‘Falling Poverty and Rising Privations: Trends Over a Quarter Century in a Slum and a Village Near Delhi’ by Dr. Devesh Vijay

Dr. Devesh Vijay presented his research entitled ‘Falling Poverty and Rising Privations: Trends Over a Quarter Century in a Slum and a Village Near Delhi’ at the Sociological Research Colloquium.

When: Friday, 09th March 2018 at 3:00 p.m.

Where: Seminar Room (First Floor), Department of Sociology, University of Delhi 


A number of reforms championed by activists and academics in the Indian political system including devolution of more powers to panchayats, greater autonomy for all statutory bodies and legal provisions for rights to food, education, information, employment and land and, pensions and insurance for the poor got implemented over the past quarter century along with the partial liberalization of the economy and the growth of NGOs and civic activism in India. The impact of these momentous shifts on lives of ordinary citizens is, however, hotly contested and calls for some intensive, long term studies of villages and slums today.

As a contribution, this paper makes use of my surveys, focus group discussions, interviews and life sketches constructed in a village and a slum within the National Capital Region, in 1988-89 and again in 2013-14, to track changes in occupations, incomes and ‘privations’ (like worsening health environment and rising violence) in the field. The talk shows that while income-poverty and hunger came down clearly in the studied communities between the two surveys, morbidity, crime, communal tensions, suicides and other ‘privations’ have grown alarmingly.

The study also suggests some tools for measuring ‘privations’ in communities and compares its field data on noted sufferings with unit level census and national accounts statistics for the region and points to some discrepancies which call for further research integrating macro and micro perspectives on multi-dimensional poverties.

About the Speaker

Dr. Devesh Vijay is Senior ICSSR Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi. He retired from the Department of History, Zakir Husain Delhi College and has been fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, the Institute of Economic Growth and at the Indian Council of Social Science Research earlier. Dr. Vijay has written on underdevelopment, ideology and cultural history. His writings include: Writing Politics: Left Discourses in Contemporary India; Dalits and Democracy: Notes from two North Indian Communities and Sanskritik Itihaas: Ek Tulnatmak Sarvekshan (a comparison of European, Chinese and Indian cultural traditions in Hindi). Presently he is engaged in a comparative study of ‘poverties’ in a slum and a village near Delhi.

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