Inequality and Human Development Programme
The Inequality and Human Development aims to develop policy options based on a multidisciplinary and empirically consistent conceptualization of inequality and to contribute towards public discourse to enable more informed policy choices. The immediate task the initiative has set for itself is to address the lacunae in the policy discourse on the process of transformation of the Indian economy from an agrarian one to a non-agrarian one. This transition has been known to have massive social and economic consequences when it occurred in other parts of the world, going all the way back to the distress of the industrial revolution. And no other large country has made this transition in a democracy. It thus becomes imperative to understand both the costs and consequence of this process if we are to manage the strains such transitions inevitably cause. As a step towards such an understanding the Inequality and Human Development Programme has with the financial support of TCS launched two specific projects, one to understand the nature of the transformation from a rural economy to an urban one; and another to understand one of the most discussed possible consequences of this process, farmers’ suicides.
There are two projects within the Programme:
1. “Inequalities and the demand for non-farm occupations” - The primary aim of the project is to capture the process of transformation of the Indian economy. The transition from an agrarian economy to a non-agrarian one has taken different routes and with differing momentum across the varied regions of the country. These differences are reflected in the nature and extent of the labour being released from agriculture, the type of jobs that are emerging to absorb them, and the location of these jobs. Ascertaining the regions where the labour release from agriculture is the maximum as well as is moving out of the rural set up altogether will help in providing a locational dimension for setting up skill development centres. Its objective is to trace the people who remain in agriculture even as their role in it changes; those who leave agriculture but remain within rural areas; and those who move out of the rural areas.
2. “Inequalities and farmers’ suicides” - The process of transforming an agrarian society to a non-agrarian one also has non-economic consequences. Inequalities arising from agrarian transition could have effects that are social and psychological. This is particularly true when farmers are sometimes driven and sometimes enticed, into the less favourable dimensions of this transition. The most widely recognized examples of this pressure are in the many cases of farmers' suicides. There is thus a need to understand farmers' suicides as a reflection of the pressure of the transformation from an agrarian economy to a non-agrarian one; and the effects of the resultant inequalities, including regional inequality, on the vulnerability of farmers to suicide.
Ajay, A., 2017. Stepping into another Woman's Shoes: Substitute Women in Families of Female Emigrant Workers. , WP7-2017.
Bajar, S., 2017. Locational Mismatch between the Demand for Jobs and the Demand for Skills in India. , WP6-2017. Available at: http://eprints.nias.res.in/1261/.
Banerjee, D., 2016. Inequality and Farmers Suicides in India. , WP5-2016.
The programme has also been active in communicating its ideas about inequality and human development to public discourse through the medium of newspaper articles and talks. Some of these contributions were:
‘When institutions are put on the mat’ by Narendar Pani, Business Line, 22nd January, 2017
‘It’s governance without compassion’ by Narendar Pani, Business Line, 22nd December, 2016
‘Drowned in lakeside controversies’ by Narendar Pani, Business Line, 22nd March, 2017
‘Boys get to be born in better hospitals’ by Narendar Pani, Business Line, 26th August, 2016
‘The permanence of temporary workers’ by Narendar Pani, Business Line, 22nd June, 2016
Narendar Pani “There is a strategic shift in Congress’ campaign tactics in Karnataka” Hindustan Times, February 17, 2018.
Narendar Pani “All fired up by statues”, Business Line, April 9, 2017
Narendar Pani “Basavanna and the equitable persuasion” Business Line, March 23, 2018
Narendar Pani “Education does not deter violence” Business Line, January 23, 2018
Narendar Pani “From being Bangalored to being Trumped” Business Line, May 22, 2017
Narendar Pani “Indian universities are a mess” Business Line, Book review November 14, 2017
Narendar Pani “IPL as creator of alternative identities” Business Line, April 27, 2017
Narendar Pani “Our cities have an opinion problem” Business Line on Campus, December 26, 2017
Narendar Pani “Politics and the art of theatrics” Business Line, February 28, 2018
Narendar Pani “Powerless in the face of false cases” Business Line, November 27, 2017
Narendar Pani and Sumedha Bajar “In hinterland, politics of irrigation gives way to politics of education”. Times of India, April 16, 2018.
·Dr. Sumedha Bajar was invited to participate in an Expert Group Meeting on “Addressing Inequalities and Challenges to Social Inclusion through Fiscal, Wage and Social Protection Policies” which took place on 25 – 27 June, 2018, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. She made a presentation on “The Impact of Infrastructure Provisioning on Inequality” on 25th June, 2018. This meeting was organized by the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).
·Dr. Sumedha Bajar was invited as a resource person in the conference on “Official data and statistics on wage and employment with special reference to rural women”, where she made a presentation on “Measurement of work participation of rural workers using Census data”. The conference was held from 25th January to 26th January, 2019 and organized by Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore.
·Dr. Sumedha Bajar was invited to participate in the ‘State-Level Workshop on Karnataka’s Skill Development Policy’ that was organised by Skill Development, Entrepreneurship and Livelihood Department of Government of Karnataka.
·Prof Narendar Pani has been part of the committee to prepare the Karnataka government’s State Action Plan for meeting Sustainable Development Goal – 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full productive employment and decent work for all.
·Organized a lecture by Dr. Shashi Tharoor (Member of Parliament) on the topic “The Role of Reason in Indian Politics” on 5th May, 2018.
·The first Dadabhai Naoroji Lecture on Inequality was delivered by Prof Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog on 6th June, 2017. Prof Chand spoke on 'Agricultural and Rural Sectors in Indian Economy: Issues Related to Growth and Inequality'.
·NIAS-UNDP Policy Research Initiative on Inequality and Human Development organized a lecture on “Farmers matter in new India’s political settlement: Discontinuous agrarian policy and new class formations” by Dr. Sejuti Dasgupta, Former Faculty, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai on 10th July, 2018.
·A Public Lecture on the topic “Two Circles of growth: Marginalising the unorganized” was delivered by Prof Arun Kumar, Malcolm Adisheshiah Chair Professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi and Retired Professor Jawaharlal Nehru University on 14th September, 2018. His talk focused on the impact of recent shocks – demonetization and GST – on the economy and in particular the implications for the unorganized sector which employs 93% of the workforce and produces 45% of the output. The impact on this sector has implications for the macroeconomic variables, like, employment and rate of growth of the economy. In turn, there are implications for the social and political aspects of Indian society.
·Public lecture by Dr. Sudhakar Varanasi was organised on 9th August, 2016. The lecture was titled “Working with head and heart aligned: The story of the emergency services project 108 in India” and talked about Emergency response services which were started in 2005 in Andhra Pradesh with modern systems and technology to reach even the remotest villages. This free service has scaled up remarkably and is now available in more than 20 states and reaches about 800 million people in India and has saved more than a million lives in the past one decade.
·Prof Narendar Pani spoke on “Measurements of Multidimensional Inequality” on 24th October, 2018 as a part of the Wednesday Seminar Series at National Institute of Advanced Studies.
·Dr. Sumedha Bajar delivered a Wednesday Seminar on the topic “Gender Variations Within Rural Transition In India” on 19th December, 2018 at National Institute of Advanced Studies.
·Dr. Sumedha Bajar participated in NIAS- Wednesday Discussion Seminar and presented her work titled “The ‘where’ of Skill Development” on 26th October, 2016.