Tag: India

India’s new middle classes – friends of progress or apolitical mall-rats?

One of the topics that kept coming up during my recent trip with Oxfam India was the role of the rising middle classes. We had a great debate with Aseem Prakash from Jindal University, who is in the middle of a paper on this (I’ll link when it’s published). According to Aseem, different definitions yield numbers […]

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India’s fight for the right to education

Still processing my recent visit to see Oxfam India’s work – posts continue next week with the great debate on India’s middle classes. Education is fine example of the strengths and weaknesses of judicial activism in India. The Right to Education (RTE) Act was passed in 2009, arising out of constitutional amendment in 1999 that redefined […]

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How change happens in India – via the Supreme Court and ‘judicial activism’

With the US going to the polls today, and memories of hanging chads and lawyers swarming like flies round voting stations, it seems like a good time to talk about India’s version of judicial activism, based on my recent visit At a national level, when it comes to rights and poverty, India seems to combine […]

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India’s slums: how change happens and the challenge of urban programming

Got back from a fascinating week visiting Oxfam India last week, so the next few days’ post will be on India, sadly the world leader in poverty (by a long way). One of the areas that Oxfam is keen to develop there is its work on urban poverty, where it already works with migrant labourers, […]

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Building Active Citizenship and Accountability in Asia: case studies from Vietnam and India

Last week I attended a seminar in Bangkok on ‘active citizenship’ in Asia, part of an ‘Asia Development Dialogue’ organized by Oxfam, Chulalongkorn University and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. It brought together a diverse group of local mayors, human rights activists and academics, and discussed […]

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Tackling a cinderella issue – lethal indoor pollution

In this guest post, Oxfam’s Ian Bray (left) looks at the latest developments in getting clean cookstoves to the world’s poor (and saving two million lives a year) The recent massive electricity blackout across India received a great deal of media interest and comment. The coverage, with the exception of the ever excellent Onion, masked […]

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Fighting for food security in India

Biraj Swain (right) is Oxfam India’s Campaigns Manager and Co-Editor and author of the IDS-Oxfam India Special Bulletin “Standing on the Threshold: Food Justice in India”, launched in Delhi this week In India, over the past 15 years the debate about food, under a rights-based perspective, has become increasingly complex. Earlier concerns about famines, emergency relief […]

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The state of India – an advocacy masterclass from Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze

Jean Dreze (right) and Amartya Sen (left) are a longstanding partnership that produces brilliant analysis of India’s development path. Their recent piece ‘Putting Growth in its Place’ draws you in with some great questions, and then uses league tables to taunt India’s decision-makers into action – So you think we’re an emerging world power? Think again. We’re […]

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Are the middle classes the new revolutionaries in India and China?

“The new middle classes rise up: Marx’s revolutionary bourgeoisie finds its voice again”. That’s the title of a nice piece in this week’s Economist trying to identify a common thread in protest movements in India (Anna Hazare), China (the recent high speed rail debacle), Brazil (a spate of corruption-driven ministerial sackings) and, more tentatively, the […]

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Is India getting serious on health? And if so, why?

The Indian government aims to increase investments in its health sector to 2-3 per cent of the total GDP, according to union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. That compares with current spending of 1.1%, so if true, it represents a massive leap. Success has many fathers, and doubtless loads of people and […]

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India's missing girls: gendercide and a few glimmers of optimism

The new Indian census, which put the population at 1.2 billion, has revealed an alarming trend. Rising incomes only seem to accelerate gendercide – the evocative term for the selective abortion of girl foetuses. This from this week’s Economist: “Early data from February’s national census, published on March 31st, show India’s already skewed infant sex […]

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Why the Economist is wrong on India and hunger: guest post from Swati Narayan

The Economist last week ran an article criticizing India’s ‘Right to Food’ legislation. Independent food policy specialist Swati Narayan responds. She also has a piece on the Right to Food on the Guardian’s website today. The Economist article ‘The Indian Exception’ is timely and asks just the right puzzling questions ― why is India an […]

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