Inclusiveness and human development: The hidden linkage?

Unlike economic growth and national income which have been used ever since to measure economic development, human development indicators have a relatively short history. Development progress of countries has been measured only since the 1990s through health, education and standard of living.

Indian population represents 17% of the world population, and 33% of the global poor. Using the Indian case, Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan (National Institute of Advanced Studies – NIAS) and Srijit Mishra (Indian Gandhi Institute of Development Research – IGIDR) attempt to investigate inclusiveness using human development indicators across different socio-economic groups (class, caste, gender, etc…) of Indian population.

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Fighting Human Trafficking: GDN funds Innovative Development Projects

This is a cross-post based on GDN’s Feature Story, “Fighting Human Trafficking: GDN funds Innovative Development Projects”. The post is based on the GDN 13th Annual Conference Awards and Medals Competition 2nd place winner, Hasina Kharbhih, for the work of ‘Impulse NGO Network‘.

Hasina Kharbhih, Team Leader, Impulse NGO Network receiving GDN Award

Hasina Kharbhih, Team Leader, Impulse NGO Network receiving GDN Award

Researcher capacity building is clearly driven by the importance of communication in bridging research and policy. Our Research Communication Training Workshops are thus an integral pre-conference activity, conducted by GDNet  Research Communication Training facilitation team in collaboration with CommsConsult, that helps researchers better present their research to create a bigger impact with their ideas.  Last year’s GDN awarded winner Hasina Kharbhih sets an example for effective  engagement of policymakers in  creating an impact with research. Her research team utilized a range of communications tools to support the research and help ensure wider impact. This included publishing a formal research report that presents the research findings, in addition to conducting a press release to involve the media and engage Indian government stakeholders in discussions of the findings.

To provide a long lasting, holistic solution to the rampant human trafficking problem, Impulse has created the Meghalaya Model which not only rescues, rehabilitates and reintegrates victims of human trafficking, but also oversees prosecution of the traffickers and raises awareness to prevent human trafficking. What makes the Model special is its ability to get various stakeholders involved. “We understand that the issue of human trafficking is too big to be handled only by a few NGOs. The government agencies and other stakeholders have to be involved,” says Hasina Kharbhih, the Team Leader of Impulse. The Model brings together civil society, NGOs, media, educational institutions, government departments, judiciary, law enforcement, and Border Security Forces (BSF) to collectively fight against the problem.

Interested to learn more about the Meghalaya Model and the experience of Impulse NGO Network? Watch our interview with Hasina.

As part of GDNet’s Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, a panel was held prior to the GDN Conference where a few rigorous, robust and representative cases of knowledge into use in the policy process were selected. Hasina’s case was chosen as one of the Most Significant Cases where a number of interesting policy influencing factors arise.

This year, the GDN 14th Annual Global Development Conference on Inequality, Social Protection and Inclusive Growth will be held on June 19-21, 2013 at the Asian Development Bank Headquarters in Manila, Philippines.

Don’t miss any discussions and stay up to date with conference proceedings and messages through social media:

  • Read the daily blog on GDNet to catch up on plenaries and parallels discussions and listen to interviews from speakers and participants
  • Ask questions and share your ideas and relevant research by commenting on conference blogs, tweets, photos, video and more
  • Follow @Connect2GDNet and #GDN2013 for live updates and comments on discussion.

Download full Conference Note here!

Housing and basic infrastructure for all: A conceptual framework for urban India

India is projected to have an urban housing shortage of 29 million units by 2017.  This deficit persists because housing interventions to date have been delivered in an ad hoc and fragmented manner in the absence of an enabling framework to facilitate housing delivery. In light of this, the paper presented by Pritika Hingorani (IDFC, India) during the GDN’s 13th Annual Conference develops a conceptual framework which stresses integration – an alignment of the economic, legal, planning, financial systems and a clear mapping of requirements – tenure mix, associated infrastructure that can help ensure targeted and productive investment.

According to the paper Housing and basic infrastructure services for all: A conceptual framework for urban Indiahousing provision must dovetail with a framework to deliver basic infrastructure – in particular, water supply and sanitation, access to transit, electricity and solid waste management. This is crucial to mitigate the externalities associated with urban growth. Planning and economic policies in particular can help create a strong link in delivering both housing and infrastructure.

Urban sprawling and urban master planning

Most development plans are routed on how master plans are implemented in fast growing in cities. Bad urban planning or unplanned urban sprawl can hinder the development of cities. During the  GDN’s 13th Annual Conference Venkatesh Dutta (School of public policy, University of Maryland) presented a research paper entitled ‘War on the dream – How land use dynamics and Peri-urban growth characteristics of sprawling city devour the master plan and urban suitability’. The paper examines how master planning is being implemented and how much it differs from reality.

Spatial Concentration/Diversification in India

The process of urbanization in India is large city oriented. Beside the dominance of large cities, there is spatial disparity in terms of their distribution and other characteristics. Since class I cities itself is not a homogeneous category, this paper aims to see the effect of location on characteristics of these cities. In this context it compares the class I cities located within UA boundaries and those located outside UA’s in terms of their growth characteristics. It also aims to analyze the process of concentration/dispersal of population in the urban agglomerations of million plus cities. It also analyses the sectoral and spatial concentration of workforce in class I cities according to size class and their location within or outside the urban agglomerations.

The paper Spatial Concentration/Diversification: Comparative Analysis of Class I Cities Located within and outside Urban Agglomerations in India (1991-2001) presented byRupinder Kaur (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India) at the GDN’s 13th Annual Conference concludes that Indian urbanization is experiencing concentrated decentralization where growth is concentrated in class I cities particularly within UAs. While within this category, cities located outside UAs are catching up with those located within UAs. There is a movement from monocentric to polycentric urban pattern in largest UAs of the country. Larger class I cities are experiencing workforce diversification while concentration tendencies are found in smaller cities particularly those which are located outside UAs.


Meghalaya Model to fight against human trafficking

Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. It means the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs. The legal end of slavery only pushed it under the ground – making the modern slaves invisible.

Meghalaya Model is a comprehensive approach to address human trafficking from different angles, engaging stakeholders to work in a collaborative network, connected by Impulse Case Info Center. Hasina Kharbhi, finalist in the 2011 Global Development Awards Competition – Japanese Award for the Most Innovative Development Project (MIDP), presented this initiative at the GDN 13th Annual Conference. In this video, Hasina introduces the project and what it aims to achieve.


Meghalaya Model is designed to track and rescue trafficked children; to facilitate rehabilitation, making sure that survivors will not get re-trafficked; provide families with livelihood alternatives; to prosecute offenders; to create new policies making the fight against human trafficking always more efficient; and to raise awareness, also through media, preventing human trafficking all together. These activities translate to the pillars of Meghalaya Model, which are the five “Ps” Prevention, Protection, Policing, Press and Prosecution. The process of Meghalaya Model is Reporting, Rescue, Rehabilitation, Repatriation and Re-education.

Through a collaborative, far-reaching network children are more likely to be recovered, traffickers will face prosecution and survivors will have better access to rehabilitation. To make the collaboration more coordinated and proficient between the stakeholders, Impulse established Case Information Centre. It is a one of a kind database to collect all the information about human trafficking cases reported to Impulse or to its partners. Impulse Case Info Center has facilitated over 2000 (and counting) rescue operations of human trafficking victims – none of the survivors have been re-trafficked.

Before the invention of the Meghalaya Model there was no other workable system in order to combat human trafficking in the Northeast of India in a holistic network approach. Now the Model is replicated in all the 8 states of Northeast India bringing together Government and Police Departments to address the issue of human trafficking collectively.

Cloth for work: Turning age old charitable act into dignified giving

Whether we like it or not, clothes are the symbol of our dignity. Cloth for Work is a special Indian initiative that is not only tackling one of the most important basic needs of village communities – clothing – but dignifying the act of giving.

Cloth for work is a project initiated by GOONJ. During the GDN’s 13th Annual Conference, GOONJI Founder Anshu Gupta presented his project. After the session we caught up with up and recorded the short interview below.

From raising local communities’ awareness about their basic needs – on the top of which clothing – to empowering them in order to address their own local issues, the process seems to be long but rewarding. Whether it is an issue of cleaning a dirty surrounding, tackling an old water problem, increasing land cultivation and productivity, or repairing a damaged road, the project’s initiators help the communities decide on the problem, identify the possible solution and act accordingly. Clothes are then given as a reward. With Cloth for Work initiative, giving clothes is no longer a charity act, but rather a resource for development.

One of the most interesting aspects of this initiative remains the possibility of using old material as a powerful tool to satisfy basic needs. Using old cotton material to produce sanitary pads is one powerful example.

Although prominent, several projects across the Global South whose main target are women overlook the issue of sanitary pads. In a conservative country like India, sanitary pads are considered to be a woman issue, hence a taboo. Cloth for Work used sanitary pads as a tool to open up a dialogue and raise awareness about pads being a human basic need which has been ignored regardless of its vitality. Old materials are converted into sanitary pads by women of village communities themselves. 2 million sanitary pads were created over the past 2 years. Not only such sanitary pads are handmade, easy to produce and cost effective, but also are 100% biodegradable. No other sanitary pad across the globe is that environment friendly!

Public retreat, private expenses and penury

At the GDN’s 13th Annual Conference unfolding in Budapest, Samik Chowdhury presented a paper investigating the gradual withdrawal of government from the provision of public services, and the resulting burden it has on urban households in the form of rising out of pocket expenses and health care.

This research entitled “Public retreat, private expenses and penury: Illness-induced impoverishment in urban India” studies different modalities across various income categories, household characteristics, religions backgrounds and social groups. The findings are quite alarming, as 6% of urban households were found to fall beyond poverty line, apart from health care payment.

How our Regional Windows are Different: Limelight on South Asia

We here at GDNet realize that knowledge, and information, all stored in our Knowledge Base (KB), is our edge. So we always come up with innovative ways of presenting, and repackaging, information to our users. Not only do we have 7 Regional Windows, but we also have our relatively newly-launched 23 thematic windows. Again, just variations of how you can access our vast pool of research papers, organizations, researchers, and the like.

Our focus today will be on the South Asia window, where we source and pool knowledge by Southern researchers from the region. We feature the latest development research, across our 23 themes, relevant to the region, and always make an effort to give underrepresented countries the voice and coverage they need.

We have handpicked two research papers on India, that effectively depict the development dynamic of this South Asian mega-country and BRIC nation. The first one revolves around changing demographics in and the varied rates of economic growth for the countries involved. The second highlights a different regional approach adopted by the country, one where cooperation and interconnectedness are key in a globalized world.

Demographic changes, and their effect on economic growth, were highlighted In the paper discussing prospects for Asian development . One of the premises being that when people age, they’re less productive and thus constitute a burden on society, and their loved ones.

The argument follows that countries home to a younger labor force are poised for growth, fueled by rural-urban migration and urbanization. People now opt for cities, in search of opportunities and a better lifestyle. But living in the city often means having fewer children. And lower fertility rates have translated into fewer inductees into the labor force, with adverse effects on productivity.

Moving on to India’s role as the largest economy in South Asia  and its decision to use soft power as part of its regional strategy, the second paper describes that dynamic; one where “benign power,” hinging on cooperation and interconnectedness, in a post-9/11, conflict-ridden world, is the way to go.

Thanks to globalization, and a changing demography, the political economic reality in the region has witnessed a complete turnaround. As powers rise and fall, most countries now realize that establishing connections based on the common thread of history, culture, religion, and strategic interests is the smartest route to take.

We will be featuring plenty of more synthesis papers from our regional and thematic windows; ones that give you a feel for the various conversations going on in the developing and underdeveloped worlds on economic growth and sustainable development.