branded rice. This has progressed furthest and fastest in the PRC, driven by the practices of modernizing rice mills. Supermarket chains buy some rice from the wholesale markets, and some directly from large mills. Governments in Bangladesh and the PRC no longer directly engage in rice retail, but the government still does so in India. The survey showed that the Fair Price Shops’ share of retail sales was only about 15% in Delhi.

 

The survey results have come out in the form of a published book entitled The Quiet Revolution in Staple Food Value Chains: Enter the dragon, the elephant and the tiger, (Reardon, Minten, Chen & Adriano, IFPRI  2012)

 

Projects Completed (2010-11)

 

Research Support to Education - Leadership Programme in U. P.
(Pradeep Bhargava)

 

This project provided research support to the Education-Leadership Programme of the NEG-FIRE (New Education Group - Foundation for Innovation and Research in Education, Delhi.

 

The Research monitored the programme visualizing the final outcome of the programme given the milestones in different programme phases for which key indicators were identified. This helped budge the gaps between expected output and actual performance suggesting various measures including key inputs required for edu-leaders, interaction with community, innovation in pedagogy, and community support.

 

The Report pointed out the complex structure of the programme that involved laid back formal school teachers, NGOs with partial involvement, a specialised agency, young edu-leaders and the staff of the project office of the agency in suggested remedies therein.

 

The Project was supported by NEG-FIRE.

 

Children Education in Conflict and Crises Situations
(Pradeep Bhargava)

 

The project on Children’s Education in Conflict and Crises Situations explored the naxal belt of Chattisgarh to understand the relationship between conflict and education. The project funds that the State Centric Development: exploiting natural resources, land alienation, exiting/migrating from habitat, detribalization, with its  homogenizing praxis of education and knowledge, evidently left least space for alternative development, worldviews, cultures and  possibilities of knowledge systems. 

 

The response of the conflict society to such dominant modes of educational assimilative strategies was found to be either steeped in violence or deafening silence. The experience of Salwa Judum, a civilian armed response under the aegis of the State shattered the world of many children who were trapped in-between. The impregnated memory of the bloodshed has stirred their serene village life and transmuted their personality. Their choices are limited as each side wants to drag them to their side with no certainty of future, the bruised self has no space of its own to breath.  NGOs stepping in to provide relief to these children have again relied on regimentation and consentization of young minds.

 

The project was funded by New Education Group-Foundation for Innovation and Research in Education.

 

Agrarian Distress in Bundelkhand and the Response of Civil Society
(Pradeep Bhargava)

 

The Project "Agrarian Distress in Bundelkhand and the Response of Civil Society" engaged with three villages in Chitrkoot, Banda and Julaun districts of the Bundelkhand region. In order to enquire the cause of agrarian distress the study particularly focused on issues of water scarcity emanating from widespread encroachment over local water resources. The experience of three villages exposed how encroachment (of village pond) became an acceptable regular practice in the day-today discourse of village life, violating the norms of collective usages of common water bodies. Violation in this case is the outcome of a peculiar social understanding that emerged over a period of time (i) by ineffective functioning of state apparatus and the subsequent proliferation of corrupt network; (ii) by the arrival of new technologies of development which replaced the collective action for local resource management and reversed social trust to support violation. Though the vulnerability of the fragile households has increased, the inaction of the society has only consolidated further. The study of this inaction has been done by capturing the everyday village discourse around the issue. The aim is to understand the processes as they operate at the ground level and how they make agrarian distress a natural evolutionary outcome rather than a manmade disaster.

 

The project was sponsored by CASA

 

ICT and Women in the Informal Sector (In collaboration with Working Women’s Forum, Chennai)
(U. Kalpagam)

 

The study based on a survey of 200 women respondents who are informal sector workers and members of Working Women’s Forum revealed the following. The factors that determine the adoption of ICT at the level of the organization are different from those at the level of individuals. But when the two are combined it has a significant potential for empowerment. The analysis clearly suggests that differentiating the ICTs yield better insights into the needs of poor women better than an aggregated notion of ICT. Being poor, illiterate informal sector workers they have no requirements of computer skill or computer use, although they understand that such skills opens up pathways of economic mobility which they are eager for their children to access them. The mobile phone though serves useful purposes in promoting women’s micro-businesses through access to market information and reduces transaction costs. Further it improves communication in family and social life and thus the analysis supports the observation that mobile phones create ripple-effects in society, increases the density of social network and promotes trust and social capital.  Most importantly, mobile phones increases the ‘capabilities’ and ‘functioning’ of poor informal sector women. The analysis shows how these women are handling multiple roles, how it has fostered their entitlements through business promotion and increased incomes, and has enabled them to access more freedom and choice in different aspects of their lives thus contributing to increased empowerment.  The women are able to adjust the cost of mobile phone usage according to their affordability. In terms of policy, there is a need to move toward a universal coverage of mobile phone, perhaps through free distribution of the equipment for those below the poverty line and provide free help-line services for accessing various services. Three papers are published from this study.

 

Survey on Aging among Women in the Informal Sector (In collaboration with Working Women’s Forum, Chennai)
(U. Kalpagam)

 

This survey is part of a larger study on Aging in Chennai. The study found that the urban experience for the aged is not one of alienation. In many ways the aged have tried to retain and build social networks and are actively involved in the making of culture. Social networking by the aged has several gender dimensions as well.  Tendencies for nucleation, aspirations for independent living and the ability to do so, vary by socio-economic class. The processes of family nucleation and intergenerational property transfers have affected the housing condition of the aged and the living arrangements of family and kin thereby affecting their social relations. Contrary to expectations, although the poor live wretched lives, they do retain the elders within the family fold and do not abandon them but such abandonment is a growing problem among the lower middle classes. Aged women of the poorer classes have shown ingenuity in taking care of their social security concerns. New institutions have come up to address some of the needs of the aged. Much more needs to be done for better and affordable health care for the elderly of all classes and social biases against the neglect of aged women’s health needs to be addressed. More importantly, this study signals the need for culturally sensitive sociological studies on the ageing experience in the urban micro-settings to fully comprehend the lifestyle changes ushered by globalisation and modernisation. Attempts to mobilize the elders into social networks need to take account of the fact that the needs of the senior citizens and those of the ‘very elderly’ are different. Given the differences in social and gender roles, gender specificity is required in such networking and mobilisation. The needs of the elderly poor require separate consideration and different interventions.

 

Survey on Tsunami affected women and households (In collaboration with Working Women’s Forum, Chennai)
(U. Kalpagam)

 

Data was collected from 150 women affected by the Tsunami in 2004 after a five year period to assess how they coped with the disaster. This study examined the effects on women of a natural disaster, the coping strategies and relief and rehabilitation efforts with a view to understand the appropriate institutions and interventions that would be empowering to poor women in such circumstances. Disaster mitigation and risk reduction strategies are not generally gender-sensitive based as they are on the assumption of disaster being gender- neutral in its effects. Gender mainstreaming in disaster reduction strategies requires that the vulnerabilities that women are loaded with as a consequence of a patriarchal system are adequately addressed, for only by minimising these vulnerabilities can disaster-effects be reduced. Women’s vulnerabilities are not only exacerbated in the post-disaster situation but they are also forced to accept greater responsibilities as well. The efforts of WWF (I) before and after the Tsunami addressed both the needs and vulnerabilities of poor fishing women and thus helped them cope with the disaster situation.

 

School Sanitation and Hygiene Education Programme, 10 Districts of U.P.
(S. K. Pant)

 

The UNICEF contracted the G B Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad to document the learnings of the School Sanitation and Hygiene Education Programme in Uttar Pradesh. The Programme provides for water, sanitation and hand washing along with hygiene education in primary and upper primary schools. The programme inputs include active children, i.e., children learn and practice good hygiene habit, community and parent participation, management groups in schools, trained and active teachers, health and hygiene education forming healthy behaviours, school, water and sanitary facilities, good use and maintenance, linking schools with community and family, and monitoring. The purpose of this assignment is to document the best practices and results (at output/outcome level) of SSHE programme in 50 schools, five in each of the ten districts: Agra, Lalitpur, Ghaziabad, Moradabad, Mahrajganj, Varanasi, Barabanki, Raibareilly, Mirzapur and Allahabad.

 

The Project was sponsored by UNICEF, Lucknow

 

5% Sample Check of DISE Data in Mirzapur, Chandauli & Kaushambi Districts of U.P., Mirzapur, Chandauli & Kaushmabi Districts of U.P.
(S. K. Pant)

 

The District Information System for Education (DISE) is basically a statistical software developed by the National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), New Delhi in the year 1995. It is a comprehensive package that facilitates collection of school level information/data and its subsequent computerisation. The nodal point for collection of data is done at the level of district.

 

The DISE, since its inception, has undergone extensive reviews and modified accordingly. With the advent of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) in 2001, the scope of its latest version named as DISE 2001 has further been extended to cover the information up to the elementary level of education. Thus, DISE now collects the information from elementary schools up to upper-primary level in a very concrete and comprehensive way.

 

In DISE, the flow of information/data plays a very crucial and significant role. The basic data is collected at the school level in the prescribed formats. It is then subsequently verified and whetted by the Block Education Officer or Block Resource coordinator for its accuracy and completeness and passed on to the Educational Management Information System (EMIS) In charge at the District Project Office where it is fed into the computer. However, the responsibility for checking the consistency of data ultimately rests with the District Project Office.

 

The validated data, thus collected, is subsequently stored at the district level and is made available to the State Project Office where it is aggregated and collated with the help of another software called DISE which has been specifically designed for not only the analysis at the state level but also monitoring and tracking the progress of key performance indicators.

 

The Project was sponsored by State Project Directorate, U.P., Lucknow

 

Sample Study on Declining Enrolment in Primary Schools of U.P. & Ascertaining the Status of Girl’s Toilet : A Study of Jaunpur District
(S. K. Pant)

 

The study primarily focuses on identifying factors responsible for decline in the enrolment level of students at the primary level and also ascertains the status of girl student’s toilet. This has to be achieved by taking 5 percent sample of all the primary parishadiya schools in the district.