ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Nirmala BanerjeeSubscribe to Nirmala Banerjee

What Does the State Do for Indian Women?

This paper examines the budgets of the West Bengal government to study the share of the state's budgetary resources that accrued to women in its various schemes. It is obvious from the study that West Bengal has taken little initiative to promote true gender equality or to remove the barriers that prevent women from availing of public facilities offered by the state. Expenditure on education has not been sensitive to the special needs of girls. West Bengal's budgetary expenditure compared with its NSDP is lower than other major states. The government has not done much to improve its own resource position, complaining instead that it has been denied its due share in central revenues - a claim that does not stand up to scrutiny.

Sieving Budgets for Gender

Gender budgeting exercises attempt to assess how far prevailing gender-based biases are incorporated into budgetary exercises. Such analyses also provide women with vital information regarding the contents and focus of existing government policies. The aim is to promote greater transparency and enhance democracy. After the late 1990s, when gender budgeting exercises were first set in motion, such exercises have quickly come into vogue and many scholars have undertaken them. This period has also been marked by shifts in economic policies, especially in developing countries. Reforms in the name of development that have had a pernicious effect on women have been implemented. Recent studies in India have looked at the many well-intentioned public schemes that have failed to achieve significant results. The set of papers included in this review illustrates the progress made so far. While there is still need for crucial interaction between analysis and the structures of gender that currently exist in society as well as with the elements necessary for transforming gender relations, these efforts, as presented here, are a step towards opening a meaningful dialogue with policy-makers to make them appreciate exactly what it is that women want and in what form.

Women Making a Meaningful Choice-Technology and New Economic Order

Technology and New Economic Order Nirmala Banerjee Swasti Mitter This paper addresses the closely linked issues of Indian working women's response to technological changes and globalisation and the impact of these changes on women's work. The authors examine several instances of women of diverse backgrounds interacting with changing technologies, in the past and currently, in different regions and industries of the country, The analysis shows that, in spite of the many differences, the reasons why women have been comparatively the greater losers are surprisingly similar. Besides published secondary material, the authors draw on documentation of their experience at the grass roots by a number of NGOs engaged in organising women workers in the formal and informal sectors.

Whatever Happened to the Dreams of Modernity-The Nehruvian Era and Woman s Position

The Nehruvian era, which has set the pattern of economic development for the next 40 years to follow, provides important clues for understanding the failure of modernisation project in getting rid of gender discrimination within the household and at the workplace. In spite of presiding in the 1930s over a committee on women's status, Nehru and the Planning Commission under his leadership in the post-independent India proceeded to discard the radical economic measures the committee had recommended to establish parity between men and women. Instead, the unproblematic tradition of regarding women as targets for householdand motherhood-oriented welfare services was given recognition in official policy documents. Thus, challenging the patriarchal ethos of society has never been the agenda of the Indian state. But equally important, the article argues, has been the shortcomings of the women's movement in the Nehruvian period, which in its exclusive dependence on the state, neglected mass mobilisation and remained blind to subtle class and patriarchal barriers.

Family, Household and Working Women

d interventions, mostly by governments, issible, thoi gh Banuri does not see that as its necessary corollary. He therefore suggests as alternative, an 'epistemological decentralisation' even while retaining the impersonal maps.

Trends in Womens Employment, 1971-81-Some Macro-Level Observations

This paper seeks to understand the overall directions of the changes in the position of women as workers in the Indian economy and to place these changes in the context of the overall changes in the size and structure of the Indian labour force and its utilisation for productive purposes.

Women and Poverty Report on a Workshop

October 1, 1983 Women and Poverty Report on a Workshop Nirmala Banerjee IN recent years, several issues relating to distribution have been brought out of the lumber room of value judgments and into the forum of serious academic enquiry. Poverty, deprivation, uneven development and women's problems are some of these topics now claiming considerable attention. Of these, work on women's issuues is still somewhat suspect mainly because a good percentage of the scholars working on these are also active champions of the women's cause and therefore are suspected of being less than totally objective. The recent (March 17-18. 1983) workshop on Women and Poverty held at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC), was therefore very timely not only because it allowed the scholars invoved to thrash out several common problems but also because the serious quality of the work pre: sented there went a long way to dispel the charge of partisanship. Of the 30 odd scholars who actively participated in the workshop the veterans as well as the newcomers were each presenting a part of an on-going serious enquiry into the field. And while the outcome of the discussion may generally be said to support the case of the partisans, there was considerable evidence to the contrary which received the careful attention of all. The workshop was to explore several broad themes; the first one was the possibility of intra-family bias against women's well-being. The second was the discrimination against women in the labour market and in opportunities for gainful activities. The third was the possibility of less than equal access for women to public services meant for alleviating poverty. Scholars working on any of these themes share certain common difficulties. A major part of the sexual bias whether within families, in the labour market or in society stems from long-standing traditional values accepted unquestioningly by both men and women. The values which incorporate these various biases of the society are reflected in the connotations of socioeconomic terms used in standard theoretical analysis or for official purposes. This means that concepts used for formulating a hypothesis or collecting data have to be redefined in order to eliminate their existing bias. An example would perhaps make the problem clearer. The term household in socio-economic jargon is the standard unit for measurement of relative levels of well-being. Within a household it is assumed that the well-being and desires of each member regardless of sex. age or economic status get equal consideration and each member sets an equal share of the household's supply of goods and services. Most of the socio-economic data that is collected regularly by large official agencies is tabulated for households, not for individuals within it and therefore provides no clue to any sort of intra-household differences in shares of income or of responsibilities. In reality if there is evidence of relative malnutrition or ill health of women as a group, them one hypothesis to be investigated must be of intra- household discrimination. Classification of available information on household basis is unlikely to be of use here.

Real Truth to Order

India. The constitutional reforms of 1909 proved a great disappointment The report of the Decentralisation Commission made hardly any tangible concession to Indian demands. Even an innocuous Elementary Education Bill sponsored by Gokhale in 1911 was scotched by official hostility. By 1916, the Indian National Congress had reached a dead-end. Its dream of an Indo-British partnership in which Britain would help India in the development of free institutions remained unrealised. Most of its veteran leaders

Exports and the Indian Economy

Exports and the Indian Economy Nirmala Banerjee The policy of export-led fast growth for India is unlikely to succeed to any great extent, mainly because exports on a scale significant to provide a boost to the Indian economy are bound to meet with growing resistance in the international market.

What Course for Urbanisation in India

Nirmala Banerjee It is difficult to predict the course of urbanisation in India. The commonly practised way of predicting it, by historical comparisons with other countries, is full of pitfalls. The other method of predicting it for particular areas, by reference to possible migration, birth and death rates, can be more reliable but often is not, for lack of adequate data and of empirically-based models.

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