Book / Poverty alleviation policy in Kochi

Anuradha Kalhan (2019). “A Brief history of poverty alleviation in neoliberal times
Manohar Books. ISBN:978-93-88540-11-7. 397 pages.

About the book: This book deals with implementation of poverty alleviation policy in recent times. It follows one poverty alleviation policy called Swarn Jayanti Shehri Rozgar Yojana initiated in 1997, through three large cities: Mumbai, Delhi and Kochi.
The book spans five years of fieldwork (2009-14) and reproduces the circumstances of poor urban women, their families and the effect of this policy designed to help them. Most significantly it examines policy execution at the local level. There is substantial difference in the manner in which the same policy is implemented in each city. The organization for implementation is also different and outcome is noticeably different as well.
In a manner the fieldwork also points to nature of ‘trickle-down’ that has occurred. India by then had experienced over two decades (1990-1 and 2013-14) of higher than historic growth. Large cities are high growth-centres, prime location of wealth accumulation as well as trickle down.
Trickle down evidently does not take care of the problem of mass poverty. As the book emphasises, direct policy interventions of several kinds are needed but overall as this volume points out the scale of the problem is completely unrelated to public resources, organization and energy applied to it.
About the author : Anuradha Kalhan has taught Economics in Mumbai University for nearly three decades and has a PhD in the subject from the University of Mumbai. She is now an independent researcher.

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