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State of India’s Livelihoods Report 2013

ACCESS, 2014, SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd., 168 p., £47.50, ISBN: 9788132116622

The State of India’s Livelihoods Report (SOIL Report) is an annual publication that aims to document recent trends and issues in the sphere of livelihoods promotion of the poor. A oneof- its-kind report, it is the only document that aggregates the experiences and challenges of the livelihoods sector, analyses case studies and reports the progress of both government and privately run programmes.

This volume of the SOIL Report provides an annual policy update in the context of livelihoods promotion of poor. It reviews the existing primary research on the agricultural sector to highlight key trends, identify the main livelihood gaps, and give an overview of key livelihood interventions that seek to address these gaps. It covers the current state of skills policy in India and the evidence that we have so far, of its impact and effectiveness, the current economic scene and employment prospects and industry demand in 2013. It also explores the links to livelihood outcomes and behaviour from a social protection perspective, especially for the poor and the workers within the informal sector. As a new feature, the SOIL Report 2013 also carries a Statistical Atlas of Livelihoods, which illustrates some of the major indicators of the status of livelihood using disaggregated data at the state level.

India Rural Development Report 2012 -13

IDFC Foundation, 2013, Orient Blackswan Pvt Ltd, ISBN 978 81 250 5392 7

The first edition of the India Rural Development Report prepared by the IDFC Rural Development Network, is presented in two parts – the first is a review of the state of rural development while the second is an in-depth study of a particular area of focus for the year. This year’s focus is on MGNREGA. The recurring themes that underpin this report are sustainability, inclusion and governance.

Another underlying question throughout the Report is why, in six decades, have results fallen short in public delivery of services and why have some states done better than others? Lack of accountability is clearly a key reason. Social audits, increased use of performance-based incentives, and conditional cash transfers would significantly improve outcomes. Administrative capacity too must be strengthened and institutional overlap and fragmentation of responsibilities streamlined for effective delivery. Fundamental to all change lies the question of the political economy, of the motivation of sarpanchs to release the stranglehold of caste and class inequalities and for them and other rural development agencies to see past more myopic short-term gain.

Alternative Paths to Food Security

Norman Uphoff , Jan 2014; 10.1093/oxfordhb, ISBN: 9780195397772.013.012

This chapter is from the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Food, Politics, and Society edited by Ronald Herring. This chapter examines an agroecological approach to agricultural development called the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). SRI can boost paddy yields by 50 to 100 percent using less inputs of seed, water, fertilizer, and labor. The article first considers the opportunities offered by SRI methods compared to current agricultural practices. It then looks at the effects of agro ecological management with other crops and the dynamics of an agro ecological innovation. The concluding section discusses broader implications for politics and society.