BASE CAMP: “The poor need to be organised for greater accountability of systems of governance.” Picture shows people at a public hearing on PDS and cash transfers in New Delhi. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma
BASE CAMP: “The poor need to be organised for greater accountability of systems of governance.” Picture shows people at a public hearing on PDS and cash transfers in New Delhi. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma / Picture from The Hindu


TEXT AND PICTURE FROM THE HINDU DATED: JANUARY 14 2015 BY MIHIR SHAH


Can cash work for the unorganised poor when faced with exploitative markets? As any student of the poor in India knows, when individual small and marginal farmers enter any market, they face extremely onerous conditions. The nexus of interlocked markets presents grievously unfair terms for them and most of the time they end up making distress sales, getting even deeper into debt. It is for this reason that recent work on farmers’ poverty has focussed so much on building powerful economic institutions of the poor such as Self-Help Group Federations or Farmer Producer Organisations, so that they can compete on better terms in the market. A mere transfer of cash without this major innovation will do the poor little good.

Can cash work for the unorganised poor when faced with unresponsive governments? Another reason why the poor need to be organised is to generate greater accountability of systems of governance that are the weakest in our most deprived regions. When the poor get organised, especially when led by women, we get much higher quality of mid-day meals and primary health centres. Removing poverty…continue reading

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