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Rural Development

Promoting integrated village planning

Author(s): Suchitra Jain
Issue Date: Dec 31, 1993
MAHATMA Gandhi dreamt of an India where villages would be independent entities, supporting themselves by harmonising human needs with local resources. Today, driven by the bogey of over-exploitation and the steady depletion of natural resources, researchers are frantically trying to find ways to realise the Mahatma's vision by making the village ecosystem sustainable.

Compiling information

Issue Date: Nov 15, 1993
A unique database on mangroves -- the Mangrove Ecosystem Information Service (MEIS) -- developed by the Centre for Research in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (CRSARD) in Madras, will be operational by December. Work on MEIS is being headed by eminent scientist M S Swaminathan.

Development dilemmas

Issue Date: Nov 15, 1993
Different estimates of the extent of the country's wastelands area has forced the ministry of rural development to call for a remapping of such areas. The ministry's wasteland development department has asked the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) in Hyderabad to prepare a detailed map of the wastelands by the end of 1993.

The four pillars of panchayati raj

Issue Date: Oct 31, 1993
ABOUT 5,000 gram panchayats in Karnataka will go to the polls on December 16 this year. But some proponents of panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) argue that the 1983 framework for the operation of PRIs was far more committed to the ethos of democratic decentralisation than the 1993 act. They argue Karnataka's earlier laws had the distinction of subordinating district-level bureaucracy to the district-level panchayati institution. The later Constitutional Amendment, which establishes guidelines for PRIs throughout the country, is seen to revert the reform.

Tissue culture in a pressure cooker

Author(s): K N Shahjahan
Issue Date: Oct 31, 1993
"IF TISSUE culture companies can make profits, why can't villagers?" asks C R Raju, who has developed a tissue culture technique that he claims is cheap and easily transferable to the people -- a feat research laboratories are still to achieve. Raju developed the low-cost technique as part of voluntary work for the Centre of Science and Technology for Rural Development (COSTFORD), an NGO based in Mavelikara in Kerala.

A question of control

Issue Date: Oct 31, 1993
AFTER a nearly two-year break, Karnataka's pioneering panchayati raj experiment will continue in December and January, when elections will be held to village, taluka and district bodies under a new panchayati raj act. But in the run-up to the elections, the campaign to oust Karnataka chief minister M Veerappa Moily has virtually eclipsed a debate on the state's Panchayat Raj Act, 1993, which came into force on May 10.

Poplars spark farmers' fury against Wimco

Author(s): Shailendra Kumar
Issue Date: Aug 15, 1993
THE POPLAR trees that the Bareilly-based match manufacturer, Wimco, persuaded area farmers to plant is causing much heartburn. The farmers allege that Wimco, sensing a wood crisis in the 1970s because of felling restrictions in India and Nepal, tried to get land from the Uttar Pradesh forest department to raise its own wood trees. When this failed, the company allegedly lured the farmers into planting poplar trees, promising handsome returns.

Will women in panchayats change Bengal?

Author(s): Amit Mitra
Issue Date: Jul 15, 1993
MAY 30, 1993, was a historic day in West Bengal. For the first time, voting was held for a panchayat system that endowed villagers with the right to set their own priorities for development. And more remarkable, one-third of the panchayat seats were reserved for women. But the more things change, the more they are the same.

A tale of two villages beguiled by JRY

Issue Date: May 31, 1993
SONRAJ IN THE Uttar Pradesh village of Sonrai, water-starved residents eke out a living growing a single, rainfed crop of jowar or kodo (millet) on 500 sandy ha and by mining granite, phosphate or lead the rest of the time.

Villegers blueprint their own development

Author(s): Amit Mitra
Issue Date: May 15, 1993
WHEN VISITING a village in Tamil Nadu's Dharmapuri or Karnataka's Mysore districts, you may come across a group of about 25 adults busily laying out an intricate design on the ground, using powdered rice, coloured chalk, twigs and pebbles.
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