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Showing posts from December, 2014

Gujarat’s rural indebtedness

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By Rajiv Shah
A closer perusal of the new National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) report, released this month, makes an interesting revelation. Titled “Key Indicators of Debt and Investment in India”, the report, based on NSSO’s 70th round, has found that there are 260 rural households in Gujarat out of every 1000 which reported outstanding cash loans. A breakup of the data suggest that there are 80 out every 1000 rural households which reported taking loan at an interest rate between 25 and 30 per cent, and another 88 out of 1000 which reported taking loan at an even higher rate of interest, i.e. 30 per cent and higher.
This would mean that there are 168 out of every 1000 households which reported taking loan at a very rate of interest. Considering that there are in all 260 indebted households which reported outstanding loans in Gujarat, this would mean that a whopping 64.6 per cent households (168 every 1000 households) which reported taking loan at such high rate of interest!
A com…

Gujarat: Dilemma of low income from agriculture

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By Rajiv Shah
There have been loud claims, which continue to be made till date, that agricultural growth in Gujarat has been a “success story”, which other states must emulate. It is also suggested that Gujarat’s agricultural growth rose from 3.3 per cent per annum in the 1990s to nearly 9 per cent over the last one decade – notwithstanding claims by some experts who say the problem is with the choice of a wrong base year. The argument runs of following lines: Gujarat has written the success story despite facing challenges like depletion of water tables, deterioration of soil and water conditions due to salinity ingress along the sea coast, irregularity of rainfall, and recurrent drought. However, few have sought to see what impact has it made on the actual income of the agriculturists of Gujarat, and how much they have gained vis-à-vis other states. Now, new figures released this month by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) in its report, “Key Indicators of Situation of Agr…

Vulnerable women: Victims of neglect

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By Rajiv Shah
The Nirbhaya case may have helped bring cases of violence against women sharply into focus, yet large number of a women activists have begun to wonder, as to why, if the victim is from a vulnerable community, she rarely draws attention. The mysterious death of a lady tribal police constable from Rajpipla in Gujarat — Vasanti Vasava — between November 24 and 26, 2014 highlights how a state machinery treats atrocities committed on such women. Tables were turned only after the Gujarat Women Rights Council, a recently floated group by a well-known dalit rights activist, Manjula Pradeep, took up the death of Vasanti as a case of sexual assault and murder at a time when the police was trying to turn it into a “simple case of suicide”.
Manjula was busy in Vadodara district with a month-long campaign on violence against women, which had begun on November 25, declared by the UN as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The campaign was to continue for near…