Capturing the voices of the small and marginal women farmers in the tribal-dominated Dungarpur district of India's Rajasthan state, this survey demonstrates that the populace in certain remote and underdeveloped areas is prepared to embrace a self-helpbased approach in place of policies that often amount to little more than charity and foster dependency. The book acknowledges the validity of the goal of universal social security and a safety net, but argues for reviving a genuine initiative in the area of decentralization and laying the foundation for a local livelihood security framework.
The evidence gleaned from the modest study in Dungarpur is of significant consequence in the context of the current debate on strategies for poverty alleviation, social security, and growth in the face of a fast deteriorating international economic environment, unabated domestic inflation, rising fiscal deficit, and a sharp dip in India's overall growth rates.
Harsh Singh has served in the Indian Economic Service for a decade, and is a former programme advisor for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) India. He is the author of Creating Vibrant Public-Private-Panchayat Partnership for Inclusive Growth Through Inclusive Governance.
Vinayak Damle is a senior adviser for the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and a civil engineer who has worked on the issue of rural sustainable water management for more than 15 years. He led the CII's Dungarpur Initiative, a pilot model for the development of backward districts.
Devi Lal Vyas is the executive director of People's Education and Development Organization (PEDO), a volunteer association. He has collaborated with and guided the local government of Rajasthan state, the UNDP, and various nongovernmental organizations in their policies and programs supporting the disadvantaged.
Ramila Vyas is a cofounder of PEDO and leads its activities in the areas of pro-poor livelihoods, women's empowerment, and capacity building of local government representatives.
Vishnu Khedkar is an agricultural engineer with more than a decade of experience in the field of rural development and sustainable livelihood. He led the CII team in Dungarpur that piloted the Public-Private Community Partnership in that district and worked as a project investigator for the Farmers Participatory Action Research Programme for demonstrating micro-irrigation techniques and efficient management of water resources for enhanced agricultural productivity.