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Inadequate public spending for elementary education badly affects quality

Two recent publications on elementary education in India highlight one very critical point: that quality in schooling is closely related to resources and that maximum quality standards cannot be alienated without minimum public expenditure. They further show that actual levels of public spending per child have consistently being well below the levels required to achieve such minimum quality and that per student spending in real terms has not increased.

The actual public expenditure on elementary education is hard to calculate, especially as it is done by a multiplicity of departments and by the centre and the states. The authors make a brave and extremely useful attempt to quantify total actual spending on elementary education by the central government in four states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujrat and Rajasthan and in two districts (Alwar in Rajasthan and Gaya in Bihar). Their results are startling. These books reemphasize that the lack of public spending on school education will have major adverse effects in the future, by affecting the quality of our society, the productivity of our works and the health of our democracy.

India's Tryst with Elementary Education in the time of Reforms : Policy Constraints and Institutional Gaps By - Praveen Jha and Pooja Parvati;
Books for Change, 2008

Public Provisioning for Elementary Education in India
By - Praveen Jha, Subrat Das, Shibshankar Mohanti and Nandan Kumar Jha;
Sage Publications, 2008
Rule of Law in a Free Society
Editor - M.R. Madhava Menon
Oxford Publication, 2007, Rs.495

This Unique Collection provides an overview of the concept and relevance of rule of law today, the institutions charged with upholding it and the threats before it. Some of India's most distinguished Citizens (P. Chidambaram, B.S. Chimni, N.R. Madhava Menon, V.K. Saraf, Prakash Singh, Soli J. Sorabjee, K.T. Thomas, Goolam E. Vahanvati, M.N. Venkatachalia, J.S. Verma, N. Vittal), down from the legal profession, civil service, police and academia directly addressed public disenchantment with the political system and offer perspectives on the challenges facing the coutry's constitutional institutions. This timely volume will interest everyone concerned about sustaining Indian democracy.

Zenana Mehfil
Bangali Musalman Lekhikader Nirbachita Rachana 1904 - 1938
(An Anthology of Bengali Muslim Women's Writings, 1904 - 1938)
Editor - Shaeen Akhtar and Mousumi Bhowmik;
Stree, Rs. 220

Zenanna Mehfil is a rediscovery which throws light on eleven Muslim women writers of Bengal including unknowns like Akhtar Mahal, Sayyeda Khatun and M. Fatema Khanum as well as other more familiar names like Rokeya Skhwat Hossain, Samsunnahar Mahmud and Sufia Kamal. Essays, short stories, poetry, one novel and some correspondence have been put together for the first time ever, and each has been introduced and annotated separately.

This book also has Interviews of people who were involved in this movement of liberating women in society. Few of them are Mohammad Nasiruddin, the editor of the journal 'Saugat', who devoted his entire life to the cause of emancipation, Sufia Kamal, the poet and activist who was drawn into the orbit of Rokeya's activism in early twenties, Syed Mustafa Siraj, the celebrated Bengali novelist who witnessed the change.

Potential of Self Help Groups for Enhancing Participation of Women in Local Self Governance
By - Mandakini Pant
PRIA, Email - info@pria.org

This research was designed to study and document the potential of self help groups (SHG) for political participation of women in India. The success of SHGs in enhancing women's participation in Panchayeti Raj Institution depends on the capacity building efforts of SHGs, is described in this paper.

Globalization's New Wars : Seed, Water and Life Forms
By - Vandana Shiva, New Delhi, Rs. 250
http://www.ecovista.wordpress.com

Vandana Shiva's 'Globalization's New Wars: Seed, Water and Life Forms' is an attempt to depicts the impacts of globalization on ecology and rural economy of India. She gives a detailed account of how ecological tools such as seeds, water and life forms were used by the corporate and capitalist world for capturing natural resources and ultimately economy of different nations In the first chapter Shiva has given the details that how the multinational corporations are ruining the country's rural economy; and the change in ownership over resourcesfrom poor peasants and farmers to multinationals. Shiva had dealt with issue like 'free trade', 'price regulation', 'industrialised agriculture' and how these policies had aggravated the poor people's problems and ultimately become reasons for biodiversity loss and famine in several occasions. She insists that, new technologies of production and free trade are tools of war. The book is organized into five chapters, which subsequently deal with Biodiversity wars, Seed wars, Water wars, Bio-piracy and Earth Democracy.
A History of World Agriculture: From the Neolithic age to the current crisis
By - Marcel Mazoyer and Laurence Roudart
Earthscan, London. Email- earthinfo@earthscan.co.uk

This book considers the different agricultural systems that form 'humanity's agrarian heritage', looking at the slash and burn systems in forest environments, the Incas'terraced mountain system, or at the hydraulic systems in arid regions such as the Nile valley. Each is analysed in detail, leading to a chapter on Industrial Agriculture and resulting global agricultural crisis. As the authors put it, their aim is to show how the safe guarding and development of the ill-equipped and relatively unproductive agriculture of the poor, with their enormous wealth in knowledge and natural variety, can contribute to solving this crisis.