Marginalized communities are excluded from a say in the creation of policies.
In India, as in all communities, certain social groups are marginalized and have poor access to government supports and benefits. The need to include these groups in benefit-allocation is mentioned in policy documents. However, they have not been recognised in the analysis, formulation and implementation of developmental measures even when created speciically to benefit them. This paper, published in the Law, environment and development journal (LEAD) aims to contribute to an understanding of the ground realities of social exclusion in national programmes.
The objectives of this paper are:
The variables chosen covered two aspects of social exclusion:
150 respondents from the Gadiwat watershed (district Aurangabad in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra) belonging to various social groups were selected and interviewed. Primary quantitative and qualitative data was collected through interviews, focused group discussions, in-depth interviews and transect-walk. Secondary data on project details was collected through Project Implementing Agency (hereafter PIA) documents,such as the project feasibility report and mid-term evaluation reports, village-level records of the proceedings of various gram sabha and VWC meetings.
Either intentional or not, this can occur in the following ways in a watershed programme:
Exclusion from activities:
Certain activities are mandatory within the programme to strengthen participation and foster a sense of ownership. Here, exclusion occurs along the following lines
Economic/benefit level exclusion
Membership in village institutions increased the personal benefits of watershed treatments in the Gadiwat watershed. Similarly, farmers with an irrigation source benefited more than rained farmers as they were better situated to tap into increased water availability. The ban on tree-cutting and open grazing severely affected resource-poor families' access to fuel and fodder, causing them some economic damage especially during the earlier part of the programme. The study also indicates that while the gross income of most households has increased, there is no redistribution of the economic power balance with only 30 percent of the households owning about 60% of the total income both before and after the project.
The author makes the following recommendations to deal with issues of inequity:
Conclusions: The paper identifies the 'scope and need to redesign strategies to equitably extend the benefits and increased resources of watershed projects to the resource-poor
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