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

Articles by Darshini MahadeviaSubscribe to Darshini Mahadevia

Social Activist and Catalyst for Justice

Girish Patel used his immense knowledge of law to fight legal battles for the marginalised, and set up the Lok Adhikar Sangh to play a supportive role in the movements for social and political justice.

Ecology vs Housing and the Land Rights Movement in Guwahati

Selective state interventions to mitigate natural disasters such as floods, the compulsions under which the urban poor inhabit ecologically marginal lands and in the case of Guwahati, the “encroachments” on wetlands and hills, have set the stage for conflict about housing rights, especially for those without legal land tenure. The “encroachments” of the poor are delegitimised and they become victims of eviction drives while encroachments by the state and the middle- and high-income classes on ecologically vulnerable areas are legitimised. In Guwahati, this has led to a cycle of violence and counter-violence. This paper sets this sequence of events against the historically contested land rights issue in a city with limited habitable land due to its natural ecology.

Ahmedabad's BRT System

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and the National Urban Transport Policy have given a boost to bus rapid transit systems in many Indian cities and Ahmedabad's Janmarg is the largest such network now in operation. This paper shows that while catering to latent transport demand, Janmarg has not promoted inclusivity or encouraged a shift away from private motorised transport. It has also given short shrift to non-motorised transport systems, which are important for inclusivity and for reducing the city's carbon footprint. The study raises the pertinent question of whether public transport ought to be viewed as a technological fix or as part of a wider solution of urban or social issues.

Branded and Renewed? Policies, Politics and Processes of Urban Development in the Reform Era

Hidden behind city branding exercises through large projects are acts of land capture and slum demolitions by a predatory local state and crony capitalism. In the policy arena, meanwhile, the urban, and particularly the metropolitan story has been one of deliberate confusion, and fragmentation of policy and implementation. The promise of rapid city transformation has not been met through the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, which does something for infrastructure and something for housing but all in an uncoordinated project-by-project manner. Neither the infrastructure agenda nor shelter security for all is advanced. The urban reality instead has been one of gradual improvement, with or without these policy and branding initiatives.

One Size Does Not Fit All

one Size Does Not Fit All Darshini Mahadevia Different countries have used different tools to articulate the relationships across the levels of governments. In India, China and Brazil, states the introduction to Part I

Inclusions and Exclusions

Inclusions and Exclusions Darshini Mahadevia This collection of 11 articles with an introductory chapter brings to the table the issues faced by the urban poor in the cities of developing Asia. This is a rare collection, though a number of books have either analysed the economic dynamics of emerging

Urban Infrastructure Financing and Delivery in China

A high volume of infrastructure investment in the cities of China is not just an outcome of high economic growth rates maintained by the country over a long period of time, but largely because of her administrative structure wherein large cities have powers to tax more than others and collect taxes from larger areas, as also administrative and fiscal decentralisation and devolution of urban functions to specifically created bodies/agencies that can recover costs to some extent. Added to this are the ingenious methods of extra-budgetary and off-budgetary resource collection by local authorities, and passing down of welfare functions to lower levels of administration. However, all these have resulted in high levels of inter-city and intra-city inequalities.

NURM and the Poor in Globalising Mega Cities

The central government's National Urban Renewal Mission is expected to convert select cities into "world class" urban centres. The submission for basic services that falls under the NURM would benefit the poor only if they have security of tenure and their settlements and dwelling units get connected to these networks. The land question is central to making affordable housing available for the poor. Since the mission does not address this question, how would a city become world class without reaching out to half its population? The mission will instead encourage processes that would displace the poor, rather than include them in the process of city transformation.

Communal Space over Life Space

Ahmedabad, once a city known for its enterprise, is now a city whose various communities live lives defined by the communal space. The ascendancy of the communal space, however, has coincided with the global integration of its economy. This paper analyses how the city, its physical and socio-economic structure, responded to the needs of globalisation. The increasingly uncertain economic base of the city left self-employed and casual workers vulnerable to the vagaries of market forces. In the vacuum created by the exclusion of certain sections of the city's population from development programmes and as local governments abstained from their welfare responsibilities, an opportunity was created for the Sangh parivar to step in with its vicious propaganda, fomenting hatred and creating an identifiable, though false, image of the 'other'.

Privatising Earthquake Rehabilitation

Private organisations contacted by the Gujarat government to rebuild houses in earthquake-affected Kutch are having to beat a dejected retreat. On one hand, housing contractors merely wanted to reap a quick turnover, on the other, their understanding of the villages they sought to rebuild did not take into account the differing wants of the people and the caste-class divisions among them.

Health for All in Gujarat

While Gujarat has registered a significant improvement in key health statistics, the health situation in the state shows some paradoxes. A comprehensive analysis of the health status over the years, public health expenditure, the growth of health facilities in urban and rural areas and in the private and public sectors indicates that rather than technical inputs, it is the development model adopted that impinges on health status.


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