Demanding Rights Creating Opportunities - Oxfam India Strategy 2010 2015

Demanding Rights Creating Opportunities - Oxfam India Strategy 2010 2015
Demanding Rights
                                                                                                                 Creating Opportunities
                                                                                                                 Oxfam India Strategy 2010 - 2015

Oxfam India: 2nd Floor, 1 Community Centre, New Friends Colony, New Delhi 110 065, India
Tel: +91 (0) 11 4653 8000, Fax: +91 (0) 11 4653 8099, Email:, Website:
Demanding Rights Creating Opportunities - Oxfam India Strategy 2010 2015

                                                                                                        Executive Summary                                03       iv. Social Discrimination

                                                                                                                                                                  v. Communalism and Peace Building
                                                                                                        Introduction to Oxfam India                      07
                                                                                                                                                                  vi. Engagement with the Private Sector
                                                                                                            What is Oxfam India
                                                                                                                                                                  New Directions
                                                                                                            Vision, Mission and Values
                                                                                                                                                                  i. Urban Poverty
                                                                                                            What We Do
                                                                                                                                                                  ii. India and the World
                                                                                                            Strategy Formulation Process

                                                                                                            How We Work
                                                                                                                                                              III Monitoring, Evaluation and                      37
                                                                                                        I   External Context Analysis                    13
                                                                                                            A tale of two Indias
                                                                                                                                                              IV Partnership Policy and Ways of                   39
                                                                                                            Poverty and Inequality in India                      Working
                                                                                                            Drivers of Poverty and Inequality in India

                                                                                                            Drivers of Change                                 V Fund-raising and Marketing                        43
                                                                                                            India In the World

                                                                                                            Key Conclusions
                                                                                                                                                              VI Next Steps and the                               47
                                                                                                                                                                 Way Forward
                                                                                                        II Oxfam India's Strategy                        27

                                                                                                            The way forward – From Poverty to Power           TABLE 1                                             14
                                                                                                                                                              State-wise Rural Poverty Incidence across Socio-
                                                                                                            Oxfam India Strategy Goals                        Religious Categories in 2004-05
                                                                                                                                                              TABLE 2                                             17
                                                                                                            Focus on Lagging States and Lagging Groups        Natural Disasters Impacts in India (1990 – 2008)

                                                                                                            Thematic Priorities
                                                                                                                                                              FIGURE 1                                            10
                                                                                                                                                              How Oxfam India Works
                                                                                                            i. Economic Justice                               FIGURE 2                                            37
                                                                                                                                                              Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL)
                                                                                                            ii. Essential Service                             Framework
                                                                                                            iii. Gender Justice                               ANNEXURE I                                          48
                                                                                                                                                              Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) across Select
                                                                                                            iv. Humanitarian Response and                     States in India
                                                                                                                Disaster Risk Reduction
                                                                                                                                                              ANNEXURE II                                         48
                                                                                                            Cross-Cutting Perspectives                        Infant Mortality Rates (IMR) across Select States
                                                                                                                                                              in India
                                                                                                            i. Gender
                                                                                                                                                              ANNEXURE III                                        48
                                                                                                            ii. Youth and Active Citizenship                  Drop-out Rates of Students in Classes I – X for
Design and Content: THOT,                                                                       iii. HIV and AIDS
Photo Courtesy: Ranjan Rahi, Anubhav Das, Dhiraj Kumar, Pratham, Sam Spickett, Vinay, Manisha Sharma,
Nidhi Bhardwaj, Oxfam India

                                                                                                        India Strategy 2010 - 2015                                                                                01
Demanding Rights Creating Opportunities - Oxfam India Strategy 2010 2015
Executive Summary

Oxfam India is a newly created Indian non-               1.25 $ a day, 456 million people or approximately
governmental organization integrating the 60-year-       42% of the people in India are poor. It is also worth
old India operations of 6 separate International         noting that every third poor in the world is an
Oxfam affiliates working in the country. It came into    Indian; every third illiterate in the world is an Indian
being on September 1, 2008 with an Indian staff          too and approximately half of its children are
and an Indian board.                                     malnourished. India also ranks deplorably high in
                                                         maternal deaths (in many states higher than sub-
It is a member of Oxfam International, which is a        Saharan Africa).
global confederation of 14 Oxfams (Australia,
Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain,         At the heart of Oxfam India's new strategy is the
Hong Kong, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand,                 shared concern regarding the gap between the two
Netherlands, Quebec, Spain, and the US). Two             Indias - the developed and the underdeveloped -
new Oxfams are currently forming including India         and the lack of an inclusive development path that
and Japan.                                               India is currently on.

The Oxfams are rights-based organizations that           Based on our analysis, there are particularly large
fight poverty and injustice by linking grassroots        gaps in the economic and social indicators
programming (through partner NGOs) to local,             between four groups of people that we will focus
national and global advocacy and policy-making.          on closing.
All of Oxfam's work is framed by our commitment
to five broad rights-based aims: the right to a          Women and Men;
sustainable livelihood, the right to basic social        Dalits and non Dalits;
services, the right to life and security, the right to   Tribals and non-Tribals; and
be heard and the right to equality: gender and           Muslims and non-Muslims.

Oxfam India's vision is to create a more equal, just,
and sustainable world. The overarching vision of         Oxfam India is a newly
Oxfam India is “Right to Life with Dignity for All”.     created Indian non-
Oxfam India will fulfill its vision by empowering the
poor and marginalized to demand their rights,            governmental organization
engaging the non poor to become active and
supportive citizens, advocating for an effective and
                                                         integrating the 60-year-old
accountable state and making markets work for            India operations of 6
poor and marginalized people.
                                                         separate International
While India has already become the third largest         Oxfam affiliates working in
economy1 (in terms of purchasing power parity)
after USA and China as per the World Bank and            the country. It came into
has seen consistent growth rates between 6%-9%
for the last five years, second only to China, even
                                                         being on September 1,
today, according to World Bank parameters of             2008 with an Indian staff
                                                         and an Indian board.
    World Development Report, World Bank 2009

India Strategy 2010 - 2015                                                                                     03
Demanding Rights Creating Opportunities - Oxfam India Strategy 2010 2015
Among all the poverty indicators, it is the Dalits,       India will focus two-thirds of its resources here and    New Outlook                                             operations in the existing cities. In the next five
Tribals and Muslims who are found to be worse off         use one-third of its resources to respond to specific                                                            years, we are also going to test various new
than the others. While there has been a growing           issues in the rest of India. In view of the increasing   Oxfam India is seeking to gradually transform itself    techniques of fund-raising, like Internet and web,
assertion among the Dalits led by its middle class        number of urban pockets of acute poverty, it will        from essentially being a grant administering and        direct mailing, trail walker, special events, tele-
intellectuals and politicians, a similar pattern is yet   include an urban component in its programs and           monitoring agency to an active member of Indian         facing and direct response television, which were
to emerge among the Tribals and the Muslims.              address urban-specific issues.                           civil society and a rights based advocacy               not used by us till now.
And despite positive changes in the policy                                                                         organization. Its advocacy will be based on the
environment and progressive legislation, Indian           Oxfam India has also recognised certain cross-           grassroots work that it supports. To understand         Brand awareness and communicating with donors
women continue to face discrimination on all fronts,      cutting perspectives to its work. Given India's          better what is working well and what is not, it is      are provenly crucial for connecting with large
including inside and outside their homes.                 young population, we will try to engage with young       committed to set some of the key processes in           numbers of people. We would be dedicatedly
                                                          people to develop active citizens amongst them.          place, and work towards setting up community            working on these aspects in the years to come to
Oxfam India aims to be a role model in linking up         Oxfam India will also be focusing its efforts on         based monitoring systems to track and use the           make Oxfam India a household name.
four critical themes and areas of work – Economic         building the capacity of its staff, partners and         outcomes to enhance programme quality and
Justice, Essential Services, Gender Justice, and          communities to understand as well as address             ensure rights based approach in programmatic            New Road Maps
Humanitarian Response and Disaster Risk                   discrimination by making people aware of their own       interventions.
Reduction – into a comprehensive programme                perceptions, prejudices and facilitating an                                                                      This strategy is meant to provide an overall vision
framework pursuing dignity of life as the                 understanding of others. It would work towards                                                                   of what Oxfam India wants to do in the coming
                                                                                                                   New Relationships
overarching goal.                                         building partner’s capacity to address communal                                                                  years to be relevant and meaningful to the
                                                          conflict and foster peace. Oxfam India will seek to                                                              emerging Indian context and to make a difference.
                                                                                                                   The new Oxfam India partnership policy envisages
Economic Justice                                          build up a program of support to tackle the special                                                              In each of the program areas that we will work in,
                                                                                                                   both funding and non-funding partnerships with a
                                                          issues of peace building in Jammu and Kashmir                                                                    we are now developing a detailed strategy that will
                                                                                                                   wide range of development actors-grassroots
More women and men will realize their right to            and the North-East of India.                                                                                     lay out the context, the opportunities for work, and
                                                                                                                   NGOs, academic institutions, research think tanks,
secure and sustainable livelihoods.                                                                                national and global advocacy NGOs, etc. The             the outcomes that we will seek to achieve. Once
                                                          The other key areas of work for the future would be                                                              the programs are defined, partners who can work
                                                                                                                   proposed patterns of funding relationship include
                                                          to influence the role of private sector in poverty                                                               together with Oxfam India to deliver those program
Essential Services                                                                                                 maintaining the diversity of partner size (micro,
                                                          reduction and also explore key aspects of India's                                                                goals will be identified and supported. We realize,
                                                                                                                   small, medium and large) but establishing limits for
                                                          growing role at the South Asia regional as well as                                                               however, that the roll-out of the strategy ( aligning
People living in poverty, especially women and girls                                                               each category; establishing longer term
                                                          international level from the perspective of                                                                      our programs to it) should be carried out in a
will realize their rights to accessible and affordable                                                             relationships with partners and to fund each
                                                          influencing policies and programs for a poverty free                                                             phased manner. It is likely to take 2-3 years so that
health, education and social protection.                                                                           partner for a maximum 10-12 year cycle (through
                                                          region and world. It will also seek to build an active                                                           it is not too disruptive for our partners and
                                                                                                                   two strategy periods); and wherever feasible,
                                                          and international platform of civil society groups                                                               programs.
                                                                                                                   provide core funding rather than project-by-project
Gender Justice                                            across northern and southern countries.
                                                                                                                   funding to partners.

Women from all communities will gain power over
their lives and live free from violence.                                                                           New Initiatives                                         Oxfam India partnership
                                                          Oxfam India aims to be a                                                                                         policy envisages both
Humanitarian Response and Disaster                        role model in linking up                                 At the moment, Oxfam India is upscaling its fund-
                                                                                                                   raising operations across various cities, to expand     funding and non-funding
Risk Reduction                                            four critical themes and                                 its supporter base and to build active citizenship by
                                                                                                                                                                           partnerships with a wide
                                                                                                                   engaging the rich and middle class in India in
All women and men in humanitarian crises will be          areas of work – Economic                                 addressing the many development challenges              range of development
assured both the protection and the assistance
they require, regardless of who or where they are
                                                          Justice, Essential                                       facing our country. Our experiments with running
                                                                                                                                                                           actors - grassroots NGOs,
                                                                                                                   in-house fund-raising operations in Bangalore and
or how they are affected, in a manner consistent          Services, Gender Justice,                                New Delhi have paid off and we would be opening         academic institutions,
with their human rights.
                                                          and Humanitarian                                         six new fund-raising offices, on similar models in
                                                                                                                   the next six months. These offices would be             research think tanks,
Oxfam India is now seeking to focus its programs          Response and Disaster                                    located at Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad,          national and global
in a few key thematic and geographic areas so as
to maximize impact. It will focus its work in seven       Risk Reduction – into a                                  Chandigarh and NOIDA besides multiple
                                                                                                                                                                           advocacy NGOs, etc.
states that have above average poverty rates and          comprehensive
have lagged in the post-liberalization period and
would require strategic intervention: Assam, Bihar,       programme framework
Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh
and Uttarakhand. Since roughly two-thirds of
                                                          pursuing dignity of life as
poverty is concentrated in these states, Oxfam            the overarching goal.

04                                                                                           Executive Sqummary    India Strategy 2010 - 2015                                                                                    05
Demanding Rights Creating Opportunities - Oxfam India Strategy 2010 2015

What is Oxfam India
                                                        Vision, Mission and Values
Oxfam India is a newly created Indian non-
governmental organization integrating the 60-year-      Vision
old India operations of 6 separate International
Oxfam affiliates working in the country. It came into   Oxfam India's vision is to create a more equal, just,
being on September 1, 2008 with an Indian staff         and sustainable world.
and an Indian board and is a member of Oxfam            The overarching vision of Oxfam India is
International, which is a global confederation of 14    “Right to Life with Dignity for All”.
Oxfams (Australia, Belgium, Canada, France,
Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Ireland,             Mission
Mexico, New Zealand, Netherlands, Quebec,
Spain and the US). Two new Oxfams are currently         Oxfam India will fulfill its vision by empowering the
forming viz. India and Japan.                           poor and marginalized to demand their rights,
                                                        engaging the non poor to become active and
The Oxfams are rights-based organizations that          supportive citizens, advocating for an effective and
fight poverty and injustice by linking grassroots       accountable state and making markets work for
programming (through partner NGOs) to local,            poor and marginalized people.
national and global advocacy and policy-making.
Oxfam India works in the area of removing poverty       Values
and aims to be a role model in linking up four
critical themes and areas of work – Essential           Organizational values and competencies define
Services, Gender Justice, Economic Justice and          acceptable standards which govern the behavior of
Humanitarian Response and Disaster Risk                 individuals within the organization. They set
Reduction – into a comprehensive programme              common norms of dealing with each other while
framework pursuing dignity of life as the               working to achieve the organizational goals and
overarching goal.                                       objectives.

The new organisation is a national entity with          Oxfam India believes that the values cited below
presence in six cities, with a staff of around 120 in   are core to its vision and would seek to promote
place. It is bringing together new and existing         them through its work.
programs under implementation through more than
250 partners and allies, and is building a strong       I.   Commitment
national and international advocacy capacity.
                                                        a.   To social justice and poverty
                                                        b.   Demonstrate passion
The Oxfams are rights-based                             c.   Walking that extra mile
organizations that fight poverty                        d.   Flexible and adaptable
and injustice by linking                                e.   Demonstrate openness to learning, innovation,
                                                             change and growth
grassroots programming to
local, national and global
advocacy and policy-making.

India Strategy 2010 - 2015                                                                                 07
Demanding Rights Creating Opportunities - Oxfam India Strategy 2010 2015
choices, resources, essential services, knowledge                       All of Oxfam's work is framed by our commitment          Oxfam India focuses on four change
II. Honesty and integrity                                                       and protection. In this sense, poverty is something                     to five broad rights-based aims: the right to a
                                                                                more than mere lack of income, health and                               sustainable livelihood, the right to basic social
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 goals in these areas:
a. Consistency and predictability                                               education. It is also people's frustration about any                    services, the right to life and security, the right to   Economic Justice, Gender Justice
b. Adhering to organizational values                                            control in deciding the destiny of their lives, their                   be heard and the right to equality: gender and           Essential Services and
c. Being fair, objective and impartial in decision                              exclusion from decision-making. While the                               diversity.                                               Humanitarian Response and
   making                                                                       Universal Declaration of Human rights is the
d. Self awareness                                                               guiding framework under which Oxfam India                               Oxfam India focuses on four change goals:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)
                                                                                functions, it also derives its mandate from the
III. Inclusiveness, secularism, pluralism                                       constitutional rights promised to every citizen of the
                                                                                country.                                                                Economic Justice                                          Essential Services
a. Respect difference and welcome alternative
   viewpoints                                                                   Persistent poverty and inequality is not just a                         More women and men will realize their right to            People living in poverty, especially women and girls
b. Value team work                                                              violation of basic human rights of the people but it                    secure sustainable livelihoods.                           will realize their rights to accessible and affordable
c. Creating a diverse workforce and creating an                                 also undermines economic growth of a nation by                                                                                    health, education and social protection.
   environment to retain that workforce.                                        wasting talents and human resources. It leads to a
d. Treat people equitably                                                       skewed society where power and decision-making
e. Gender diversity - religious, ethnicity, caste                               remains in the hands of the few leading to greater
                                                                                conflicts and undermining social cohesion in the
IV. Value and respect people's rights                                           end.

a. Active listening                                                             Oxfam India seeks to address this through a
b. Engaging with and respecting different points of                             Rights- Based Approach where people are seen as
   view                                                                         the bearers of civil, political and social and
c. Respecting differences                                                       economic rights.2 At the same time, institutions -
d. Giving critical/constructive feedback – in a                                 both state and non-state - are seen as duty
   sensitive way                                                                bearers to guarantee and provide those rights to
e. Giving support in setting priorities                                         the people. It is also important to underline that
f. Enabling space for being heard                                               without augmenting people's ability to exercise
                                                                                them, the rights would be meaningless.
V. Delivering high quality results in a manner                                                                                                          Gender Justice                                            Humanitarian Response and Disaster Risk
   accountable to stakeholders                                                  Hence we work to bring change in people's lives by                                                                                Reduction (DRR)
                                                                                aiming for wider structural changes that include:                       Women from all communities will gain power over
a. Clarity on roles and responsibilities and                                                                                                            their lives and live free from violence through           All women and men in humanitarian crises will be
   objectives to achieve – monitoring, evaluating,                              ?
                                                                                greater state and institutional accountability;                         changes in attitudes, ideas and beliefs about             assured both the protection and the assistance
   learning (responsibility of both sides)                                                                                                              gender relations, and through increased levels of         they require, regardless of who or where they are
b. Perseverance                                                                 ?
                                                                                effective participation of people and civil society                     women's active engagement and critical leadership         or how they are affected, in a manner consistent
c. Aligning team objectives with organizational                                     organizations in decisions affecting their lives                    in institutions, decision making and change               with their human rights. Fewer people will suffer
   mission                                                                          through articulation of their demands and rights                    processes.                                                deprivation as a result of conflict, calamity and
d. Use time and resources efficiently                                               and getting public and private institutions to                                                                                climate change. And to reduce risks and building
e. Use other’s skills                                                               meet their responsibilities;                                                                                                  community resilience to disasters, one of the
f. Taking risks, being realistic with opportunities                                                                                                                                                               critical areas of specialization and pillars of Oxfam
   (links to innovation, creativity etc.)                                       ?
                                                                                increased power and influence of poor and                                                                                         India's humanitarian work is disaster risk reduction
g. Delegation                                                                                                                                                                                                     programming.
                                                                                    marginalized people over distribution and use
                                                                                    of public resources and assets;

What We Do                                                                      ?
                                                                                increased social inclusion of the poor and most
Oxfam India works to address root causes of
absolute poverty and inequality. We see poverty as                              ?
                                                                                changes in ideas and beliefs to inform equitable
a problem of power, rather powerlessness, in                                        development strategies.
which people are deprived of opportunities,

2 “Right are long-term guarantees, a set of structural claims or entitlements that enable people, particularly the most vulnerable and excluded,
to make demands on those in power who are known in the jargon as duty bearers.” Duncan Green, From Poverty to Power. How Active
Citizens and Effective States can Change the World, Oxfam International, 2008

08                                                                                                                                       Introduction   India Strategy 2010 - 2015                                                                                    09
Demanding Rights Creating Opportunities - Oxfam India Strategy 2010 2015
Strategy Formulation Process                            Monitor, Research, Analyze - delivery of public                Where We Work
                                                        expenditure/private provision/government policy
Oxfam India has followed a very participatory           and using findings to promote informed opinion,                Oxfam India presently works in the following states in India –
process for developing its strategy. It started this    debate;
process when it was formed in September 2008,                                                                          Delhi
                                                                                                                       ?                                     Jharkhand
and has involved all the key stakeholders including     Shifting Attitudes and Beliefs - through popular               Uttar Pradesh
                                                                                                                       ?                                     Madhya Pradesh
Oxfam India staff, its Board, the other Oxfam           campaigning, alliances and mass mobilization; and              Rajasthan
                                                                                                                       ?                                     Chattisgarh
                                                                                                                       ?                                     Uttarakhand
affiliates and its partners in a series of extensive
                                                        Mainstream - gender, caste and ethnicity (social               Maharashtra
                                                                                                                       ?                                     Andhra Pradesh
discussions and consultations to formulate a
                                                        inclusion) into all Oxfam India's work.                        Assam
                                                                                                                       ?                                     Kerala
strategy that will give the right focus to our
                                                                                                                       West Bengal
                                                                                                                       ?                                     Karnataka
programs so that we can maximize our impact.
                                                        Oxfam India believes that working with the poor is             Bihar
                                                                                                                       ?                                     Tamil Nadu

                                                        more crucial while working for the poor and its role
                                                        is merely that of a facilitator to bring voices of the
How We Work
                                                        people to the fore, where they can articulate their
                                                        aspirations, be in a position to visualize their own
Oxfam India works primarily through grassroots
                                                        future and work towards realizing the same. Only
organizations to bring about sustainable changes
                                                        that can bring sustainable long-term changes in
in people's lives through long-term development
                                                        their lives as well as in the life of a nation.
programming linked to positive policy changes at
various levels (figure 1). We also work through the
lens of social exclusion and facilitate the right of
the most marginalized to be heard and also
mobilize them to campaign for greater economic          Oxfam India works
and social reforms.
                                                        primarily through
Oxfam India seeks to:                                   grassroots organizations
Build Capacity of the Poor People at the Grass          to bring about sustainable
Roots Level - facilitating relationships, networks,
resources and capabilities to boost voice and
                                                        changes in people's lives
opportunities of poor people and bridging the social    through long-term
Promote Multi-stakeholder Dialogue - creating a         programming linked to
joint platform to facilitate a constructive
conversation among the poor, civil society              positive policy changes at
organizations, governments and private bodies           various levels.
including media;

                                    Figure 1: How Oxfam India works
                     Multi-stakeholder partnerships is key to Oxfam India’s way of working

                                                                                    Active Citizens
            Research Institutes

                                        Oxfam India
                                                           Movements                    Media

                                                                                    Private Sector
              National NGOs

                                                                                  Regional and Global
                                                                                    Policy Making

10                                                                                                      Introduction   India Strategy 2010 - 2015                                       11
Demanding Rights Creating Opportunities - Oxfam India Strategy 2010 2015
External Context Analysis:
A Tale of Two Indias

Poverty and Inequality in India                                                According to a recent report submitted by NC
                                                                               Saxena Committee set up by the government of
Poverty and Prosperity: A picture of sharp                                     India, the official Below Poverty Line (BPL) should
inequalities                                                                   be revised from the current 28% to cover 52% of
                                                                               the population which is in acute need of food
The world has been hailing the twenty-first century                            security. As per recent estimates, the average
for quite sometime now, as the century of Asian                                Indian family today is absorbing 115 kg less per
dominance, particularly one dominated by China                                 year of food grains than in 1991 . Hence India's
and India. A relatively lesser impact of the recent                            drive for a super power status is pulled back by its
economic slowdown has further reinforced such                                  huge underbelly. It is also worth noting that every
views.                                                                         third poor in the world is an Indian; every third
                                                                               illiterate in the world is an Indian too and
The coining of the term BRICS (Brazil, Russia,                                 approximately half of its children are malnourished.
India, China and South Africa) to represent the                                India also has a deplorably high number of
new power bloc has boosted this image further.                                 maternal deaths (in many states higher than sub-
                                                                               Saharan Africa). Globally, we know that if India
India has already become the third largest                                     does not meet Millennium Development Goals by
economy (in terms of purchasing power parity)                                  2015 (which it is now certain to fail on many
after USA and China as per the World Bank. It has                              counts) , the world at large will fail too.
seen consistent growth rates between 6%-9% for
the last five years, second only to China, leading to                          Even the relative insulation from the recent
significant reduction in poverty levels (from 46%                              economic recession has led to revised lower
poor in 1986 to 28% in 2008 officially). It now                                figures of growth projections which will severely
boasts of three Indians making it to the list of ten                           impact poverty challenges. The growing presence
richest individuals in the world at any given time. It                         of a large mass of illiterate, unskilled population will
also boasts of a strong middle class (ranging                                  directly impact this projection further.
between 200-300 million according to various
estimates), good enough to sustain its economic
drive. Globally, it is also seen as the savior of the
world due to its reputation as the 'global pharmacy                            India has already become
of the third world' through its large scale production
of affordable generic drugs.
                                                                               the third largest economy
                                                                               (in terms of purchasing
And yet, the other side of the picture will tell us of
an alternate and equally (if not more) powerful
                                                                               power parity) after USA
story of an India steeped in acute poverty and                                 and China as per the
inequality, which has sharpened during these very
glittering years of growth. Even today, according to                           World Bank.
World Bank parameters of 1.25 $ a day, 456 million
people or approximately 42% of the people in India
are poor.

3 Utsa Patnaik, Neoliberalism and Rural Poverty in India, Economic and Political Weekly, July 28, 2007, pp. 3132-3150.
4 Look at the annexure I and II for more disaggregated details.
 For example, it has already failed the target of meeting 2005 target of gender parity inside the classrooms.

India Strategy 2010 - 2015                                                                                                           13
Demanding Rights Creating Opportunities - Oxfam India Strategy 2010 2015
According to 2001 Census, 34% of its population is                     increased sharply in the last few decades or so.                   There has been a historical trajectory of under                              housing tenure, lack of access to basic services, ill
in the age group of 15 to 35 years and by 2020 the                                                                                        development in these regions. These states are                               health, poor livelihood opportunities (most of them
average age of an Indian would be 29 years,                            Pockets of Inequality                                              beset not by income poverty alone but also trail on                          casual workforce without any security to minimum
making India one of the youngest nations but also                                                                                         the scale of illiteracy, poor health indicators, lack of                     regular wages). Worse, because of very little or no
vulnerable to the growing pressure from this very                      Northern and Eastern states versus the rest:                       access to markets, gender disparities and social                             access to official identification process, they have
population for better economic and social                              poor regional integration                                          conflicts. Much of the Maoist insurgency in India is                         no or very little social security cover leading to a
opportunities.                                                                                                                            concentrated in these states besides much of                                 scenario where urban inequality has grown more
                                                                       There is now general consensus that there has been                 religion and caste based conflict. This further                              sharply than the rural in the past few years.
Large scale internal migrations from the rural to                      a great imbalance between different regions and                    exacerbates the cycle of inequality and absolute
urban areas have been a key feature in India for a                     states in terms of economic prosperity in India.                   misery. Even in the relatively prosperous regions,                           One of the key trends in this respect has been that
long time precisely because of the developmental                       These disparities between regions within a country                 there are areas recording high levels of                                     of steady informalisation of labour as a result of
model showcasing 'islands of prosperity' amidst a                      are mainly between the lagging east and northern                   malnutrition, anaemia and hunger, as for instance                            both the decline of agriculture and the organized
sea of poverty. This has not only increased                            parts of the country vis-à-vis the relatively                      in the remote Tribal belts of Gujarat and                                    public sector as a whole. The total share of the
manifold during the recent years of economic                           prosperous southern and western parts. These                       Maharashtra.                                                                 informal labour sector consisted of more than 85%
growth, but has also led to a large scale                              states are almost uniformly lagging on the three                                                                                                in 1999-2000 itself.6 11 Five Year Plan document
impoverishment of the urban population itself. This                    basic indicators of economic poverty, basic                        The other key facet of poverty and inequality in                             underlines the declining trend in wages especially
is largely a result of crumbling infrastructure,                       amenities and social indicators. The ratio of per                  India is among the socially discriminated groups                             with respect to the agricultural sector while also
inability to meet the employment demands from the                      capita incomes within India, looking at the richest                along the lines of caste, ethnicity, religion and                            underlining the overall decline in wages of women
migrating population and a growing casualisation                       and poorest states, was 4.5 to 1 in the late 1990s                 gender. For example, while Muslim children under                             in the overall informal sector. This has rendered
of labour without any kind of social and economic                      and this gap is still rapidly increasing. Per capita               five suffering from malnutrition are comparable                              this population increasingly vulnerable to the
security.                                                              GDP in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar (which represent                    (Table 1) to national average (41.8% against the                             vagaries of the market.
                                                                       25% of the Indian population) is less than half the                national 42.5%), Scheduled Caste and Scheduled
Increasing Inequality                                                  national average and only a third of that in the seven             Tribe Children fare much worse with 47.9% and
                                                                       richest states.                                                    54.5% respectively. While the relative status of                             Drivers of Poverty and Inequality in
It is also worth repeating that poverty and                                                                                               these groups is quite adverse across states, it is
inequality have many faces in India and different                        Even in the relatively prosperous                                also important to note that these groups
indicators would tell us about different pockets of                                                                                       comparatively fare better in the better-off states.
concentration of poverty. Hence, inequality has to
                                                                         regions, there are areas recording                                                                                                            While the growth rate of the Indian economy has
                                                                         high levels of malnutrition,                                                                                                                  improved significantly, several key factors have
be defined in terms of regional disparities,                                                                                              The vast rural hinterlands
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       contributed together to make inequality sharper in
economic, caste and social status, ethnicity and                         anaemia and hunger, as for                                                                                                                    the current scenario. This can be attributed to
religion, gender among others. And it has to be                                                                                           The largest concentration of poverty is still to be
argued that while the absolute poverty might be on
                                                                         instance in the remote Tribal belts                              found in the rural areas simply because seven out
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       socio-economic factors propelled through the
a descent (itself a debatable point), inequality has                     of Gujarat and Maharashtra.                                      of ten Indians live in these parts. Despite
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       interplay between the market and the government,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       a lack of governance accountability on essential
                                                                                                                                          somewhat rapid decrease in official figures of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       services, and due to social, caste, class and
                                                                                                                                          poverty in rural areas (from 56.4% in 1973-74 to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       religion based discrimination and conflicts, and
       Table 1: State-wise Rural Poverty Incidence across Socio Religious Categories in 2004-05                                           28.3% in 2004-05 as per the 11th Plan document),
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       also increasing natural disasters now further
                                                                                                                                          it is here that the absolute numbers of rural poor
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       worsened by climate change.
                                 All                               Hindus                                Muslims             Other        have not decreased (officially 22 crore rural poor
                                                                                                                           Minorities     are BPL). This is also because the number of the
                                              All          SCs/STs            OBCs           Gen
                                                                                                                                          unemployed in rural India have grown at almost
  Total                         22.7         22.6              34.8             19.5           9             26.9              14.3       double the rate of employment.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       One of the key trends in
  Kerala                          9            9                19                7            4              11                 4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       this respect has been that
                                                                                                                                          Growing urban face of poverty
  Uttar Pradesh                   28           28               39               26           10              33                40                                                                                     of steady informalisation of
  Bihar                           35           34               56               29           13              38                33
                                                                                                                                          The large-scale migration to urban centres coupled
                                                                                                                                          with the dynamic growth in these centres has led to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       labour as a result of both
  Assam                           18           12               14               16            7              27                20        a scenario where out of about 285 million people                             the decline of agriculture
  Jharkhand                       38           38               49               32           17              36                46
                                                                                                                                          living in urban India today, nearly a quarter are
                                                                                                                                          below poverty line. They suffer from insecure
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       and the organized public
  Andhra Pradesh                  8            8                16                6            2               7                 4                                                                                     sector as a whole.
  Gujarat                         14           15               24               14            3               7                 6

  Orissa                          41           40               60               30           16              22                70
  Chhattisgarh                    33           33               40               27           26              40                 11
      Source: Social, Economic and Educational Status of Muslim Community of India (Justice Rajinder Sachchar Committee Report), GoI          Report on Social Security for Un-organised Workers (2006), NCEUS, Gol.

14                                                                                      External Context Analysis: A Tale of Two Indias   India Strategy 2010 - 2015                                                                                                       15
Demanding Rights Creating Opportunities - Oxfam India Strategy 2010 2015
Unequal Development Trajectories and Poor                                    class as well as bureaucracy in terms of both                     bank credit finds its way to the micro and small                          Further, a 2007 report by the Inter-governmental
Governance                                                                   pushing for pro-poor policy reforms as well as                    enterprises, a sector catering to a large mass of                         Panel on Climate Change forecasts that the
                                                                             implementing the existing government schemes.                     the people.                                                               average global temperature in this century could
In the course of the economy undergoing                                      Hence there is a huge gap in terms of intent and                                                                                            rise by 3 degree Celsius against 0.74 degree
liberalisation, the state's role has been getting                            the actual translation of that intent. While this has a           Also, women's condition in this scenario has                              Celsius during the last century. This obviously has
redefined. While earlier, the government was                                 lot to do with the corruption institutionalised in the            become even worse. While more than 84% of                                 implications for a country like India with such a
supposed to deliver all the goods to a 'passive                              polity at all levels, it is also due to the lack of               women are involved in agriculture carrying out                            large coastline leading to further impoverishment of
recipient' people, the latter phase has been a                               capacity (especially at the lower levels) to even                 about 60% of the labour work, only about 10% of                           the people.
reversal where poor people have been left entirely                           implement the schemes effectively, one of the                     them are actual land holders. Similarly, the Tribals
to fend for themselves. But it has also led to a                             reasons why states return major portions of money                 and the Dalits fare even worse with more than 60%                         High Vulnerability to Climate Change
parallel rise of the social movements mobilizing                             unutilized every year.                                            of the Dalits as landless wage earners in the rural
people to demand their rights leading to                                                                                                       areas.                                                                    With a long, densely populated and low-lying
governments increasingly recognizing the threats                             Out of a total of 180 countries, India ranked 85th                                                                                          coastline and an economy tied closely to its natural
of sharp inequalities.                                                       on the Corruption Perception Index, surveyed by                   So on the one hand we have a largely over-                                resource base, India is very vulnerable to the
                                                                             Transparency International in 2008. Police and                    dependent and under employed population on                                impacts of climate change on precipitation
The situation is aggravated due to the unequal                               Judiciary are rated as the two most corrupt                       agriculture with a vast mass of landless casual                           patterns, ecosystems, its agricultural potential,
relationships between the hub and the spokes                                 institutions in the country in the same report. It is             labour, on the other we have very little                                  water and marine resources, and incidence of
within a federal structure. A mere 5% of the total                           not merely due to accidental gaps but due to the                  infrastructural support available for the                                 diseases. India's choices on how it pursues a high,
outlays go to the local governance bodies. Through                           very legacy of patronage and power entrenched in                  diversification of livelihood options in the rural                        future growth trajectory feeds directly into wider
a long prevailing demand, local decentralization of                          the governance system. Needless to add, it is the                 areas. Also, some of the relatively new policies                          climate change developments.
governance has taken place in the form of 73rd and                           poor who are hit worst in this scheme of things.                  pursued by the government like Special Economic
74th Constitutional amendments giving some                                   Hence, to give one example, any policy reform like                Zones, mining and natural resources rights being                          Long-term changes in temperatures and
power to the local Panchayati Raj Institutions                               defining a category of Below Poverty Line people,                 contracted out to the large, private companies                            precipitations have direct implications on
(PRIs) and urban local bodies. This would                                    means opening of huge money making                                have led to further eviction and subsequent                               agricultural yields. Moreover, resilience is typically
necessitate support to the local bodies for revenue                          opportunities while pushing poor people further out               increase in vulnerability of the rural poor.                              low in rural areas as the existing asset base is
generation as well as equitable provision of the                             of the ambit of any social safety net.                                                                                                      weak and services provided by infrastructure and
revenue by the state and central governments for                                                                                               High Exposure to Disasters                                                institutions are often insufficient.
the local bodies. There have been further reforms                            Neglect of the Agriculture Sector
with quotas for women in these bodies (ranging                                                                                                 A total of 241 districts in 21 states (constituting                       Rainfed farming is the predominant feature of
from 33% - 50%)7. The process is still far from                              Specifically, almost 65% of the population is                     roughly half of India) are termed as prone to multi-                      agriculture in India. Therefore, the pattern of rainfall
complete as the power is yet to be fully devolved to                         dependent on agriculture, while producing less                    hazard risks. About 57 % of land is vulnerable to                         (onset, duration, spatial extent) and the total
the grass roots while in many instances there is                             than 20% of GDP, pointing to an urgent need for                   earthquakes, 28 % to drought (2009 has seen 246                           precipitation are crucial to determining not only the
intent to bypass even what is prescribed. For                                livelihood diversification options along with the                 districts being declared as drought affected) and
example, while the National Rural Employment                                 need to strengthen the small-scale agriculture.                   12% to flood. This vulnerability is increasing only
Guarantee Act (NREGA) says that at least 50% of                              According to some surveys, 40% of the farmers                     further. Annual floods in Brahmaputra-Ganga flood
the work will be undertaken through the PRIs it has                          would leave agriculture given an option. One of the               plains affect millions of poor leading to forced                          In India, the direct losses
not been implemented in most of the states. Also                             clear reasons for the same has been the gradual                   displacement. Some of India's most poor and
very often, the elected representatives act as mere                          disinvestment from this sector pursued by                         unequal states such as Bihar, Orissa, Assam and                           from natural disasters
stamps for those entrenched in the system.                                   successive governments. It stands at less than 1%
                                                                             of GDP today as against the projected 4%. Even
                                                                                                                                               Uttar Pradesh are also most disaster-prone states.                        amount to 2% of its GDP
One of the useful comparators in this respect                                other infra-structural support has been largely                   In India, the direct losses from natural disasters                        and up to 12% of central
would be to compare the lagging states with the                              missing. For example, barely about 8% of the total                amount to 2% of its GDP and up to 12% of central
relatively better ones. It makes a sharp contrast -                                                                                            government revenues.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         government revenues.
the better performing states also have better
governance structures and service delivery                                   Out of a total of 180
capacity. A state like Tamilnadu is found to be                                                                                                                                 Table 2: Natural Disasters Impacts in India (1990 – 2008)
performing much better compared to the poorer                                countries, India ranked
states even in the implementation of schemes like                            85th on the Corruption                                              Country                 Population             Death (‘000)           People                  Population             Damage in
National Rural Health Mission, Public Distribution
System, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan etc.                                           Perception Index,                                                                           (‘000)                                        affected (‘000)         affected (%)           US$ (‘000)

One of the major factors in this respect has also
                                                                             surveyed by Transparency                                            India                   1,071,608              53.4                   885,224                 82.6                   25,743,100

been the lack of political will among the political                          International in 2008.                                           Since it is total number of people affected over 18 years, % affected can be higher than 100% since it indicates multiple exposure to disasters
                                                                                                                                                                         Source: Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT) and United Nations World Population Prospects

    A very recent announcement by the government has increased this quota for women to 50% across India.

16                                                                                          External Context Analysis: A Tale of Two Indias     India Strategy 2010 - 2015                                                                                                              17
livelihoods of the majority of people in rural areas                         India spends less than 1% of GDP on health and                    has worsened over the last couple of decades due                          from the state and the society while asserting their
but also India's larger growth in terms of GDP.                              less than 3% on education, much less compared to                  to certain key shifts in the developmental trajectory                     rights.
Global warming is already affecting the rainfall                             other developing countries. This means that almost                of India. It tells us that there has been a gradual
patterns in the country. Monsoon rainfall has                                80% of the total health cost is borne out of pocket               disinvestment from the public services from                               Gender Inequality
decreased by approximately 5% - 8% since the                                 resulting in 40% of the population borrowing                      whatever meager resources were available earlier.
1950s and such pattern could contribute to more                              money to meet the cost of hospitalisation. The                    Over the years, a kind of 'normalization' took place                      Despite positive changes in the policy environment
intense, longer and more widespread droughts                                 paradox is that while it is known as the ‘Pharmacy                with the perception that the people's basic rights                        and progressive legislation, Indian women continue
across the region, as indicated by the recent                                of the Third World’ due to supply of generic drugs,               are not rights but actually 'services' to be bought                       to face discrimination on all fronts, including inside
droughts. There is, however, a greater need for                              just about 30% of its own population has access to                from the open market. Those who could afford                              and outside their homes. It is now increasingly
research for change in agricultural practices for                            essential drugs. Similarly, on the education front,               could buy better education for their children, better                     argued and agreed that in most of India, gender
climate change adaptation.                                                   low levels of investment have led to huge drop out                health care for themselves, safe drinking water and                       discrimination begins before birth and continues
                                                                             rates of children reaching up to 40% at the primary               so on. The rest, a vast majority of the people, were                      throughout women's lives.
Similarly, the area affected by floods more than                             stage and 52% at elementary level despite the                     left to fend for themselves. A clear hierarchy of
doubled between 1953 and 2003. Some of the                                   official version of more than 90% enrolments. Of                  services, first rate for those who could afford,
largest Indian cities (Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata)                             course the most vulnerable sections like Dalits,                  second rate for those who couldn't has been                               India ranks 113th in the Global Gender Gap
are on the coast and will be vulnerable to rising                            Tribals, Muslims and girls are the worst hit in this              established. In the words of a scholar, the access                        rankings10 which are based on indicators of the
sea levels.8                                                                 scenario (refer annexure 3). Various reports by UN                to basic services in India in a way reflects the                          gendered gap in outcomes (and not just inputs)
                                                                             agencies say that out of a total of roughly 1.3 crore             existing multi-layered caste system, where each                           across four key areas:
It is feared that the sub-continent may also face an                         out-of-school children, more than 80% are girls.9                 person is entitled to get the quality of services
increased problem of climate refugees, with people                                                                                             according to his or her caste/economic status.                            ?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Economic participation and opportunity,
                                                                             On other fronts like water and sanitation which are
forced to flee their homes because of extreme                                                                                                                                                                            ?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Educational attainment,
                                                                             crucially linked to the issue of public health as well,           Continued Impact of Social Exclusion
weather events. Climate change will also have a                                                                                                                                                                          ?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Political empowerment and
                                                                             even today the sustainable coverage for water is
major impact on public health, with changing                                                                                                                                                                             ?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Health and survival.
                                                                             only approx. 50% population and for sanitation only               There has been continuing exclusion based on
diseases patterns that will affect first and foremost
                                                                             about 25% population.                                             caste, ethnicity and religion. Among all the poverty
poor people, with limited access to health services.
                                                                                                                                               indicators, it is the Dalits, Tribals and Muslims who                     More than 60% women are chronically poor in this
                                                                             The other crucial aspect is food security but here                are found to be worse off than the others. In fact,
Climate change has also a direct impact on the                                                                                                                                                                           country11 and according to the National Family
                                                                             too even in the existing scheme, 58% of subsidized                according to the government's own reports
glaciers in the Himalayas. The retreat of the ice                                                                                                                                                                        Health Survey –III (2005-06), almost half the
                                                                             food grains do not reach the BPL families, 22%                    following the findings submitted by the Rajinder
mass of the Himalaya-Hindu Kush (the third largest                                                                                                                                                                       women suffer from anemia and malnutrition. This
                                                                             reach APL (Above Poverty Line) and 36% is sold in                 Sachar Committee, Muslims now stand almost at
ice mass in the world, after the polar icecaps) could                                                                                                                                                                    data also reveals that two out of five married
                                                                             the black market.                                                 the bottom of the ladder. It is for this reason that it
pose a threat to the region itself.                                                                                                                                                                                      women have experienced some form of physical or
                                                                                                                                               needs to be highlighted that together these three                         sexual violence by their husbands. Moreover, there
                                                                              A severe lack of governance and effective                        categories constitute about 40% of India's
While the per capita Green House emissions of                                                                                                                                                                            have been growing incidences of public forms of
                                                                             implementation of the existing schemes has led to                 population and as a socio-economic category
India, is comparatively low, India is already the                                                                                                                                                                        violence against them especially during times of
                                                                             further impoverishment of the poor. A sober                       herein lies the basket of Indian poverty. These are
fourth largest polluter in the world. It is clear in this                                                                                                                                                                caste and communal conflicts, and also due to
                                                                             analysis will tell us that the problem faced on all               the groups which are deprived of the 'mainstream'
sense that India might not have created global                                                                                                                                                                           policing by the religious fundamentalists imposing
                                                                             these fronts, though part of a long historical legacy,            professions both in rural and urban India. Hence
warming but the situation certainly calls for urgent                                                                                                                                                                     their stricter norms of behavior on women. Hence
steps to be taken.                                                                                                                             while majority of the Dalits and Tribals are land less                    'honor killings' have become as common as female
                                                                                                                                               wage labourers, a majority of Muslims (even in                            feticide and female infanticide leading to a
Some of the initiatives that can be taken would                              The access to basic                                               urban centres) are in self-dependent petty
                                                                                                                                               professions, distinctly excluded from the services
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         continued downslide in the sex ratio. A whole
also be opportunities for private sector to develop                                                                                                                                                                      gamut of issues like early marriage, early
low-carbon energy based technology, which would                              services in India in a way                                        sector. Doubtlessly a part of historical legacy, their
prove to be long-term solution to the economic
problems as well.
                                                                             reflects the existing multi-                                      situation has not really improved during the last
                                                                                                                                               sixty years of development..
                                                                             layered caste system,                                                                                                                       More than 60% women are
Failure of the Public Services: A New Caste
                                                                             where each person is                                              While there has been a growing assertion among                            chronically poor in this country
System in Place                                                                                                                                the Dalits led by its middle class intellectuals, and
                                                                             entitled to get the quality of                                    politicians, a similar pattern is yet to emerge                           and according to the National
A broad look at some of the essential services in                                                                                              among the Tribals and the Muslims on the scale                            Family Health Survey - III
India will tell us the severely stressed situation                           services according to his                                         achieved by the Dalits. While there is a positive
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         (2005-06), almost half the
under which these sectors are right now. The poor
have been constantly hit disproportionately in
                                                                             or her caste/economic                                             trend of empowerment in the Indian democratic
                                                                                                                                               process. Marginalised people themselves must                              women suffer from anemia
accessing these services.                                                    status.                                                           increasingly begin to ask for accountability, both                        and malnutrition.
8                                                                                                                                              10
    South Asia Regional Vision Strategy Document, Oxfam GB, N. Delhi, 2009                                                                          WEF-Global Gender Gap Report 2008, cited in South Asia Regional Vision and Change Strategy Document, Oxfam GB, 2009
9                                                                                                                                              11
    Refer to Children Out of School Report (UNICEF/ UIS) as well as EFA Global   Monitoring Report 2007 (UNESCO).                                   Report of the 11th Plan Working Group on Poverty Alleviation Programme, Planning Commission, 2006

18                                                                                           External Context Analysis: A Tale of Two Indias   India Strategy 2010 - 2015                                                                                                    19
conception, pressure on girls to give birth to sons,                       religious discourse restricting women's life choices,             large-scale private companies etc through a              almost from the beginning of the independence.
dowry and bride burning are in-house                                       their mobility and decision-making abilities. It is this          constant extraction of the natural resources leading     The causes for the same need to be examined
manifestations of the entrenched patriarchal                               set of barriers which has been widely recognized,                 also to large-scale displacement. It has resulted in     more closely looking from the people's perspective.
structure.                                                                 but is yet to be tackled efficiently with different               a sustained armed mobilization among these               It has led to these regions always being on the boil
                                                                           contextual nuances.                                               communities often branded as the Naxalite                also because of the border disputes with Pakistan,
While there has been considerable focus on the                                                                                               problem, which now affects more than 160 districts       China and Bangladesh in particular.
education of the girl child, the 2007 target of the                        It is in this context that the question of women's                of the country. This conflict is not only a result of
gender parity in the classrooms has already been                           agency becomes paramount. While the debate has                    socio-economic marginalization but has further led       HIV and AIDS
missed by India. Women continue to face                                    now gone on for long, the ways however to                         to continuing exploitation of the people, often from
discrimination in accessing health rights despite                          address a woman's agency both inside and outside                  both the warring sides. State has largely seen it as     In India, the impact of HIV and AIDS is not very
selective targeted schemes like Reproductive Child                         the family have been hard to come by. This is                     a law and order issue often taking it as a               visible due to the low prevalence rate
Health (RCH) and Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY).                             despite the fact that their emancipatory role has                 questioning of its own 'undisputed' claim over the       (approximately 0.36% as per NACO AIDS
                                                                           been widely recognized at least on the twin issues                natural resources without really addressing it with a    prevalence estimate-2006) and a large population.
There has been some progressive movement                                   of lower fertility rate and the better chances of the             broader developmental vision.                            However, 118 districts out of around 600 districts
towards political empowerment of women through                             child survival (especially the girl child) in the                                                                          have HIV prevalence of more than 1% among
reservation in Panchayati Raj Institutions (ranging                        family13.                                                         The other kind of conflict has been identity based       mothers attending ante-natal clinics. This reveals
between one-third to half.) However, a similar                                                                                               conflicts around caste and religion. While it has        that HIV infection has taken deep root in India and
move in Parliament has failed to fructify so far in                        Impact of Conflict and Violence                                   been mentioned above that there has been an              poses a threat to the development process. As per
spite of repeated efforts by various governments.                                                                                            assertion of Dalits in the last few decades              the National AIDS Control organization (NACO)
                                                                           The role of conflict as a barrier to socio-economic               politically, it has also led to a resistance from the    estimates, the people living with HIV in India are
Even in terms of economic empowerment, while                               progress has been long recognized. Conflicts                      upper castes, sometimes in the most violent and          2.31 million. Of these 88.7% are in the most
women continue to do bulk of the work, yet they                            impoverish people by pushing the societies out of                 brutal manner. Caste-based atrocities continue in        productive age group (15-49) and 60% of them
often remain deprived of economic remuneration or                          the development track. Unfortunately, large-scale                 different parts of the country ranging from Bihar,       come from rural India. The growing number of
even a formal acknowledgement of their                                     conflicts have continued to erupt frequently in                   Maharashtra to Punjab.                                   women at risk is another factor which needs to be
contribution. They remain without any control over                         various regions of the country. They are results of                                                                        recognised as the 'feminine' face of the epidemic.
assets and largely form the casual, informal and                           both the socio-historical legacy of India as a nation             A more menacing form of identity-based conflict
hence the most exploited labour force of the                               state and the kind of development paradigm that                   has been the one based on religion, mainly               Apart from the mounting human costs, the
country.                                                                   has continued to keep certain sections of the                     between Hindus and Muslims but also between              epidemic threatens to wipe out the economic and
                                                                           people on the margins.                                            Hindus and Christians, Hindus and Sikhs at               development gains of the past decades. A study
International conventions like CEDAW (Convention                                                                                             different historical junctures. While the partition of   conducted by United Nations Development
on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination                          One of the major forms of this conflict has been                  1947 did leave a legacy of continued mistrust            Programme (UNDP) reveals that HIV will have an
Against Women), Beijing Platform for Action                                witnessed in the pockets of severe stress i.e. the                among these identities, it has taken newer forms         overbearing impact over the next decade on
(BPFA) and Millennium Development Goals                                    extreme poor states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa,                  and unprecedented heights in the last few                economic growth and livelihood of the people, in
(MDGs) have led to successive policy formulations                          parts of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and                       decades. Hence, even as Gujarat is seen as the           the absence of remedial policy action. The HIV
at the national level with a focus on state                                Chhattisgarh. These are the states which are also                 model of economic development, large-scale               epidemic in India is likely to bring down the
accountability to uphold women's rights. Such                              partially or largely Tribal dominated isolated                    massacres of Muslims in 2002 and Kandhamal               average GDP growth rate during 2001-2003 to
strategies mostly focus on legislative and policy                          terrains which have not really tasted any fruit of                massacre of Tribal Christians in Orissa (a relatively    2015-2016 by one per cent. Another study
reform in the area of women's access to justice                            development. If at all, it has been a bitter fruit in the         poor state) in 2008, are two faces of the same           conducted by National Council for Applied
VAW (Violence Against Women), support services,                            form of continued exploitation by the state, large                coin. In both these instances, while a                   Economic Research for NACO in 2005 argues that
political leadership (quota in local and national                          and middle level land holders, private contractors,               contextualized material politics is at the root of       over the 14-year period between 2002-03 and
government), overall budgetary allocations for                                                                                               these massacres, they are also a part of broader         2015-16, “economic growth could decline by 0.86
women related issues, and legislation around                                                                                                 national divisions which have continued to wreck         percentage points over this period and per capita
'family' laws (marriage, divorce, inheritance etc).
                                                                           The major forms of conflict                                       this nation.                                             gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.55 percentage
                                                                                                                                                                                                      points, if the spread of HIV goes unchecked in
The other set of attempts have been to facilitate
                                                                           has been witnessed in the                                         What is important to note, however, in all these         India.”
economic empowerment of women through access                               pockets of severe stress                                          instances is that in most of the cases once again it
to basic services, economic opportunities and                                                                                                is the most marginalized communities like Dalits,
other allied services. While the state accountability                      i.e. the extreme poor                                             Tribals and Muslims who have been at the                 Drivers of Change
and provision of economic opportunities could be
seen as an effective strategy in general,
                                                                           states of Bihar, Jharkhand,                                       receiving end. It underlines the need for a
                                                                                                                                             comprehensive strategy of development which also         All the participants in the development process ,
discrimination against women is a more complex                             Orissa, parts of Andhra                                           takes into account the social fissures as much as        namely the state, civil society, private sector and
phenomenon where a set of other factors too play                                                                                             the economic ones.
their role. For example, family and society at large
                                                                           Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh                                                                                                    the media have their role to play in accelerating
                                                                                                                                                                                                      change. In this sense, they are the drivers of
play a crucial role very often packaged through a                          and Chhattisgarh.                                                 On a different level, continued conflict in North-east   changes both in the short-term and the long-term.
                                                                                                                                             and Kashmir is also part of a historical legacy

     This analysis is borrowed from Oxfam GB's South Asia Regional Vision and Change Strategy Document, 2009
     Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom, Oxford University Press, N. Delhi, 2005

20                                                                                         External Context Analysis: A Tale of Two Indias   India Strategy 2010 - 2015                                                                                     21
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