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

Articles by Preeti SampatSubscribe to Preeti Sampat


A growing rentier economy is driving urbanisation infrastructure projects in India without distributive linkages with industrialisation. This rentier economy brings within its purview various combinations of policy such as speculative land markets, real estate and other urban infrastructure investments by global and domestic investors, private consultants and developers, interests within the state at various levels, and landowners willing and able to benefit from rentiering. It hinges crucially on ownership of land, and hence on deeply unequal geographies of rent. There is a need to distinguish rent-driven urbanisation infrastructure projects from industrialisation and concomitant job-creation. The peasantry emerges as absolute surplus population irrelevant to this geography of rent, except as an obstacle to growth.

On the Land Question in 21st Century India

The Price of Land: Acquisition, Conflict, Consequence by Sanjoy Chakravorty (OUP India), 2013; pp 304, Rs 825.

Limits to Absolute Power

As the conflict over land assumes a central dynamic within the "growing Indian economy", forcible acquisition, or the state's power of eminent domain, is critical to various political and economic calculations. This paper discusses the doctrine of eminent domain in the context of dispossession and emergent land and resource conflicts in India. The origin of the doctrine in pre-constitutional colonial law, the legal mechanisms of land reform and acquisition laws through which it finds expression, and the recently proposed mechanisms for acquisition that expand its power and conflate public purpose with private capitalist interests are discussed. The paper examines the dual nature that lends itself to redistributive justice and the dispossession of already marginalised citizenry. It then examines the vexatious concept of sovereignty animating the doctrine, discusses existing substantive limits to its power that need to be given primacy and the uneven jurisprudence around the doctrine. It argues for contextualised rights to land- and resource-use regimes, concluding with observations on the implications of the doctrine's continuing and expanded scope.

Delhi Water Supply Reforms: Public-Private Partnerships or Privatisation?

The manner of implementation of water supply reforms in three areas of Delhi based on the public-private partnership model has been a quiet and secret affair without proactive consultations with the people of the project areas. This account of the Delhi reforms examines the documents of one of the three PPPs and asks questions about the manner in which the projects are unfolding, the roles of the Delhi Jal Board and private entities as envisaged in the PPPs, as well as the overall implications for the right to water.

Special Economic Zones in India

Despite the overwhelming evidence of "immiserisation" due to displacement, numerous cases of resistance and the distortion of democratic processes, the neoliberal paradigm remains dominant in India.

Where Is Displacement?

At the annual conference of the Society for Applied Anthropology in Memphis, Tennessee, US, held from March 25-29, “Displacement, Resettlement and Rehabilitation” was one of the three main themes. The conference was attended by a diverse crowd of applied social scientists from around the world.

Swajaldhara or 'Pay'-jal-dhara: Right to Drinking Water in Rajasthan

The government of India's ambitious Swajaldhara scheme promises access to drinking water across India's rural areas. The scheme moves away from supplydriven programmes and emphasises a demand-driven approach, with programmes conceived, implemented and maintained by local user committees after initial state support. A field study in Rajasthan reveals how Swajaldhara ignores existing socio-political realities that prevail across India's villages, where income inequalities, caste hierarchies and local power dynamics continue to deny this vital resource to the marginalised and the poor.

In Search of the 'Un'common Woman in Laxman's Cartoons

Political cartoons enjoy a wide appreciation among readers. While offering political satire, they, however, limit the definition of the political to formal politics and are deeply informed by predominant socio-cultural assumptions, rarely serving to challenge the socio-political status quo.

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