Gender, Development, and the State in India 0367661047, 9780367661045

This book explores the relationship between the state, development policy, and gender (in)equality in India. It discusse

322 65 7MB

English Pages 272 [273] Year 2020

Report DMCA / Copyright


Polecaj historie

Gender, Development, and the State in India
 0367661047, 9780367661045

Table of contents :
Half Title
Series Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
List of figures
List of tables
1 Introduction
2 Gender, development, and the state in India: debates and perspectives
3 Mapping national planning policy since 1990
4 Gender mainstreaming and the state in India: national initiatives
5 Subnational policy in context: a profile of two Indian states
6 Gendered institutional contexts: state-level machineries?
7 Gendered discourses of development in two Indian states
8 Gendered developmental subjectivities: actors, agency, and gender mainstreaming
9 Conclusion

Citation preview

Gender, Development, and the State in India

This book explores the relationship between the state, development policy, and gender (in)equality in India. It discusses the formation of state policy on gender and development in India in the post-1990 period through three key organising concepts of institutions, discourse, and agency. The book pays particular attention to whether the international policy language of gender mainstreaming has been adopted by the Indian state, and if so, to what extent and with what results. The author examines how these issues play out at multiple levels of governance – at both the national and the subnational (state) levels in federal India. This comparative aspect is particularly important in the context of increasing autonomy in development policymaking in India in the 1990s, divergent development policy approaches and outcomes amongst states, and the emerging importance of subnational state development policies and programmes for women in this period. The author argues that the state is not a monolith but a heterogeneous, internally differentiated collection of institutions, which offers complex and varying opportunities and consequences for feminists engaging the state. Demonstrating that the Indian empirical case is illuminating for studies of the gendered politics of development, and international debates on gender mainstreaming, the book highlights the politics of negotiating gender equality strategies in the contemporary context of neo-liberal development and brings together complex issues of modernity, postcolonialism, identity politics, federalism, and equality within the broader context of the world’s largest democracy. This book will be of interest to scholars interested in the politics of gender equality, state feminism, and gender mainstreaming; federalism and multilevel governance; and development studies and gender in South Asia. Carole Spary is Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham, UK.

Routledge Research on Gender in Asia Series

15 Postcolonial Lesbian Identities in Singapore Re-thinking global sexualities Shawna Tang 16 Unmarried Women in Japan The drift into singlehood Akiko Yoshida 17 Perverse Taiwan Edited by Howard Chiang and Yin Wang 18 Literature, Gender and the Trauma of Partition The Paradox of Independence Debali Mookerjea-Leonard 19 Sexuality and Public Space in India Reading the Visible Carmel Christy 20 HIV/AIDS in India Voices from the Margins Sunita Manian 21 Sexuality in a Changing China Young Women, Sex and Intimate Relations in the Reform Period Nicole Zarafonetis 22 Gender, Development, and the State in India Carole Spary

For more information about this series, please visit: https://www.routledge​.com

Gender, Development, and the State in India

Carole Spary

First published 2019 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2019 Carole Spary The right of Carole Spary to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Spary, Carole, author. Title: Gender, development and the state in India / Carole Spary. Description: 1 Edition. | New York: Routledge, 2019. | Series: Routledge research on gender in Asia series | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2018050586 (print) | LCCN 2018058824 (ebook) | ISBN 9780429022647 (ebook) | ISBN 9780429663444 (epub) | ISBN 9780429660726 ( mobipocket) | ISBN 9780429666162 (adobe) | ISBN 9780415610605 (hardback) | ISBN 9780429022647 (ebk) Subjects: LCSH: Women in development—India. | India—Economic policy. Classification: LCC HQ1742 (ebook) | LCC HQ1742 .S714 2019 (print) | DDC 305.420954—dc23 LC record available at ISBN: 978-0-415-61060-5 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-429-02264-7 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Roman by codeMantra


List of figures List of tables Acknowledgements

vii ix xi

1 Introduction 1 2 Gender, development, and the state in India: debates and perspectives 23 3 Mapping national planning policy since 1990 58 4 Gender mainstreaming and the state in India: national initiatives 75 5 Subnational policy in context: a profile of two Indian states 108 6 Gendered institutional contexts: state-level machineries? 151 7 Gendered discourses of development in two Indian states 185 8 Gendered developmental subjectivities: actors, agency, and gender mainstreaming 211 9 Conclusion 235 Index


List of figures

1.1 Map of India (prior to 2014 bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh) 10 1.2 District-wise maps of Tamil Nadu (right) and Andhra Pradesh (left; prior to 2014 bifurcation) 11 5.1 Comparative sex ratios (all ages) for Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and all-India (1901–2011) 127 6.1 Women candidates and elected Members of Tamil Nadu Legislative ­Assembly – AIADMK and DMK parties (1980–2016) 155 6.2 Women candidates and elected Members of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly – Congress Party and Telugu Desam Party (1983–2014) 156

List of tables

1.1 A  basic profile of the two case study states and all-India 12 2.1 Approach to women, gender, and development in Five-Year Plans (1951–1997) 45 5.1 Economic indicators for Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India 110 5.2 Human and gender development, gender and empowerment, and poverty indicators in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India 112 5.3 W  ork participation rates and status of workers for Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India, 2011 113 5.4 Distribution (%) of status of ‘usual’ worker (all ages), 2011–2012 114 5.5 Distribution (%) of males and females across worker categories for Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India, 2011 115 5.6 Distribution (%) of males and females within worker categories for Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India, 2011 115 5.7 Daily wages (Rs.) of workers (15–59 years) and gendered wage disparities in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India, 2011–2012 117 5.8 Literacy rates for Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India, 2001–2011 122 5.9 Levels of educational achievement in formal education in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India, 2011 124 5.10 Sex ratios for Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India, 2011 126 5.11 Attitudes towards and experiences of gender-based violence in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and all-India 129 6.1 Women in Tamil Nadu Assembly and Lok Sabha elections (1984–2016) 154 6.2 Women in Andhra Pradesh Assembly and Lok Sabha elections (1985–2014) 156


I accumulated many debts of gratitude over the long journey of this book, which began as a PhD thesis researched between 2004 and 2007 and completed in 2008, but subsequently revised and updated with further research. First, I express my gratitude to the UK Economic and Social Research Council for providing me with a +3 studentship, without which I would not have been able to pursue this research, particularly the fieldwork I was fortunate to undertake in India, and the University of Bristol for a research assistantship which enabled me to undertake postgraduate study. My deep gratitude to my PhD supervisors, Professor Judith Squires and Dr. Andrew Wyatt, for their continuous support and encouragement, insight and experience, and infallible patience. Andrew generously shared his enthusiasm for, and guided me through, the intricate and fascinating world of Indian politics, and patiently re-read revised drafts of different book chapters long after the PhD had finished. Judith provided immense clarity of thought, insight, and expertise. I am extremely grateful to the many individuals who spared time to speak with me and share their thoughts and experiences on gender and development in India, and to the organisations in India who granted me access to their library collections, namely, in Chennai, the ­Madras Institute of Development Studies, the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, the Institute for Financial Management and Research, and the Tamil Nadu Corporation for the Development of Women; in Hyderabad, the Anveshi Research Centre for Women’s Studies, the Centre for Economic and Social Studies, and the National Institute of Rural Development; and in New Delhi, the Centre for Women’s Development Studies. Their generosity enriched the analysis presented in this book. I also benefited from an immensely supportive PhD research environment at the University of B ­ ristol and thank, in particular, Ana Jordan, Christina Rowley, Laura Shepherd, Penny Griffin, Chanintira Na Thalang, and Anna Stavrianakis for their support in sharing the highs and lows, and for enabling me to explore intellectual worlds that I may not have otherwise encountered. Before and after the PhD was completed, Sarah Childs provided generous support and advice. Many colleagues at the Universities of Warwick, York, and Nottingham have also provided much support and encouragement for which I

xii Acknowledgements am grateful. My deep thanks to Dorothea Schaefter and her team at Routledge for their endless patience. I am grateful to Srila Roy who kindly read and commented on Chapter 4 and provided encouragement, to Leslie for her editorial suggestions, to Elaine for her patience and skill in drawing the maps, to Katharine Adeney for encouragement, and to Sydney Calkin and K. Kalpana for stimulating conversations on gender and development. I also thank my Gender and Development students from Warwick, York, and Nottingham over the past ten years for their passion in the subject and engaging conversations. It has been my great fortune to work closely with Shirin Rai, whose scholarship inspired me to work in this field, and who has been a fantastic mentor. Finally, to Ana who has been there from the start, for both the first and final incarnations, shared the pain and the joy, and is the best writing buddy anyone could have; to Neil for providing balance, comfort, and humour; and to my family for their unending love and support.


AIADMK All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (party) DMK Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (party) DWCRA  Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (SHG scheme) GoAP Government of Andhra Pradesh GoI Government of India GoTN Government of Tamil Nadu IAS Indian Administrative Service LBSNAA Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration MWCD/DWCD  Ministry/Department of Women and Child Development NCW/SCW National/State Commission for Women NMEW National Mission for the Empowerment of Women NPEW National Policy for the Empowerment of Women SC/ST Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes SGSY Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SHG scheme) SERP Society for the Elimination of Poverty SHG Self-Help Group TDP Telugu Desam Party TNCDW  Tamil Nadu Corporation for the Development of Women

1 Introduction

This book explores the relationship between the state, development policy, and gender (in)equality in India. It asks what development policies in India say, implicitly or explicitly, about gender relations and to what extent state-led development initiatives recognise and seek to address gendered inequalities. It explores whether the international policy language of gender mainstreaming has been adopted by the Indian state, and if so, how and with what results? It investigates whether efforts by governmental and non-governmental actors to make the state more gender-responsive have been effective. It asks these questions at both national and subnational levels of government, in two states of India, to understand how the federal context shapes gender, development, and the state in India. A key argument of the book is that there has been an identifiable shift towards the language of gender mainstreaming in national planning and policy discourse, but this has been partial with limited success. The concept of women’s empowerment and strategies of affirmative action are more influential. Evidence of a gender mainstreaming approach is even more limited at subnational levels. This introductory chapter outlines this puzzle in more detail; situates it within Indian and international debates on gender, development, and multilevel governance; summarises the book’s main arguments and findings; discusses the approach to the research; and outlines the structure of the book.

Gender mainstreaming and development in India Gender mainstreaming, broadly speaking, is the notion that mainstream institutions, such as governments, must transform their own norms, p ­ olicies, processes, and thinking across the whole policy spectrum to produce more gender-responsive policies in pursuit of gender equality.1 Rather than ­expecting national machineries for women or women’s policy agencies – ­isolated, overburdened, under-resourced, or elite-captured agencies – to act as sole champions of equality in government, gender mainstreaming implores all institutional actors to consider the gendered impact of their policies and practices. Gender-blind state institutions produce gender-blind policies, on a scale and scope beyond which national machineries alone could resolve. So to produce more gender-equitable policy, institutions

2 Introduction themselves need to change. Such transformation would, at the very least, help to limit gender-inequitable development and hopefully generate prospects for a more gender-equitable future. There is a vast amount of literature on gender and development and ­women’s empowerment in India, but little has been said about the concept of gender mainstreaming in India, despite the global emergence of this concept in the mid-1990s, consolidated by the UN Beijing Platform for Action in 1995. The original aim of this research was to understand to what extent gender mainstreaming had been attempted in India, under what conditions, whether it had been successful, and if so/not, why/why not. Feminist scholars, practitioners, and activists in India possess vast knowledge on gender and development, with many leading this international field. Increasingly since the 1970s, the Government of India has formulated and enacted policy initiatives recognising the gendered character of national development, with significant victories for feminist scholars and activists, though not without challenges and setbacks along the way. But when at the beginning of the 1990s, the Indian state’s development policy ostensibly shifted towards a neo-liberal economic discourse, feminist scholars and activists raised concern about the anticipated adverse effects of these policies (discussed in Chapter 2). With the international growth of gender mainstreaming strategies since the mid-1990s, the puzzle was whether, and if so, how had the Indian government adopted this new approach, and how did this interact with the changing macroeconomic development policy discourse and existing approaches to gender and development. Had international global gender equality norms of gender mainstreaming diffused into Indian planning discourse, at both national and subnational levels, or did domestic policy and practice prioritise other approaches? It seemed a rather optimistic place to start when my research began in 2004. International scholarly literature had already narrated cautionary tales of gender mainstreaming, highlighting its limitations ­(Mukhopadhyay, 2004; discussed in Chapter 2). Should states abandon ‘national machineries for women’ – the specific institutions they had built only recently to address gender equality – in favour of gender mainstreaming approaches? Or should these machineries remain as inside advocates and coordinators encouraging gender-responsive policies in other government sectors? Concerns about gender mainstreaming included the deradicalising of gender equality demands in the process of convincing more mainstream agencies of the ‘business case’ for gender equality (Chant and Sweetman, 2012; Roberts and Soederberg, 2012). Advocates had either inadvertently reproduced or been co-opted into efficiency-oriented economic discourses that could subordinate and undermine gender equality goals (Verloo, 2001; Calkin, 2015). Gender mainstreaming became seen as disappointing and unchallenging; feminist demands and agendas had adapted to mainstream development discourse, institutions, and actors, rather than transforming the same towards equality (Bacchi and Eveline, 2003). Simultaneously, Third World feminists and transnational feminists

Introduction  3 lamented the deradicalisation of the concept of women’s empowerment as it became more ubiquitous and co-opted in development policy and practice, including in India and in microcredit programmes (Batliwala, 2007; discussed below and in Chapter 2). In pursuit of understanding gender mainstreaming in India, my prior question was, What were the dominant discourses of gender and development articulated by the Indian state? To adapt a phrase from Eveline and Bacchi (2005), what were they mainstreaming if they were mainstreaming gender? Did particular ways of understanding gender enable or inhibit gender mainstreaming for gender-equitable development? And was there any domestic drive to introduce gender mainstreaming? If so, which institutional actors were involved, and were these new strategies combined with existing strategies or did they replace them? Before the journey of gender mainstreaming could be analysed, key state institutions, discourses, and actors involved in gender and development policy had to be identified and mapped. Surveying the paucity of literature on gender mainstreaming in India suggested that (a) gender mainstreaming’s appeal was subordinate to other concepts such as ‘women’s empowerment’ and/or (b) analyses of gender mainstreaming in India were few or less accessible in academic scholarship. Perhaps knowledge and experience of gender mainstreaming efforts were confined to bureaucratic circles and activist experience, officially undocumented, unrecorded, or not widely available. Indian feminist economist Bina Agarwal noted in the early 1990s that ‘[r]eports…have a tendency to gather dust, their contents forgotten…’ (1994: 6), but she observed ‘the incorporation of women’s concerns in planning and policy…[was] not as yet a characteristic feature of government programmes in India…’ (ibid: 499). Almost 20 years later, Agarwal would chair a working group on Disadvantaged Farmers Including Women as an advisory group to India’s Planning Commission, in preparation for the government’s Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2012–2017), reflecting her extensive work on this issue and the Indian government’s incorporation of gender expertise in its planning process over time (discussed in Chapter 4). This book offers an analysis of the discourse of national development policy in India in selected Five-Year Plans and selected national initiatives since the 1990s to produce more gender-responsive development policy and outcomes. It traces dominant and subordinate-gendered discourses of development in government policy, changes in institutional structures and mechanisms to influence policy, and the different development subjectivities produced by policy discourse and institutional openings, which have afforded different levels of agency to different actors, including women, ­positioning them in development in varying ways across time and space.

Gender, development, and multilevel governance National-level policy on gender and development comprises only part of the picture. This book also examines the subnational context for gender and development, comparing two southern states within India – Tamil

4 Introduction Nadu and Andhra Pradesh – and their initiatives related to gender and development. When my research began in 2004, studies expressed g­ rowing interest in analysing national-subnational (or centre-state) relationships and comparing subnational state government policies (e.g. Wyatt and Zavos, 2003; Jenkins, 2004b), interest which has increased over time (e.g. Tillin et al., 2015). India’s federal system in the post-1990 context of economic liberalisation was associated with increasing subnational autonomy of state governments to determine policy (Jenkins, 2004a: 6) and the ­i ncreasing influence of regional parties at the subnational level and in ­national coalition politics. What did this changing federal context mean for gender and development policy? More than two decades ago, Indian feminist scholars K. Lalitha and Mary John suggested in the post-1991 policy environment, where states have more autonomy in formulating development policy, ‘there may be new opportunities at the [subnational] state level to demand more comprehensive policies on gender and funding commitments for women’ (IDS Bridge, 1995: 4–5). Did these new opportunities materialise? How, if at all, have new regional political elites articulated a view on gender relations? If so, do subnational state governments adopt similar or different approaches to gender equality to the national government and each other? If not, what determines the difference? Where do gender equality initiatives emerge from at the national and subnational levels and are these similar across states? If not, how does institutional location matter? Do subnational governments articulate the same kinds of gendered development discourse? Are diverse actors, such as political leaders, bureaucrats, and women’s movement actors, afforded similar kinds of agency? If not, what explains these differences and what are their effects? Inherent in Lalitha and John’s observation is the important question of whether increasing subnational autonomy for Indian states mean more opportunities for feminist activists to influence the state. Conversely, does multilevel governance create multiple obstacles, more actors to persuade, and thus greater likelihood of advocacy fatigue and failure? Does India’s strong centrist state still offer the best opportunity for the women’s movement to advocate for gender-equitable development? Understanding the opportunities and challenges faced by the women’s movement to engage with national and subnational governments can enable us to understand the relationship between gender, development, and the state in India and the prospects for positive change. At the subnational level, this book focuses on state-led women’s self-help group (SHG) programmes, increasingly popular in the 1990s as a policy instrument of the national government and some subnational governments, having been adopted faster in some Indian states than others. The SHG model has been adopted either to increase access to financial credit (microcredit/microfinance – the focus of this study) or as a means for organising and mobilising women for literacy and social empowerment (as in the national government’s Mahila Samakhya scheme). The proportion of women’s SHGs in India promoted by government agencies as opposed to civil society organisations increased substantially since the 1990s, with one study

Introduction  5 estimating government-promoted SHGs in 2005 constituted approximately half of all SHGs in India, compared to only 11 percent in 2000 (EDA/APMAS, 2006: 20). But what do these state-sponsored SHG programmes say about gender equality? Are they effective in empowering women? Has the popularity of the SHG model prevented adoption of gender mainstreaming or are they compatible approaches? These questions are explored in the second half of the book through a focused comparison of two states (case selection discussed below). A more extensive study across more states was beyond the scope of this book but is an opportunity for future research (see Conclusion chapter). I argue these two states’ flagship programmes for gender and development are not, on the whole, consistent with a gender mainstreaming approach, though Andhra Pradesh appears closer to this approach than Tamil Nadu in some respects. The state SHG programmes reflect, rather, an attempt to integrate women into existing structures with constrained ideas about gender equality. Particularly in Tamil Nadu, there is little evidence state ­governments, beyond the selected few departments and parastatal agencies involved with the SHG programmes, are willing to broadly reflect internally on their own practices and policies to make them more gender-responsive. The Indian state’s approach to gender and development, particularly the shifting discursive and institutional context after 1990, has multiple ­i mplications for how feminist activists engage the state. This question has motivated scholars beyond India. Globally, feminist political scientists have asked questions about how multilevel governance affects gender equality policies and outcomes, and the women’s movement’s effective engagement with multiple levels of state actors (Chappell, 2002; Banaszak et al., 2003; Haussman et al., 2010). At the outset of this project, few studies had explored comparatively and systematically the importance of gendered development policy at the subnational level in India. Some have analysed variations in gender inequalities across Indian states – Agarwal’s study of gender and land rights, with different inheritance laws across different states, is a notable example (Agarwal, 1994). Attempts to compare social policy across states have increased (Tillin et al., 2015), though barring a few important exceptions2 these are not usually interested in gender policy, subnational ­institutional structures for gender advocacy and policy, or discourses on gender and development, especially gender mainstreaming. This book hopes to make a modest contribution to this literature.

Analysing gender, development, and the state: institutions, discourse, and agency To reiterate, the book provides insights into (a) the politics of formulating and implementing gendered development policy in an institutional context; (b) how the process and content of policymaking is affected by discourse; and (c) how particular agents are positioned as more influential than ­others in the development policymaking process. It examines multilevel governance

6 Introduction in India by exploring these dynamics at both national government and subnational (state) government levels in two states, comparing between ­national and subnational governments and between subnational state governments. A key argument put forward in the book is that there has indeed been a shift in national policy discourse and institutional structures and practices towards the global language of gender mainstreaming since the 1990s. But this has only been a partial shift; other concepts remain influential, particularly women’s empowerment. Gender mainstreaming initiatives have only been partially successful, and a multiplicity of policy discourses exists on gender and development in India. This is unsurprising in India given its size and variability of agencies and programmes. The state is not a uniform actor but highly differentiated internally; it is an ‘arena of contestation, with cooperation and conflict taking place at multiple levels’ (Agarwal, 1994: 499). Institutional differences within the state produce this multiplicity of discourse; differences exist horizontally across policy sectors, vertically across different levels of government, and within each of these domains, over time. Even between two subnational states, I identify three different policy discourses on gender and development, varyingly present: protective-­ paternalist, competitive-capability, and structural-transformative. Only the latter is compatible with a gender mainstreaming approach (see Chapter 7). This multiplicity poses interesting questions about whether the embeddedness of earlier gendered policy discourse prevents new approaches from becoming routinised in state institutions, why newer approaches may be ­resisted, and if such resistance is necessarily problematic. Conceptually, I distinguish between institutions, discourse, and agency in the analysis of gender mainstreaming strategies, combining two key ­analytical approaches. First, a feminist institutionalist approach conceptualises institutions, combining the feminist focus on power and change with the new institutionalist focus on informal institutional norms and practices, including how institutional incentives and cultures shape individual behaviour such as in relation to policymaking (Goetz, 1997; Chappell, 2002; Kenny, 2007; Krook and Mackay, 2011). Second, I draw on a post-­ structural feminist approach to discourse analysis, informed broadly by the Foucauldian concept of discourse, but specifically by Carol Lee Bacchi’s work on discursive frames in gender equality and public policy (Bacchi, 1999). I endorse a post-structural conception of agency as contingent and subjectivity as non-essentialist. A post-structural approach to the state is also employed, seeing the state as fragmented and contingent rather than monolithic ­(Weedon, 1987; Pringle and Watson, 1992). I combine feminist institutionalism with post-structural discourse analysis, to acknowledge institutions are performative iterations of practice which sediment particular cultures, norms, and practices over time. These performative iterations can be both formal and informal, including not only what is explicitly stated as institutional policy but also what is performed as institutional practice, and how unwritten norms inform practice and policy (Kabeer, 1999: 12–13).

Introduction  7 My approach differs slightly with Kabeer’s – I distinguish between discourse and institutions in how policy problems are constructed, following Bacchi (1999). Institutions can be sites for the sedimentation of discourses, where such discourses become crystallised, reproduced, and strengthened over time, and thus also a site of resistance for new discourses. But I find ­Kabeer’s framework useful for providing analytical tools to understand how institutions work both formally and informally: analysing rules, activities (‘routinised practices’), resources, people (both included and excluded), and power ­( priorities and rule-making) (Kabeer, 1999: 15). The book’s approach to gender equality policies and gender mainstreaming is informed by international feminist comparative literature, including the work of Squires (2007) who provides lucid distinctions between different kinds of gender equality strategies, mechanisms, their conceptual underpinnings, and political dynamics and limitations, and Bacchi (1999) who provides a method for the discursive deconstruction of gender mainstreaming policy and strategies. These approaches remind us that different equality strategies conceptualise gender equality and how it should be addressed in fundamentally different ways. Multiple simultaneous yet incompatible equality strategies can create policy confusion and contradiction. Concepts of gender mainstreaming and gender equality policy are ­embedded within debates on ‘state feminism’, which often makes liberal feminist assumptions about the positive, potentially transformative role of the state (and, by extension, international organisations), and its c­ apacity and willingness to intervene in securing the interests of women’s ­movements. Lovenduski (2005: 4) defines state feminism as ‘the advocacy of women’s movement demands inside the state’, enabled by the establishment of women’s policy agencies since the 1980s. This presented an opportunity for women’s movements ‘to influence the agenda and to further feminist goals through public policies from inside the state apparatus’ (ibid). Like others, Lovenduski recognises this is a contested term. Halley et al. (2018) prefer to speak of ‘governance feminism’ which broadens the scope of engagement and reflects a more critical assessment of the achievements and dangers of this form of engaging the state. Halley defines governance ­feminism as ‘every form in which feminists and feminist ideas exert a governing will within human affairs… [but specifically focus] on efforts feminists have made to become incorporated into state, state-like, and state-­affiliated power’ (2018: ix–x). Kotiswaran (2018: 80) circumscribes the original concept of state feminism to the context of ‘postindustrial democracies [and their ­response] to demands of second-wave feminism’ in the establishment of women’s policy agencies, and her analysis applies governance feminism in the context of the Indian state’s response to sexual violence and rape. Others speaking of the Indian context have referred similarly to ‘governmentalised feminism’ (Menon, 2009; Devika, 2012). Devika (2012) associates this with gender mainstreaming, defining this as ‘essentially a version of liberal feminism that pegged liberation from patriarchy on giving a share of the state’s cake…to women’, to which the state responded

8 Introduction with inadequate spaces and resources, neither of which facilitated women’s collective struggle but increased their responsibilities. Menon warns that ‘feminist politics need to be very suspicious of the domestication of gender through state policy and the spurious clarity offered by government policies on “women” and “women’s empowerment”’ (2009: 111). Roy (2009, 2015) also explores narratives of the NGO-isation of the Indian women’s movement, a technocratising, professionalising, deradicalising process which has also been discussed in the Latin American context (Alvarez, 1999, 2009; see Chapter 2) and shows how state feminist processes and practices have affected both states and women’s movements. Debates on gender mainstreaming in development policy and in postcolonial contexts raise different issues to those in post-industrial democracies (Kotiswaran, 2018). The research for this book is informed by and located within debates on gender mainstreaming in development studies (e.g. Moser, 1993; Jahan, 1995; Goetz, 1997; Rai, 2003; Mukhopadhyay, 2004; Cornwall et al., 2008) and of postcolonial states’ relationship to gender equality and the status of women (Mohanty, 1984; Kabeer, 1994; Rai, 1996, 2001; Sunder Rajan, 2003). This important body of feminist work reminds us that the broader terrain of gender mainstreaming and gender-equitable development is situated within an international arena laden with contemporary power hierarchies and historical legacies of colonialism, and where postcolonial state nation-building projects inform gender relations (Rai, 2001; Kapadia, 2002; Sunder Rajan, 2003). These dynamics shape the reception of international gender equality policy developments, placing Indian (and other) feminists in a difficult position vis-à-vis the postcolonial state to prove their ‘authentic’ non-Western credentials when attempting to engage with equality and empowerment discourse, regardless of whether they are promoting international approaches (Jayawardena, 1986; Rai, 2001). It also recognises state capacity and state-society interaction can be different in postcolonial states, often with large informal economies which may limit the effectiveness of formal policy and legislation, and limited access to formal and de facto justice and rights for the majority for women. This research also heeds insights from intersectional3 feminism within national and global contexts, recognising that women are not a homogeneous group. Gender relations between men, women, and non-binary people are inflected by intersecting oppressions on the basis of caste, class, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, and able-bodiedness, and produce unique experiences of marginalisation, both within national settings and in discursive representations of women in international development (Mohanty, 1984). One main argument of the book is that regional or subnational variations in gender equality and empowerment, and their effect on fragmented experiences of citizenship, should be paid as much attention as other forms of horizontal inequalities in their intersection with gender inequality. Whilst this may increase the complexity of gender mainstreaming and gender equality policy, it better reflects lived experience and is essential for the achievement of true equality.

Introduction  9

Comparing subnational states: case selection and comparative analysis This book compares two Indian states, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Here I outline my justification for selecting these two states and provide a brief profile (detailed further in Chapter 5).4 Comparing two states not one enables a national-subnational comparison and a subnational-subnational comparison; states do not exist solely in relation to the centre but also each other. The national policy framework represents the national context within which states are embedded, and which provide common ground for comparing subnational dynamics. But drawing conclusions from a single case study state would overdetermine the relationship between state and centre (see Tillin, 2013a). Limiting the study to two cases enables manageability, and small-N studies can facilitate rich description, exploration, and deeper understanding of intersubjective meaning, constitutive relationships, and concepts (Peters, 1998). Two cases are a good starting point to develop ­insights to test across other states for wider applicability (Green, 2002; discussed in the Conclusion). The focus is not causal relationships; description and exploration can facilitate inductive approaches to generating hypotheses (Mackie and Marsh, 1995: 176; Peters, 1998: 69). Tamil Nadu is a southern state in India, bordering Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka (see Figures 1.1 and 1.2). During the pre-­ Independence ­period, parts of what is now Tamil Nadu State formed the Madras Presidency, a province of British India. After Independence, the Madras Presidency became Madras State, and incorporated areas of former princely states whilst ceding some districts to newly forming states, with a final reorganisation of state boundaries in 1956 according to linguistic criteria (in Tamil Nadu, co-terminous with Tamil-speaking areas). Madras State was later renamed Tamil Nadu (‘Tamil country’) in 1968. Tamil Nadu is home to more than 72 million people and is the seventh most populous state in India and the most urbanised amongst major states (see Table 1.1). The state comprises 32 districts, including state capital Chennai located in the north. ‘Scheduled Caste’ or Dalit communities comprise one-fifth of the state’s population (Census 2011)5; a heterogeneous group, both in community identity and in location across districts, the majority live in rural areas (with variation between different Scheduled Caste groups).6 ‘Scheduled Tribes’, or Adivasis, are a much smaller minority than the national average and are concentrated in six districts.7 Hindus form the majority religious group, followed by Christians and Muslims.8 Tamil is the predominant language, followed by Telugu and Kannada. Unlike in north India, Hindi speakers are a small minority. Andhra Pradesh is another southern state, north of Tamil Nadu, and ­bordered by Karnataka, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Orissa (see ­Figures 1.1 and 1.2). After Independence, the Nizam of Hyderabad ceded the princely state of Hyderabad, formerly under the indirect rule of the British

10 Introduction

Figure 1.1  M  ap of India (prior to 2014 bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh).

through the system of Paramountcy, to the newly formed Union Government of India. Telugu-speaking districts of northern Madras State seceded in 1953 to form Andhra State. Andhra Pradesh came into being in 1956, when the majority Telugu-speaking area of Hyderabad State was combined with Andhra State, as part of the linguistic reorganisation of states. Andhra Pradesh is home to 85 million people and is the fifth most populous state in India. Until June 2014, Andhra Pradesh comprised 23 districts. The capital, Hyderabad, is 100 percent urban. Analysts often divide the state (prior to 2014) into three regions – coastal Andhra, Rayalseema, and Telangana – reflecting different historical trajectories, agro-climatic characteristics, and levels of development.9 However, in June 2014, Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated into Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the result of a long-standing

Figure 1.2  District-wise maps of Tamil Nadu (right) and Andhra Pradesh (left; prior to 2014 bifurcation).

Introduction  11

12 Introduction Table 1.1  A basic profile of the two case study states and all-India Andhra Pradesh Tamil Nadu Population (2011) 84.6 million Decadal population growth 511.0 rate (% increase, 2001–2011) Population density (persons 308 per sq. km) Urban population (%) 33.36 Scheduled Caste population 16.4 (% of total population) Scheduled Tribe population 7.0 (% of total population) Main language(s) spoken Telugu (84%) (three most populous)1 Urdu (9%) Hindi (3%) Main religious groups Hindu (88.46) Muslim (9.56) (%, more than 1 percent Christian (1.34) of population)

72.1 million 15.6 555

All-India 1,210.8 million 17.6 382

48.4 20.0

31.1 16.6



Tamil (89%) Telugu (6%) Kannada (2%) Hindu (87.58) Christian (6.12) Muslim (5.86)

Hindi (41%) Bengali (8%) Telugu (7%) Hindu (79.80) Muslim (14.23) Christian (2.30) Sikh (1.72)

Source: Census of India 2011. Note: 1Data from Census of India 2001.

political campaign for Telangana statehood (Tillin, 2013b). Scheduled Caste communities comprise a similar proportion of the state’s population as at the national level, and the majority live in rural areas. Again, they are a heterogeneous group, but two groups predominate: the Madigas and Malas.10 Scheduled Tribe communities comprise 7 percent of the state population and are found mostly in a few districts, especially Khammam.11 Most Scheduled Tribes in Andhra Pradesh live in rural areas, but this varies. Hindus are the largest religious group in the state, followed by Muslims and Christians. A historical legacy, nearly one quarter of the state’s Muslim population, lives in Hyderabad, comprising two fifths of the state capital’s residents. Telugu is the predominant language in the state, followed by Urdu and Hindi.12 These states share similar status vis-à-vis New Delhi. Both states have been labelled ‘reform-oriented’ during the period of analysis (Bajpai and Sachs, 1999: 2; cited in Kennedy, 2004: 34n).13 Both are linguistically marginal from the Hindi-speaking North, with language having political, historical, and cultural significance.14 Both are geographically marginal from New Delhi and constitute part of the Dravidian South along with Karnataka and Kerala. Both states boast regional parties and have experienced populist politics.15 However, contextual factors – different socio-economic and socio-political features – make comparison interesting. Tamil Nadu is wealthier and more industrialised than Andhra Pradesh, but faces its own challenges. The Congress Party has a continued presence in Andhra Pradesh politics, whereas in Tamil Nadu its popularity declined from the 1960s, replaced by regional parties since the 1980s. Later chapters show both states were early adopters of women’s SHG models, compared to other states, but followed different approaches, thus manifesting different features.

Introduction  13 Finally, selecting two south Indian states enabled me to transcend northsouth comparisons of gender inequality. A common view is that women’s status in south India is higher than in other regions, particularly north India. One explanation is regional differences in kinship and marriage practices. Dyson and Moore classically argued that endogamous kinship patterns – marrying within one’s kinship group and place of birth – more common to south India, conferred higher status on women and enabled them to remain closer to their natal family; exogamous marriage practices – marrying outside one’s kinship group and place of birth – were more common in north India (Dyson and Moore, 1983: 43–45). Patrilocality – where women relocate to their husband’s and in-laws’ home after marriage – had greater impact under exogamous kinship patterns, often requiring distant relocation from a woman’s natal village and blood relatives, increasing her dependence on her affinal family (ibid). Additionally, control of women’s sexuality, through seclusion (purdah), was relatively more common in the north. Political economist Pranab Bardhan (1974, cited in Das, 1976: 140) instead suggested regional differences in gendered agrarian systems as a key explanation, arguing that women’s higher status in the south was related to the dominance of female labour-intensive wet-rice cultivation, compared to dry cereal agriculture favouring male ploughing labour in the north. The higher importance in south India of typically female-assigned agricultural labour, like weeding and transplanting, gave southern women higher status (Das, 1976: 138–140). By comparing two states from south India, I sought to control for this north-south difference. As Dyson and Moore acknowledged, considerable differences exist within each region. The north-south comparison, influential though it may be, is not ­necessarily helpful to understand variations in gender inequality between southern states or their policy differences.

Data ‘collection’: researching gender, development, and the state in India The research draws on my PhD fieldwork in India, between 2005 and 2006, with subsequent follow-up visits. Most time was spent in the state capitals of Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad) and Tamil Nadu (Chennai), with visits to Mahbubnagar and Visakhapatnam districts in Andhra Pradesh, the national capital New Delhi, and Mussoorie (for the LBS National Academy of Administration). Methods included interviews, online and off-line ­archival research, non-participant observation, policy analysis, and secondary data collection. While the PhD was completed in 2008, the material in this book was updated to reflect more recent developments, census data, and policy changes. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with civil servants, NGO staff, and academics with expertise in policymaking and implementation processes. At the centre, interviews were solicited from current and former personnel working in the Department of Women and Child D ­ evelopment, the Planning Commission, and the LBS National Academy of Administration (civil service training); and at the state level,

14 Introduction from the Andhra Pradesh State Department of Women Development and Child Welfare (and relevant organisations), the Commissionerate of Women ­Empowerment and Self Employment, the Society for the Elimination of Rural Poverty (state-level parastatal agency administering the women’s SHG ­programme), the Tamil Nadu State Department of Social Welfare and ­Nutritious Noon Meal Programme, the parastatal Tamil Nadu ­Corporation for Development of Women, the Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission, and Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu State Commissions for Women. I also solicited interviews from the Centre for Women and Development Studies, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Delhi, UNIFEM, and the UK government’s Department for International Development in India (in New Delhi and Chennai and Hyderabad regional offices), and the National Institute for Rural Development in Hyderabad. Most interviews were semi-structured for insights into policy discourse, formal and informal institutional norms, processes and practices, for information, and interpretations of successes and failures, which were difficult to gather elsewhere. Interviews enabled snowballing for further contacts (Arber, 1993) and access to documentary material to overcome gatekeeping (Scheyvens et al., 2003). Understandably, government officials were not always available and willing to talk, though some agreed to discuss via telephone. The quality and depth of interviews varied greatly. Most interviews were not recorded. While interviews were useful, lack of access necessitated greater reliance on documentary analysis. Documentary material revealed official government policy discourse, institutional mandates, functions, and objectives. Tracing elements over time enabled understanding of multiple discourses, and their reiteration and normalisation into policy and institutional processes. Documentary material provided only some insight into institutional culture, norms, and mandates. Internal and independent progress evaluations against the government’s own targets were helpful as partial correctives to prescriptive policy formats. Policy documents were not accepted uncritically as evidence of implementation, but instances of government self-representation. Official national policy documents analysed included National Five-Year Plans from Sixth (1980–1985), but especially Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth (2002–2007), and (in less detail) Eleventh (2007–2011) and Twelfth (2012–2017); National Perspective Plan (1988); National Policy for the Empowerment of Women (2001); state-level plans and policy notes; Annual Plans; Mid-Term Appraisals; Department/Ministry of Women and Child Development Annual Reports; subnational parastatal agency documentation (Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty and Tamil Nadu Corporation for Development of Women Ltd), and state-level government employee service rules and related documentation (e.g. circulars). Other official documentation included speeches, meeting minutes, reports of parliamentary and other committees, and World Bank and UNDP reports on India. Online government repositories of official documents became key to sourcing documentary material, made

Introduction  15 accessible as national and state governments increasingly digitised and archived documents online. Fortunately for the author, nearly all documents were accessible in English. A most valuable archival collection of historical documents relating to state feminist and gender mainstreaming efforts was published as Changing The Terms of the Discourse: Gender Equality and the India State (Sharma, 2011). The book draws on official statistical data on gendered inequalities. I ­approach these data cautiously, bearing in mind the sensitivities which ­surround its production. Foucauldian perspectives on biopolitics within liberal democracies have highlighted how the production of knowledge about populations is a technology enabling modern governments to produce, shape, and control populations as objects of knowledge (Rose and Miller, 1992). Moreover, in India, census enumeration processes and development data indicators carry postcolonial and historiographical significance, as a legacy of British colonial rule (Kalpagam, 2000), with contemporary legacies for religious and caste groups (Appadurai, 1993).16 Measurement categories reflect the construction of policy ‘problems’ and imperfect and power-laden processes of data collection, particularly in the field of development. On a more reflexive level, I have sought to remain critically aware of my position as a Western feminist researcher. This is vital as Western feminist scholarship on so-called ‘Third World’ women has been guilty of ethnocentrism and an ‘inadequate self-consciousness about the effect of Western scholarship on the “third world” in the context of a world system dominated by the West’ (Mohanty, 1984: 335). Feminist economists and social scientists in India and elsewhere have, however, demanded more not less statistical data, gender-disaggregated, to persuade policymakers, whilst questioning assumptions underpinning conventional categories and data analysis methods (Ghosh, 2009).17 The government attempted to address these demands in the mid-1990s (GoI, 1995, 1999), and the rise in female work participation rates were partially attributed to the ‘better capture of women’s work’ during the 2001 Census (GoI, 2002).18 Analysing official data on gender and development remains important because of how data perform a constitutive function in the symbolic self-representation of the Indian state (Sunder Rajan, 2003: 3). Statistical data on the ‘status of women’ or ‘gender equality’ have helped construct the state’s self-representation, in colonial and postcolonial periods, and in relation to international pressures of accountability. Thus, ‘“women” have served to describe the state, primarily via the index of their status. The ­“status of women” has served as a crucial signifier in different contexts…’ (Sunder Rajan, 2003: 3). Changes in Indian development planning since the national government’s Eighth Five-Year Plan (1992–1997) also increased demand for data because of the self-identified shift towards more targeted planning and increasing competition between states resulting from greater subnational autonomy (Kennedy, 2004: 33), compelling state governments to pay greater attention

16 Introduction to their self-representation. State governments face pressure to evidence investment in ‘human infrastructure’ – an educated, skilled, and healthy ­workforce – to attract private investment. The introduction of UNDP-­ sponsored State Human Development Reports is an example of data generation.19 States’ self-representations are affected by both inter-state and intra-state inequalities. Policy has instrumentally targeted the ‘most backward’ districts of a state or ‘weaker sections’ to raise aggregate state indicators (see e.g. Tamil Nadu’s report, GoTN, 2003: 137). Thus, using government data entails risks because its production and use is not objective or value-free and can powerfully influence those who have little oversight of its generation. But it can also be a powerful tool to demonstrate the scope, scale, severity, and consequences of gender inequalities (and other injustices). The book mostly covers the period since 1990, but also contains ­historical analysis, and incorporates recent developments where possible, omitting others due to space constraints. Recent major changes include the abolition of the Planning Commission in 2014 by the newly elected BJP government, and establishment of its successor, Niti Aayog20; the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 and creation of the new state of Telangana; and the deaths of the long-standing chief ministers and rival Tamil party leaders, J. Jayalalithaa (in December 2016) and M. Karunanidhi (in August 2018). Reports of an anticipated second National Policy for the Empowerment of Women surfaced in 2016 but had not been released before this book went to press.

Outline of the book The book is structured as follows. Chapter 2 reviews the most relevant literature on development policy in India and on gender mainstreaming, demonstrating lack of attention to gender in classic mainstream development studies of India, to gender mainstreaming in studies of gender and development in India, and to India as a case in international comparative literature on gender mainstreaming. Chapters 3 and 4 present analysis of national policies and initiatives, and Chapters 5–8 discuss subnational states. Chapter 3 analyses prominent themes and treatment of gender in selected Five-Year Plans. Chapter 4 examines national initiatives from the 1990s undertaken to increase the gender-responsiveness of mainstream Indian state i­ nstitutions, like the Planning Commission, Finance Ministry, and the Indian bureaucracy. Broader gendered institutional norms and practices within the Indian bureaucracy are also discussed, as are three sets of important actors: bureaucrats, political leaders, and the women’s movement. Chapters 5–8 focus on the two case study states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Each chapter compares the two states with a different thematic focus: broader socio-economic indicators and socio-political histories (­Chapter 5), the gendered institutional context of state-level development (Chapter 6), statelevel discourses of gendered development (Chapter 7), and gendered developmental subjectivities and agency (Chapter 8). Chapter 5 highlights the

Introduction  17 complexity, specificity, and internal diversity of these two states, providing a rich descriptive comparative profile. Chapter 6 explores similarities and differences between state-specific institutional norms and structures, showing varied subnational opportunities for mainstreaming gender. ­Chapter 7 identifies and compares three gendered discourses of development at the state level, their relative dominance or marginality, how they relate to wider reformist and populist development discourses in each state, and what opportunities they provide for gender mainstreaming. Chapter 8 explores how the discursive and institutional context of state policy creates different developmental subjectivities and thus different degrees and kinds of agency for different sets of actors: women, political leaders, bureaucratic actors, and the w ­ omen’s movement. Evidence of creative resistance to dominant ­positionalities is also briefly discussed. The Conclusion draws together and reflects on the findings, and considers implications for ­mainstreaming ­gender in development policy in India. It identifies contributions to the ­international and Indian literature on gender mainstreaming, gender, ­development and the state, and federalism and multilevel governance. It highlights avenues for further research, including a new research agenda on gender, federalism, and the state in India.

Notes 1 See the UN Beijing Platform for Action, Chapter IV and Chapter V (UN, 1995). See also the UN Economic and Social Council definition of gender mainstreaming (UN ECOSOC, 1997). Chapter 2 discusses definitions of gender mainstreaming. 2 Subnational state comparisons of the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act are relevant because the programme employs gender quotas for women’s employment and childcare for women workers on NREGA sites (Sudarshan, 2011). However, this cannot unambiguously be classified as gender mainstreaming: whilst the main policy mechanism is positive action (reservation/quota), the childcare provision deputes women workers, reproducing rather than destabilising childcare as women’s work. 3 ‘Intersectionality’, coined by US feminist legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw, recognised how US anti-discrimination law according to sex or race precluded intersecting claims of both sex and race, such as experienced by Black women (Crenshaw, 1989). I use it in conjunction with Mohanty’s (1984) recognition of the homogeneous depiction of Third World Woman in international development discourse, and preceding experiences of pre-Independence Indian feminists with white Western imperial feminism under British colonialism (Liddle and Rai, 1998). Whilst recognising these concepts’ different temporal and contextual origins, the intention is to connote an inclusive critical feminist approach, capturing complex relationships between identity, difference, and situatedness with dynamics of discrimination, marginalisation, and oppression. 4 I refer to Andhra Pradesh in its pre-2014 bifurcation form, unless otherwise stated. 5, last accessed 7th December 2018. 6 The census identifies 76 Scheduled Caste groups in the state; the five largest are Adi Dravidas, Pallan, Paraiyan, Chakkiliyan, and Arunthathiyar. Thiruvarur

18 Introduction district has the highest proportion of Scheduled Caste members (32.4 percent), whilst Kanyakumari district has the lowest (4 percent). 7 The census identified 36 different Scheduled Tribes (STs) in Tamil Nadu. The five most numerical constitute more than 85 percent of the state’s ST population: Malayali, Irular, Kattunayakan, Kurumans, and Kondareddis. The six districts with highest ST concentration are Salem, Tiruvannamalai, Villupuram, Vellore, Dharmapuri, and Namakkal. STs mostly reside in rural areas except Kattunayakans, two-thirds of whom are urban residents. 8 Minority religious communities of Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs constitute less than 1 percent of the population (Census 2011). 9 Coastal Andhra includes Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Vishakapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, and Nellore; Telangana includes Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Mahabubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, and Khammam; and Rayalseema includes Chittoor, Cuddapah, Anantapur, and Kurnool. Occasionally, analysts divide coastal Andhra and Telangana into northern and southern areas of each region, and consider Hyderabad separately, to capture variations in agrarian and industrial development (see e.g. Subrahmanyam, 2003). 10 The Census of India 2001 identified 59 Scheduled Caste groups; Madigas and Malas combined make up nearly 91 percent of the state’s Scheduled Caste population. 11 Visakhapatnam, Warangal, Adilabad, and Nalgonda districts are also home to large numbers of STs. The Census of 2001 registered 33 different STs; the largest group is Sugalis (41 percent), followed by smaller groups of Koya, Yenadis, ­Yerukulas, and Gond. 12 Telugu is the third most commonly spoken language in India reflecting the fact Telugu is also spoken in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Orissa (Census of India 1991). 13 Until May 2004, Andhra Pradesh’s chief minister was Chandrababu Naidu, but he was defeated in the state election by the Congress Party’s Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. 14 Both states were amongst those linguistically redrawn in the late 1950s. 15 Regional parties have dominated Tamil Nadu electoral politics in the last four decades whilst the Congress Party is still a key party in Andhra Pradesh. 16 See Dudley-Jenkins (2003) and Guha (2003). 17 Feminist economists in India have highlighted the lack of sex-disaggregated data, making gender inequality invisible and problematic assumptions in data collection, including the lack of consultation of women in the census data collection, which led to their invisibility in these data. Gender-blind categorisations of what counts as ‘work’ or ‘economic activity’ have undervalued women’s subsistence and domestic activities when measuring the contribution of women to the economy (see Jain, 1996; Prabhu et al., 1996; Mukherjee, 1996). 18 Prabhu et al. (1996) observed this for the 1991 Census. 19 UNDP facilitated the State-level Human Development Reports (SHDR) in India from the mid-1990s. Twenty states and the National Capital Territory of Delhi released their own SHDR, with some states publishing more than one (UNDP India, n.d.): Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. Reports include gender-­disaggregated state-level data on human development indicators; some have compiled gender development indices and gender empowerment indices, and some have a separate chapter on gender equality and empowerment. UNDP India claim these reports ‘serve as platforms for public accountability and action’ (ibid). 20

Introduction  19

References Agarwal, B. (1994) A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Alvarez, S. (1999) ‘Advocating Feminism: The Latin American Feminist NGO ‘Boom’’, International Feminist Journal of Politics, 1 (2), pp. 181–209. Alvarez, S. (2009) ‘Beyond NGO-ization? Reflections from Latin America’, Development, 52 (2), pp. 175–184. Appadurai, A. (1993) ‘Number in the Colonial Imagination’, pp. 314–339 in Veer, P. V. D. and Breckenridge, C. A. (Eds.) Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament: Perspectives on South Asia. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Arber, S. (1993) ‘Designing Samples’, pp. 58–81 in Gilbert, N. (Ed.) Researching Social Life. London: Sage Publications. Bacchi, C. L. (1999) Women, Policy and Politics: The Construction of Policy Problems, London: Sage. Bacchi, C. and Eveline, J. (2003) ‘Mainstreaming and Neoliberalism: A Contested Relationship’, Policy and Society, 22 (2), pp. 98–118. Banaszak, L. A., Beckwith, K. and Rucht, D. (2003) Women’s Movements Facing the Reconfigured State, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Batliwala, S. (2007) ‘Taking the Power Out of Empowerment – An Experiential ­Account’, Development in Practice, 17 (4–5), pp. 557–565. Calkin, S. (2015) ‘Feminism, Interrupted? Gender and Development in the Era of ‘Smart Economics’’, Progress in Development Studies, 15, pp. 295–307. Chant, S. and Sweetman, C. (2012) ‘Fixing Women or Fixing the World? ‘Smart ­e conomics’, Efficiency Approaches, and Gender Equality in Development’, ­G ender & Development, 20 (3), pp. 517–529. Chappell, L. A. (2002) Gendering Government: Feminist Engagement with the State in Australia and Canada, Vancouver: UBC Press. Cornwall, A., Harrison, E. and Whitehead, A. (2008) ‘Gender Myths and ­Feminist Fables: The Struggle for Interpretive Power in Gender and Development’, pp. 1–19 in Cornwall, A., Harrison, E. and Whitehead, A. (Eds.) Gender Myths and ­Feminist Fables. Oxford: Blackwell. Crenshaw, K. (1989) ‘Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics’, University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1989 (1), Article 8, pp. 139–167. Das, V. (1976) ‘Indian Women: Work, Power, and Status’, pp. 129–145 in Nanda, B. R. (Ed.) Indian Women: From Purdah to Modernity. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House Pvt Ltd. Devika, J. (2012) ‘The Beauty of Unintended Consequences’, Seminar, No. 637 ­September 2012, available online at­ devika.htm., last accessed 7th December 2018. Dudley-Jenkins, L. (2003) Identity and Identification in India: Defining the Disadvantaged, London: Routledge. Dyson, T. and Moore, M. (1983) ‘On Kinship Structure, Female Autonomy, and Demographic Behavior in India’, Population and Development Review, 9 (1), pp. 35–60. EDA/APMAS (2006) Self Help Groups in India: A Study of the Lights and Shades, available online at, last accessed 16th December 2007.

20 Introduction Eveline, J. and Bacchi, C. (2005) ‘What Are We Mainstreaming When We Mainstream Gender?’ International Feminist Journal of Politics, 7 (4), pp. 496–512. Ghosh, J. (2009) Never Done and Poorly Paid: Women’s Work in Globalising India, New Delhi: Women Unlimited. Goetz, A.-M. (Ed.) (1997) Getting Institutions Right for Women in Development, New York: Zed Books. GoI (1995) ‘Proceedings of the Second National Workshop on Improvement of ­Statistics on Gender Issues’, New Delhi, 2nd May 1995. GoI (1999) ‘Proceedings of the International Seminar on Time Use Studies’, ­A hmedabad, 7–10 December 1999. GoI (2002) ‘eCensus India: Issue No. 7’, Office of the Registrar General, Government of India, available online at, last accessed 7th October 2007. GoTN (2003) Tamil Nadu Human Development Report, Government of Tamil Nadu, Social Science Press. Green, D. M. (2002) ‘Constructivist Comparative Politics: Foundations and Framework’, pp. 3–59 in Green, D. M. (Ed.) Constructivism and Comparative Politics. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. Guha, S. (2003) ‘The Politics of Identity and Enumeration in India c.1600–1900’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 45 (1), pp. 148–167. Haussman, M., Sawer, M. and Vickers, J. (2010) Federalism, Feminism and Multilevel Governance, Farnham: Ashgate. IDS Bridge (1995) Background Report on Gender Issues in India: Key Findings and Recommendations, Brighton: Bridge, Institute of Development Studies, available online at, last accessed 12th October 2007. Halley, J. (2018) ‘Preface: Introducing Governance Feminism’, pp. ix–xxi, in Halley, J., Kotiswaran, P., Rebouché, R. and Shamir, H. (Eds.) Governance Feminism: An Introduction. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Halley, J., Kotiswaran, P., Rebouché, R. and Shamir, H. (Eds.) Governance ­Feminism: An Introduction. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Jahan, R. (1995) The Elusive Agenda: Mainstreaming Women in Development, ­London: Zed Books. Jain, D. (1996) ‘Valuing Work: Time as a Measure’, Economic and Political Weekly, 31 (43), 26th October, pp. WS46–WS57. Jayawardena, K. (1986) Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World, London: Zed Books. Jenkins, R. (2004a) ‘Introduction’, pp. 1–25 in Jenkins, R. (Ed.) Regional Reflections: Comparing Politics across India’s States. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Jenkins, R. (Ed.) (2004b) Regional Reflections: Comparing Politics across India’s States, New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Kabeer, N. (1994) Reversed Realities: Gendered Hierarchies in Development Thought, London: Verso. Kabeer, N. (1999) ‘From Feminist Insights to an Analytical Framework’, pp. 3–48 in Kabeer, N. and Subrahmanian, R. (Eds.) Institutions, Relations, and Outcomes: Frameworks and Case Studies for Gender-Aware Planning. London: Zed Books. Kapadia, K. (2002) The Violence of Development: The Political Economy of Gender, New Delhi: Kali for Women.

Introduction  21 Kalpagam, U. (2000) ‘The Colonial State and Statistical Knowledge’, History of the Human Sciences, 13 (2), pp. 37–55. Kennedy, L. (2004) ‘The Political Determinants of Reform Packaging: Contrasting Responses to Economic Liberalisation in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu’, pp.  29–65 in Jenkins, R. (Ed.) Regional Reflections: Comparing Politics across India’s States. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Kenny, M. (2007) ‘Gender, Institutions and Power: A Critical Review’, Politics, 27 (2), pp. 91–100. Kotiswaran, P. (2018) ‘Governance Feminisin in the Postcolony: Reforming India’s Rape Laws’, Chapter 4, pp. 75–148 in Halley, J., Kotiswaran, P., Rebouché, R. and Shamir, H. (Eds.) Governance Feminism: An Introduction. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Krook, M. L. and Mackay, F. (2011) Gender, Politics and Institutions: Towards a Feminist Institutionalism, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Liddle, J. and Rai, S. M. (1998) ‘Feminism, Imperialism and Orientalism: The ­Challenge of the ‘Indian woman’’, Women’s History Review, 7 (4), pp. 495–520. Lovenduski, J. (2005) ‘Introduction: State Feminism and political Representation’, pp. 1–19 in Lovenduski, J. (Ed.) State Feminism and Political Representation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mackie, T. and Marsh, D. (1995) ‘The Comparative Method’, pp. 173–188 in Marsh, D. and Stoker, G. (Eds.) Theory and Methods in Political Science. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Menon, N. (2009) ‘Sexuality, Caste, Governmentality: Contests over ‘Gender’ in India’, Feminist Review, 91, pp. 94–112. Mohanty, C. T. (1984) ‘Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses’, boundary 2, 12 (3), pp. 333–358. Moser, C. (1993) Gender Planning and Development: Theory, Practice and Training, London: Routledge. Mukherjee, M. (1996) ‘Towards Gender Aware Data Systems: Indian Experience’, Economic and Political Weekly, 31 (43), 26th October, pp. WS63–WS71. Mukhopadhyay, M. (2004) ‘Mainstreaming Gender or “Streaming” Gender Away: Feminists Marooned in the Development Business’, IDS Bulletin, 35 (4), pp. 95–103. Peters, G. B. (1998) Comparative Politics: Theory and Methods, Basingstoke: ­Palgrave Macmillan. Prabhu, K. S., Sarker, P. C. and Radha, A. (1996) ‘Gender-Related Development Index for Indian States: Methodological Issues’, Economic and Political Weekly, 31 (43), 26th October, pp. WS72–WS79. Pringle, R. and Watson, S. (1992) ‘‘Women’s Interests’ and the Post-Structuralist State’, pp. 53–73 in Barrett, M. and Phillips, A. (Eds.) Destabilising Theory: Contemporary Feminist Debates. Cambridge: Polity Press. Rai, S. M. (1996) ‘Women and the State in the Third World: Some Issues for Debate’, pp. 5–22 in Rai, S. and Lievesley, G. (Eds.) Women and the State: International Perspectives. London: Taylor and Francis. Rai, S. M. (2001) Gender and the Political Economy of Development, Cambridge: Polity Press. Rai, S. M. (Ed.) (2003) Mainstreaming Gender, Democratising the State? Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women, Manchester: Manchester University Press (on behalf of the United Nations).

22 Introduction Roberts, A. and Soederberg, S. (2012) ‘Gender Equality as Smart Economics? A critique of the 2012 World Development Report’, Third World Quarterly, 33 (5), pp. 949–968. Rose, N. and Miller, P. (1992) ‘Political Power Beyond the State: Problematics of Government’, British Journal of Sociology, 43 (2), pp. 173–205. Roy, S. (2009) ‘Melancholic Politics and the Politics of Melancholia: The Indian Women’s Movement’, Feminist Theory, 10 (3), pp. 341–357. Roy, S. (2015) ‘The Indian Women’s Movement: Within and Beyond NGOization’, Journal of South Asian Development, 10 (1), pp. 96–117. Scheyvens, R., Nowak, B. and Scheyvens, H. (2003) ‘Ethical Issues’, pp. 139–166 in Scheyvens, R. and Storey, D. (Eds.) Development Fieldwork: A Practical Guide. London: Sage. Sharma, K. (Ed.) (2011) Changing the Terms of the Discourse: Gender, Equality and the Indian State, Delhi, Chennai, Chandigarh: Pearson. Squires, J. (2007) The New Politics of Gender Equality, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Subrahmanyam, S. (2003) ‘Regional Disparities: Causes and Remedies’, pp. 517–544 in Hanumantha Rao, C. H. and Mahendra Dev, S. (Eds.) Andhra Pradesh Development: Economic Reforms and Challenges Ahead. Hyderabad: Centre for Economic and Social Studies. Sudarshan, R. (2011) ‘India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act: ­Women’s Participation and Impacts in Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Rajasthan’, ­Institute of Development Studies, available online at­ ResearchReport06FINAL.pdf, last accessed 7th December 2018. Sunder Rajan, R. (2003) The Scandal of the State: Women, Law, and Citizenship in Postcolonial India, London: Duke University Press. Tillin, L. (2013a) ‘National and Subnational Comparative Politics: Why, What and How’, Studies in Indian Politics, 1 (2), pp. 235–240. Tillin, L. (2013b) Remapping India: New States and their Political Origins, London: Hurst. Tillin, L., Deshpande, R. and Kailash, K. (Eds.) (2015) Politics of Welfare: Comparisons across Indian States, New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Verloo, M. (2001) Another Velvet Revolution? Gender Mainstreaming and the Politics of Implementation, Vienna: Institut fur die Wissenschaften vom Menchen. UNDP India (n.d.) ‘State Human Development Reports for Indian States’, UNDP India, available online at­l ibrary/ hdr/human-development-reports/State_Human_Development _Reports. html?content­Par_list_start=20, last accessed 19th August 2018. United Nations (1995) Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action, adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women, 15 September, available online at www., last accessed 9th August 2018. UN ECOSOC (1997) ‘Mainstreaming the Gender Perspective into all Policies and Programmes in the United Nations System’, Agreed Conclusion 1997.2, available online at, last accessed 9th August 2018. Weedon, C. (1987) Feminist Practice and Poststructuralist Theory, Oxford: Blackwell. Wyatt, A. K. J. and Zavos, J. (Eds.) (2003) Decentring the Indian Nation, London: Frank Cass.

2 Gender, development, and the state in India Debates and perspectives

Introduction This chapter critically reviews selected debates within broad literatures on development policy and gender mainstreaming. It offers two substantive arguments: first, several classic works on Indian development policy pay insufficient attention to development as a gendered concept, process, and outcome; and second, research on gender mainstreaming initiatives has said little about India. Discussing the vast literature on Indian development policy, I focus on institutional norms and structures of development policymaking and planning and on post-1991 changes in Indian federalism. I argue for greater attention to factors affecting subnational development policymaking, particularly gender. I discuss shifting post-Independence formal government discourses of development and the role of different actors, including political leaders, bureaucrats, and the women’s movement. I illustrate the complexity of the institutional, discursive, and agential influences on and relationships with Indian development policy. I argue that considerations of the fundamentally gendered character of development remain peripheral. Feminist studies of Indian development provide much greater insight, but rarely focus on ‘gender mainstreaming’, and feminist subnational analyses have focused more on ‘women’s empowerment’. I then discuss the international gender mainstreaming literature, much of which addresses gender mainstreaming policies in the European Union (EU) and international development organisations. I explore concepts and definitions, the relationship with women’s national machineries as competing or complementary institutional structures, and obstacles and resistance faced. The focus narrows to studies of gender mainstreaming in development policy, including the role and influence of bilateral and multilateral donor agencies. Pulling together these two discussions, I note the absence of research on gender mainstreaming in Indian development policy, despite ­extensive literature on women, gender, development and the state, and numerous initiatives since the 1990s. Amid the persistence of gender inequalities, more research is needed on the state’s claims to advance gender equality, to understand feminist scholar-activists’ strategies of engagement with the state.

24  Debates and perspectives

Development policy in India and beyond: discourse(s), institutions, and agency Discourses of development: global mainstream and feminist debates Accounts of twentieth-century development discourse commonly compare modernisation theory and dependency theory (Leys, 1995), with modernisation theory’s normative prescriptions of domestic economic and political development, invoking a dichotomy of tradition and modernity, and dependency theory’s focus on political economy and unequal relations in the international capitalist system. Dependency-linked development economics was influenced by neo-Marxist and Latin American structuralist thought. This modernisation-dependency dichotomy produced an ‘impasse’ in development thought; both theories were underpinned by a teleological notion of progress rooted in Enlightenment thought but differed on how states should proceed (Schuurman, 1993; Leys, 1995). The concept of ‘development’ itself came under attack from different quarters in the 1980s: the popularisation of postmodern thought and rejection of ‘development’ as a grand narrative; growing recognition of the failure of development in the ‘South’; a problematisation of state capacity and nation-state sovereignty due to globalisation and the rise of neo-liberal thought; and capitalist triumphalism and the ostensible delegitimisation of socialism and planning following the end of the Cold War (Schuurman, 1993; Leys, 1995). The rise of neo-liberal thought and policy in the 1980s was underpinned by a ‘counter-revolution’ of neoclassical economics and manifested in international financial institutions’ policies, Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP) (Toye, 1993; see Lal, 1997 [1983] for a neoclassical critique of development economics). However, state minimalism proposed by neo-liberals contrasted with institutionalist and interventionist theories of the developmental state literature, associated with successfully industrialising East Asian economies (Johnson, 1982; Woo-Cummings, 1999), and faced new challenges from alternative bottom-up discourses. Responding to a crisis of legitimacy, the neo-liberal Washington Consensus of the 1980s became the post–­Washington Consensus of the 1990s, conceding a greater role for the state and institutions in development, selectively and somewhat superficially incorporating critical opposing discourses of human, sustainable1 and participatory development.2 ‘Security’ became increasingly tied to development in bilateral and multilateral circles, linking poverty in low-income states to instability (Duffield, 2001). Development thus became positioned as an investment in conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction. This proliferation of approaches partially derived from the mainstream’s selective incorporation of critical perspectives (Leys, 1995; Harriss, 1998), but was mainly an expansion of ‘means’ but a closing down of the ‘ends’ of development (Mosse, 2005). Feminist critiques of development emerged in the 1970s. Esther Boserup’s pioneering study Women’s Role in Economic Development (Boserup,

Debates and perspectives  25 1970) drew on liberal feminist theory, arguing women were excluded from development and modernisation, and their inclusion would be beneficial for both ­equity and efficiency reasons. Boserup saw development as a ­necessary, ­positive project, and her critique formed the basis of the Women in Development (WID) discourse, still popular amongst development agencies. Initially, the WID critique made a major contribution, raising questions regarding WID processes, but later was criticised for major shortcomings: it lacked critical attention to gendered structural relations of power. One feminist critical response to WID, named Women and Development (WAD), mirrored dependency theory’s critique of modernisation theory, but incorporated feminist insights, arguing that women had always been part of the development process, including as workers, but had been incorporated unequally (Benería, 1982; Benería and Sen, 1982, Mies, 1986). A third conceptual shift produced gender and development (GAD), recognising gender rather than just women, and both reproductive and productive roles ­(discussed below). WID, WAD, and GAD are the most frequently identified discourses in the literature on mainstream perspectives on women, gender, and development (Kabeer, 1994; Parpart and Marchand, 1995; Visvanathan et al., 1997; Jackson and Pearson, 1998). Women, Environment and Development is less well known internationally but has proven important in the Indian context, as a radical critique of the Western and state-led development projects, stressing detrimental environmental effects and linking the oppression of nature with the oppression of women. Opinion divided over the causes of oppression: one strand linked women’s overlooked economic role as managers of natural resources and the subjugation of this knowledge in development thought and policy (e.g. Agarwal, 1994), influencing the shift to more participatory approaches. By positing women’s superior ecological knowledge and experience as based on material circumstances rather than biological essence, it avoided criticisms of essentialism addressed to another strand, ecofeminist thought, exemplified by Shiva (1988), Mies and Shiva (1993), and Merchant (1980, cited in Agarwal, 1998). Ecofeminist approaches emphasising woman’s seemingly ‘special’ relationship with nature were criticised as romanticised and essentialised (for a critique, see Agarwal, 1998). Roy and Borowiak (2003) critiqued Shiva’s approach for the gendered essentialisms she posits in the urban/rural dichotomy. Yet ecofeminism has resonated with some women’s movement groups and ecological movements in India. Southern and Third World feminists’ rejection of the WID agenda was exemplified by the group Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era, articulated in the publication Development Crises and Alternative ­Visions (Sen and Grown, 1988). This coincided with the shift from WID to GAD in the 1980s, and a shift in focus from women-specific studies and strategies to ‘gender’ – socially constructed roles and relations assigned to men and women. It theorised how processes of change in development interacted

26  Debates and perspectives with and affected gender roles and relations. It stressed e­ mpowerment, rather than equity (WAD) or equality and efficiency (WID) (Kabeer, 1994). GAD was initially seen as a potentially more transformative approach than WID and WAD. State institutions veered towards WID discourse (if anything); non-governmental and women’s organisations were more ­associated with GAD. A mixture of both perspectives came to influence development policy discourse, particularly the more integrationist and less ‘threatening’ WID perspective (Moser, 1993). Despite being potentially more transformative, GAD has also come under scrutiny. The WID-WADGAD triumvirate is not exhaustive of all approaches. In more recent years, both WAD and GAD have evolved further to influence the important field of feminist global political economy (e.g. Benería, 2003). Indian feminist conceptual frameworks and critiques played i­ mportant roles in the international literature on women, gender, and development, and in conceptualising women’s empowerment in grassroots women’s movements (Batliwala, 1994, 2007). WID predominantly focused on ­e ducation and employment policies, but several studies, in India and elsewhere, have demonstrated it is simplistic to assume women’s increased labour force participation will reduce gender discrimination and enhance women’s autonomy (Swaminathan, 2002; Mukhopadhyay, 2003a). Scholars of GAD in India (both from within and outside India) have contributed important insights. Studies have shown how programmes for women’s empowerment – whether international, state, or NGO led – have co-opted and manipulated more radical notions of women’s empowerment (Sharma, 2008; Kalpana, 2017). Jeffrey and Jeffrey (1998) showed how education policies to empower women have been instrumentalised towards population control objectives. Postcolonial and postmodern feminist critiques of development present profound challenges to mainstream and gendered development discourse: mainstream discourses represent ‘Third World women’ in highly problematic ways, as ‘the backward, vulnerable, ‘other’’ (Mohanty, 1984; Parpart and Marchand, 1995). Mohanty’s ‘Under Western Eyes’ (1984), directed at ­Western feminist scholarship, including WID texts, became a classic ­postcolonial feminist critique of Western development discourse and Western feminism. Catherine V. Scott provided a feminist critical rereading of modernisation and dependency theory, showing that both prioritised scientific and technological pursuits of progress, through evolutionary or revolutionary means, and reproduced gendered dichotomies of modernity/tradition, ­independence/dependence, detachment/family, city/village, and urban/­ rural. Marchand and Parpart (1995: 17) countered trends of postmodernists’ outright rejection of development, instead underscoring deconstruction of development discourse and challenging unequal knowledge hierarchies, in a more affirmative project of ‘deconstructing the West’ (Pieterse, 2001). They saw postmodern feminists’ task was to change development’s harmful discursive constructs and asymmetrical power-laden practices.

Debates and perspectives  27 Discourses of development in India: selected mainstream and feminist debates For years, development literature on India was disconnected to broader ­development studies literature (Harriss, 1998), except perhaps Amartya Sen’s work which traversed Indian and international spheres. Sen (along with Mahbub Ul Haq) helped reorient international discourse towards ­human ­development, valorising human wellbeing and capabilities (with ­philosopher Martha Nussbaum), public goods, and democratic freedoms rather than abstract, impersonal economic goals like economic growth as the ends of development (summarised in Sen, 1999; Nussbaum and Sen, 1993)3, and ­extensively studied socio-economic development in India with Jean Dréze (e.g. Dréze and Sen, 1995, 2002, 2013). Beyond Sen, the vast scholarship on Indian development is dominated by economic and class-based analyses ­attempting to explain the success or failure of state-led development policy. Two major periods in the history of development discourse in post-­ independent India are the establishment of modernist-infused planning at Independence, and the shift to more neo-liberal economic policy in 1991.4 Newly independent India’s development discourse in India was founded on a Nehruvian socialist development strategy in the 1950s aimed at ‘redistribution with growth’. The Nehruvian modernising approach based on heavy industrialisation, influenced heavily by the economist Mahalanobis, and ­reflected in the Second Five-Year Plan, was favoured over the alternative Gandhian approach (Chakravarty, 1987: 8).5 Chakravarty’s classic study sums up the debate as ‘plan vs. market’ (Chakravarty, 1987). Nayar presents economic planning, autarky, and socialism6 as the three key features of post-Independence Indian development (2001: 51). Autarky, represented as export pessimism, self-sufficiency, and tight controls over foreign investment, was explained in terms of the Nehruvian socialist approach to development (Nayar, 2001); Ahluwalia (1998), on the other hand, points out that self-reliance was not a significant feature until the Third Five-Year Plan (1961–1966).7 The historical context for these discourses was postcolonial nation-­ building: freed from the impediments and stagnation imposed by its former oppressive colonial ruler, the development project became a national imperative, ‘a constituent part of the self-definition of the post-colonial state’ (Chatterjee, 1997: 277). Chatterjee’s Gramsci-inspired reading argues this did not involve a radical shake-up of existing administrative or class ­structures but a ‘passive revolution’, in which the state ‘seeks to limit [the]… former power [of the pre-capitalist dominant classes], neutralise them where necessary, attack them only selectively, and in general bring them round to a position of subsidiary allies’ (1997: 288). Economic reforms from 1991 ostensibly ushered in a more neo-liberal discourse. The Government of India sought an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan in response to a fiscal crisis. For some, the crisis was a critical

28  Debates and perspectives juncture, a symbolic final parting with Nehruvian socialism. For others, it was an opportunity for neo-liberal proponents to come to the foreground rather than an ideological conversion (Sachs et al., 1999: 22). In retrospect, the neo-liberal shift was dissimilar to ‘shock therapy’ experienced elsewhere: reforms were attempted in the 1960s and 1980s, and the manner and extent of the 1990s’ reforms was debated, some seeing them as incremental and partial (Corbridge and Harriss, 2000; Nayar, 2001), insufficient (Bhagwati and Srinivasan, 1993), stunted by ‘vested interests’ (Chhibber, 2003) or led by ‘demand-groups’ (Rudolph and Rudolph, 1987). Others saw them as implemented with continuity and skill, by ‘stealth’ (Jenkins, 1999). The essence of the debate was the extent to which a neo-liberal discourse became embedded within Indian development institutions and policy, and whether government autonomy on economic reforms was constrained by the democratic context, reflecting global debates on democracy and development, particularly on East Asia and South East Asia.8 Scholars differed over the discursive power of post-Independence ­development. Kaviraj (1991) argued that the Nehruvian developmental state failed to popularise its elite modernising discourse to legitimise stateplanned development amongst the masses.9 Corbridge and Harriss (2000) instead argued that the masses had recycled Nehruvian-era values to contest state-led neo-liberal development. Kaviraj’s account helps to explain the weakness of neo-liberal discourse amongst the masses, but does not sufficiently consider the gendered relations of power inherent in the ‘lower’ discourse. But it has some potential, by extension, to explain the absence of mass mobilisation amongst women for gender-aware development policies (notwithstanding workers’ unions), beyond the urban-concentrated women’s movement. Having identified selected academic and policy debates of development, in India and elsewhere, I would argue, broadly speaking, that these ­classic texts on India have not paid attention to the gendered character of development, except for the work of Amartya Sen on gendered patterns of intra-­household resource distribution (Sen, 1990) and (with Jean Drèze) the declining ­female-to-male child sex ratio in India (Drèze and Sen, 2002). ­Partha Chatterjee (1989) also engaged with how nationalist elites addressed the issue of gender inequality at Independence, suggesting this was resolved in accordance with nationalist sentiments, whereby nationalists viewed women’s domesticity and reproduction of cultural values as symbolic of the spiritual superiority of the Indian nation over its colonial oppressors. The state thus did not consider women’s inferior status or inequitable gender relations as a central concern of national development in the immediate post-Independence years. Chaudhuri’s analysis of an early planning document suggested that whilst senior nationalist leaders discussed w ­ omen’s status and gender inequality in progressive terms in the years just before ­Independence, the debate almost disappeared without a trace in the years following Independence (Chaudhuri, 1996). In the case of the Hindu Code

Debates and perspectives  29 Bill in the early years of Independence, even constitution drafter Dr. Ambedkar’s vocal support for equal inheritance rights could not convince conservative political elites to support progressive legislation, despite constitutional commitments of equality according to sex (Rege, 2013a). The early years of Independence were thus a disappointing period for state-led progress on gender equality. Feminist scholars and activists in India and elsewhere have extensively studied the anticipated or actual detrimental gendered effects of neo-liberal economic policies, including IMF and World Bank Structural Adjustment Policies and development programmes, on national economies and social sectors (Craske, 1998; Arora, 1999; Upadhyay, 2000; Mukhopadhyay and Sudarshan, 2003). Mukhopadhyay (2003a: 9) groups ‘apprehensive accounts’ into three arguments. First, SAPs are inherently biased against women, ignoring women’s reproductive labour. Second, job security requirements and labour rights are downplayed resulting in lower job security in the private sector, disproportionately affecting women due to their concentration in lower-paid, less secure, more marginalised areas of the labour market. Third, adverse economic impacts on the household include increased workloads, livelihood, and budgetary adjustments and diminished state support in the social sector. However, little initial information existed, says Mukhopadhyay (2003b), on the actualisation of anticipated gendered effects of SAPs. Only a few documented studies on India in the 1990s possessed detailed evidence. However, numerous compelling critiques of the adverse gendered impact of continuing neo-liberal reforms emerged a few years later (Harriss-White, 2004; Ghosh, 2009; see multiple contributions to Kapadia, 2002). These are discussed in Chapter 5 regarding the case study states. Institutions of development – central government planning in India A major debate in development theory is the degree and form of state ­intervention. Nationalist modernisation projects often designate a central role for the state as a director, facilitator, or conduit for interest groups or international capital. State planning has been a major institutional feature in India since Independence, principally through the Planning Commission although its authority has varied. Close analysis of Indian development planning shows the state not as coherent and co-ordinated, but as an internally differentiated ensemble of institutions. Hanson’s (1966) detailed early study of Indian planning offered insights into the Planning Commission and its relationship with government ministries and the National Development Council (NDC).10 Hanson saw the Commission initially as a consultative and recommendatory body, but over time became more of a ministerial body, reflected in its close relationship with the Ministry of Finance (1966: 58). Hanson charted the rise of the NDC as a rival to the Planning Commission, with its influence ‘imperfectly revealed’ in plan documents (1966: 61–62),11 but concluded the NDC had far

30  Debates and perspectives from replaced the Commission at the time of writing (1966: 62). Chhibber’s (2003) more contemporary assessment of the Planning Commission traced the decline of its capacity and influence vis-à-vis the ministries, arguing that even early on, despite ardent support from Nehru, the Commission experienced considerable resistance from the ministries. This accelerated ­under the leadership of Lal Bahadur Shastri (1964–1967) and Indira Gandhi ­(1967–1977, 1980–1984), until the Planning Commission was firmly reestablished as a consultative body. The new locus of development policy – the ministries, especially the Finance Ministry, and the NDC – bore significance for the centre-state relationship (Jenkins, 1999: 227). Dirigiste approaches to development became increasing unpopular globally from the late 1970s onwards with the rise of neo-liberal development discourse, though economically ‘successful’ developmental states in East Asia lent legitimacy to state intervention. Planning was also criticised by postmodern scholars invoking Foucauldian governmentality. Scott (1998: 88) saw planning or ‘the administrative ordering of nature and society’ as part of high modernity: pervasive social engineering by the state was discursively justified in the name of ‘the people’. Post-developmental scholars defined planning as ‘the belief that social change can be engineered and directed, produced at will’ (Escobar, 1992: 132). Escobar asserted that ‘[p]lanning techniques and practices have been central to development since its inception. As the application of scientific and technical knowledge to the public domain, planning lent legitimacy to, and fuelled hopes about, the development enterprise’ (1992: 132). Development planning in India was understood to be a highly political exercise. Chatterjee (1997) argued that though government bodies like the Planning Commission were established to depoliticise contentious issues by delegating to a panel of technocratic experts, these bodies would inevitably be used politically by the very forces they endeavoured to transcend. But the Planning Commission itself was not neutral, devoid of a normative view of the state, economy, and society; as Chatterjee argues (ibid), state institutions embody their own political objectives and ideals and are designed to legitimate the state’s sovereign power as the sole planning authority on behalf of the nation. Consequently, some questioned whether the post-1991 shift towards a neo-liberal minimalist state did indeed entail state withdrawal.12 After all, the postcolonial state is a regulatory state in the name of ‘nation-building’. Instead, Foucauldian-inspired critiques pointed to converging neo-liberal and postcolonial regulatory practices (Gupta, 2001). Neo-liberal governmentality involved more subtle intervention rather than a rolling back, with its normalising techniques penetrating deeper into society. Population control policies exemplified this. Concerns of repressive and coercive target-driven government fertility programmes resulted from historical experiences of forced sterilisation during the Emergency (1975–1977) in India. Subsequent governments publicly decried such practices and instead tried to persuasively mobilise citizens towards an ideal of a two-child

Debates and perspectives  31 family norm (Chatterjee and Riley, 2001). According to Rao (2005), the National Population Policy of 2000 signalled a progressive move towards a Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) approach, in the spirit of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. But this less coercive approach is not universally implemented. Chatterjee and ­Riley’s analysis (2001) highlighted how population policies continued to align with Indian planned development and are gendered and class differentiated, with adverse effects on women and the poor. Regressive state government policies concerned with population control have invoked two-child norm policies for eligibility to contest panchayat elections (Buch, 2006). Whilst the centre publicly emphasised the non-coercive RCH approach, rulings of the Supreme Court and High Courts at the subnational level have sometimes upheld the two-child norm (Rao, 2005). Evidence of informal coercive fertility targets have also been found in some states (see Chapter 5).13 At the more micro-level, governmentality approaches to Indian state development efforts focused on how the state comes into view in the everyday and shapes citizens’ experiences of the state, through anti-poverty programmes (Corbridge et al., 2005) and state-led women’s empowerment programmes (Sharma, 2008). These ethnographic and anthropological accounts of ­development interventions provide a refreshing alternative critical lens to analyses of top-down planning and policy prescriptions depicting the state as overwhelmingly homogeneous, monolithic, and distant. New directions for Indian planning require new analyses. The ­Planning Commission’s leadership of development planning was tested by the ­emergence of the National Advisory Council (NAC) under the United Progressive Alliance government (2004–2014). This body of academics, retired bureaucrats, and civil society activists advised the governing coalition on policy and was associated with wide-ranging progressive and pro-poor legislation in areas of socio-economic development (Harriss, 2011; Arora and Kailash, 2014).14 Some NAC members earlier publicly challenged Planning Commission poverty criteria, measures, and policies as inadequate and conservative. Despite the NAC’s progressive influence, concerns were also raised that the non-elected body impinged on the powers and functioning of parliament without sufficient oversight (Pai and Kumar, 2014: 12–13).15 In 2014, the Planning Commission was abolished and replaced with a new agency – NITI Aayog – with a curiously similar mandate as the National Institute for Transforming India.16 The rising influence of subnational state governments has tested central government institutions. The federal relationship has long been ­considered important to the planning process (Chakravarty, 1987: 47) and is politically sensitive, especially the fiscal (re)distribution of resources between centre and states, and historical interferences of the centre in subnational state government affairs. Federalism is significant for policy jurisdiction, as states have ‘extensive’ responsibilities in economic and social development (Guhan, 2001 [1995]: 127).17 Three common criticisms of the federal

32  Debates and perspectives planning system are a perception that state governments are under-funded by the central government; subnational state ministries are subordinated under centrally sponsored schemes; and funds and responsibilities are excessively self-allocated to the centre at the expense of states (Chakravarty, 1987: 48). Different developmental experiences amongst states justify attention to federal dynamics. Several studies argue that the greater (but still limited) fiscal autonomy afforded to states by the centre as a result of liberalisation has produced varied approaches to development and a competitive reform dynamic amongst a few states striving to create a conducive environment for private investment (Jenkins, 1999, 2004; Guhan, 2001 [1995]; Kennedy, 2004). Widening disparities between state-level indicators of economic and human development suggest economic growth and improvements in wellbeing are not occurring universally across Indian states. Chakravarty (1987: 45) emphasised the almost inevitability of differential growth due to the uneven resource endowment of different regions in India, and 30 years later this disparity has not dissipated. He also asserted ‘the problem of poverty is beginning to emerge as more of an inter-regional problem than before…’ (ibid: 46–47). Increasing competition amongst states in recent years may have exacerbated existing interstate inequalities. Increasingly, studies have analysed changing dynamics between ­c entral and state governments and differences between states in reform ­approaches.18 Kennedy (2004) shows following the 1991 liberalisation reforms, individual states with new autonomy have followed different paths. She relates this to varying styles of reform ‘packaging’, contrasting state government approaches of Andhra Pradesh (pre-2004) and Tamil Nadu. She argues these different styles derive from the extent of fragmentation in state-level party systems and the extent of political mobilisation of ­dalits and other conventionally marginalised groups. This allowed one state government (Andhra Pradesh) to vocalise their reforms agenda more than the other. Kennedy’s contribution demonstrates the importance of accounting for how differences in the subnational institutional context may lead to different outcomes in subnational development policy, an approach followed in this book. In sum, the federal relationship is important and warrants attention for how it affects development policy, centre-state relationships, and state capacity to implement development policy. The all-India elite tier of Indian bureaucracy plays an important role in development policy. Studies of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and its colonial predecessor, the Indian Civil Service, document characteristic features of the Indian bureaucracy (Mars, 1974; Potter, 1986, 1996; Mathur, 1996; Thakur, c.1997, 2000; Bhattacharya, 2003 [1989]; Rudolph and Rudolph, 2003 [1987]). Mathur (1996) argues a fundamental tension exists between the elite professional background of civil servants and the ­constituency-facing politician. Civil servants, usually educated in cosmopolitan institutions, are often careerists and support their seniors. Potter’s

Debates and perspectives  33 (1986) study identified a dominant norm of civil service as the ‘gentlemanly mode’, which emphasised ‘the virtue of public service,…the amateur ideal, and… the norms of courage, confidence and self-discipline’ and service-class ­values, namely, loyal service to government in exchange for political leaders’ trust and ‘autonomy and discretion to act appropriately (in accordance with the law) for those they served’ (Potter, 1986: 233). Potter’s (1986) study does not focus explicitly on gendered institutional norms and practices of the Indian civil service, but provides insights for understanding the bureaucracy as a gendered institution, as do similar studies cited above. What is missing from these studies, however, is an explicit and detailed analysis of the gendered character of these institutions, which has parallels outside India (e.g. see Ferguson, 1984; Puwar, 2004). Few detailed studies exist of the gendered institutions of Indian development from which development policy emerges, despite strong feminist analyses of the state in India. There are some important exceptions. One of the most valuable publications for researchers of feminist engagement with the Indian state in recent years is the CWDS collection by Sharma (2011). This volume is an incredibly useful archive of correspondence and experience of feminist scholars and activists engaging with the state over the past 40 years on equality initiatives. Comprising both government and non-government documents, many entries in the volume would otherwise be dispersed in government archives and private collections, if at all available anymore, meaning it is a hugely important archive of women’s movement activism. Beyond Sharma’s introductory chapter, it provides an impressionistic picture rather than a sustained analysis, focusing mostly on national-level engagements. The late Vina Mazumdar’s (2008) memoirs complement this archive well, providing a detailed personal account of her experiences as a feminist educator and scholar repeatedly commissioned by the government to draft reports on the status of women, and policies and legislation to improve their status, especially the landmark Towards Equality report in the 1970s (see Chapter 4). This account is of immeasurable value to the archive of women’s movement efforts to engage the state on issues of gender (in)equality. Grewal’s (2016) discussion of colonial and postcolonial masculinities during the transition to Independence via a rich analysis of bureaucrats’ memoirs gives us a detailed insight into ‘elite masculinities as patriarchy’, but by necessity focuses on the earlier post-Independence years. Two other exceptions include Thakur’s (c. 1997) study of the gendered ­institutional norms of the All India Administrative Services, discussing recruitment practices, service rules, incentive structures, and gendered patterns in postings within the IAS, and the collection by Kabeer and Subrahmanian (1999) on the Gender Planning Training Project in India. Both are discussed in Chapters 4 and 6. A fifth is a study of gendered institutional exclusion within the government development programmes of the Integrated Rural Development Programme and the Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas programme (Kabeer and Murthy, 1999). This, however,

34  Debates and perspectives is a study of the institutional contexts in which policy is implemented rather than formulated, though implementation can tell us much about success and failure of gender mainstreaming efforts.19 Other studies focus on government schemes, often in a diagnostic or programmatic-evaluative format. Whilst these provide insights into the gendered character of the state, some are isolated to specific schemes or single subnational states, rather than the state itself or different gendered institutional contexts of development policymaking in India. But an important locus of single subnational state studies is Rajasthan State’s Women’s Development Program (Mathur, 2004; Madhok and Rai, 2012). Events surrounding the rape of a government functionary as punishment for her challenging local resistance to her social justice efforts led to deep questioning and introspection about state capacity to understand the implications of its own programmes and ensure the safety of government workers, volunteers, struggling for social change and risking violence from patriarchal backlash. The consequences were far reaching: the Supreme Court in 1997 introduced the ‘Vishaka guidelines’ on sexual harassment in the workplace, and in 2013, the government enacted legislation to more forcefully implement these guidelines. Also worth mentioning are Devika and Thampi’s (2012) study of women’s participation in local planning and governance in Kerala, Devika’s (2008) critical history of family planning in Kerala, and several insightful ethnographic and comparative studies of the Mahila Samakhya programme in different states (e.g. Solanki, 2010). Despite being focused on single state cases, these studies use single entry points to provide broader insights about the relationship between gender, development, and the state in India, which show complex dynamics, and sometimes frustrating, dangerous, and unanticipated challenges of engaging with the Indian state, challenges which are recognisable outside the Indian context. Agents of development Studies of development in India (and beyond) also attribute varying ­degrees of agency to different actors. Political leaders, bureaucrats, bilateral and multilateral donors, international development agencies, and powerful interest groups in society are often designated more powerful actors than ‘targets’ or ‘beneficiaries’ of development policies, or ‘facilitators’ such as NGOs and other civil society and voluntary organisations. The state is often positioned as the most prominent agent of national development policy. The ‘developmental state’ literature analyses how the state acts to promote national development, implementing its own agenda, insulated from interference by domestic and foreign interest groups whilst strategically and selectively encouraging investment. Studies have variously conceptualised the Indian state as ‘embedded’ (Herring, 1999), ‘soft’ (Myrdal, 1968), as a ‘pluralist class state’ (Bardhan, 1990), and as ‘weak-strong’ (Rudolph and Rudolph, 1987). These distinctions represent different assessments of

Debates and perspectives  35 state efficacy: how state and societal structures and characteristics determine state capacity to formulate and implement development policy, and shape the drivers influencing policy substance. However, with the exception of Herring’s embedded state model, some have a tendency to oversimplify the state, obscuring complex and diverse forms of interaction between, and organisational culture within, different state institutions. Some accounts downplay internal politics amongst state actors and institutions. Most importantly, these accounts do not make explicit the gendered character of state institutions. Studies of political leaders and their relationship to development in the pre1991 national context have focused on prime ministers of the ­Nehru-Gandhi family: Jawaharlal Nehru, his daughter Indira Gandhi, and her son Rajiv Gandhi. The influence of Nehru’s leadership on early post-­Independence development planning is well established, as is the centralising, institutional weakening effects and authoritarian aspects of Indira Gandhi’s rule. The developmental intentions and capacities of individual political leaders are tested by structural forces or interest groups and s­ ubjected to the ­structure-agency dilemma.20 Jenkins’ more institutionalist perspective of the economic reforms of the 1990s concludes ‘political actors are more in an ongoing improvisation than a scripted piece of theatre’ prompted by signals from elections, protests, and public opinion (1999: 208). For Jenkins, p ­ olitical actors are highly influenced by historical contingency (1999: 209–210). This contrasts with the modus operandi of civil service policy planners discussed above where enduring institutional culture is influential. Subnational political elites such as chief ministers and party leaders are also significant actors (Wyatt, 2010), partly due to their proximity to implementation (Manor, 1995). Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and leader of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Chandrababu Naidu was personally associated with orchestrating economic and governance reforms in the 1990s (Mooij, 2003; Kennedy, 2004; Manor, 2004). Mooij (2003) focused on the strategic image-building of Chandrababu Naidu and the TDP regime, his centralisation of policymaking (despite more participatory discourse), and policy implementation for party-building purposes. Naidu combined two faces of leadership: first, enhancing regime legitimacy amongst voters, through schemes like Janmabhoomi, which simultaneously sought to strengthen and extend the TDP network, bypassing established channels; second, creating legitimacy in the international arena, by cultivating the image of an outward-facing, dynamic, reformist regime, embodied by Naidu’s personal image as IT enthusiast and World Bank client (Mooij, 2003: 22). This is consistent with Kennedy’s signalling theory (Kennedy, 2004). However, more overt signalling increases pressures to deliver to secure re-election (Mooij, 2003: 22). Senior female politicians in India have also been subject to analysis (Basu 1993; Sarkar, 1993; Chowdhry, 2000; Keating, 2001; Banerjee, 2004; Skoda, 2004; Spary 2007, 2014). These studies show female political leadership does

36  Debates and perspectives not guarantee the inclusion of women’s movement demands, and many question the assumption it would. Sonia Gandhi’s attempts to pass legislative gender quotas for women in national and state legislatures failed, despite being party president and chairperson of the ruling government coalition for two terms (2004–2014). Few in-depth studies have linked party ­political leaders with gendered development policy; few have examined political leadership in championing gender-sensitive development policy, though a few have discussed how political leaders have rhetorically appealed to women as voters (see later chapters). Can any of India’s top political leaders, men and women, be called ‘policy entrepreneurs’ (True, 2003)? To what extent have political leaders demonstrated accountability to the women’s movement? Why is regime legitimacy not tied more explicitly to addressing gender inequality? Studies of Indian bureaucrats have focused on policy roles, whether ­bureaucrats introduce or resist new ideas and norms, and the influence of epistemic communities on policymaking, including the 1990s liberalisation reforms.21 Studying these reforms under the premierships of Rajiv Gandhi (1984–1989) and Narasimha Rao (1991–1996), Shastri (1997: 28) depicts the epistemic community as political leaders and bureaucrats both career and ‘laterals’, identifying the impetus for change emerging from within state institutions (both political and bureaucratic). ‘Laterals’ – individuals entering the senior Indian civil service from outside, not via internal career p ­ rogression – institutionalised external ideas and influences from their foreign-­based education and training, often in the United Kingdom (older generation) or the United States (younger generation), and exposure to different work ethics and ideas (Shastri, 1997: 38). They have diverse career backgrounds and ‘are key links in a process of international networking and policy co-­ ordination’ (ibid). Laterals with World Bank experience ‘bring to India their cross-­country experience and knowledge of how similar reform programmes have been introduced and operated elsewhere’ (Shashtri, 1997: 39), suggesting that in the 1980s, ‘the “new laterals” have played a key role in developing the more technical aspects of the liberalizing program’, though not without resistance (ibid). Similarly, Nayar (2001) suggested contact with overseas economists and overseas training of top Indian economic theorists and planners had a disproportional effect on the Second Five-Year Plan in India’s early planning years. Chakravarty suggested a more mutual interaction and influence between economists and Indian planners and policymakers in the 1950s and 1960s: ‘…[d]ominant ideas of contemporary development economics influenced the logic of India’s plans, and correspondingly, development theory was for a while greatly influenced by the Indian case’ (1987: 4). Both Byres and Rudra (cited in Byres, 1998) disagree with the theory of ‘foreign’ influence on Indian planners – Byres attributes the 1991 reform architecture to Montek S. Ahluwalia, then ­Finance Secretary of the Government of India but formerly of the World Bank (1998: 3). Rudra sees the development of Indian economic models as more independent

Debates and perspectives  37 and autonomous than Nayar. Byres goes further suggesting ‘India’s contributions have been in advance of contributions made anywhere else’ (Byres, 1998: 14), but rejects Bhagwati and Srinivasan’s assertion that liberalisation originated in India and was ‘recycled’ in multilateral policy advice to India (Bhagwati and Srinivasan, quoted in Byres, 1998: 8, orig. emphasis). Thus, there is considerable ambiguity as to where and how ideas originate, and how they become embedded in domestic contexts and circulate internationally. Byres and Rudra’s accounts emphasise a foreign/domestic binary, obscuring ideological commonalities. Shastri’s ‘laterals’ is a useful concept, but says less about how international exposure does not guarantee progressive reforms, particularly on gender-responsive policy; international financial institutions like the World Bank also suffer from gender-blindness. At the same time, bureaucrats and political leaders can be exposed to gender advocacy within (trans)national feminist policy debates and networks, through interactions with international fora or domestic country offices of international organisations like the United Nations, facilitating contact ­between domestic feminist advocates and policymakers. Assessing their relative influence is important for understanding how change in policy discourse occurs and because international influence can be politically sensitive. Globally, feminists theorised the gendered character of the state as an actor but varied in terms of their treatment of the ‘state’ and its interests: benign, capitalist, patriarchal, imperial, biopolitical, fragmented. Marxist and radical feminist accounts were criticised for undifferentiated accounts of the state; institutionalist and post-structuralist feminists see the state as a heterogeneous set of institutions and discourses, a product of particular historical and political conjunctures (Pringle and Watson, 1992: 57–58, 62–63; Waylen, 1998: 5–6). The state becomes a site of the construction of problems and identities and of contestation and struggle. This spectrum of theories is similarly present amongst feminist scholars and activists in/on India, with postcolonial theories discussing the particularities of postcolonial states; postcolonial states emphasise ‘nation-building’ invoking particular gender norms, and link the status of women to the legitimacy of the newly independent state and its capacity to govern (Rai, 1996; Sunder Rajan, 2003). Literature on the Indian women’s movement is extensive, a prominent topic being feminist engagement with the state.22 Women’s organisations are diverse in structure, leadership, and mandate. Karlekar (2004: 149– 150) divided women’s organisations into four categories: those connected to political parties, autonomous apolitical women’s groups, rural and urban grassroots women’s organisations, and women’s research, development, and documentation organisations. Grassroots organisations have been particularly effective. The movement is crucial for ‘articulating and making demands on the government on specific issues as they arise, and for the setting up of appropriate policies and programmes by the state…’ (Karlekar, 2004: 148–149). Studies point to the rise, decline, and rise of the women’s movement during, respectively, the pre-Independence nationalist

38  Debates and perspectives movement, the early post-Independence period, and the post-Emergency period and ­b eyond (Agnihotri and Mazumdar, 1995). Studies provided insights into the risks of co-optation, fragmentation and lack of solidarity of the women’s movement, welfare-oriented versus agitational feminist organisations, the structure and leadership style within women’s organisations, women’s organisations as a form of capacity-building and gender sensitisation in themselves, and the transformational character of the women’s movement in response to socio-economic changes in government policy and Indian s­ ociety.23 Agnihotri and Mazumdar (1995: 1874) observed that socio-­e conomic development policy propelled academics to enter the women’s movement, straddling the academic-activist divide, arguing they have been highly influential regarding the ‘priorities and lines of advocacy for dialogues with policy-makers’ (ibid). But a frequent debate is whether a homogeneous ‘women’s interest’ exists, given the diverse, plural, and fragmented nature of the women’s movement, highlighting varied, potentially conflicting interests (Rai, 2003a). The rise of Hindu nationalism challenged the women’s movement, but neo-liberal economic policies have prompted resistance and unity ­(Agnihotri and Mazumdar, 1995). Instead, we should recognise there is no ‘one way of understanding or locating women’s oppression’ (Akerkar, 1995: WS-13). Asking which issues or whose issues receive more visibility can amplify marginalised voices – the under-representation of Dalit feminist voices and interests is something the women’s movement have sought to address (Rege, 2013b). Women’s political empowerment is a key component of gender-responsive development. Extensive literature on formal political participation has analysed gender quotas (or ‘reservations’ in India) at the panchayat (local council) level and debated successive constitutional amendment bills to reserve one-third of seats for women in parliament and subnational legislative assemblies (Rai, 1999; Rai and Sharma, 2000; Randall, 2006). State and national elections now witness similar overall voter turnout for men and women, notwithstanding regional variance, but women participate as candidates and elected representatives in far lower proportions compared to women voters and women as local representatives.24 Legislation for local gender quotas in panchayats passed in the mid-1990s was hailed as a progressive development. Many initially questioned whether panchayats offered real opportunities for women’s political participation, given examples where women panchayat representatives were dominated by family members (for a discussion on pradhan patis or proxy participation, see Kudva, 2003). Also debated is whether formal political participation is an effective institutional route for feminist organisations for lobbying. Women’s political party wings have few links with women’s movement organisations or their feminist agendas (Rai, 2002), with the exception of the Left. Can the women’s movement generate new and better strategies for building networks of advocacy with transnational feminist organisations and engaging in effective influential dialogue with policymakers, outside formal channels of electoral

Debates and perspectives  39 participation? This might strengthen the capacity of feminist actors both within and outside the state, and create pressure on state ­institutions and actors for more accountability towards gender-responsive development policy.

Gender mainstreaming: concepts, definitions, and debates Gender mainstreaming strategies seek to mainstream a gender equality perspective into policies and institutional practice to ensure greater-­ responsiveness to gender inequality. How have scholars, practitioners, and activists defined, discussed, and assessed gender mainstreaming? Here I briefly outline relevant concepts and definitions from the gender mainstreaming literature before focusing specifically on the context of development policy. I discuss institutional structures and contexts linked to these strategies, and the role of policy entrepreneurs and transnational feminist advocacy and activism. Key questions include the following: from where does the impetus for mainstreaming emerge, and how can individuals or groups affect its adoption? How do the goals of development and gender mainstreaming coincide or differ? What kind of institutional structures and cultures are conducive to gender mainstreaming? Gender mainstreaming emerged in the 1990s. Defined either as an equality strategy distinguishable from other strategies, or an umbrella term encompassing diverse strategies, it is united by a shared concern to make gender equality a reality. Mieke Verloo defined gender mainstreaming as a fundamentally transformative strategy targeting ‘…gender inequality at a more structural level, identifying gender biases in current policies…[and] ­reorganising policy processes so that …policy makers will be obliged and ­capable to incorporate a perspective of gender equality in their policies’ (2001:  3). Verloo’s approach is a distinctive rather than all-­encompassing strategy, a potentially more transformative approach (Squires, 2005), ­compared to integrationist and agenda-setting equality strategies. It is better equipped to deal with diverse gender identities and relations than (a) integrationist strategies which assume sameness amongst men and women and promote inclusion of women in the existing system to redress unfair exclusion and discrimination, and (b) agenda-setting strategies which emphasise gender difference and promote the participation of women because they have different but similarly valuable perspectives and experiences to contribute (ibid). Rounaq Jahan’s (1995) study of international development organisations differentiated between integrationist and agenda-­ setting approaches, before the transformative approach began to properly materialise. This third approach sees gender identities and relations as more diverse and complex and seeks to destabilise and displace hegemonic gender norms which reproduce inequality (Squires, 2005). According to Squires’ ­matrix, different strategies emerge. Inclusion/integrationist strategies favour equal opportunity, agenda-setting approaches favour positive action ­prioritising presence, and displacement strategies work more deeply

40  Debates and perspectives to change institutional norms, practices, and attitudes towards gender inequality. Rather than seeking to incorporate women into the existing system without changing that system, or to add a set of perspectives to ‘complement’ those already present, gender mainstreaming aims for a deeper and more wide-ranging transformation. Despite these analytically distinct strategies, some suggest it is possible, evenly strategically desirable, to adopt multiple approaches simultaneously (Squires, 2005: 2). Jacqui True offers the all-encompassing umbrella ­definition of gender mainstreaming, ‘the whole range of contemporary innovations designed to achieve more gender-equitable outcomes…’ (2003: 369). There is some value in recognising diversity of techniques and approaches, but it is more analytically useful to adopt a distinct conceptualisation of gender mainstreaming, in line with Verloo’s transformative definition above, to capture changes in advocacy and state institutional strategies and their different theoretical foundations, which can affect the substance and realisation of equality goals. Gender mainstreaming proponents universally acknowledge engagement with the state as a necessary strategy (Miller and Razavi, 1998). Gender mainstreaming approaches focus on institutions and advocacy strategies are usually underpinned by an institutionalist perspective, concerned with norms, processes, and informal structures (Goetz, 1997b). The dominance of empirical studies in the literature reflects the policy orientation of the field, but theoretical reflection has grown considerably since the late 1990s, particularly critical awareness of gender mainstreaming’s operational limitations when faced with intractable institutional norms and cultures. Several studies of gender mainstreaming, and of state feminism, are comparative or collaborative, enabling dialogue amongst advocates and analysts (Stetson and Mazur, 1995; Goetz, 1997a; Randall and Waylen, 1998; Mazur, 2002; Rai, 2003b). The role of international institutions such as the EU, World Bank, and United Nations in the transnational diffusion of norms of gender ­equality has also generated interest. EU debates focus on mainstreaming equal ­opportunity into all areas of policy (Rees, 1998) and provides a comparative context to examine the influence of a regional supranational body on domestic policy change. It asks important questions of congruent institutional design, policy adoption, and norms for newly integrating member governments. The Fourth UN Conference in Beijing in 1995 and its Platform for Action is a key milestone for gender mainstreaming strategies in ­development contexts (Baden and Goetz, 1998). Some have questioned the relationship between gender mainstreaming strategies and national machineries for women, like National Commissions for Women, asking whether gender mainstreaming would increase or undermine the legitimacy of these organisational bodies (Rai, 2003b). Others questioned whether the ­institutionalisation of gender equality perspectives entailed the loss of a critical transformative edge of agitational politics, with or without co-option

Debates and perspectives  41 (Squires, 2005). Some were concerned gender mainstreaming strategies were elitist; feminist actors became gender ‘experts’, technocratic policy elites, rather than mass movement leaders or grassroot women’s representatives (ibid). These debates are linked to wider issues of governance and reform, accountability, citizenship and democratic participation, and transnational social movement activism. Gender mainstreaming in development policy The policy focus of EU gender equality strategies differs from gender ­mainstreaming in development policy; the latter’s aim is to make development policy more gender-responsive, which means operating in a different terrain. Important early studies drew attention to gendered hierarchies in development institutions and policies (Kabeer, 1994; Goetz, 1997a). As noted, Moser argued gender planning is more ‘confrontational’ than planning for integrating women into development (1993: 4), though both Moser (ibid: 109) and Standing (2004) question whether the policy route is the most effective for institutional change. National machineries for women take on new significance in the context of gender mainstreaming. Moser (1993) traces the creation of national commissions for women to the first major conference of the UN Decade for Women (1975–1985), which recommended ‘the establishment of interdisciplinary and multisectoral machinery within government, such as national commissions, women’s bureaux and other bodies…’ (UN 1976: para 34; cited in Moser, 1993: 111). These new institutional structures to institutionalise gender planning were created in varied administrative contexts, including national and subnational governments, multilateral donor agencies, and in NGOs and civil society organisations (Moser, 1993: 108). Departments and National Commissions proliferated in national governments, but their ­effectiveness was limited by their institutional exclusion from planning processes and underfunding (Moser, 1993: 1), and resistance, lack of political will and leadership, continuous dislocation within government structures, short-termism of party politics and electoral cycles, and resistance to crossparty initiatives. Internal difficulties included overambitious mandates, tenuous alliances with women’s movements, confusion over objectives, the continuation of welfarist approaches, charges of elitism and co-optation, and dependency as a result of patronage (Beall, 1998; Rai, 2003a). Institutional location and role assignment of WID/GAD units marginalised and stigmatised their ambitions in advance (Goetz, 1997b: 2). Institutional design could thus embed asymmetrical power relations and constraints from the very beginning. As Sen (2000) and Miller and Razavi (1998) argued, finance ministries proved hardest to infiltrate, often dominated by gender-blind neoclassical economic thought. Technical skills and the advocacy of feminist economists like Diane Elson were important for scrutinising ministries’ work in

42  Debates and perspectives their own language. Initial efforts to ‘sensitise’ these ministries assumed ­gender-blindness and ignorance rather than informed hostility, though once ‘sensitised’, claims of ignorance became less plausible. Inter-ministerial ­hierarchies, especially between finance ministries and ministries with equality mandates, undermined enthusiasm, engagement, accountability, enforcement and general political will for gender mainstreaming, over-burdening gender experts, and less powerful and under-resourced ‘women’s ministries’. Other actors involved in gender mainstreaming include NGOs, bilateral partnerships between national governments, and international development agencies, sometimes more directly, other times as stakeholders, funders, or, otherwise, interested parties. Debates have focused on international donor discourse and transnational feminist networks pushing for change. Some self-evaluations by international development agencies introspect on their limited efforts and ineffectiveness of gender mainstreaming. The same organisations may produce prescriptive strategies but no (externally available) evaluation; the more attentive will be evaluative, but less often critical and working within pre-prescribed organisational constraints.25 Whilst these provide empirical insights into particular cases, they provide less theoretical or critical discussion, perhaps reflecting reluctance to risk organisational reputations, so external analyses have provided greater insights. Jahan’s study evaluated gender mainstreaming in Bangladesh and Tanzania, focusing on two multilateral donors (World Bank and UNDP) and two bilateral donors (Norway and Canada), and argued that an insider-outsider alliance was important in institutionalising policy (Jahan, 1995). Within bilateral agencies, a few feminist staff acted to mobilise externals. Multilateral agencies were influenced by powerful country members, feminist advocates, top leadership, and outside women’s lobby groups. Partner governments were influenced more by women’s organisations, political leadership, and donor agencies, than their apparently weak and ineffective national machineries. Partner country women’s organisations influenced donor and international agencies more than their own governments (Jahan, 1995). Hafner-Burton and Pollack’s (2002) study of four major international ­organisations – World Bank, UNDP, Organisation for Security and Co-­ operation in Europe, and the EU – similarly showed a large variation in ­i mplementing strategies with the United Nations most hospitable, consistent with the overall frame of the organisation. This is consistent with Bergeron’s (2003) assessment of the World Bank – despite its move towards a post–­Washington consensus incorporating more social aspects of development, representations of WID at the Bank have changed little. However, in 2012 when the World Bank’s annual flagship report, World Development Report, chose as its main theme, ‘Gender Equality and Development’, it received mixed praise and criticism – praise for increased visibility and acknowledgement of the intrinsic value of gender equality as opposed to solely its contribution to economic growth, but criticism for missed opportunities in analysing ‘gender biases of macroeconomic policy agendas’ and

Debates and perspectives  43 gender-specific barriers in social policy (Razavi, 2012) both of which produce inequality and limit state efforts to address gendered inequalities arising from informal and unpaid labour (ibid). Scepticism over gender mainstreaming strategies has now become more commonplace. Mukhopadhyay (2004) noted after three decades of activism, advocacy is still necessary to remind institutions to mainstream gender into policy, suggesting a lack of institutionalisation. Subrahmanian (2004: 89) argued gender mainstreaming has become a ‘hollow discourse, a generator of myths that simplifies the complexity of gender in ways that are counterproductive, and in many ways a constraint on political action by feminists’. Mainstreaming gender in development policy in India The literature on gender mainstreaming in development policy in India is an underdeveloped area, particularly academic scholarship, with most analysis related to development organisations, NGOs, and grassroots projects rather than government policy (Murthy, 2001). Possible explanations for earlier absences are the newness of gender mainstreaming initiatives; scholar-­practitioners were understandably busy doing rather than writing about it; a reluctance to use the conceptual language of gender mainstreaming or to follow gender mainstreaming strategies; and an absence of external donor influence, pressure, or incentive to adopt such strategies. The lack of ­literature may reflect limited uptake or perceived importance of gender mainstreaming strategies in India26 and the predominance of other strategies or concepts like women’s empowerment. Batliwala (2007) discussed the earlier rejection in the 1980s and early 1990s of the WID/WAD/GAD triumvirate in favour of the more politicised terminology of women’s empowerment, which retained the political subject of women as opposed to gender. Having an identifiable constituency of citizens to be empowered also resonated with the identity-based electoral language of the 1990s, making it preferable amongst politicians (Batliwala, 2007: 561). Subsequently, ‘women’s empowerment’ became diluted and depoliticised when co-opted and instrumentalised by government actors and donors, and incorporated into funding language, policies, and programmes. Its wide array of transformative strategies narrowed considerably to women’s self-help groups and ­political quotas for women (Batliwala, 2007). The absence of attention to gender mainstreaming in India may also suggest its explicit rejection as a technocratic discourse, potentially worse than the co-option of ‘women’s empowerment’. For Menon (2009), Indian government policy which promises to mainstream gender in development policy – her example is the National Policy for the Empowerment of Women (2001) – subordinated gender to the broader development agenda, thereby lending the latter legitimacy it does not deserve. It employed women as a synonym for gender, transforming the radical potential of ‘gender’ into a more stabilised category of ‘“women” as they are located in patriarchal

44  Debates and perspectives society’ (Menon, 2009: 95, 104). Women’s existing skills and experiences became useful for enabling development, not the other way around (ibid: 104). Little attention was paid to transforming unequal structures like the sexual division of labour. In this guise, gender mainstreaming became a profoundly non-feminist project: ‘Mainstreaming gender or adding a “gender component” to development programmes planned within this agenda cannot possibly be a feminist goal’ (ibid). In sum, it ‘…depoliticizes feminist critique of patriarchy as well as of development and of corporate globalization’ (Menon, 2009: 104). Menon acknowledged, however, that state policies and programmes, by enabling women’s public participation, may unwittingly enable forms of solidarity and resistance amongst women to emerge, but because such unanticipated positive outcomes are not guaranteed, and because the trade-offs could be worse, she warns us to remain suspicious of such initiatives (2009: 111). These explanations encourage more research on gender mainstreaming in India. The few relevant studies focus on the institutional structure and policy legacy constituting the environment for gender mainstreaming initiatives in India (to which I contribute my own analysis of gender mainstreaming initiatives in Chapter 4). Desai (1998) and Raju (1997) charted some key developments in Indian policy (see Table 2.1). Desai (1998) identifies three main phases since Independence: welfare phase (1951–1974), women’s development phase (1975–1985, beginning with the publication of Towards Equality), and women’s empowerment phase (1986–). Both of them chart changes in bureaucratic structures addressing GAD issues, such as the creation of a National Commission for Women in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 (Rai, 2003c: 230). The efficacy of the National Commission for Women in India has not been studied extensively; Rai (2003c) provides one assessment (see also Arya, 2009). According to Rai, the Act was established in response to the National Perspective Plan for Women and after consulting various members and organisations from the women’s movement (1991; cited in Murthy, 1998: 30–31) and feminist advocates in mainstream electoral politics (Rai, 2003c: 229). Rai asserts that women’s organisations’ support for the establishment of a National Commission for Women created legitimacy for the institutional body, in five ways. First, the growth of the Indian women’s movement prompted increased confidence to make demands on the state. Second, a politics of presence was acknowledged as necessary for gender-sensitive policy. Third, feminist activist and academic capacity existed for training on gender issues. Fourth, engagement with the state was acknowledged as necessary due to the growing conservatism of civil society groups. Lastly, policy change from the top was deemed important (Rai, 2003: 229). Questions ­remain about the efficacy of Commission, its relationship (other than structural) with the Ministry of Women and Child Development and its parent ministry, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, and with other ministries and the courts.

Debates and perspectives  45 Table 2.1  Approach to women, gender, and development in Five-Year Plans (1951–1997) Year(s)


Approach to women and/or gender


First Five-Year Plan


Second Five-Year Plan

1960–1966 1969–1974 1974–1979

Third Five-Year Plan Fourth Five-Year Plan Fifth Five-Year Plan


Sixth Five-Year Plan


Seventh Five-Year Plan


Eighth Five-Year Plan

Focus on welfare; development of maternal and child health and family planning services. Focused on women workers: less organised and vulnerable to social prejudices and physical disabilities. Suggested protection against injurious work, equal pay for equal work, crèches, training facilities, expanding opportunities for part-time employment. Focus on expansion of girls’ education. Continued focus of previous plan. Shift from welfare to development; need to train women in need of income and protection. Women’s development recognised as specific development sector with separate chapter. Three-pronged thrust on education, employment, and health. Several schemes launched to benefit women. Included a separate chapter on women entitled ‘Socio-economic Programmes for Women’. Shift from development to empowerment. Focus on three key sectors of education, health, and employment. Women now seen as equal partners and participants in development and must be empowered for this.

Source: Adapted from Murli Desai (1998) and Raju (1997).

­ rovide On gendered development policy, Raju (1997) and Desai (1998) p analyses of how India’s successive Five-Year Plans (up to the Eighth ­Five-Year Plan) have articulated the approach to women, gender, and ­development. Raju (1997) highlights a significant shift from welfare to development in the Fifth Five-Year Plan (1974–1979) and from development to empowerment in the Eighth Five-Year Plan (1992–1997) (see Table 2.1). The Eighth ­(1992–1997), Ninth (1997–2002), and Tenth Five-Year Plans (2002–2007) will be explored in Chapter 3. Another study of gender mainstreaming in India narrates the experiences of academic-activists collaborating with the Indian government (Kabeer and Subrahmanian, 1999). The Gender Planning Training Project, a ‘landmark’ collaboration between the UK Department for International Development,

46  Debates and perspectives the UK Institute of Development Studies (IDS), and the Indian government developed training modules for gender mainstreaming to train would-be trainers. Training sessions for civil servants took place at IDS, and later at the Indian civil service training institute, the National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie (Kabeer and Subrahmanian, 1999; Subrahmanian et al., 1999). Few studies have explored the effects of this training on development policy formulation and administration. The collections in Murthy (2001) focused mainly on gender sensitisation training by NGOs for societal groups at the grassroots level, but Stephen’s (2001) chapter on NGO training for women in gram panchayats highlighted the ministerial conflicts and resistant attitudes of high-level government functionaries of gender sensitisation programmes, in this case between the Department of Women and Child Development, who approved of the training, and the Panchayat Raj Department, who resisted the training.27

Conclusion A key theme of this review is that the vast literature on development ­policy can be improved by further understanding of the gendered character of stateled development in India. International literature on gender mainstreaming in development policy shows limited attention to India. The changing centre-­state relationship since 1991 is the subject of a growing ­literature, and presents interesting opportunities for understand gender mainstreaming and multilevel governance. National and subnational state-level discourses, institutions, and actors involved in development policy should be explored for their influence on gendered development policy. Emerging initiatives which appear largely unassessed in the scholarly literature suggest room for a valuable and original contribution.

Notes 1 Similarly, ‘sustainable development’ reflected incorporation of environmentalism, human rights, and the impact of development on ‘sustainable livelihoods’ and community practices. Rai (2001: 114) linked the impact of these new development discourses with the 1990 launch of the annual UN Human Development Reports. 2 Chambers (1997) advocated participatory approaches to increase stakeholder participation. Others suggest that despite radical origins in the ‘South’, ­‘participatory’ development was adopted to increase legitimacy of development projects (Cooke and Kothari, 2001). Bad practice meant participation of ­‘beneficiaries’ was tokenistic (Mosse, 2001), and programmes rarely addressed and even reproduced gendered power relations (Chhotray, 2004), constituting a new ‘tyranny’ of development (Cooke and Kothari, 2001). 3 Harriss stated that global discourses of development were profoundly influenced by Indian thought on human development and conceptualisations of poverty ­beyond income deprivation (1998: 299). 4 Accounts of India’s development history emphasise particular periods: attempts to introduce market-oriented policies under Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri

Debates and perspectives  47 (1964–1966), shift in agricultural strategy and the Green Revolution, and Rajiv Gandhi’s failed attempts at liberalisation in the 1980s. These periods influenced current Indian development discourse, but I focus on the two major periods discussed. 5 For Chakravarty, the pre-Independence debate polarised around Nehruvian and Gandhian approaches, but the latter was never a serious contender for postcolonial national development strategies (1987: 7). The debate was between ­mainstream economists and the Left who differed over details but shared views on the fundamental problem of development, thinking a ‘commodity-centred approach… [where] more goods are preferred to less’ was the best way ahead (1987: 7–8). The Gandhian approach instead thought demand should be r­ estricted, and villages should be self-sufficient and sustainable (1987: 7–8). 6 ‘Socialism’ in Indian development thought is not the same as socialism adhering to Marxist prescriptions; it is economic development for socially beneficial outcomes for all Indians, as acknowledged in the Second Five-Year Plan (GOI, 1956). 7 Harriss (1998) argued that dependency thinking had little influence on development thinking in India, despite Bagchi’s (1982) significant contribution on underdevelopment. 8 Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew argued against democracy’s destabilising influence, assuming elected representatives would favour shortterm populist policies over long-term planning. Amartya Sen argued democracy was an intrinsic component of development, both means and ends, and not a ‘constraint’ on development (Sen, 1999). 9 Varshney (1999) argued the shift to neo-liberal economic policy was confined to ‘elite politics’ of bureaucrats, politicians, intellectuals, and graduates; ‘mass politics’ is dominated by identity politics. 10 The NDC brought together chief ministers of India’s subnational state ­governments, chaired by the Prime Minister, and deputy-chaired by the member-­ secretary of the Planning Commission. After the Planning Commission was abolished, the government announced the NDC’s powers would be transferred to NITI Aayog (The Hindu, 2016a). 11 Hanson claimed the anticipated reactions of chief ministers (amongst council members) influenced the Commission’s proposals (1966: 62). 12 Gupta (2001: 109) discussed the Integrated Child Development Scheme, ­contrasting cuts in social sector spending under neo-liberal policies with data on increased allocation for the Integrated Child Development Services programme, focusing on child nutrition, amongst other goals. 13 Population policies and reproductive technologies are not wholly state-led: ­i nternational development institutions and INGOs, bilateral Western governmental aid agencies, and the global pharmaceutical industry have been linked to ­population control technologies and practices (Wilson, 2013). 14 This includes the Right to Information Act 2005, Right to Education Act, the  Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005, the ­National Food Security Act 2013, and the Scheduled Tribes and Other ­Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 (Arora and Kailash, 2014). 15 See also Harriss (2011) on UPA social policy, especially the pro-poor legislation mentioned. 16 Furthermore, in 2016, Five-Year Plans were reportedly scrapped, replaced with medium- and long-term planning (The Hindu, 2016b). 17 Chakravarty (1987: 47) explains the multilevel character of planning under Indian federalism. Plans were formulated at central and state levels, yearly and FiveYear Plans were formulated by the Planning Commission and approved by the

48  Debates and perspectives

18 19






25 26


NDC, chaired by the prime minister and subnational chief ministers of states and union territories (Chakravarty, 1987: 47). Guhan (2001 [1995]: 127) listed national government responsibilities as defence, foreign policy, currency, central banking, national transport and communication infrastructure, and finance, insurance, capital market regulation, electoral regulation and audit, civil and police service recruitment, broadcasting, basic employment law, research investment, legislation on industrial regulation and promotion, mines and oil resources. National government is also responsible for interstate issues. The states’ responsibilities include law and order, primary judicial administration, and economic and social development, comprising agriculture and related sectors such as fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying, and forests, irrigation, power, roads (not national motorways), education, health, water supply, and urban development. Jenkins (2004) is a landmark volume; see also Wyatt and Zavos (2003) and Tillin et al. (2015). Implementation is important for policy feedback affecting formulation of new policies and is a site of contestation and struggle where policy intentions may take on new forms. The formulation-implementation distinction is more blurred than suggested here. Assessments of Rajiv Gandhi’s leadership included the failure of liberalisation reforms to take off in the 1980s. Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and his Finance Minister, Manmohan Singh (later Prime Minister from 2004), are associated with early 1990s liberalisation reforms. Haas (1992: 3) defines an epistemic community as ‘a network of professionals with recognized expertise and competence in a particular domain and an authoritative claim to policy-relevant knowledge within that domain or issue-area’. This is distinct from more ad hoc ‘advocacy coalitions’, whose members seek to self-maximise their interest. For an overview, see Akerkar (1995), Agnihotri and Mazumdar (1995), Kumar (1989), and Forbes (1982). For a detailed history, see Forbes (1998), Kumar (1993), and Pawar et al. (2008). See Murthy (2001) and Kannabiran and Kannabiran (2002) on capacity-building experiences with women’s organisations. See the latter and Mageli (1997) for studies of women’s organisations in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, respectively. Akerkar (1995) is an interesting post-structuralist discourse analysis of the Indian women’s movement. The women’s movement organised on diverse issues from dowry, arrack, ­v iolence (including rape), equal economic and employment opportunities, and anti-­ development protests. Since the 1980s, the Hindutva movement has ­mobilised right-wing women, with dubious potential for empowerment, manifesting militancy around communal issues (Basu, 1993). The latter will not be considered here as part of the feminist women’s movement. The 2004 Lok Sabha elections saw women Members of Parliament (MPs) comprising up to 8 percent of the Lok Sabha, with varying proportions of contesting and elected women amongst political parties. This rose to almost 11 percent in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections but remained constant in the 2014 election with only one more woman MP elected than in 2009. See the Commonwealth Secretariat handbook series entitled New Gender Mainstreaming Series on Development Issues (for the volume on poverty eradication, see Kabeer, 2003). Murthy (1991; cited in Murthy, 1998: 30–31) found ‘70 percent–75 percent of training programmes for development functionaries in India were …gender-blind… [they] are implicitly male-biased as they do not delve into gender biases within mainstream thinking’. Stephen (2001: 136) stated that DWCD approved of the programme, but the Secretary of the Panchayat Raj Department ‘fiercely resisted’ on the grounds

Debates and perspectives  49 that responsibilities and funds had already been allocated for their training at a national institute and no further training would be required or funds allocated. The Panchayat Raj Department Secretary also resisted gender-specific training needs of women gram panchayat members (2001: 136).

References Agarwal, B. (1994) ‘Gender, Resistance, and Land: Interlinked Struggles Over ­Resources and Meanings in South Asia’, Journal of Peasant Studies, 22 (1), pp. 81–125. Agarwal, B. (1998) ‘Environmental Management, Equity and Ecofeminism: Debating India’s Experience’, Journal of Peasant Studies, 25 (4), pp. 55–95. Agnihotri, I. and Mazumdar, V. (1995) ‘Terms of Political Discourse: ­Women’s Movement in India, 1970s–1990s’, Economic and Political Weekly, 30 (29), pp. 1869–1878. Ahluwalia, M. S. (1998) ‘Infrastructure Development in India’s Reforms’, pp. ­87–121, in Ahluwalia, I. J. and Little, I. M. D. (Eds.) India’s Economic Reforms and Development: Essays for Manmohan Singh. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Akerkar, S. (1995) ‘Theory and Practice of Women’s Movement in India: A ­Discourse Analysis’, Economic and Political Weekly, 30 (17), pp. WS2–WS23. Arora, B. and Kailash, K. K. (2014) ‘Strengthening Legislative Capabilities of Parliament: The National Advisory Council’, Chapter 8, pp. 189–230 in Pai, S. and Kumar, A. (Eds.) The Indian Parliament: A Critical Appraisal. New Delhi: Orient BlackSwan. Arora, D. (1999) ‘Structural Adjustment Program and Gender Concerns in India’, Journal of Contemporary Asia, 29 (3), pp. 328–361. Arya, S. (2009) The National Commission for Women: Assessing Performance, ­Centre for Women’s Development Studies, Monograph, available online at http://www. pdf. Last accessed 7th December 2018. Baden, S. and Goetz, A.-M. (1998) ‘Who Needs [Sex] When You Can Have ­[Gender]? Conflicting Discourses on Gender at Beijing’, pp. 19–38 in Jackson, C. and ­Pearson, R. (Eds.) Feminist Visions of Development: Gender Analysis and Policy. London: Routledge. Bagchi, A. K. (1982) The Political Economy of Underdevelopment, Cambridge: ­Cambridge University Press. Banerjee, M. (2004) ‘Populist Leadership in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu: Mamata and Jayalalitha Compared’, pp. 285–308 in Jenkins, R. (Ed.) Regional Reflections: Comparing Politics across India’s States. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Bardhan, P. (1990) ‘Dominant Proprietary Classes and India’s Democracy’, pp.  ­214–224 in Kohli, A. (Ed.) India’s Democracy: An Analysis of Changing State-Society Relations. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Basu, A. (1993) ‘Feminism Inverted: The Real Women and Gendered Imagery of Hindu Nationalism’, Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, 25 (4), pp. 25–36. Batliwala, S. (1994) ‘The Meaning of Women’s Empowerment: New Concepts from Action’, pp. 127–138 in Sen, G., Germain, A. and Chen, L. C. (Eds.) Population Policies Reconsidered: Health, Empowerment and Rights. Boston, MA: Harvard University Press. Batliwala, S. (2007) ‘Taking the Power Out of Empowerment: An Experiential ­Account’, Development in Practice, 17 (4/5), pp. 557–565.

50  Debates and perspectives Beall, J. (1998) ‘Trickle Down or Rising Tide? Lessons on Mainstreaming Gender Policy from Colombia and South Africa’, Social Policy and Administration, 32 (5), pp. 513–534. Benería, L. (Ed.) (1982) Women and Development: The Sexual Division of Labour in Rural Societies, New York: Praeger Publishers. Benería, L. (2003) Gender, Development and Globalisation: Economics As If People Mattered, Abingdon: Routledge. Benería, L. and Sen, G. (1982) ‘Class and Gender Inequalities and Women’s Role in Economic Development’, Feminist Studies, 1 (1), pp. 157–176. Bergeron, S. (2003) ‘The Post-Washington Consensus and Economic Representations of Women in Development at the World Bank’, International Feminist ­Journal of Politics, 5 (3), pp. 397–419. Bhagwati, J. and Srinivasan, T. N. (1993) India’s Economic Reforms, New Delhi: Ministry of Finance, Government of India. Bhattacharya, M. (2003 [1989]) ‘Bureaucracy and Politics in India’, pp. 318–327 in Chakrabarty, B. and Bhattacharya, M. (Eds.) Public Administration: A Reader. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Boserup, E. (1970) Women’s Role in Economic Development, New York: St Martin’s Press. Buch, N. (2006) The Law of Two Child Norm in Panchayats, Bhopal: Concept ­P ublishing/Mahila Chetna Manch. Byres, T. J. (1998) The State, Development Planning and Liberalisation in India, ­Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chakravarty, S. (1987) Development Planning: The Indian Experience, Oxford: ­Oxford University Press. Chambers, R. (1997) Whose Reality Counts? Putting the First Last, London: Intermediate Technology Publications. Chatterjee, P. (1989) ‘The Nationalist Resolution of the Women’s Question’, pp. ­233–253 in Sangari, K. and Vaid, S. (Eds.) Recasting Women in India: Essays in ­Colonial History. New Delhi: Kali for Women. Chatterjee, P. (1997) ‘Development Planning and the Indian State’, pp. 271–297 in Chatterjee, P. (Ed.) State and Politics in India. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chatterjee, N. and Riley, N. E. (2001) ‘Planning an Indian Modernity: The Gendered Politics of Fertility Control’, Signs, 26 (3), pp. 811–845. Chaudhuri, M. (1996) ‘Citizens, Workers and Emblems of Culture: An Analysis of the First Plan Document on Women’, pp. 211–235 in Uberoi, P. (Ed.) Social ­Reform, Sexuality and the State. London: Sage. Chhibber, V. (2003) Locked in Place: State-Building and Late Industrialization in India, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Chhotray, V. (2004) ‘The Negations of Politics in Participatory Development Projects, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh’, Development and Change, 35 (2), pp. 327–352. Chowdhry, G. (2000) ‘Communalism, Nationalism and Gender: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Hindu Right in India’, pp. 98–118 in Ranchod-Nilsson, S. and Tetreault, M. A. (Eds.) Women, States and Nationalism: At Home in the Nation? London: Routledge. Cooke, B. and Kothari, U. (Eds.) (2001) Participation: The New Tyranny? London: Zed Books. Corbridge, S. and Harriss, J. (2000) Reinventing India: Liberalisation, Hindu Nationalism and Popular Democracy, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Debates and perspectives  51 Corbridge, S., Williams, G., Srivastava, M. K. and Véron, R. (2005) Seeing the State: Governance and Governmentality in India, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Craske, N. (1998) ‘Remasculinisation and the Neo-Liberal State in Latin America’, pp. 100–120 in Waylen, V. R. A. G. (Ed.) Gender, Politics and the State. London: Routledge. Desai, M. (1998) ‘Policy Approaches to Women and Poverty Eradication’, Indian Journal of Social Work, 59 (4), pp. 998–1010. Devika, J. (2008) Individuals, Householders, Citizens: Malayalis and Family P ­ lanning, 1930–1970, New Delhi: Zubaan Books. Devika, J. and Thampi, B. V. (2012) New Lamps for Old? Gender Paradoxes of ­Political Decentralization in Kerala, New Delhi: Zubaan Books. Drèze, J. and Sen, A. (1995) India: Economic Development and Social Opportunity, New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Drèze, J. and Sen, A. (2002) India: Development and Participation, New Delhi: ­Oxford University Press. Drèze, J. and Sen, A. (2013) An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions, New Delhi: Penguin Books. Duffield, M. (2001) Global Governance and the New Wars: The Merger of Development and Security, London: Zed Books. Escobar, A. (1992) ‘Planning ’, pp. 132–145 in Sachs, W. (Ed.) The Development ­Dictionary: A Guide to Knowledge as Power. London: Zed Books. Ferguson, K. E. (1984) The Feminist Case Against Bureaucracy, Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. Forbes, G. (1982) ‘Caged Tigers: First Wave Feminists in India’, Women’s Studies International Forum, 5 (6), pp. 525–536. Forbes, G. (1998) Women in Modern India, New Delhi: Cambridge University Press. Ghosh, J. (2009) Never Done and Poorly Paid: Women’s Work in Globalising India, New Delhi: Women Unlimited. Goetz, A. M. (Ed.) (1997a) Getting Institutions Right for Women in Development, New York: Zed Books. Goetz, A. M. (1997b) ‘Introduction: Getting Institutions Right for Women in Development’, pp. 1–28 in Goetz, A. M. (Ed.) Getting Institutions Right for Women in Development. New York: Zed Books. Grewal, I. (2016) ‘The Masculinities of Post-Colonial Governance: Bureaucratic Memoirs of the Indian Civil Service’, Modern Asian Studies, 50 (2), pp. 602–635 Guhan, S. (2001 [1995]) ‘Centre and the States in the Reform Process’, Chapter 6, pp. 125–170 in Subramaniam, S. (Ed.) India’s Development Experience: Selected Writings of S. Guhan, New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Gupta, A. (2001) ‘Governing Population: The Integrated Child Development Services Program in India’, pp. 65–96 in Hansen, T. B. and Stepputat, F. (Eds.) States of Imagination: Ethnographic Explorations of the Postcolonial State. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Haas, P. M. (1992) ‘Introduction: Epistemic Communities and International Policy Co-Ordination’, International Organisation, 46 (1), pp. 1–35. Hafner-Burton, E. and Pollack, M. A. (2002) ‘Gender Mainstreaming and Global Governance’, Feminist Legal Studies, 10 (3–4), pp. 285–298. Hanson, A. H. (1966) The Process of Planning: A Study of India’s Five Year Plans 1950–1964, London: Oxford University Press.

52  Debates and perspectives Harriss, J. (1998) ‘Development Studies and the Development of India: An ­Awkward Case?’ Oxford Development Studies, 26 (3), pp. 287–309. Harriss, J. (2011) ‘How Far Have India’s Economic Reforms Been ‘Guided by ­Compassion and Justice’? Social Policy in the Neoliberal Era’, Chapter 8, pp. 127–140in Ruparelia, S., Reddy, S., Harriss, J. & Corbridge, S. (Eds.) Understanding India’s Political Economy: A Great Transformation?, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Harriss-White, B. (2004) India Working: Essays on Society and Economy, New Delhi: Foundation Books. Herring, R. J. (1999) ‘Embedded Particularism: India’s Failed Developmental State’, pp. 306–334 in Woo-Cummings, M. (Ed.) The Developmental State. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Jackson, C. and Pearson, R. (Eds.) (1998) Feminist Visions of Development: Gender Analysis and Policy, London: Routledge. Jahan, R. (1995) The Elusive Agenda: Mainstreaming Women in Development, ­London: Zed Books. Jeffrey, P. and Jeffrey, R. (1998) ‘Silver Bullet or Passing Fancy: Girls’ Schooling and Population Policy’, pp. 239–258 in Jackson, C. and Pearson, R. (Eds.) Feminist Visions of Development: Gender Analysis and Policy. London: Routledge. Jenkins, R. (1999) Democratic Politics and Economic Reform in India, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jenkins, R. (Ed.) (2004) Regional Reflections: Comparing Politics across India’s States. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Johnson, C. A. (1982) MITI and the Japanese Miracle: The Growth of Industrial ­Policy, 1925–1975, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Kabeer, N. (1994) Reversed Realities: Gendered Hierarchies in Development Thought, London: Verso. Kabeer, N. (2003) Gender Mainstreaming in Poverty Eradication and the Millennium Development Goals: A Handbook for Policy-Makers and Other Stakeholders, ­London: Commonwealth Secretariat. Kabeer, N. and Murthy, R. K. (1999) ‘Gender, Poverty and Institutional Exclusion: Insights from Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) and Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) ’, pp. 166–194 in Kabeer, N. and Subrahmaniam, R. (Eds.) Institutions, Relations and Outcomes: Framework and Case Studies for Gender-Aware Planning. New York: Zed Books. Kabeer, N. and Subrahmanian, R. (Eds.) (1999) Institutions, Relations, Outcomes: Framework and Case Studies for Gender-Aware Planning, New York: Zed Books. Kalpana, K. (2017) Women, Microfinance and the State in Neo-liberal India, Abingdon: Routledge (South Asia edition). Kannabiran, K. and Kannabiran, V. (2002) De-Eroticizing Assault: Essays on Modesty, Honour and Power, Calcutta: Stree. Kapadia, K. (2002) The Violence of Development: The Political Economy of Gender, New Delhi: Kali for Women. Karlekar, M. (2004) ‘A Note on the Empowerment of Women’, Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 11 (2), pp. 145–155. Kaviraj, S. (1991) ‘On State, Society and Discourse in India’, pp. 72–99 in Manor, J. (Ed.) Rethinking World Politics. Harlow: Longman. Keating, C. (2001) ‘Maneuvring Gendered Nationalisms: Jayalalitha Jayaram and the Politics of Womanhood’, Women and Politics, 22 (4), pp. 69–88.

Debates and perspectives  53 Kennedy, L. (2004) ‘The Political Determinants of Reform Packaging: Contrasting Responses to Economic Liberalisation in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu’, pp.  29–65 in Jenkins, R. (Ed.) Regional Reflections: Comparing Politics Across India’s States. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Kudva, N. (2003) ‘Engineering Elections: The Experiences of Women in Panchayati Raj in Karnataka, India’, International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 16 (3), pp. 445–463. Kumar, R. (1989) ‘Contemporary Indian Feminism’, Feminist Review, 33, pp. 20–29. Kumar, R. (1993) The History of Doing: An Illustrated Account of Movements for Women’s Rights and Feminism in India, 1800–1990, London: Verso. Lal, D. (1997 [1983]) The Poverty of Development Economics, 2nd edition, London: The Institute of Economic Affairs. Leys, C. (1995) The Rise and Fall of Development Theory, Oxford: James Currey. Madhok, S. and Rai, S. M. (2012) ‘Agency, Injury, and Transgressive Politics in ­Neoliberal Times’, Signs, 37 (3), pp. 645–669. Mageli, E. (1997) Organising Women’s Protest: A Study in Political Styles in Two South Indian Activist Groups, Richmond: Curzon. Manor, J. (1995) ‘India’s Chief Ministers and the Problem of Governability’, pp. 47–73 in Oldenburg, P. (Ed.) India Briefing: Staying the Course. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. Manor, J. (2004) ‘Explaining Political Trajectories in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka’, pp. 255–284 in Jenkins, R. (Ed.) Regional Reflections: Comparing Politics across India’s States. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Mathur, K(anchan). (2004) Countering Gender Violence: Initiatives Towards Collective Action in Rajasthan, New Delhi, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Mathur, K(uldeep). (Ed.) (1996) Development Policy and Administration, New Delhi: Sage. Mazumdar, V. (2008) Memories of a Rolling Stone, New Delhi: Zubaan Books. Mazur, A. (2002) Theorising Feminist Policy, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Menon, N. (2009) ‘Sexuality, Caste, Governmentality: Contests Over ‘gender’ in ­India’, Feminist Review, 91, pp. 94–112. Mies, M. (1986) Patriarchy and Accumulation On a Word Scale: Women in the ­International Division of Labour, London: Zed Books. Mies, M. and Shiva, V. (1993) Ecofeminism, New Delhi: Kali for Women. Miller, C. and Razavi, S. (1998) ‘Introduction’, pp. 1–19 in Miller, C. and Razavi, S. (Eds.) Missionaries and Mandarins: Feminist Engagement with Development ­Institutions. London: UNRISD/Intermediate Technology Publications. Mohanty, C. T. (1984) ‘Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses’, Boundary 2, 12 (3), pp. 333–358. Mooij, J. (2003) Smart Governance? Politics in the Policy Process in Andhra Pradesh, India, London: Overseas Development Institute, ODI Working Paper No. 228, available online at, last accessed 5th November 2007. Moser, C. (1993) Gender Planning and Development: Theory, Practice and Training, London: Routledge. Mosse, D. (2001) ‘People’s Knowledge’, Participation and Patronage: Operations and Representations in Rural Development’, in Cooke, B. and Kothari, U. (Eds.) Participation: The New Tyranny? London: Zed Books. Mosse, D. (2005) Cultivating Development: An Ethnography of Aid Policy and ­Practice, London: Pluto Press.

54  Debates and perspectives Mukhopadhyay, M. (2004) ‘Mainstreaming Gender or “Streaming” Gender Away: Feminists Marooned in the Development Business’, IDS Bulletin, 35 (4), pp. 95–103. Mukhopadhyay, S. (2003a) ‘Introduction’, pp. 1–23 in Mukhopadhyay, S. and ­Sudarshan, R. M. (Eds.) Tracking Gender Equity under Economic Reforms: Continuity and Change in South Asia. New Delhi: Kali for Women. Mukhopadhyay, S. (2003b) ‘Status of Women under Economic Reforms: The Indian Case’, pp. 89–122 in Mukhopadhyay, S. and Sudarshan, R. M. (Eds.) Tracking Gender Equity under Economic Reforms: Continuity and Change in South Asia. New Delhi: Kali for Women. Mukhopadhyay, S. and Sudarshan, R. M. (Eds.) (2003) Tracking Gender Equity ­u nder Economic Reforms: Continuity and Change in South Asia. New Delhi: Kali for Women. Murthy, R. K. (1998) ‘South Asia’, pp. 29–54 in Cummings, S., Dam, H. v. and Valk, M. (Eds.) Gender Training: The Source Book. Oxford: Oxfam GB. Murthy, R. K. (Ed.) (2001) Building Women’s Capacities: Interventions in Gender Transformation, New Delhi: Sage. Myrdal. G. (1968) Asian Drama: An Inquiry into the Poverty of Nations, London: Allen Lane. Nayar, B. R. (2001) Globalisation and Nationalism: The Changing Balance in India’s Economic Policy, 1950–2000, London: Sage. Nussbaum, M. and Sen, A. (Eds.) (1993) The Quality of Life, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Pai, S. and A. Kumar (2014) ‘Introduction’, pp. 1–29, in Pai, S. and Kumar, A. (Eds.) The Indian Parliament: A Critical Appraisal, New Delhi: Orient BlackSwan. Parpart, J. L. and Marchand, M. H. (1995) ‘Exploding the Canon: An Introduction/ Conclusion’, pp. 1–22 in Marchand, M. H. and Parpart, J. L. (Eds.) Feminism/ Postmodernism/Development. London: Routledge. Pawar, U., Moon, M. and Sonalkar, W. (2008) We Also Made History: Women in the Ambedkarite Movement, New Delhi: Zubaan Books. Pieterse, J. N. (2001) Development Theory: Deconstructions/Reconstructions, London: Sage. Potter, D. (1986) India’s Political Administrators 1919–1983, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Potter, D. (1996) ‘The Prime Minster and the Bureaucracy’, pp. 155–177 in ­Mathur, K. (Ed.) Development Policy and Administration. New Delhi: Sage. Pringle, R. and Watson, S. (1992) ‘‘Women’s Interests’ and the Post-Structuralist State’, pp. 53–73 in Barrett, M. and Phillips, A. (Eds.) Destabilising Theory: Contemporary Feminist Debates. Cambridge: Polity Press. Puwar, N. (2004) Space Invaders: Race, Gender and Bodies Out of Place, Oxford: Berg. Rai, S. M. (1996) ‘Women and the State in the Third World: Some Issues for Debate’, Chapter 1 in Rai, S. M. and Lievesly, G. (Eds.) Women and the State: International Perspectives, Abingdon: Routledge. Rai, S. M. (1999) ‘Democratic Institutions, Political Representation and Women’s ­Empowerment: The Quota Debate in India’, Democratization, 6 (3), pp. 84–99. Rai, S. M. (2001) Gender and the Political Economy of Development, Cambridge: Polity Press. Rai, S. M. (2002) ‘Political Representation, Democratic Institutions and Women’s Empowerment’, pp. 133–146 in Parpart, J. L., Rai, S. M. and Staudt, K. (Eds.) ­Rethinking Empowerment: Gender and Development in a Global/Local World. Abingdon: Routledge.

Debates and perspectives  55 Rai, S. M. (2003a) ‘Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women: Mainstreaming Gender, Democratizing the State?’ pp. 15–39 in Rai, S. (Ed.) Mainstreaming Gender, Democratizing the State: Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Rai, S. M. (Ed.) (2003b) Mainstreaming Gender, Democratising the State? Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women, Manchester: Manchester ­University Press (on behalf of the United Nations). Rai, S. M. (2003c) ‘The National Commission for Women: The Indian Experience’, pp. 223–242 in Rai, S. M. (Ed.) Mainstreaming Gender, Democratizing the State? Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women. Manchester: Manchester University Press/United Nations. Rai, S. M. and Sharma, K. (2000) ‘Democratising the Indian Parliament: The ­‘Reservation for Women Debate’’, pp. 149–165 in Rai, S. (Ed.) International Perspectives on Gender and Democratisation. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Raju, S. (1997) ‘The Issues at Stake: An Overview of Gender Concerns in Post-­ Independence India’, Environment and Planning A, 29, pp. 2191–2206. Randall, V. (2006) ‘Legislative Gender Quotas and Indian Exceptionalism: The ­Travails of the Women’s Reservation Bill’, Comparative Politics, 39 (1), pp. 63–82. Randall, V. and Waylen, G. (Eds.) (1998) Gender, Politics and the State, London: Routledge. Rao, M. (2005) ‘India’s Population Policies: Untouched by the Cairo rhetoric’, ­Development, 48 (4), pp. 21–27. Razavi, S. (2012) ‘World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and ­Development—A Commentary’, Development and Change, 43 (1), pp. 423–437. Rees, T. (1998) Mainstreaming Equality in the European Union: Education, Training and Labour Market Policies, London: Routledge. Rege, S. (2013a) Against the Madness of Manu: B.R. Ambedkar’s Writings on Brahmanical Patriarchy, Delhi: Navayana Publishers. Rege, S. (2013b) ‘Introduction’, in Rege. S. (Eds.) Writing Caste/Writing Gender: Narrating Dalit Women’s Testimonios, 2nd edition, New Delhi: Zubaan Books. Roy, T. and Borowiak, C. (2003) ‘Against Ecofeminism: The Splintered Subject of Agrarian Nationalism in Post-Independent India’, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 28 (1), pp. 57–89. Rudolph, L. I. and Rudolph, S. H. (1987) In Pursuit of Lakshmi: The Political Economy of the Indian State, London: University of Chicago Press. Rudolph, L. I. and Rudolph, S. H. (2003 [1987]) ‘The State and Its Permanent ­Government’, pp. 265–278 in Chakrabarty, B. and Bhattacharya, M. (Eds.) Public Administration: A Reader. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Sachs, J., Varshney, A. and Bajpai, N. (1999) ‘Introduction’, pp. 1–25 in Sachs, J., Varshney, A. and Bajpai, N. (Eds.) India in the Era of Economic Reforms. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sarkar, T. (1993) ‘The Women of the Hindutva Brigade’, Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, 25 (4), pp. 16–24. Schuurman, F. J. (Ed.) (1993) Beyond the Impasse: New Directions in Development Theory, London: Zed Books. Scott, C. V. (1995) Gender and Development: Rethinking Modernisation and Dependency Theory, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers. Scott, J. C. (1998). Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press

56  Debates and perspectives Sen, A. (1990) ‘Gender and Cooperative Conflicts’, pp. 123–149 in Tinker, I. (Ed.) Persistent Inequalities: Women and World Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sen, A. (1999) Development as Freedom, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sen, G. (2000) ‘Gender Mainstreaming in Finance Ministries’, World Development, 28 (7), pp. 1379–1390. Sen, G. and Grown, C. (1988) Development Crises and Alternative Visions: Third World Women’s Perspectives, London: Earthscan Publications. Sharma, A. (2008) Logics of Empowerment: Development, Gender and Governance in Neoliberal India, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Sharma, K. (Ed.) (2011) Changing the Terms of the Discourse: Gender, Equality and the Indian State, Delhi, Chennai, Chandigarh: Pearson. Shastri, V. (1997) ‘The Politics of Economic Liberalization in India’, Contemporary South Asia, 6 (1), pp. 27–56. Shiva, V. (1988) Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development, London: Zed Books. Skoda, U. (2004) ‘The Politics-Kinship Nexus in India: Sonia Gandhi versus Sushma Swaraj in the 1999 General Elections’, Contemporary South Asia, 13 (3), pp. 273–285. Solanki, G. (2010) ‘A Fine Balance? Multilevel Governance and Women’s Organising in India’, in Hausmann, M, Sawer, M. and Vickers, J. (Eds.) Federalism, Feminism, and Multilevel Governance, Farnham: Ashgate. Spary, C. (2007) ‘Female Political Leadership in India’, Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 45 (3), pp. 253–277. Spary, C. (2014) ‘Women Candidates and Party Nomination Trends in India – ­Evidence from the 2009 General Election’, Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 52 (1), pp. 109–138. Squires, J. (2005) ‘Is Mainstreaming Transformative? Theorising Mainstreaming in the Context of Diversity and Deliberation’, Social Politics, 12 (3), pp. 366–388. Standing, H. (2004) ‘Gender, Myth and Fable: The Perils of Mainstreaming in ­Sector Bureaucracies’, IDS Bulletin, 35 (4), pp. 82–88. Stephen, F. (2001) ‘Empowering Women in Gram Panchayats Through Training’, pp. 133–156 in Murthy, R. K. (Ed.) Building Women’s Capacities: Interventions in Gender Transformation. New Delhi: Sage. Stetson, D. M. and Mazur, A. G. (Eds.) (1995) Comparative State Feminism, ­London: Sage. Subrahmanian, R. (2004) ‘Making Sense of Gender in Shifting Institutional Contexts: Some Reflections on Gender Mainstreaming’, IDS Bulletin, 35 (4), pp. 89–94. Sunder Rajan, R. (2003) The Scandal of the State: Women, Law and Citizenship in India, New Delhi: Permanent Black. Swaminathan, P. (2002) ‘The Violence of Gender-Biased Development: Going ­Beyond Social and Demographic Indicators’, pp. 69–141 in Kapadia, K. (Ed.) The Violence of Development: The Politics of Identity, Gender and Social Inequalities in India. London: Zed Books. Thakur, S. G. (c.1997) Increasing Awareness for Change: A Survey of Gender and the Civil Services, Mussorie: Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration. Thakur, S. G. (2000) ‘“More Equal than Others?” Gender Bias in the Constitution of Bureaucratic Merit in the Indian Administrative Service’, pp. 102–146 in Kabeer, N. and Subrahmanian, R. (Eds.) Institutions, Relations and Outcomes: Framework and Case Studies for Gender-Aware Planning. London: Zed Books.

Debates and perspectives  57 The Hindu (2016a) ‘NDC to be Scrapped, NITI Aayog Council Likely to Get Its Powers’, The Hindu, 1 January 2016, available online at national/NDC-to-be-scrapped-NITI-Aayog-council-likely-to-get-its-powers/­ article13975094.ece. Last accessed 7th December 2018. The Hindu (2016b) ‘NITI Aayog Plans New Planning Framework’, The Hindu, 12 April 2016, available online at Last accessed 7th December 2018. Tillin, L. Deshpande, R. and Kailash, K. K. (2015) Politics of Welfare: Comparisons across India’s States, New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Toye, J. (1993) Dilemmas of Development: Reflections on the Counter-Revolution in Development Economics, 2nd edition, Oxford: Blackwell. True, J. (2003) ‘Mainstreaming Gender in Global Public Policy’, International ­Feminist Journal of Politics, 5 (3), pp. 368–396. Upadhyay, U. D. (2000) ‘India’s New Economic Policy of 1991 and Its Impact on Women’s Poverty and AIDS’, Feminist Economics, 6 (3), pp. 105–122. Varshney, A. (1999) ‘Mass Politics of Elite Politics? India’s Economic Reforms in Comparative Perspective’, in Sachs, J. D., Varshney, A. and Bajpai, N. (Eds.) ­India in the Era of Economic Reforms. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Verloo, M. (2001) Another Velvet Revolution? Gender Mainstreaming and the Politics of Implementation, Vienna: Institut fur die Wissenschaften vom Menchen. Visvanathan, N., Duggan, L., Nisonoff, L. and Wiegersmas, N. (Eds.) (1997) The Women, Gender and Development Reader, London: Zed Books. Waylen, G. (1998) ‘Gender, Feminism and the State: An Overview’, pp. 1–17 in Randall, V. and Waylen, G. (Eds.) Gender, Politics and the State. London: Routledge. Wilson, K. (2013) ‘Challenging Neoliberal Population Control’, Open Democracy, 11 July 2013, available online at challenging-neoliberal-population-control. Last accessed 7th December 2018. Woo-Cummings, M. (Ed.) (1999) The Developmental State. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Wyatt, A. K. J. (2010) Party System Change in South India: Political Entrepreneurs, Patterns and Processes, Abingdon: Routledge. Wyatt, A. K. J. and Zavos, J. (Eds.) (2003) Decentring the Indian Nation, London: Frank Cass.

3 Mapping national planning policy since 1990

Introduction To what extent has the Government of India recognised and sought to ­address gender disparities in processes and outcomes of social, economic, and political development since 1990? This chapter maps and discusses national policy discourse and institutional developments, focusing on the national government’s Five-Year Plans, as formulated by the Planning Commission.1 It traces shifts in policy discourse since 1990, beginning with the Eighth Plan (1992–1997) and ending with the Eleventh Plan (2007–2011), ­investigating where, how, and to what extent concerns about gender-equitable development appear in development planning and policy. I argue that significant shifts throughout the 1990s and 2000s can be ­identified in the government’s planning discourse(s) in relation to gender-­ (in)equitable development. Policy constructions of ‘women’ as subjects and objects of development have changed over time, with increasing recognition given to different aspects of women’s participation in development processes as producers and citizens, not just welfare recipients, vulnerable dependents, or programme beneficiaries. Successive plans visibly articulate a rhetoric of concern to address gendered development inequalities across an increasing range of policy sectors. However, important limitations and silences remain, particularly on diversity amongst women and the extent to which men are visible as gendered subjects and actors in development. More fundamental questions remain about the broader neo-liberal development growth model indicated in Plan discourse: the extent to which this model can address, rather than exacerbate, existing gender inequalities; whether efforts to recognise and address gender inequality conform to rather than challenge this discourse; and whether this model reproduces rather than transforms structures of gender-based marginalisation and inequality. The shift towards a rights-based discourse in the Eleventh Plan suggests greater introspection about the limits of neo-liberal models to address inequalities, and a revived role for the state in social protection programmes and rightsbased legislation, but does not significantly depart from the broader neo-­ liberal paradigm.

National planning policy  59

The historical context of post-1990 gendered development planning A brief account of the historical context of gender and development planning in India will highlight the constitutive role of contexts, which provide the conditions of possibility (John, 1996: 102) for gendered development discourse in the 1990s onwards. Apart from a relatively progressive early planning document – the Report of the National Planning Committee on Women’s Role in the Planned Economy (Chaudhuri, 1996) – the status of women and gender inequality was not subjected to substantial scrutiny as part of development planning until the 1970s.2 But this changed with two landmark government reports on women, gender, and development. The first was the Towards Equality report, a government-commissioned study on the status of women in India (CSWI, 1974), a report written by the Committee on the Status of Women in India especially constituted for that purpose, and (eventually) chaired by feminist academic Vina Mazumdar. The report was submitted to the United Nations for the first UN Decade for Women beginning in 1975.3 The Committee was tasked to examine the status of women in relation to constitutional, legal, and administrative provision; education and employment; the ‘changing social pattern’; population policy and family planning programmes; and enabling women ‘to play their full and proper role in building up the nation’. Towards Equality highlighted women’s continued low status in India, despite constitutional equality guarantees and nearly 30 years of post-Independence development planning.4 The second landmark report, Shramshakti, was a government-­commissioned report on the status of self-employed women workers and women working in the informal sector (NCSEWWIS, 1988). Similar to Towards Equality, a commission was established, the National Commission on Self-Employed Women and Women in the Informal Sector, and chaired by Ela Bhatt (founder of women’s co-operative SEWA). Shramshakti depicted the precarious status and working conditions of these women workers. Both reports are widely acknowledged as key milestones in the assessment of women’s status, gender equality, and development in India prior to 1990. In between these two landmark reports, the Sixth Five-Year Plan (1980– 1985), for the first time included a separate chapter on women, a milestone signalling increasing visibility of women, and gender disparities in development in government planning discourse. Intentions to ‘mainstream’ the concerns of ‘women’ can also be found as early as 1978 in the records of a National Committee formed out of the National Plan of Action. Mazumdar et al. described the sentiment at the time: Women were no longer the responsibility or the constituency of one Department or Bureau, nor confined to the ‘soft’ social sectors. It was accepted that the plans and policies of all departments and sectors ­affected women…[and] realised that all Government agencies should

60  National planning policy take into account the effect of their policies and programmes on women and should specifically mention the special steps taken by them for ­i mproving the condition of women… (2001: 63) Attempts were made in the early 1980s to establish government departments or semi-autonomous agencies for women’s development at central and state levels, similar to efforts in the 1990s (Mazumdar et al., 2001: 65). However, when the government drafted the National Perspective Plan for Women in 1988, the women’s movement criticised the lack of government consultation and organised a two-day debate to assess the draft plan (Sharma, 2012: ­x xiii). A few years prior, the women’s movement made headway in their campaigns protesting violence against women but suffered a setback in the Shah Bano case, where the government overturned a more progressive Supreme Court ruling relating to Muslim women’s rights in marriage and divorce. A more positive development from government policy in the 1980s was the National Policy on Education (1986) from which the Mahila Samakhya programme emerged, a programme now globally recognised for its successes in educating and empowering women at the grassroots. Thus, prior to 1990, we can already observe momentum for the women’s movement’s engagement with the state and government cognisance of gender inequalities, even though government action was not always straightforwardly progressive and depended on the mobilisational energies of women’s movement organisations to maintain pressure. This momentum partly reflected concerns for institutionalising government commitments and global discourse on women in development, which increasingly asked countries to establish government bodies to promote women’s rights and gender equality, referred to as ‘national machineries for women’. But undoubtedly developments were domestically driven by the women’s movement, making full use of available opportunities. The Towards Equality report and other campaigns of the 1970s changed the way in which women were seen, as subjects of reform, policymakers, not objects, or targets of policies (Patel, 1985, cited in Armstrong, 2013: 49; Subramaniam, 2006: 32). The upsurge in women’s movement activity was part of a broader invigoration of social movements in the immediate post-Emergency context, contributing to heightened demands on the state and ‘one of the many efforts to reassert the claims of citizens to participate as equals in the political and development process’ (Subramaniam, 2006: 32). Additionally, growing gendered class consciousness amongst women and a desire for freedom from violence against women provided a foundation for growing activism into the 1980s onwards (Armstrong, 2013: 48).

Plan discourse in the post-1990 period The entry point for the analysis of the government’s development discourse begins in this chapter with the Eighth Plan (1992–1997), released shortly

National planning policy  61 after a major symbolic turning point in national policy away from Nehruvianism and towards neo-liberalism, as discussed in the previous chapter. I begin with a quick survey of broader plan discourse from the Eighth to Eleventh Plans, before discussing in more detail the more explicit aspects of gendered development discourse in the Plans. The change in policy direction was immediately discernible in Plan discourse. Planning was to become largely ‘indicative’ rather than directive, now advising on the ‘optimal utilisation’ of limited resources (GoI, 1992: para 1.1.5). The Plan sought to transform the inefficient, uncompetitive, and dependency-creating public sector to make it ‘efficient and surplus generating’ (ibid: para 1.1.4). The manufacturing sector was identified as the crucial sector for high growth, and efforts were to be focused on creating an ­environment for ‘industrial growth, modernisation, and productivity improvements’ (ibid: 1.2.4). At the same time, the Eighth Plan justified the continued importance of planning, acknowledging the shortcomings of economic growth as a redistributive measure and the ‘as-yet’ underdeveloped capacity of the private sector for addressing human development: Planning in our country still has a large role to play. Planning is needed for creating social infrastructure and for human development…[T]he private sector, as yet, is not capable of taking care of the entire needs of the society, particularly of the poor and the weak, in remote and the ­r ural areas…Planning is necessary to take care of the poor and the downtrodden who have little asset endowments to benefit from the ­natural growth of economic activities. (ibid: paras 1.5.5–1.5.6) Thus, the continued role of the Planning Commission was not only to ­provide infrastructure but also to compensate those excluded from the ­benefits of growth, preferring to leave the growth model unchanged despite its limitations. In this view, planning would remain important to women, identified as one of the groups likely to be left behind by economic liberalisation and in need of state protection: Although development brings economic gains to society in general, specific measures become necessary to ensure that they reach the disadvantaged and the weaker sections of the population such as women, children, the disabled, the elderly, and the destitute. The welfare and ­development of these weaker sections of the society largely depend upon suitable policy directions executed through appropriate programmes and strategies. (GoI, 1992: Vol. 2, para 15.1.1) The backward regions and the weaker sections of the society, if not protected fully, are more likely to be left behind in the natural process of

62  National planning policy growth. Adequate protection will have to be continued to be provided to the poor and the weaker sections of the society. (GoI, 1992: para 1.4.22, my emphasis) Thus, the early growth discourse of the 1990s began with identifying and ­positioning women outside mainstream development and as both d ­ ependents and beneficiaries of state protection in a two-tier approach to development: mainstream growth and a compensatory and protectionist approach to ‘special’, ‘vulnerable’, ‘weaker sections of society’. The new economic policy was, understandably, not well received by the women’s movement in India. As discussed in the previous chapter, many scholars and activists contested the shift in government policy, drawing upon critical evaluations of neo-liberal economic policy, including well-­ established (feminist) critiques of neo-liberal structural adjustment policies from around the world (John, 1996). Indian feminist critiques forewarned that the deleterious effects of structural adjustment programmes, particularly on women, that had concerned other (feminist) studies around the world, would be reproduced in India, should the government proceed with IMF-advocated measures. They condemned the possibility of state withdrawal from the social sector and warned globalisation would bring new gender inequalities to India’s informal sector, due to the lack of regulatory worker protection in this sector and increased competition from foreign companies. Indian women activists voiced these concerns at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in September 1995. The adversely gendered outcomes of processes of liberalisation and structural adjustment constituted one of 12 key concerns of the Beijing Platform for Action. Women’s lack of voice in national development planning processes was another concern; addressing this concern was a commitment to improve institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women. Consequently, a collaborative attempt to engender the Government of India’s Ninth Five-Year Plan was initiated after the Beijing conference (discussed in Chapter 4). Despite widespread criticisms of the new direction in macroeconomic policy, the Ninth Plan advocated liberalisation more aggressively, combined with nationalist discourse, and pushed for further reforms, both at the central and state levels. There should be no doubt that the process of reforms…which has yielded many good results, must be continued and strengthened…The remaining controls [on the industrial sector] at the Central Government level need to be reviewed for further liberalisation…[T]he major effort in the future has to be to extend liberalisation to the level of State Government. (GoI, 1997: Vol. 1, paras 1.10–1.12)

National planning policy  63 The Plan argued globalisation was inevitable so should be ‘managed’ through developing Indian competitiveness to reap benefits: …[P]olicies in the Ninth Plan must be tailored to the objective of accelerating growth in an environment in which the world is becoming increasing integrated and globalised. The process of globalisation is a reality which cannot be denied and also should not be avoided. However, it needs to be managed so that we can derive the maximum advantage from world markets… [I]t is necessary to continue the process of ­opening up of the economy to international competition…while making parallel efforts to strengthen the potential of Indian industry to compete effectively in world markets. (GoI, 1997, my emphasis) This totalising discourse of inevitability undermined feminist critiques of liberalisation and its adverse impact on women in particular. Dependence on the government by ‘socially disadvantaged groups’ was also heavily ­discouraged in Plan discourse. Income-generating schemes deemed unproductive would be phased out wherever possible. Instead, ‘self-reliance’ was the new goal, flexibly signified in both nationalist and neo-liberal frames. The emphases on productivity and self-reliance were also to be found in the government’s new ‘empowerment’ discourse on women’s development ­(discussed below). Much like the Eighth Plan, for the Tenth Plan the role of government ­remained important in infrastructure development and social sectors, and as a facilitator for private sector investment. The Tenth Plan continued with a two-tier approach, recognising the shortcomings of economic growth as a redistributive measure and thus the need for ‘special’ programmes for those excluded from the benefits of growth. These special programmes formed part of a three-pronged strategy to achieve equity and social justice alongside high rates of growth. At the same time, the Tenth Plan indicated a re-imagining of the ‘poor’ and ‘women’, their role in development processes, and the importance of human development objectives. First, self-reliance remained important, as in the Ninth Plan, but a new emphasis was placed on encouraging individual entrepreneurship and self-employment. This was reflected in calls for more democratised development and increased participation of the poor in shaping their own destinies (GoI, 1997: Vol. 1, para 1.1), as opposed to merely being more involved in the implementation of development activities as the Eighth Plan proposed (GoI, 1992: preface). Self-reliance would also address a significant challenge in the Tenth Plan, the creation of sufficient employment opportunities. The importance of providing employment was two-fold – to encourage individuals to fulfil their potential and to prevent social unrest and disorder resulting from unemployment and poverty (GoI, 1997). The Plan forecasted that the growth process alone would not fulfil demand for employment without intervention, such as improvements in vocational education. The Tenth Plan discourse effectively transferred responsibility for employment creation from government to individuals.

64  National planning policy The rationale for investing in human development became more aligned with growth objectives in the Tenth Plan, and human development discourse became more visible in plan discourse thereafter. However, human development was presented mostly instrumentally: human development was imperative to achieve and sustain growth rather than an intrinsic goal; both ‘socially desirable’ and a ‘valuable input’ for sustained development in the long term, and driven primarily by domestic demand despite the focus on liberalisation: It is important to re-emphasise that the equity related objectives of the Plan, which are extremely important, are intimately linked to the growth objective, and attainment of one may not be possible without the attainment of the other…[H]igh growth rates may not be sustainable if they are not accompanied by a dispersion of purchasing power which can provide the demand needed to support the increase in output without having to rely excessively on external markets. (GoI, 2002: Vol. 1, para 1.33) Thus, the Tenth Plan envisaged the ‘poor and the disadvantaged’ as future consumers who, given the right investment in human development, would enable India to achieve high rates of growth. Human development, in this sense, was conceived as a means to an end. In the 2004 national elections, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (1999–2004) was defeated by the Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance. The latter included outside support from the Left parties. Correspondingly, the Eleventh Plan (2007–2012) exhibited a notable shift in discourse. This discourse appeared to be much less celebratory about the effects of the growth process, particularly in terms of its impact on marginalised groups. The Plan envisioned a recovered role for the state in terms of social protection and as an employment stimulus and regulator. Members of marginalised groups were also rights bearers, rather than – or as well as – potential future consumers who would drive the growth process. The Eleventh Plan focused more on what growth should do for marginalised groups rather than what marginalised groups could do for growth, emphasising growth was of little value if it was not ‘inclusive growth’. However, the pernicious effects of growth would be offset or compensated for rather than following an alternative path.

Gendered development discourse in the Five-Year Plans Turning to focus on the more explicit gendered discourse of the Plans, I ­explore the following questions. Where and how do the Plans discuss ­women’s participation in development and how development processes and outcomes affect them? Do the Plan documents acknowledge gender-­ inequitable development as a problem to be addressed, and if so, how do

National planning policy  65 they define it as a problem and what strategies do they propose to address it? To what extent is this a concern isolated to a few areas of planning or a more comprehensive engagement? Notwithstanding some variability across Plans, the subject of w ­ omen’s welfare, development, or empowerment has been consistently located in the social sector. To an extent, this is predetermined by how Plans are drafted and the administrative location of responsibilities for different policy a­ reas. However, the administrative division of labour indicates how the policy problem has been conventionally defined. In all four Plans examined, ‘women’ have been the focus of a separate chapter or predominant section of a chapter. In the Eighth Plan, women were identified as one component group of the ‘weaker sections’ of society and thus the government’s most explicit and systematic articulation of its perspective on women, gender, and development5 came under the ambit of the Social Welfare chapter. At the same time, ‘women’s issues’ appeared to be taken into consideration and integrated on a sectoral level, indicated by references to women in 13 of 19 sectoral chapters.6 These mainly related to ‘special schemes’ and ‘special measures’ for women within general schemes, often as a result of their ‘disadvantaged’ or ‘weak’ status, or ‘special provisions’ such as separate training institutes for women and support services such as housing schemes for working women. Thus, whilst ‘women’ may appear in other Plan chapters, their ‘special’ status perpetuates the idea the state must make extra effort to incorporate them in the planning process. In the Ninth Plan, the ­language and location changed from ‘Social Welfare’ and women’s development came under the ambit of ‘Human and Social Development’.7 In both the Ninth and Tenth Plans, women were located in a separate chapter with children, reflecting administrative changes to ministerial portfolios – the new Department of Women and Child Development – even though this had happened before the Eighth Plan. When Plan documents discuss women and the development process, they communicate their sense of what role(s) women should play in development processes, which determines the degree of women’s centrality or marginality in national development strategy, and the degree of agency women are seen to exercise in the process. For example, at one end of the spectrum are dependents of state benevolence or passive ‘beneficiaries’ of state-sponsored programmes; at the other end are agents and catalysts driving development. This results in a hierarchy of gendered developmental subjectivities, though the  extent of autonomy from the state is not straightforwardly equated with the degree of agency that can be exercised (discussed ­further below). Over the successive four Plans, women’s participation in development processes was envisaged as increasingly more recognised, more central, and ostensibly more agential. The Eighth Plan proposed a more substantive and participatory role for women in the development process than the ­beneficiary-oriented role it had identified under previous Plans. It maintained that ‘women must be enabled to function as equal partners and participants in development

66  National planning policy and not merely as beneficiaries of various schemes’ (GoI, 1992: para 15.5.1, my emphasis). In the Ninth Plan, the goal entailed ‘empowering women as the agents of social change and development’ (GoI, 1997: Vol. 2, para 3.8.27). The Tenth Plan continued with the role for women as agents of development envisioned in the Ninth Plan. It also explicitly stated the aim of empowerment strategies in the Tenth Plan was for ‘women and girls to act as catalysts, participants and recipients in the country’s development process’ (GoI, 2002: Vol. 2, para 2.11.60, my emphasis). Similarly, whether Plan documents recognise the various roles women perform in economic, social, and political spheres – as workers, as carers, as citizens, and decision-makers – determines how Plan discourse discursively positions them in development policy. In the Eighth Plan, concerns of women’s developmental status also linked to women’s role as producers, a role for which, the Plan claimed, they were still not fully recognised. This focus is most likely the influence of the women’s co-operative movement leader Ela Bhatt and her involvement in the draft planning process (discussed further below). This included agricultural production, construction work, and other informal sector work, including home-based activities. The Plan stated women as workers in these sectors suffered from lack of labour protection; lack of access to credit, training, and technology; wage discrimination, insecurity, and poor working conditions. They also faced increasing competition from new technologies. Lack of recognition of women as producers also included subsistence activities and the unpaid care economy, identifying conventional measures of women’s contribution to the economy as gender biased: The contribution of women to the economy continues to remain grossly under-reported due to certain conceptual, methodological and perception problems, reflecting a gender bias since economic value is not assigned to unpaid household work and various kinds of subsistence activities. Home-based production activities and unpaid family work also tend to be grossly under-reported. (GoI, 1992: para 15.4.6) The juxtaposition of ‘women’ as ‘weak’ and filed under Social Welfare in the overall Plan message but recognised as workers, as producers, in the chapter addressing women’s status in development, is one illustration of the multiple and contradictory interpellations of ‘women’ in Plan discourse. The Ninth and Tenth Plan chapters on women were largely based on ­various drafts of the NPEW. Unsurprisingly, the discourse shifted towards empowerment and incorporated language on political rights, autonomy, and decision-making power. The Ninth Plan defined empowerment as ­creating ‘an enabling environment where women can freely exercise their rights both within and outside home, as equal partners along with men’ (GoI, 1997: 3.8.27).

National planning policy  67 Whilst the Eighth Plan was more critically insightful of the structural causes (mostly economic and social) of gender inequality with a strategy mostly implied, the Ninth and Tenth Plans presented a more explicit and comprehensive strategy for addressing gender-inequitable development using the language of social and economic empowerment and gender justice. Strategies for social empowerment included affirmative developmental policies and programmes for the development of women and access to all the basic minimum services. Economic empowerment included provision of training, employment, and income-generation activities with the objective of making all potential women economically independent and self-reliant. The strategy to achieve gender justice aimed to eliminate all forms of gender discrimination, so women enjoy de facto as well as de jure ‘rights and fundamental freedoms on par with men in all spheres’ (GoI, 2002: Vol. 2, para 2.11.57). But the empowerment discourse was largely articulated as an approach to empowerment in which self-maximisation of the individual was prominent and consistent with the government’s liberalising discourse. Strategies for women’s development were not always pursued in the name of gender equality per se but presented in utilitarian terms as a means for social and economic development. The creation of an enabling environment was frequently justified to enable women to become agents of development. In other words, the absence of an enabling environment for women was seen as something holding development back, preventing them from acting as agents of development, rather than a development goal to achieve in itself. The assessment provided in the Eighth Plan focusing on women workers and structural inequalities was arguably more promising in its feminist c­ ritique than the subsequent two Plans. Policies for gender-responsive development Affirmative action was the most consistent policy instrument proposed for women’s development, and increasingly so after the Eighth Plan which also stressed remedial measures for discriminatory societal attitudes. Legal provisions in the Constitution were used to justify the use of affirmative action: Article 15 of the Constitution prohibits any discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, etc. Article 15(3), however, clarifies that this provision will not prevent the State from making any special provisions for women and children. (GoI, 1992: para 15.2.2) All four Plans justified special treatment based on women’s difference in the pursuit of equality. The importance of affirmative action as a ­strategy for empowerment was strongly advocated for increasing women’s ­participation

68  National planning policy in decision-making. An important omission in the Eighth Plan which the Ninth Plan did include was a consideration of women’s political participation. The status-quo…can only change when women’s concerns gain political prominence and a fairly representative number of women are in a position not only at grass-roots level, but also at the state and national levels to convert them into a political will. (GoI, 1997: para 3.8.24) For women to be empowered, this required representation in decision-­ making and their direct participation: As the representation of women in the decision-making levels has a direct bearing on all the affirmative actions directed towards their well-being and empowerment, every effort will be made to ensure that women are in adequate numbers at the decision-making levels. (ibid: para 3.8.49) Affirmative action was also the core element of several other schemes. A ‘special strategy’ named the ‘Women’s Component Plan’ directed that ‘not less than 30 percent of funds/benefits are earmarked in all the women-­ related sectors…[and] through an effective mechanism…ensure that the [WCP] brings forth a holistic approach towards empowering women’ (ibid: para 3.8.28). By placing an emphasis on mainstreaming across all sectors, the Tenth Plan appeared to be setting a new trend against the segregation of concerns of gender-equitable development into a single chapter on women. But this was still a strategy premised on gender difference, difference between women and men, and based on the interpretation of gender mainstreaming in the NPEW as ‘mainstreaming women’ using an approach emphasising women’s presence for agenda setting. One of the policy’s several goals was ‘mainstreaming a gender perspective in the development process’, which was interpreted thus: Policies, programmes and systems will be established to ensure mainstreaming of women’s perspectives in all developmental processes, as catalysts, participants and recipients. Wherever there are gaps in policies and programmes, women-specific interventions would be undertaken to bridge these. Coordinating and monitoring mechanisms will also be devised to assess from time to time the progress of such mainstreaming mechanisms. Women’s issues and concerns as a result will specially be addressed and reflected in all concerned laws, sectoral policies, plans and programmes of action. (GoI, 2005: article 4.1, my emphasis)

National planning policy  69 As noted, mainstreaming gender was interpreted as mainstreaming ­women’s perspectives and not necessarily gender. This approach, whilst increasing visibility of women and their concerns, inherently risks the assumption that women’s interests are homogeneous, erasing complexity and diversity of interests amongst women. By advocating presence, it did not guarantee a commitment to furthering gender equality or the incorporation of ­gender-responsive perspectives. It also transferred responsibility and ­accountability for addressing gender inequality onto women. Contradictions, silences, and exclusions At times, Plan discourse was inconsistent; several significant contradictions can be identified. The Eighth Plan proposed a more substantive and participatory role for women in the development process than the beneficiary-­ oriented role envisioned in the previous Plans. It maintained ‘women must be enabled to function as equal partners and participants in development and not merely as beneficiaries of various schemes’ (GoI, 1992: para 15.5.1). Yet this vision was accompanied by a more beneficiary-oriented commitment to ‘ensure that the benefits of development from different sectors do not bypass women and special programmes are implemented to complement the general development programmes’ (ibid: para 15.5.1, my emphasis). This strategy continued to segregate women’s development from mainstream development, despite an earlier commitment that ‘the issues relating to women will be integrated in the total development endeavours’ (ibid: para 15.5.2). Overall, the development approach remained largely unaffected by gender inequality considerations, only establishing special programmes to address women’s exclusion from mainstream programmes. Similarly, whilst the Ninth’s Plan’s stated goal was to empower women as the agents of social change and development, women as a group were identified as ‘the most important target groups in the context of the present day developmental planning’ (GoI, 1997: Vol. 2, para 3.8.1, my emphasis). A five-fold category identified different developmental needs of women and girls: ‘girl children’ (0–14), adolescent girls (15–18/19), women of reproductive age (15–44), women of economically active age (15–59), and elderly women (60+). This categorisation constituted adult women primarily as dependents, reproducers, producers, and dependents once again. In Plan discourse, elderly women, as a residual category, have only ‘limited needs mainly relating to health, emotional and financial support’ (ibid: para 3.8.2). Women of reproductive age needed ‘special care and attention’ and economically active women had ‘different demands’ including for education, training, and income generation. Thus, Plan discourse constituted women as objects of development, defining the basis upon which they are included in development policy and their relationship with the state, articulating how the state sees its responsibility to women in development planning. It inferred the ‘needs’ of ‘women’ from their demographic status

70  National planning policy and assumed life cycle, constructing women’s developmental subjectivities and agency. Another important absence across plans, particularly in the Eighth Plan, is any detailed consideration of how caste and other identity markers interact with gender. In the Eighth Plan, this is touched upon but not in depth in a chapter identifying increased ‘poverty and deprivation’ faced by Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) women. The Ninth Plan’s more reductive, homogeneous portrayal of women did not adequately account for intersectional dynamics amongst women. The Tenth Plan addressed this more explicitly in its chapter on women.8 Another significant silence is of men as gendered subjects or objects in development discourse. ‘Men’ as gendered bodies rarely appear in Plan documents; where they do appear, their gender identity is implied rather than stated. They appear as subjects defined by their status as workers (farmers, agricultural labourers, fishermen, etc.), whereas ‘women’ frequently appear as ‘women’, courtesy of their ‘special’ or ‘weak’ status and sometimes in spite of their status as workers.9 For example, the Eighth Plan stated, Animal husbandry is one of the important sub sector[s] of agricultural economy and plays a significant role in the rural economy by providing gainful employment particularly to the small/marginal farmers, women and agricultural landless labourers. (GoI, 1992: Vol. 2, para 1.8.1, my emphasis) Plan documents position male subjects as the norm rather than a ­privileged group, benchmarking the magnitude of women’s ‘lagging’ status and achievements, for example, in literacy rates, child sex ratios, and work participation rates. On the one hand, this lends greater visibility to gender disparities between men and women and a (potential) platform for identifying and addressing discrimination. However, it also inadvertently depicts women (and other ‘laggers’) as a group ‘dragging down’ overall achievements in human development, rather than identifying the privileges enjoyed by demographic groups registering higher human development indicators. These latter groups – often men compared to women, higher castes compared to lower castes, wealthier classes compared to working classes, and so on – enjoy greater access to resources and absence of discrimination and structural inequality (notwithstanding intersectional dynamics which complicate these categories).10 Particularly amongst welfare and social security Plan discourse, women, along with other marginalised groups such as SCs, STs, the elderly, the destitute, the disabled, and others, become inscribed as a deviant, hyper-visible cluster; men are the default subject and (­invisible) norm of development planning discourse; ‘deviance’ from the norm requires ‘special measures’, ‘special programmes’, and ‘special assistance’. The visibility or presence of ‘women’ and/or ‘gender’ in Plan documents is thus not always synonymous with inclusive, sensitivity, or responsiveness, and

National planning policy  71 invisibility is not always a process of marginalisation but can enable various forms of privilege to remain unquestioned.

Conclusions Gendered development discourses articulated in national planning ­discourse have foregrounded women’s development, whilst recognising different experiences of women and men, and have prescribed affirmative action for women’s development and empowerment based on their special category status and a ‘politics of presence’.11 However, this has ensured continued segregation and compartmentalisation of women’s issues. The emphasis on gender difference between women and men has also homogenised experiences amongst women and amongst men, limiting opportunities for a more transformative gender mainstreaming approach. Remnants of a welfarist approach to women are evident, deemed necessary to address the failure of growth processes to benefit ‘special’ (read excluded) groups. But this liberal model of redistribution leaves the main growth model unaltered, supplemented with a welfarist approach to women. Yet ironically, women are simultaneously being made increasingly responsible for the ­nation’s development. The Eleventh Plan paid greater attention to the failures of growth models and their impact on the marginalised. It marked a return to a statist development discourse, particularly in reference to social protection, rights-based approaches, and gender justice. Claims to inclusivity promise greater potential opportunities to address socio-economic inequality, yet invites feminist advocates to be more vigilant of the risk of co-option and to be cautious of abandoning more progressive alternative development models. The government’s shifting discourse evolved in its depiction of women as development objects and subjects of development, positioning women on a spectrum of possibilities for agency, ranging from passive recipients to catalytic agents of development. Women were articulated as welfare recipients, workers and producers, agents, catalysts, participants, and equal partners of development; as weak, special, disadvantaged, vulnerable, lagging, and nurturing. Women were located outside different sectoral concerns, deserving of a separate chapter; depicted as needing protection, recognition, special treatment, justice, and empowerment; and sometimes as a homogeneous category devoid of caste, class, and religious identity. Women comprised development objects and subjects sometimes by virtue of visibility in the Plans, compared to the frequent invisibility of men. Whilst a shift towards empowerment was visible, it was consistent with the government’s liberalising discourse. Furthermore, the shift sometimes occurred in inconsistent ways, and a welfarist approach continued. Plans tended to foreground an analysis of women rather than gender. An equality discourse based on gender difference underpinned the construction of women’s poor development status as well as the prescription of affirmative action strategies.

72  National planning policy Creating developmental subjectivities for women with enhanced agency has not been uniformly positive for enabling gender-equitable development or participative-democratic models of gender mainstreaming. Throughout the 1990s onwards, the government’s gendered development discourse has placed increasing emphasis on productivity, entrepreneurship, self-­reliance, and individual choice. Poor women are now seen as ‘harder working, easier to mobilise, better credit risks, more selfless because they are concerned with their entire families and communities, more loyal voters, the best anti-­ corruption vigilantes, and the best agents to uplift their families and communities…’ (Batliwala and Dhanraj, 2004: 12–13). Women’s roles as mothers are rearticulated in the new social empowerment discourse. ­Targeted improvements in women’s education are justified as investments in fertility control to restrict population growth, a key obsession of national planning. Women as mothers retain a key role in development discourse, but in a way which fits uneasily with feminist understandings of empowerment. On the other hand, multiple significations of women as subjects or objects, agents or target groups of development, suggest unintended opportunities for agency, because of the state’s unsuccessful attempt to totalise the field of discursive possibilities on the relationship between women and development. But whether such possibilities for agency can be realised is an empirical question, contingent on context-specific factors. In the following chapter, we explore selected national initiatives addressing gender and development during the period of the Plans discussed here. What were these initiatives to make planning discourse and development policy more gender-responsive and what did they seek to achieve? How did they conceptualise gender and development, the role of the state, and its institutions? Which actors were involved in and what role did non-government actors play? What were the outcomes of these initiatives and to what extent could they be deemed successful?

Notes 1 The National Policy for the Empowerment of Women (hereafter NPEW) was ­released in 2001. This will be discussed only briefly to help contextualise the Tenth Plan (beginning in 2002). Chapter 4 briefly discusses the agency belatedly set up to implement the NPEW. 2 Left women’s activism in India, such as campaigns in Tamil Nadu on women’s working conditions and violence against women, complicates the dominant narrative of early post-Independence as a quiet period for the women’s movement (Armstrong, 2013: 39). 3 See Mazumdar (2008) for an illuminating account of co-ordinating the T ­ owards Equality report. She recalls there was added pressure to produce a well-­ researched report, because it would be submitted to the United Nations, and because then India had a female Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. Mazumdar’s account of the difficult and clandestine process of finalising and releasing the report, aware of its controversial conclusions, illustrates the report’s significance and the gender politics involved in its production.

National planning policy  73 4 Two prominent feminist scholar-activists, Lotika Sarkar and Vina Mazumdar, committee members involved in compiling the report and its underpinning research, recorded their dissent disagreeing with the report’s decision not to recommend quotas for women in legislative bodies. They argued, ‘despite progressive legal changes, the actual condition of the mass of Indian women has not changed much. The continuing under-representation of women prevents their proper participation in the decision-making process in the country’ (Sarkar and Mazumdar, 1999 [1974]: 134). They concluded that minimal change since Independence in women’s presence in higher elected bodies ‘is a sufficient indicator of the reluctance of our society to accept the principle of equal representation of women’ (ibid: 135). Mazumdar also recalls the process of working on the report was a shocking experience, revealing differences between urban, middle-­ class educated women, and rural and working-class women (Mazumdar, 2008: 68–69). 5 Despite references to the disabled, elderly, and destitute, the Social Welfare chapter contains only two sections, on ‘development of women’ and ‘child development’. The chapter did refer to projects assisting destitute women to become ‘economically self-sufficient’ and the ‘economic rehabilitation of socially disadvantaged groups of women like devadasis and prostitutes’ (GoI, 1992: Vol. 2, para 15.5.25). Otherwise, the disabled, elderly, and destitute have been largely excluded. In this hierarchy of exclusion, women and children are marginally acknowledged by virtue of their perceived current and future contributions. 6 These chapters include Agricultural and Allied Activities, Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation, Environment and Forests, Village and Small Industries and Food Processing Industries, Labour and Labour Welfare, Education, Culture and Sports, Health and Family Welfare, Urban Development, Housing, Water Supply and Sanitation, Social Welfare, Welfare and Development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Special Area Development Programmes, and Science and Technology. There are no references to women in the remaining six chapters of Irrigation, Command Area Development and Flood Control, Industry and Minerals, Energy, Transport, Communication, Information and Broadcasting, and Plan Implementation and Evaluation. 7 Example chapters in this sector include ‘Health’, ‘Family Welfare’, several ­chapters on education, ‘Youth and Sports’, and ‘Art and Culture’. Women were situated within ‘human and social development’. 8 In the Eleventh Plan, ‘intersectionality’ is repeatedly acknowledged and SC, ST, and Muslim women become hyper-visible as more marginalised groups amongst women. This suggests greater recognition of diversity amongst women but brings new limitations. 9 An important exception includes the reference to men’s migration from hill a­ reas and the effects on women as household heads (GoI, 1992: Vol. 2, para 17.4.5). Another includes a family planning initiative to regulate men’s and women’s fertility. The reader is told this is a ‘new thrust’ but given little detail, appearing supplementary to core strategies (GoI, 1992: Vol. 2, para 12.5.3 xix). 10 In different contexts, feminist theorists have discussed how policy discourse emphasising ‘special treatment’ for marginalised groups gives the impression members of these groups are ‘needy’ and require unending assistance, whilst obscuring the privileges higher-achieving groups enjoy in the absence of discrimination (Fraser, 1989; Bacchi, 1996). 11 This last aspect, that women need to be present and part of governmental structures to change them, is consistent with Rai’s (2003c) study of India’s National Commission for Women.

74  National planning policy

References Armstrong, E. (2013) Gender and Neoliberalism: The All India Democratic Women’s Association & Globalization Politics, New Delhi: Tulika Books. Bacchi, C. L. (1996) The Politics of Affirmative Action: ‘Women’, Equality and ­Category Politics, London: Sage. Batliwala, S. and Dhanraj, D. (2004) ‘Gender Myths That Instrumentalise Women: A View from the Indian Frontline’, IDS Bulletin, 35 (4), pp. 11–18. Chaudhuri, M. (1996) ‘Citizens, Workers and Emblems of Culture: An Analysis of the First Plan Document on Women’, pp. 211–235 in Uberoi, P. (Ed.) Social ­Reform, Sexuality and the State. London: Sage. CSWI (1974) ‘Towards Equality: Report of the Committee on the Status of Women in India’, New Delhi: Department of Social Welfare, Ministry of Education and Social Welfare, Government of India. Fraser, N. (1989) Unruly Practices: Power, Discourse, and Gender in Contemporary Social Theory, Cambridge: Polity Press. GoI (1992) ‘Eighth Five Year Plan (1992–1997)’, New Delhi: Planning Commission, Government of India. GoI (1997) ‘Ninth Five Year Plan (1997–2002)’, New Delhi: Planning Commission, Government of India. GoI (2002) ‘Tenth Five Year Plan (2002–2007)’, New Delhi: Planning Commission, Government of India. GoI (2005) ‘Platform for Action: 10 Years after – India Country Report’, New Delhi: Department of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. John, M. E. (1996) ‘Gender and Development in India 1970s–1990s: Some Reflections on the Constitutive Role of Contexts’, Economic and Political Weekly, 31 (47), pp. 3071–3077. Mazumdar, V. (2008) Memories of a Rolling Stone, New Delhi: Zubaan Books. ­ overnance – Mazumdar, V., Sharma, K., Buch, N. and Sujaya, C. P. (2001) Gender and G A Country Paper (India), New Delhi: Centre for Women’s Development Studies NCSEWWIS (1988) ‘Shramshakti’, New Delhi: National Commission on Self ­Employed Women and Women in the Informal Sector. Patel, V. (1985) ‘Women’s Liberation in India’, New Left Review, 1 (153) September– October, pp. 75–86. Rai, S. M. (2003c) ‘The National Commission for Women: The Indian Experience’, pp. 223–242 in Rai, S. M. (Ed.) Mainstreaming Gender, Democratizing the State? Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women. Manchester: Manchester University Press/United Nations. Sarkar, L. and Mazumdar, V. (1999 [1974]) ‘Note of Dissent’, Indian Journal of ­G ender Studies, 6 (1), pp. 134–137. Sharma, K. (2012) ‘Introducing Changing the Terms of the Discourse: Gender Equality and the Indian State’, pp. xix–lx in Sharma, K (Ed.) Changing the Terms of the Discourse: Gender Equality and the Indian State, New Delhi: CWDS/Pearson. Squires, J. (2000) Gender in Political Theory, Oxford: Polity Press. Subramaniam, M. (2006) The Power of Women’s Organizing: Gender, Caste, and Class in India, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publisher.

4 Gender mainstreaming and the state in India National initiatives

Introduction This chapter builds on the previous chapter’s discussion of national p ­ olicy by exploring selected gender mainstreaming strategies since 1990. O ­ stensibly, these strategies have been employed to transform the institutional context of national development to make it more gender-responsive. The first ­strategy has targeted and sought to transform specific institutions within governmental structures deemed ‘gender-blind’ – the Planning Commission ­(‘Engendering the Plans’) and the Ministry of Finance (Gender Budgeting) – to increase their awareness of gender equality concerns and encourage them to mainstream a gender-equitable perspective in policy. The second strategy has been to improve technical competency and awareness of gender-­related concepts amongst IAS officers (gender training projects for civil servants), to inculcate a more gender-aware and gender-responsive institutional ­culture.1 A third supportive or complementary strategy has involved building new institutional spaces and agencies (the National Commission for Women, the Parliamentary Committee for the Empowerment of Women, and the ­National Mission for the Empowerment of Women) and strengthening and reorienting existing bodies (the Ministry of Women and Child Development, or MWCD), to improve state responsiveness to gender inequities in development policies and processes (often referred to as ‘national machineries for women’). I begin by briefly discussing the third strategy (national machinery) to establish the institutional context before exploring the first and second strategies in more detail. An examination of each initiative illustrates the extent to which the ­Indian state has attempted to transform its institutional structure, open up its ­policymaking process, increase its technical competency, modify its ­conceptual perspective, and bring about normative, structural, and attitudinal changes in the Indian bureaucracy ostensibly towards making national development policy and the state itself more gender-aware and gender-­ responsive. I also discuss observations from these initiatives in terms of the different forms of agency exercised, paying particular attention to political leaders, bureaucrats, and the women’s movement, in determining the ­success or failure of state-led gender mainstreaming strategies.

76  National initiatives in gender mainstreaming I argue that several gender mainstreaming initiatives have partially succeeded in transforming prevailing institutional practices, government development policymaking, and planning processes. Within government, the mandate, initiatives, and transformative labour still emanate largely from the MWCD (at times supplemented by the National Mission for the Empowerment of Women), often initially sponsored by international organisations like UN Women. Both bodies are driven primarily by the persistence of Indian feminist scholars and activists, directly or through external pressure. This is consistent with broader trends in state feminist strategies which recognise the necessity of a dual strategy of national machinery plus gender mainstreaming, and state actors plus civil society and movement representatives, the so-called ‘feminist triangles’, ‘velvet triangles’, triangles of empowerment’, or ‘women’s co-operative constellations’ (see Holli, 2008). However, the facilitative labour required to sustain mainstreaming efforts suggests such initiatives have not yet been successful in institutionalising a norm of gender-responsiveness throughout national government institutions. Explanations for this partial success relate to two issues: possibilities for transformation in the gendered institutional context of state institutions, and particular mainstreaming strategies and processes. There are identifiable tensions between the mainstreaming strategies adopted, some stemming from contradictory conceptualisations of ‘gender’, some relating to how these strategies translate into institutional initiatives, and some relating to issues of representation and inclusion in policymaking processes.

Development of the national machinery for women: supporting gender mainstreaming? Three distinct governmental bodies were established or enhanced in the ­period 1990–2007: the establishment of a National Commission for Women by an Act of Parliament in 1990 and first constituted in 1992, the establishment of the Parliamentary Committee for the Empowerment of Women in 1997, and the promotion of the Department of Women and Child Development to Ministry status in 2006. The establishment of the National Mission for the Empowerment of Women followed later in 2010 to implement the National Policy on the Empowerment of Women 2001. First, and as discussed in Chapter 2, the National Commission for Women was established ‘to review the constitutional and legal safeguards for women, recommend remedial legislative measures, facilitate redressal of grievances and advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women’ (NCW, cited in Rai, 2003: 231).2 Rai argues the establishment of the Commission was primarily a result of successful efforts by the women’s movement to pressure the national government to better represent women’s interests in policy, though women’s movement actors criticised its design as flawed (Rai, 2003: 228; see also Arya, 2009). It also reflected an increasing emphasis on national

National initiatives in gender mainstreaming  77 machineries for women amongst the international women’s movement and UN bodies beginning in the 1970s and consolidated in the 1980s. Upon its establishment, the semi-autonomous National Commission for Women was located within the nodal department for the national machinery for women in India, the Department of Women and Child Development. This department had itself undergone changes in the 1980s. Prior to 1985, the Ministry of Social Welfare was charged to deal with ‘women’s issues’, until that same year the Department for Women and Child Development was established and subsumed under the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The Department’s position within the government structure remained this way until January 2006, when it was promoted to Ministry status. This enhancement sought to improve the standing of the Ministry, including status of Cabinet rank for its minister, and its position vis-à-vis other national ministries. The national machinery for women was further consolidated in 1997 with the establishment of a Joint Parliamentary Committee for the Empowerment of Women (Rai and Spary, 2019). On International Women’s Day, 8 March 1996, female MPs in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha simultaneously moved resolutions in support of establishing a committee. The Rules Committee established the terms of reference for the committee and the first committee was constituted on the 29 April 1997. The first Chairperson of the ­committee was Najma Heptullah MP, a high-profile member and long-serving Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, who had moved the original 1996 resolution in the Rajya Sabha; Pratibha Patil, who later became the first female President of India, moved the resolution in the Lok Sabha. Though the first mandated task of the committee was to scrutinise the functioning of the National Commission for Women, its mandate included the power to scrutinise government programmes and policies for women and women’s employment in state institutions and agencies across all ministries, and could choose other topics to examine. These three structural organisational developments sought to increase the visibility and priority given to women’s interests in national-level policy. They demonstrate an increasing focus on state institutional strategies in the 1980s and 1990s, mirroring international discourse. In themselves they have been both successful and limited in several ways. Rai (2003) notes the National Commission for Women has been limited in resources and legitimacy, given its low funding and semi-autonomous status, and not always aided by the government appointment of political party-affiliated Chairpersons. The Commission’s restricted autonomy was a significant disappointment to the women’s movement. A journalist at the time of the 1990 Act noted ‘while giving with one hand, the government is taking away with the other through the introduction of clauses which will undercut the commission’s autonomy by making it heavily dependent on government patronage’ (Sharma, 1990). A related concern was the power of the government to hire and fire the chairperson (and other members of the commission), which in practice

78  National initiatives in gender mainstreaming limited independent scrutiny of central and state government practices (ibid). It also took the government a long time to act; the Towards Equality committee had recommended the establishment of a statutory and autonomous commission for women as long ago as 1976, later reiterated on several occasions, for example, at a conference for women in 1981 (Times of India, 1981) and then again in the context of the Shramshakti report’s findings in the 1980s (Sharma, 1990). The MWCD has a wide-ranging role but is regularly under-resourced; its budget is dominated by the national Integrated Child Development ­Services (ICDS) scheme for child development, and limited welfarist schemes for women. For example, of the more than 8,500 crore rupee actual budget expenditure by the Ministry in 2009–2010, more than 95 percent was spent on the ICDS programme for child welfare (GoI, 2011: 353–358). The Parliamentary Committee for the Empowerment of Women in its first two terms was restricted in its operation due to factors beyond its control – the fragility of minority governments – and it was not until 1999 that it could produce substantial policy evaluations on a range of issues, the first of which was the functioning of National and State Commissions for Women. Its role is mostly one of oversight and scrutiny rather than generating policy or examining draft legislation. Within the scope of the committee’s selected subjects, it does, however, provide women’s movement representatives opportunities to give evidence, and its reports do provide documented insights into the limitations of government schemes and the extent to which government ­officials are responsive to questioning and recommendations. The establishment of the National Mission for the Empowerment of Women was announced on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2010. The key mandate of the Mission was ‘intersectoral convergence’, as an institutional strategy to implement the National Policy for the Empowerment of Women (2001) announced almost ten years earlier. Initially, it was convened by the Minister for Women and Child Development and the Chair of the National Commission for Women was a permanent member, as well as ministers from 14 ministries and departments, including the Finance Minister and Deputy Chair of the Planning Commission. There were also two spaces for chief ministers to be appointed, to improve the co-ordination of state-level policies and programmes. These posts would be rotated to other chief ministers every two years, with the first two from Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. The panel also included five spaces for civil society members. These institutional developments demonstrate the emphasis on establishing and strengthening specific state and parliamentary bodies for gender equality and empowerment from the 1990s onwards. These bodies have played varied roles in sustaining momentum on several policy initiatives in an often-resistant or indifferent institutional context. With respect to development policy, the MWCD has managed to transcend its narrow mandate to further gendered policy concerns across government, acting as a nodal

National initiatives in gender mainstreaming  79 agency, though not without limitations. This new role has proved important to the other three mainstreaming initiatives underway in the 1990s and later.

Facilitating external gender expertise in development planning Increased formal structural presence and visibility for women in national government as a result of these new, specialised institutional bodies was gradually supplemented by several initiatives attempting to mainstream gender concerns across government structures to more broadly transform public policy. The first, beginning in the mid-1990s, focused on forming advisory groups constituted by external gender experts, particularly Indian academic scholar-activists, to advise during the preparatory stages of FiveYear Plans, and increase visibility of gender concerns throughout all areas of planning rather than just conventional sectors. In August 1995, pre-Beijing, UN Development Fund for Women (then known as UNIFEM) initiated the establishment of a Think Tank to work with the Planning Commission to ‘engender’ the Ninth Five-Year Plan. The initiative involved different agencies within the Union government (the Department of Women and Child Development and the Planning Commission), international development organisations (UNIFEM and UN Development Programme [UNDP]), and several scholars and activists including members of a national NGO repre­ lliance senting women’s NGOs from different regions of India (National A for Women’s Organisations, or NAWO). UNIFEM described the planning process for the Ninth Five-Year Plan as providing ‘a necessary entry point for articulating gender concerns in policies and programmes in India’ ­(UNIFEM, 2000: 3). The Think Tank identified Five-Year Plans as …the most critical policymaking instrument. It is the Five-Year Plan, which sets the development agenda, gives broad directions and defines priority areas. Therefore, it is essential that the policy documents and plans reflect the voices, concerns and perspectives of both women and men. Hence, engendering plans is critical…. (Think Tank, 2006: 1) The Think Tank understanding of gender was about ‘recognising that women and men are socialised differently. And, as gender is a macroeconomic variable, it needs to be incorporated into the growth model’ (Think Tank, 2006: 1). Prior to this, gender expertise in planning was limited. Ela Bhatt was the first woman member of the National Planning Commission (Rose, 1992: 267). She was invited in 1990, with regard to her leadership of the women’s co-­ operative movement, to draft the Employment chapter of the Plan. Bhatt had served previously on the National Commission on Self-Employed Women drafting the Shramshakti report. Despite this extensive experience, her inclusion in the Commission was reportedly criticised internally by economists

80  National initiatives in gender mainstreaming and planning bureaucrats, complaining that her experience was limited to social work and that her inclusion undermined development planning as a professional process (Rose, 1992: 268). External actors, on the other hand, interpreted this as co-option by the government (Rose, 1992: 268). Criticism of Bhatt’s inclusion in the Commission reflected the constrained opportunities for feminist advocacy in public policy in India, resulting, in part, from an expertise bias towards economics and finance – disciplines which have historically been gender-blind – and an inadequate recognition of or active devaluation of specialist knowledge and expertise in gender ­(Elson, 1991; Sen, 2000). Whilst senior civil service norms train bureaucrats as generalists who are recruited young through competitive examination,3 expected to be knowledgeable in a wide range of areas, and are promoted through years of service, planning agencies often drafted in external expertise and recruited laterally, with officers receiving specialist training and posted on deputation to, or recruited with previous experience of working in, international development agencies such as the World Bank. The lack of gender expertise in these disciplines, combined with the non-recognition of gender expertise in conventional sectors where women’s empowerment and development were often located, meant that planning was often a gender-­ blind exercise. Lateral entry into the IAS was less common outside areas requiring ‘specialist technical expertise’, which restricted opportunities for gender experts to work ‘in and against’ the state as gender-conscious bureaucrats. In this context, the government initiative to consult external gender experts to advise on development planning was a significant step in recognising the need for such expertise. The Think Tank originally consisted of seven women members with activist and academic backgrounds, many nationally renowned for their women’s movement experience, and representative of a wide regional base. Through NAWO’s regional network, Think Tank members were able to organise regional consultations to consult women’s organisations from around the country on issues of concern to women regarding national development and their lived realities. A national consultation in Delhi also took place.4 This consultation process enabled the process to be more participatory than if it had been based on the expertise of Think Tank members alone. Some of the main issues that emerged were guaranteeing women’s right to information; deepening democracy through decentralisation; ensuring the right to work by introducing employment guarantee schemes throughout the country; gender sensitisation of all functionaries of government; ­increased resource allocation for the social sectors; the inclusion of women’s issues and perspectives in every sectoral plan and programme, not just the Department of Women and Child Development; gender analysis and a­ udit of plans, programmes, and policies; and elimination of violence against women and girls (UNIFEM, 2000: 9). The issues were subsequently presented to the Planning Commission for consideration when formulating the Plan document. The initiative was repeated for the Tenth and Eleventh Five-Year

National initiatives in gender mainstreaming  81 Plans, becoming a more institutionalised exercise that allowed for feminist scrutiny of draft national development plans and planning processes. For the Eleventh Plan, the Think Tank expanded to 16 members (including all the original members). It represented a similar mix of feminist scholars and activists and two former secretaries of the Department of Women and Child Development. Several participated in successive plan initiatives.5 The Think Tank had mixed success in mainstreaming gender concerns into the government’s broader development discourse. UNIFEM claimed several successes, describing it as ‘an orchestrated gender sensitisation of the planning process’ (2000: 18). Several policy documents referenced ­Beijing, and the subsequent National Policy for the Empowerment of Women (a commitment made at Beijing) was seen as an important milestone in the explicit gender-responsiveness of public policy in India, though as noted earlier it took almost ten years for the policy to find an institutional home in the National Mission for the Empowerment of Women. Think Tank members and others invited to mainstream gender into development planning expressed disappointment that Plans had fallen far short of expectations despite consultations. For example, when the Planning Commission released the Approach Paper to the Eleventh Plan – considered a good indicator of the flavour of the final Plan – it was met with disappointment. Think Tank members, along with a working group on ‘Empowerment of Women’ constituted by the Planning Commission in 2006 and chaired by the secretary of the MWCD, criticised the Approach Paper (GoI, 2006). One Think Tank member publicly criticised the Eleventh Plan Approach ­ ynamic Paper for failing to address gender concerns and for overlooking the d processes which excluded many from the development process (Hirway, 2006). Hirway acknowledged that ‘India definitely needs faster and more inclusive growth’ but questioned as to whether the proposed growth strategy in the Approach Paper would ensure it was inclusive (2006: 3464). The MWCD’s recommendation for the Eleventh Plan was ‘inclusive and integrated policy and strategy for economic, social and political empowerment of women’, which consistently emphasised the importance of integrated, holistic, and inclusive policy for the empowerment of women from different sections of society (GoI, 2006). Subsequent to the release of the Approach Paper, an MWCD-led Working Group report commented that Though for the first time, a separate section on `Gender Equity’ was included in the Draft Approach Paper to the 11th Five Year Plan, the paper has not given enough focus on women’s empowerment issues in the country. The strategy for women is confined to three areas - violence against women, economic empowerment and women’s’ health. There has been no attempt to understand that empowerment of women has to be visualized as a holistic integrated approach and not in a piece meal manner or as water tight compartments. (GoI, 2006: 11)

82  National initiatives in gender mainstreaming Through these critiques, we see that whilst external experts did not fundamentally dislodge the logic of faster growth as essential for development, as suggested in the Eleventh Plan Approach Paper (‘sustained and rapid growth rates are the most effective route to poverty reduction’), they did question whether the government’s approach would be inclusive, re-emphasising that such growth needed to be pro-poor and pro-women (GoI, 2006: 20). One positive outcome of the initiative, however, was the securing of advocacy opportunities in planning processes, enabling an informed engagement with government policymakers and planners, government-commissioned studies on important areas of concern, and a sense of the government’s heightened responsibility to be accountable to these advocacy groups, even if progress in influencing planning outcomes was slow and limited. In March 2007, Dr. Syeda Hameed of the Planning Commission issued guidelines for the establishment of a Working Group of Feminist Economists to review, inform, and make suggestions for the Eleventh Five-Year Plan from a gender perspective, across all sectors. The group included several senior feminist scholars from around the country. This Working Group documented their contributions to the Eleventh Plan, including itemised examples from each member where their inputs appeared in the Plan (GoI, 2010).6 Hameed suggests in her foreword that an important achievement was to shift the Plan’s perspective from social development to one of agency and rights (ibid: iii). Another success documented elsewhere is the Eleventh Plan’s recognition that women and children are not homogeneous categories; they belong to diverse castes, classes, communities, economic groups, and are located within a range of geographic and development zones. Consequently, some groups are more vulnerable than others. Mapping and addressing the specific deprivations that arise from these multiple locations is ­essential for the success of planned interventions. (GoI, 2010: 9) Have these consultative processes been sustained? The process was expanded for the Twelfth Five-Year Plan Approach Paper to include contributions from beyond the smaller panel of feminist academics. In ­November 2010, Planning Commission member Dr. Syeeda Hameed opened the ­consultation to a broader range of civil society organisations and gender ‘experts’. Hameed submitted a query through the UN-co-ordinated platform Solution Exchange, which, based around a moderated mailing list, was a virtual knowledge-sharing forum, with a large number of subscribers from the development sector from across the country. Hameed explained how for the previous Plan, a committee of feminist economists were convened and invited to comment on the plan from a gender-analytical perspective, and asked Solution Exchange members to build on this initiative for the Twelfth Plan. She invited members to apply a gender lens to all 12 identified key

National initiatives in gender mainstreaming  83 challenges. Though these challenges were wide ranging, responses had to offer gendered analyses within these already identified categories. However, Hameed did invite suggestions for issues not covered by the 12 challenges identified. A consolidated reply was compiled and circulated, which detailed the 71 replies received from 17 states around the country,7 plus one from the United Kingdom. The profile of individuals and organisations included academics, NGO and INGO staff, religious organisations, freelancers and consultants, former bureaucrats, staff from current government schemes and state-level government institutes and parastatal organisations, lawyers, and women’s movement activists. Whether these responses informed the final content of the Twelfth Plan is a different question which cannot be addressed here, but the consultation process effectively continued and drew in a wider range of contributions to supplement the ‘expert body’. It also tried to address geographical constraints using a virtual forum, though admittedly this still restricted participation via membership of the forum and basic Internet connectivity.

Gender budgeting In a similar effort to the Think Tank consultations, gender budgeting initiatives since 2000 have sought to transform how public finance is allocated and also scrutinise and evaluate the gendered impact of various public policies on women and men. Such initiatives are based on the recognition that the conventional state institutional processes and practices of formulating budgets are gender-blind. They address a key concern that extensive rhetoric supporting gender-responsive policies is rarely matched by sufficient resources, either for programmes or institutional bodies. Gender budgeting in India represented another collaborative effort, involving government, non-governmental, and international agencies. The ­Department of Women and Child Development and the Finance M ­ inistry were the key governmental agencies, with the Finance Ministry playing an unfamiliar role in championing gender mainstreaming. Beyond the i­ nitiative’s preliminary development phase, the hub of gender budgeting was located in the Finance Ministry rather than the Department of Women and Child Development, but the latter retained a key co-ordinating role.8 ­UNIFEM played a significant role in promoting and facilitating the adoption, training, and implementation of gender budgeting in India. The National Institute for Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), the government’s foremost think tank on public finance and policy, was commissioned to develop conceptual and methodological tools for implementing gender budgeting in India and to undertake a gender analysis of Union budgets. Leading the project for NIPFP was then-Director Dr Ashok K. Lahiri, who later became the Chief Economic Advisor to the government, supported by Dr Lekha Chakraborty, a senior economist at NIPFP, and P.N. Bhattacharyya, a former budget ­finance ­officer for the Government of India and a consultant at NIPFP.

84  National initiatives in gender mainstreaming Despite being one of the government’s most recent gender mainstreaming initiatives, the terminology and practice of ‘gender budgeting’ achieved a relatively high profile in bureaucratic circles.9 Following a UNIFEM-­ sponsored workshop in Delhi in July 2000, ‘gender budgeting’ appeared in several key government documents. The first of NIPFP’s commissioned studies formed the basis of a new section on gender inequality in the social sector chapter of the Government of India’s ‘Economic Survey 2000–2001’, a flagship annual survey produced by the Finance Ministry (GoI, 2002). The second study by the NIPFP was a gender budget analysis of the Union Budget for 2001–2002, the findings of which were discussed in two follow-up workshops in October and December 2001. Gender budgeting was also included in the National Policy for the Empowerment of Women (2001) as one of the strategies recommended for resource management in implementing the policy. The 2001–2002 Annual Report of the Department of Women and Child Development included for the first time a chapter on gender budgeting (GoI, 2002). The Department also undertook gender budget analyses of the Union Budgets for the years 2002–2003 and 2003–2004. Meanwhile, institutional mechanisms for gender budgeting were established in several central government departments as Gender Focal Points. Ministries and Departments were directed by the Cabinet Secretary to include in their Annual Reports a chapter identifying gender issues, initiatives, and allocations for each department. The gender budgeting initiative retained momentum despite the change of government in 2004. The Department of Women and Child Development persisted with gender budgeting and it was mentioned in the Union Budget Speech 2004 for the first time, when the new Finance Minister, P.  ­Chidambaram, made his first speech of the new government. He acknowledged the concerns of women’s groups regarding gender budgeting and promised to review the recommendations of an expert group (­Chidambaram, 2004). Gender budgeting again received a mention the following year in 2005, recognising that important progress had been made but only a beginning, and communicated to other departments that they would also be required to undertake gender budget exercises (Chidambaram, 2005). How did gender budgeting achieve this level of attention? A combination of reasons are the most plausible: the involvement of the Finance Ministry and its relative importance in the bureaucratic hierarchy, a ­‘strategic framing’ of twin concerns of equity and efficiency in its conceptual language, and continuity with or moderation of past policy. First, the Finance Ministry’s engagement with the gender budgeting initiative prima facie represented a coup for feminist economists and feminist organisations interested in ­gender-responsive macroeconomic policy. Locating gender mainstreaming initiatives within Finance Ministries means initiatives are more likely to carry influence ‘because of the central and powerful role of the Finance Ministry in current structural reform processes’ and because of their higher relative status in relation to other government departments,

National initiatives in gender mainstreaming  85 their expertise, their macroeconomic focus, and the support they can then provide to less powerful ministries (Sen, 2000: 1388).10 The Department of Women and Child Development acknowledged that ‘the lead taken by the Ministry of Finance has also lent strength to the Department’s efforts’ (GoI, 2005: para 6.13).11 It forced the Finance Ministry to directly engage with gender ­mainstreaming, which Finance Ministries often avoid (Sen, 2000: 1379) and enabled expertise on public finance and budgets to be combined with gender expertise, making public finance processes more accessible for non-­economist gender experts and bureaucrats, further enabling informed scrutiny of government budgets (Sen, 2000: 1380). It also enabled Finance Ministry officials to be exposed to gender analyses of public finance informing their more technocratic perspectives. The positive influence of the Finance Ministry’s involvement has not come without trade-offs related to the strategic framing of the initiative. Both concerns of equity and efficiency were deployed as rationales to persuade the government to adopt gender budgeting practices. Gender budgeting embraced equity as a central concern, but the rationale was also articulated in a way that made economic sense to policymakers who may otherwise be unconcerned with equity issues – the so-called ‘business case’ for gender equality. The efficiency rationale asserts that gender-blind policies and budgets will be badly targeted and thus wasteful; on the contrary, gender-sensitive budgets and policies would be better targeted and more efficient. Therefore, gender budgeting was appealing as it would not necessarily require more budgetary allocation, but a more efficient distribution, or a ‘reprioritisation rather than an increase in overall public expenditure and, in particular, the reorientation of programmes within sectors rather than changes in the overall amounts allocated to particular sectors’ (Lahiri et al., 2005). This was consistent with the government’s ongoing fiscal reforms as part of a broader neo-liberal restructuring of the state’s role in development planning. Official policy statements on gender budgeting also justified the government’s initiative by referring to international efforts to mainstream gender in macroeconomic planning such as those related to Beijing and other United Nations and international fora, as well as initiatives in national contexts such as Australia (1984), South Africa (1995), and 35 other countries including members of the Commonwealth (GoI, 2002: para 11.1.3). At the same time, policy statements claimed that many of the principles of gender budgeting were not alien to the Indian context: statements linked gender budgeting and previous schemes such as the Women’s Component Plan, arguing that the same or similar ideas have surfaced in different ways in the past (extract from the Seventh Five-Year Plan cited in GoI, 2005). In this way, gender budgeting was presented not as a foreign or completely new concept, but as a re-articulation and evolution of the policies preceding it. However, this linking with past government policy (especially the ­Women’s Component Plan) has caused some conceptual confusion with ­gender ­budgeting. The Department of Women and Child Development made clear

86  National initiatives in gender mainstreaming the break from the previous Women’s Component Plan approach when it defined gender budgeting and outlined its main objectives: Gender Budgeting is not a separate budget for women; rather it is a ­ issection of the government budget to establish its gender-differential d impacts and to translate gender commitments into budgetary commitments. The main objective of a gender-sensitive budget is to improve the analysis of incidence of budgets, attain more effective targeting of public expenditure and offset any undesirable gender-specific consequences of previous budgetary measures. (GoI, 2002: para 11.1.1, my emphasis) The concept of gender budgeting, they argued, extended beyond the identification of budgetary allocations in Union and State Budgets for women in a few so-called ‘women-specific’ and ‘women-related’ sectors to encompass a wider range of public and fiscal policy instruments and sectors (GoI, 2005: para 6.3). This approach was underpinned by a commitment to gender mainstreaming which extended beyond the social sector. The Department of Women and Child Development’s Annual Report 2004–2005 stated, …there is a perceived need for a broader perspective under the concept of gender budgeting - Gender Mainstreaming. The gender perspective on Public Expenditure and Policy is no longer restricted to the realm of social sector departments like Education, Health, Rural Development etc. All areas of public expenditure, Revenue and Policy need to be viewed with a gender perspective… [I]t is not adequate to analyze in detail, allocation of resources for a few sectors of the economy which are traditionally considered as women related. The analysis has to cover every rupee of public expenditure. It has to cover the way schemes are conceptualized and how women friendly they are in implementation and targeting of beneficiaries. It has to embrace a gender sensitive analysis of monetary policies, covering impact of indicators like inflation, interest rates etc. and fiscal policies covering taxation, excise etc. Thus gender budgeting analysis has to go hand in hand with gender mainstreaming. (GoI, 2005: para 6.5a, my emphasis) The Department was not naïve as to the implications of this new approach – it represented a ‘mammoth task’ (ibid). On a more positive note, the gender budgeting initiative has given impetus to a potentially more radical ­development – changes in how women and men’s paid and unpaid labour, including in the care economy, is measured and recorded in the system of national accounts. This has potential to change the ways in which women are seen to contribute to the national economy, including a revalorisation of unpaid labour. For example, with regard to the gender budgeting initiative, the ­Department of Women and Child Development asserted

National initiatives in gender mainstreaming  87 It is necessary to recognize that women are equal players in the economy whether they participate directly as workers or indirectly as members of the care economy. To that extent, every policy of the Government fiscal, monetary or trade, has a direct impact on the well being of women. (GoI, 2005: 6.5a) At the same time, gender budgeting exercises are limited in only seeking to recognise rather than transform gendered inequalities. Gender budgeting approaches present men and women as two sets of economic actors, with different preferences and affected by different incentives by virtue of their different socio-economic roles and structural locations in both paid and unpaid economies. As a result, both men and women are affected by and respond to budgetary policies differently (Lahiri et al., 2005: 2). In achieving recognition of these differences, there is also a danger that these differences become essentialised and entrenched. A reductive essentialism may also exclude other different dynamics amongst men and amongst women, according to class, caste, religion, and region, which also affect and interact with gendered inequalities. It is also highly heteronormative and assumes that persons can be divided into binary genders (Mishra and Sinha, 2012: 53). This contradicts recent developments in public policy, such as recognising transgender and intersex persons as citizens, voters, electoral candidates, and elected representatives. These dynamics affect the ability of all to participate in market and non-market activities, and to respond to and benefit from, or be adversely affected by, public policy. In this sense, gender budgeting in India still has a long way to go. D ­ espite continued efforts, it has been a struggle to gain acceptance within the ­bureaucracy that these concerns should be part of government policymaking practice, though some departments have made more progress than others. Beyond conceptual difficulties, it also seems to be the case that gender budgeting practices within government departments are still influenced by the narrow allocative concerns of the previous Women’s Component Plan approach, and as a result are concentrated in social sector departments where ‘women’ beneficiaries of government schemes are easily identifiable. But as two former UN Women South Asia officials noted, even in cases where the allocation is provided, ‘the question that escapes scrutiny is whether these allocations, in any way, seek to redress gender imbalances… Does this expenditure then promote women’s empowerment or gender ­inequality in any way?’ (Mishra and Sinha, 2012: 52). They argue that, according to this logic, conversely, a gender sensitisation training programme for male officers would presumably not be counted, despite the fact it is designed to address gender inequality (ibid). And even in departments where women are often the main target beneficiary, this does not always guarantee identification of allocation – according to one study, the 2007–2008 Budget made no separate allocation for implementing the Domestic Violence Act of 2005 (Patel, 2007: 16).

88  National initiatives in gender mainstreaming It has been harder to convince departments that do not have women as a target beneficiary of their policies that gender is a relevant concern for their policymaking process. The 2007–2008 Budget of the Government of India was criticised for not mentioning women in the chapter on Water Supply and Sanitation, despite being both consumers and suppliers of water to the household (Patel, 2007: 16). This author witnessed a different episode where one government official was unaware how a gender analysis could be conducted on export policy and thus deemed it irrelevant to their particular ministry (author’s fieldnotes). Mishra and Sinha’s suggestion for such ministries is not to dismiss its relevance because budgetary allocations cannot be easily divided by gendered ‘beneficiary’ identities, by gendered bodies, but to ask how they can make their own policy more gender-responsive (Mishra and Sinha, 2012: 53). In part this might be attributed to limited progress on establishing Gender Budget Cells across ministries of the central government. In some ministries, they had not been established and in others they existed on p ­ aper only. The parliamentary committee examining gender budgeting initiatives suggested improving inter-ministerial co-ordination; in its reply to the committee, the Department of Women and Child Development said this had been done with the establishment of an inter-ministerial institutional co-­ ordinating mechanism led by the Ministry of Finance with the Secretary of Women and Child Development as a Member. Yet, more than seven years later, one study suggested this Gender Budgeting Directorate was yet to be established (Mishra and Sinha, 2012: fn. 11). There has also not been insufficient commitment to broader gender ­auditing concerns (Mishra and Sinha, 2012). Questions have been raised, ­including by those within government, as to what use is an increase in ­allocation for specific gender-responsive schemes if macroeconomic government policy exacerbates gender inequalities in poverty and other forms of deprivation (Goyal, 2005). Similarly, the parliamentary committee ­examining gender budgeting noted the Secretary of Women and Child ­Development had written to the Ministry of Finance and the Planning Commission asking them to consider the adverse gendered consequences of policy instruments to reduce the government’s debt burden (Rajya Sabha, 2005b: para 6.1).

Gender mainstreaming and internal norm change in the civil service So far, the initiatives discussed have sought to transform particular aspects of public policymaking such as planning and budgeting and have drawn on specialist, often external, expertise to inform policy. Since the mid-1990s, ­attempts have also been made to transform the institutional norms of the senior civil service more broadly and to develop awareness and competency in

National initiatives in gender mainstreaming  89 gender concepts and concerns through formal training, to change the broader institutional culture and improve the gender-responsiveness of policy. Gendered institutional norms Post-Independence India inherited the ‘steel frame’ of the colonial ICS, with dominant codes reflecting its class-based and gender-based profile: ­m iddle-class, ‘gentlemanly’, public service-oriented, with a sense of superiority, and a detached and generalist approach to governance (Potter, 1986: 233; Mars, 1974: 323, 344; Shrimali, 1960, quoted in Mars, 1974: 324). The IAS has remained a predominantly urban, middle-class, male-dominated institution. As of 2015, the IAS was made up of 83 percent male officers and 17 percent female officers.12 In part, this aggregate figure reflects the historically lower intake of women IAS officers. However, in recent years, the entry of women IAS officers has fluctuated, from 12 percent in 2005 to 32 percent in 2010, falling again to 16 percent the following year, and then rising again to more than 30 percent for three consecutive years (2013, 2014, and 2015; discussed below).13 Institutionalised gender inequalities in the IAS are reflected in historical and contemporary civil service rules and norms. India’s new constitution at Independence gave women the right to equal employment opportunities in government employment (Article 16, quoted in Thakur, c.1997: 14).14 However, the 1954 IAS Recruitment Rules stipulated that no married woman could be appointed to the service. Furthermore, a women officer who ­subsequently married would be asked to resign if her role as wife was deemed to interfere with her role as officer (Thakur, c.1997: 15). Whilst this rule was deleted in 1972, the implicit assumption remained that for women, ‘family and domestic commitments are solely a woman’s responsibility…The career is viewed as an adjunct or supplementary activity to the responsibility of family commitments’ (Thakur, c.1997: 15). Similarly, Thakur’s study of gender norms in the civil service noted spouses of male officers are almost automatically considered to be extensions of their husbands, [but] for female officers if their spouses do not share the same career there is often a sharp division between activities on the home front and in office. This impacts on the nature of informal networks, placing constraints on women officers’ informal social interactions and opportunities to build rapport with more senior colleagues. (c.1997: 27) Some women officers believed these practices denied them the same career opportunities as their male colleagues (Thakur, c.1997: 27). This may explain why female officers are more likely than male officers to marry within

90  National initiatives in gender mainstreaming the service (Benbabaali, 2008). Thus, official and unofficial gendered norms work to position men officers as the norm and women officers as outsiders, or ‘space invaders’ (Puwar, 2004), in the civil service. Thakur’s survey of IAS officers revealed a sense amongst female officers that their performance is judged based on gendered assumptions and that both success and failure is attributed to being a woman: … The slightest slip up on your part is immediately attributed to your being a woman. If you are successful it is because you have taken undue advantage of being a lady; if you are bad it was to be expected. (quoted in Thakur, c.1997: 25) Sexual harassment was considered more of a problem in the IAS by female officer respondents, than men: less than 10 percent of male respondents saw it as being a problem compared to more than one-fifth of female respondents (Thakur, c.1997: 21–22). Bureaucratic postings also reveal gendered patterns, with men in field postings and women concentrated in social sector postings, especially ‘Women and Child’ or ‘Social Welfare’ but also Health, Rural Development and Education and sometimes Personnel (Thakur, c.1997: 18, 20).15 In contrast, male officers remarked that female officers benefitted from ‘comfortable’ and ‘safe’ postings compared to some dangerous postings assigned to male officers. Finance, however, is a male domain with female officers ­assumed to be less capable in this sector. A senior officer observed, even within social sectors, posts concerned with ‘economic and fi ­ nancial’ principles are viewed as male preserves, as if women cannot master such subjects unless they are financial advisers with accounts backgrounds. If at all women get an opportunity to work in male preserves they are given personnel, housekeeping, and co-ordination jobs and invariably asked whether they have science and maths qualifications. This is a question rarely put to a male. (Thakur, c.1997: 18). The presence of international donors in social sectors has impacted the way bureaucrats view social sector postings, however, due to perquisites such as foreign travel and deputation to international organisations (Das, 2005). This has increased interest of male officers (Thakur, c1997: 21). One senior bureaucrat remarked, in the normal scheme of things the Women and Child Ministry is looked down upon, it’s viewed as a woman’s Ministry, though there are very competent men who have worked there. Men have become more interested in working there…when perks are available…[T]hey’d love to work on the seat which has UNICEF, or which is linked with UNIFEM, as

National initiatives in gender mainstreaming  91 there may be foreign travel involved. They wouldn’t like to work on programs in the field. I mean they’re not really enamoured by it… The common perception is that people who are in the economics ministries or commerce ministries are highly successful… [N]o careerist man would necessarily want to be in Women and Child. (interview, February 2007) Thus, the bureaucracy reflects and reproduces entrenched gendered divisions of labour and unequal gender relations in broader social institutions (Thakur, c.1997: 32). Planning, finance, and economic affairs as policy domains are equated with male officers and gender concerns with social sectors and female officers. To what extent does this gendered division of labour in postings impact the content of public policy? Might increasing the presence of female officers in conventionally male-dominated areas (and overall) create a more conducive institutional culture for mainstreaming concerns of gender equity into conventional and unconventional policy sectors? Have such reforms been attempted and with what results? To what extent is the IAS open to change, particularly in relation to its gendered institutional culture? Studies of the IAS argue it has been consistently resistant to fundamental reforms, notwithstanding some minor adjustment in the 1990s as a result of liberalisation (Potter, 1986, 1996; Rudolph and Rudolph, 1987; Weiner, 2002; Das, 2005). The IAS has also become somewhat more inclusive of marginalised communities as a result of reservations in government employment, but as Weiner argues, the latter has ‘apparently done little to reduce the enormous social and economic disparities that persist in India’s hierarchical and inegalitarian social order’ and has had little effect on public policy, redistribution and an increase in public expenditure to benefit lower castes (2002: 212–213). Successive administrative reforms have rarely been explicitly concerned with gender inclusiveness within the service, dominated instead by discussions over general remuneration, increasing the specialisation of civil servants, improving accountability, transparency and ‘good governance’, curbing corruption, and streamlining the bureaucracy to increase administrative efficiency. Of the 15 reports released by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission 2005, recruitment is the focus of a whole chapter of the tenth report on reforming personnel administration, but the low presence of women in the IAS is not mentioned as a concern (GoI, 2008).16 The twelfth report on Citizen Centric Administration acknowledged the need for greater responsiveness to women citizens but did not link this to the IAS’s gendered institutional culture. The report of the Committee on Civil Service Reforms17 restricted its comments to women’s low numbers in the higher civil service and recommended preferential policies to enable increased recruitment. The aim was to double the proportion of women in the higher civil service to at least 25 percent in the next 15 years from 12 to 13 percent

92  National initiatives in gender mainstreaming (GoI, 2004: 80). The report attributed the problem of women’s low presence to the gendered division of labour outside the service, which made it difficult for women to perform official duties. It provided no further detail to explain why ‘domestic responsibilities’ only affected female not male officers: In our country women are meritorious enough to come in larger ­number into the higher civil service but they do not feel encouraged to join the service as they have to balance their roles as wives and mothers with highly demanding roles as civil servants. Higher civil service  – ­particularly the All India Services and some other Central Services which have field duties – makes a lot of demand on the time of officers and women officers often find it difficult to apportion time to official work at the expense of their domestic responsibilities. (GoI, 2004: 79) The report suggested reservation was not a favoured strategy amongst women officers themselves for increasing the recruitment of women to the IAS: ‘Women officers of the higher civil service have pointed out that they do not want either any reservation of posts for them or any other concessions to join the civil service in larger number’ (GoI, 2004: 79). Previous governments have also rejected discrimination in civil service recruitment practices as a reason for women’s low numbers. In a response to a parliamentary question in 2005, the Minister of State for Personnel, Suresh Pachouri, rejected the possibility that such low numbers was a result of discrimination. The Minister referred to the constitutional provision of equal opportunities for women and men in government employment, suggesting that this provision was adequate. The Minister attributed the low number of women in government employment to ‘various social, economic and cultural factors’ (Rajya Sabha, 2005a) without specifying what these factors were or the reason why they might result in low numbers of women in government employment. However, the year prior, the Hota Committee recommended preferential policies to increase women officers’ entitlements to paid leave from the current entitlement of 135 days paid maternity leave, which the Committee deemed ‘not at all adequate to enable women in the higher civil service to play their roles effectively as mothers and wives’ (GoI, 2004: 79). The Committee recommended increasing this to four years’ paid leave, over and above that already provided under service rules, to ‘enable them to balance their roles as officers with their roles as mothers/housewives’ (GoI, 2004: 104). Subsequently, the government responded to a parliamentary question asking what efforts the government had made to address the low numbers of women in central government service, and responded that text encouraging women to apply would be added to government recruitment advertisements with the message that the government aims for a gender-balanced workforce (Lok Sabha, 2009). Women would also be exempt from the civil

National initiatives in gender mainstreaming  93 service examination fee (ibid). Several years later, newspapers reported that the UPSC issued a notice encouraging women to apply for the civil services examination (Indian Express, 2015; Deccan Chronicle, 2016). Women officers’ rejection of reservations for women is not surprising, given the dominance of liberal norms of merit through competitive recruitment. A senior female bureaucrat explained, there’s a lot of resistance… women who are just got into the civil service resist tremendously. And the reason they resist, which is understandable,… people who have just come in on their merit, it’s like doing an exam, [an individual] gets into the civil service because she’s a bright student… So she doesn’t like to hear [about quotas]. (interview, February 2007) Why have All India Services been able to defend the institutional norm of merit against recruitment policies underpinned by special treatment on the grounds of gender but not caste?18 One possibility is the background of women who enter the service. Another question is whether women have access to recruitment opportunities through caste reservations in the absence of reservations for women. Even in central government service, reservation has not been adopted to increase numbers of women in government service. Instead, several state governments have reserved government jobs for women, but these have been restricted to lower levels of the public sector. State governments have no authority to implement reservation for women in the All India Service (discussed in Chapter 6). The implications of this bureaucratic resistance do not bode well for feminist transformative strategies. The higher intake of women into the IAS in recent years is encouraging, but these women (and men) enter, and are socialised into, a gendered institutional environment. The IAS has, however, made attempts to improve awareness amongst civil service officers on the relevance of gender for public policy. Gender training in the civil service: developing genderresponsiveness, changing institutional culture? In 1993, a three-year collaborative civil service training project was set in motion as a concerted attempt to ‘establish gender issues as a priority concern in development initiatives’ (GoI and British Council, 1996: 1). A key outcome of the project was the development of a ‘national gender training resource’. It served as a precursor to a larger capacity-building project of the Department of Personnel and Training (GOI) and UNDP, tasked with civil service administrative reform. The Gender Planning Training Project was an international collaboration between the governments of India and the United Kingdom, involving the Department of Personnel and Training (GOI), the British Council Division in New Delhi (on behalf of

94  National initiatives in gender mainstreaming DFID, then named the Overseas Development Administration), the Institute of ­Development Studies (IDS) in Sussex, UK, the Lal Bahadur Shastri ­National Academy of Administration (India’s premier civil service training institute), and five participating states (Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Rajasthan). The project adopted the analytical framework of an IDS course on women, men, and development and adapted it for the Indian context (GoI and British Council, 1996: 1). This framework underpinned the development of ten gender training modules and their application for gender training in policy analysis and the planning process.19 Evaluation feedback suggested some success. There were also signs of early success in application and coverage amongst the participating states involved – individual thematic modules had been adapted and delivered as standalone modules. Institutionalisation of the project was a key issue for sustainability (GoI and British Council, 1996: 5). As the designated lead training institute, LBS National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) established a National Centre for Gender Training, Planning and Research within the academy in 1998. By 2003, LBSNAA proposed changing the approach to delivering gender training to civil service officers and emphasised mainstreaming gender issues in development policy and planning. They recognised that in order to give gender issues the necessary attention there is a felt need to shift the focus from running “stand alone modules” on gender-­ specific topics, to integration of gender issues into the existing syllabi and ­curriculum of the Academy, which is developed for the Officer Trainees. (LBSNAA, 2003: 1–2) The proposal for the new format not only retained the analytical gender relations framework from the earlier (GPTP) phase but also reiterated the need to ‘focus on gender rather than women…, [which] implies not looking at ‘women’ and ‘women’s issues’ in isolation’ (LBSNAA, 2003: 3). This shift in focus required a consideration of both women’s and men’s concerns and experiences, which ‘recognize[d] the different needs of women and men’ (LBSNAA, 2003: 3). It also suggested that mainstreaming gender in the training curriculum would contribute towards ‘good governance’. Other key objectives included gender sensitisation of officers and trainees, familiarity with the rights-based approach to development, and training on the recently adopted strategy of gender budgeting as part of gender-responsive planning. Consequently, gender training became formally institutionalised into state bureaucratic structures at the All India Services level. Gender training in the bureaucracy is important, given that, in India, the femocrat s­ trategy – the lateral entry of gender experts – has not represented much of an option for Indian feminist advocates, though important exceptions exist. Senior ­Indian civil service norms emphasise generalism and promotion by seniority

National initiatives in gender mainstreaming  95 more than performance, meaning that for a considerable time, specialist e­ xpertise was rarely introduced via lateral entry; few experts were recruited from external bodies to work in government ministries at levels directly influencing public policymaking. The exception was in finance, planning, and economics where this took place (see Chapter 2). Introducing gender training in induction training and across the service is an effort to mainstream gender awareness and provide relevant expertise and tools for public policy analysis. However, this depends on the training reaching b ­ eyond the ‘gender person’ within departments and ministries, limiting the institutionalisation of awareness, especially when individuals are transferred to new postings, as in the case of gender budget cells and gender budgeting initiatives (Mishra and Sinha, 2012: 55). Furthermore, initial feminist consciousness and gender awareness may become diluted over time with bureaucrats becoming institutionalised into IAS culture instead. As C.K. Gariyali, a senior woman IAS officer from ­Tamil Nadu stated, ‘I lost my gender consciousness long ago. But I have been able to help many women who are deprived and oppressed through my job’ (quoted in Santhanam, 2005). The implications for changing the ‘rules of the game’ once in service, considered central to a feminist strategy of transformation, are thus limited: if seniority in the IAS is determined by the number of years in service, it makes it all the more difficult for ‘femocrats’ to sustain such a strategy of resistance over time in the face of a routinisation and institutionalisation of gendered bureaucratic norms and practices. These arrangements provide little opportunity to feminists to work i­ nside the state as bureaucrats to further an agenda of gender equality within state policies and practices. Nevertheless, institutional resistance to feminist-­ minded bureaucrats does not discount the possibility that through exposure to issues of gender equality and women’s empowerment in particular postings or ad hoc career training, individual officers, men and women, will become interested in these issues (explored in a later chapter). For example, in the case of gender budgeting, a government-wide requirement to report gender-differentiated allocations and provisions of budgets, policies, and programmes, might stimulate further thought and reflection on the impacts of that Ministry’s policies on women and on gender equality (Mishra and Sinha, 2012: 51). Thus, opportunities for institutionalising organisational learning requiring further research for deeper understanding. Training policy to sensitise recruits to the importance of gender-equitable development issues is a positive development. But the effectiveness of gender training is unclear and requires sustained analysis. First, has this new gender awareness yet translated into gender-responsive policy (and is it a naïve assumption that it would)? Second, has the impetus for gender training been sustained beyond the National Academy at Mussoorie in government departments and state-level training institutes, some of whom were involved in the original training project? Has gender training become embedded, institutionalised, within bureaucratic

96  National initiatives in gender mainstreaming norms and practice? As a former official suggested, what kind of time lag should we expect, between training and seniority before the fruits of training become visible in policy and practice? Third, should we anticipate limits to gender sensitisation? Finally, can changes to gender norms in the IAS effect broader societal changes in gender relations, particularly the urban middle class, or will societal change precede and drive institutional change in the IAS towards a more gender-responsive institutional culture?

Subject, objects, and agents of national development Whose participation determines the success or failure of gender ­mainstreaming initiatives? Not surprisingly, political leadership matters for gender mainstreaming. Feminists engaging the state face different ­opportunities depending on which party is in power. As one feminist former government adviser explained, Government has many faces, the government has many forms, and whether we like it or not, it depends a lot on who is in power. For instance, when the right-wing BJP-kind of parties in power, you find that there is almost no space for women at all… [M]aybe that’s the nature of their politics. Similarly when you look at the extreme Left parties like CPI(M) in West Bengal, even there they don’t like to talk about women’s issues as women’s issues… [W]hen you look back at the whole tradition of communist parties across the world, this has been a big issue… [T] here is a lot of resistance in some political parties to be able to engage with women. On the other hand most of the centrist kind of groups which have come to power at different points of time, seem to be wanting to use the women’s constituency a lot more than maybe people who are on the extreme right or extreme left. So I think… in India it depends a lot on who is in power, and what the equations are, and how we are able to pressurise or mediate at any given point in time. (interview, December 2007) Engaging with political parties in government is not straightforward, but surprising gains can be made in seemingly hostile contexts. A former official of the MWCD explained that despite the particular ideological ­considerations of the governing political party, this did not preclude policy developments in relation to the National Policy for the Empowerment of Women (2001): …we had a pushing minister who wanted to get it through, we got it through even though he was from the BJP, [there was] a lot of support from him and a lot of resistance at various levels from other ministries but yes we did get that through (interview, February 2007).

National initiatives in gender mainstreaming  97 As noted, both specialisation and gender-sensitisation of bureaucrats are important for gender mainstreaming. One feminist government advisor suggested that slowly the need for specialists in women’s development to work within government is being recognised but that it needs to be done more, something which has been happening in other sectors for a while: [I]f you look at the economic advisors that the government has had, very senior economic advisors, most of them are people that have been in and out of universities, research institutions, World Bank, and things like that. But when it came to social sector programmes, this was not a practice, because somehow there was a feeling that you don’t need somebody with any kind of specialisation to work on these issues, anyone, any woman with sensitivity can do it. And then suddenly there was a realisation that ‘No I think it’s important to get people who maybe from the university who can actually do this kind of work’. And once there was a recognition, then it became easy, because there are systems in India to do that…[I]n the Finance Ministry there have been systems like this for a long time, and they have used these systems… But when it came to women’s development, for instance women’s empowerment, these systems were not being used to the same extent. (interview, December 2007) Growing demand for gender expertise has mixed implications. If b ­ ureaucrats increasingly specialise as ‘gender experts’, or are exposed to gender expertise of external advisors, ‘evidence-based’ policy proposals may improve the prospects for gender mainstreaming success. Gender sensitisation may also enable bureaucrats to develop new administrative subjectivities, including enabling male bureaucrats to become engaged in policy areas hitherto considered ‘women’s issues’. Individual gender-responsive male ­bureaucrats have also challenged the notion that only women can be feminist ­bureaucrats, or that female bureaucrats are more sensitive to gender policy concerns, to the extent that gender-responsive male bureaucrats become role models for other male bureaucrats (interview, February 2007). One such male bureaucrat was temporarily a secretary of MWCD (then only a department), but later became Chief Secretary. A former civil servant recalled, Though he had always worked in economics ministries, he was a ­ ynamo. He pushed things which had been lingering for years…I think d it did the Women and Child Ministry a lot of good, shook it up and got it moving, got lots of stuff through, he initiated a lot of stuff. But as I said, I don’t think he would have… I mean five years in Women and Child would have been too much. I think he moved on… And now of course he’s Cabinet Secretary. (interview, February 2007)

98  National initiatives in gender mainstreaming On the other hand, increasing reliance on gender ‘expertise’ may produce more technocratic results, preventing democratic participation in policy processes. Also, the pace and extent to which gender training and gender sensitisation can bring about a transformation should not be overestimated, as the same official observed: ‘to a large extent it is a long haul, and I don’t think one should actually pretend or fool oneself to think that you get a massive attitudinal change at the end, you know things are so deeply ­embedded’ (interview, February 2007). Addressing the devaluation of the so-called ‘soft’ sectors does not guarantee the so-called ‘gender-blind’ sectors will open up faster or more sincerely to feminist scrutiny. Opportunities to influence policy remain precarious and have to be repeatedly secured; the degree of institutionalisation should not be overstated. The success or failure of mainstreaming initiatives is also highly contingent on individual bureaucrats occupying senior positions and whether they are supportive. In the absence of a more gender-responsive institutional ­culture, individual actors’ commitments to pursue progressive policies are just as important as their discursive and institutional context. Policy is often a compromise, requiring feminist bureaucrats not only to bargain and ­negotiate and recognise but also to push against the parameters of possibility. The passage of the National Policy for the Empowerment of Women (2001), for example, involved a lot of compromise: I don’t think the final product was the ideal empowerment policy but you know sometimes to get something through you have to compromise, and it is actually a lot of compromise on this and that and so on, but we were very pleased that we could get the policy through. (interview with former official of MWCD, February 2007) External (non-government) feminist actors engaging with state institutions have played important roles on the few occasions these opportunities became ­ amachandran available (beyond an advisory or consultative role). Vimala R was one of a few individuals coming from outside ­government, from a ­university on a secondment and was invited with colleague Srilatha B ­ atliwala as specialists to work within government.20 They were tasked with designing a programme for women’s adult education, to help implement part of the new education policy, education for women’s equality. The programme became known as the Mahila Samakhya programme. These women saw engagement with the state as crucial; they sought to enter government spaces and make changes from within. But the will from within government also needs to be there, as one specialist explains, I think somewhere there is a sort of a realisation within the ­government that maybe certain things are better done by civil society organisations. But very often people in government do not know how to go about it…. So it depends a lot on who is actually driving this within the government.

National initiatives in gender mainstreaming  99 You need a sensitive civil servant or you need a group of civil servants who are willing to drive this from within, and when that happens then it’s possible to get people from outside to come into the government and work and go out again. (interview, December 2007) Thus, external participation requires initiative from within the state by ­sensitive bureaucrats. Part of the reluctance to engage with non-government specialists on gender and development issues has been the hostile relationship or ‘inherent suspicion’ between the state and the women’s movement dating back to the 1970s when the feminist movement ‘was essentially directed against the government’ (interview with specialist, December 2007). The state has resisted highly progressive civil society organisations: ‘there’s no doubt that the state always pulls back when civil society is very progressive and starts challenging the state too much and the state does tend to pull back’ (interview with former IAS officer, February 2007). But journalist and commentator Kalpana Sharma noted in relation to the shortcomings of the National Commission for Women Act 1990, ‘each time the government falls short of its promises, it contributes to the prevailing cynicism that little can be achieved through the state apparatus for the true emancipation of women’ (Sharma, 1990). Despite state reluctance, it is encouraging that observers believe civil ­society has had a ‘huge impact…and still does’ in the area of women, gender, and development policy (interview with former IAS officer). One specialist’s experience of working from both within and outside government led her to believe that working within government alone is insufficient, that it is important ‘to have people with different skills who can leverage what they can do from different spaces’ whether it be from within government or outside. She suggests it involves the coming together of four groups – social activists, people within government, bilateral and multilateral donors, and research and academic community – and of them working from their respective spaces that will bring about systemic change (interview, December 2007). International fora have provided significant space for feminist mobilisation for the women’s movement in India. The Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 enabled the women’s movement to renew old demands on the Indian state and construct new demands. Nearly all the initiatives undertaken in the 1990s referenced the Beijing Platform for Action to add greater legitimacy to new policy. Several Think Tank members involved in Engendering Five-Year Plans were members of nascent organisation NAWO, whose establishment was a direct outcome of the women’s movements’ mobilisation for Beijing in 1995 (NAWO, 2000: iii). NAWO fully endorsed the goals and language of the Platform for Action; one of its objectives included working towards and monitoring the Beijing Platform for Action (NAWO, n.d.). In its Beijing+5 report, NAWO described the Beijing Platform for Action as a ‘powerful framework and reference

100  National initiatives in gender mainstreaming point’ for different actors to ‘advance the goals of equality, development and peace’ (2000: i). UN committees reviewing state government action under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Woman have also provided an important forum and co-ordination mechanism for the Indian women’s movement to hold the Indian government accountable. ­International agencies such as DFID, UNIFEM, and UNDP have played facilitative roles in several mainstreaming initiatives. Meanwhile, however, we see neo-liberal discourses of ‘gender equality as smart economics’ ­informing policy, and thus the power-laden asymmetries of international development ‘expertise’ and donor agendas must not be forgotten. Women’s Studies in India has provided important resources for feminists engaging with government. However, Women’s Studies departments face a dilemma regarding research agendas and funding constraints. The institutional politics of research is challenging for critical analyses of gendered development in India, as one practitioner explains, the quality of research has come down in India…partly because over the last at least ten years, there is more commissioned research than independent research…A lot of the research is purely driven by the projects that they [organisations including bilateral and multilateral donors] are funding. So the whole world of commissioned research has actually squeezed institutions and there is very little money. (interview, December 2007) In an environment where gender-responsive development policy ­increasingly relies on gender expertise, this raises the crucial question of how the women’s movement can sustain efforts to critically engage the state to address feminist demands.

Conclusion This chapter has identified and analysed several initiatives undertaken by the national government since the 1990s to make government policy, institutional structures, and state actors more gender-responsive. This has involved building institutional structures in the form of a national machinery for women including the establishment of a National Commission for Women, a National Mission for the Empowerment of Women, a Parliamentary committee for the Empowerment of Women, and formal promotion in the status from Department to MWCD. Attempts at mainstreaming gender have engaged with planning and budgeting processes and have formally institutionalised gender training in the senior civil service. The state, in varied forms, has resisted substantial change although the extent and form of this resistance is often complex and contingent. Also complex is the extent to which differently positioned subjects and agents have been afforded

National initiatives in gender mainstreaming  101 different degrees of agency as a result of specific institutional norms and practices, and thus opportunities for agency appear highly contingent. Identifiable tensions also exist in the conceptualisation of gender mainstreaming strategies. A positive development is the government’s increased recognition and employment of ‘gender expertise’ to inform planning processes, which in part is a success of agenda-setting strategies which seek to gain recognition for women’s perspectives and interests, requiring presence and participation in agenda setting. Agenda-setting strategies can bring needed attention to previously unacknowledged group demands. Whilst some suggest the preference for professional gender expertise stems from the political economy of donor funding as opposed to a sincere recognition of its importance or a commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment, and whilst external consultations are not always influential, such external consultations have achieved some important successes. But is this gender expertise truly inclusive and representative of the ­diversity of women’s interests and the complexity of intersectional gender inequalities? Is the (albeit limited) gender mainstreaming process sufficiently democratised? This is an acknowledged difficulty with gender mainstreaming strategies generally and not confined to the Indian context. It manifests in particular ways in India, with the intersectionality of caste and gender, for example, which has been a challenge for the Indian women’s movement in terms of representation and inclusiveness (Rege, 2013 [1999]: 4). Initiatives have been underpinned by different policy approaches. Some strategies privilege the language of women’s empowerment as opposed to gender equality, which channels resources and energy towards women, but in some guises can encourage an isolated focus on women alone, imploring women to change their behaviour, as opposed to addressing structural gender inequalities. Gender-responsive policymaking focusing on gender has been informed by an equality discourse emphasising gender difference, that is, both men and women are different so should be treated differently in policy. Feminist theorists define a difference equality perspective as one which ‘seeks to reverse the order of things: to place at the centre that which is currently marginalized, to value that which is currently devalued, to privilege that which is currently subordinated’ (Squires, 2000: 118). This reversal strategy ‘involves replacing male-ordered thinking with a discourse that privileges women’s experiences and women’s perspectives’ (ibid). Influencing and effectively replacing the ‘male-dominated’ agenda with a feminist standpoint based on women’s experiences becomes the priority. Gender difference may be a much more contextually acceptable discourse compared to liberal focus on sameness – where men and women are the same, but gender inequality arises from unfair differential treatment. But focusing on difference creates potential for interpretative slippage between difference as natural (a more conservative, essentialist discourse) or difference produced as a result of situatedness in societal institutions, labour

102  National initiatives in gender mainstreaming markets, access to resources, and so on. Even if the latter is potentially more transformative, it still runs the risk of essentialising these differences as static, rather than as a locus for transformation. Furthermore, whilst the presence and visibility of ‘difference’ are strategically important, the inadvertent danger is that hypervisibility reproduces marginality: ‘women’ are repeatedly constituted as a hyper-visible ‘special’ and ‘needy’ policy target group, for which ‘special’ programmes are devised, separate from the ‘mainstream’. Meanwhile, the privilege underpinning the unspoken, unnamed ­occupants of the ‘mainstream’, in actuality a minority, goes unacknowledged and unquestioned. Instead, what may be more fruitful is to reverse the policy gaze from ‘backwardness’ or ‘weakness’ to ‘privilege’, to challenge the naturalised, essentialised ‘weakness’ amongst marginalised social groups, and better recognise the structures that reproduce such marginalisation and sustain the unquestioned privileged minority’s status as ‘mainstream’. The discourse of targeted policy enabling ‘weak groups’, the majority, to ‘catch-up’ to the ‘mainstream’ – an ironic reproduction of problematic modernisation discourse – instead is replaced by a recognition of how the privileged position of the few constituting the ‘mainstream’ is relative to and contingent on the marginalised status of ‘weaker’ groups. Finally, a focus on gender difference seriously complicates efforts to recognise and address intersectional disparities amongst women as a result of caste-based or religious-based marginalisation or oppression. A strategy of mainstreaming, which represents diverse configurations of gender relations, is essential to be more transformative in the long run. In the following four chapters, we shift focus from the national to the subnational level, exploring similarities and differences in institutions, ­discourses, and agency at the state level in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The task is to understand not only the different institutional, discursive, and agential contexts of national- and state-level policy on gender and development but also the diversity amongst states, including those within the same regional location in (south) India. Implicitly, the analysis asks whether the national context frames subnational state policy or whether states, especially since 1990, have tried to follow their own path in relation to gender and development, and with what outcomes, consequences, and implications.

Notes 1 Another 1990s initiative not discussed here, but which has aided other initiatives, has sought to increase official gender-disaggregated statistical data, both at national and subnational levels. 2 Prior to the National Commission for Women’s establishment in 1992, the main government body besides the Department of Women and Child Welfare, was the Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB), established in 1953. CSWB co-ordinated women’s welfare programmes through voluntary organisations (Mazumdar et al., 2001: 33). See Rai (2003) and Arya (2009) on the Commission.

National initiatives in gender mainstreaming  103 3 The exception is the rare promotion of senior employees of state civil services into the IAS. 4 For the Ninth Plan, regional consultations took place in 1997 in Calcutta (eastern states), Pune (western states), Bangalore (southern states), Chandigarh (northern states), and Umiam (northeastern states). The national consultation took place in Delhi in March 1997. 5 Feminist economist Bina Agarwal contributed to various working groups of the Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Plans, before joining the Eleventh Plan’s advisory body of feminist economists. She chaired the working group on ‘Disadvantaged Farmers Including Women’ in 2011. 6 This interesting document serves as an important historical record, because advisory work for public bodies often goes unacknowledged. 7 Replies were received from states from all regions of India: Rajasthan, Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, Bihar and Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Arunachal Pradesh. 8 The Finance Ministry has responsibility for budgets and contains the highest concentration of IFS officers in central government, whose familiarity with budgeting and finance procedures outweigh most senior personnel in the MWCD. 9 Initiation of gender budgeting was linked to a New Delhi workshop held in July 2000 in collaboration with UNIFEM, on ‘Engendering National Budgets in the South Asian Region’ (GoI, 2002: para 11.2.4). 10 Mishra and Sinha (2012: 56) suggest the Finance Ministry’s involvement is ‘critical’. 11 The Department also acknowledged positive responses from other Departments (GoI, 2005). Similarly, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human ­Resource Development endorsed gender budgeting when they scrutinised initiatives in 2004 and 2005, though shortcomings were noted (Rajya Sabha, 2004: para 3.5). 12 Sourced from the IAS Civil List database at ListOfQueriesCL.htm. 13 Calculated by the author from the IAS Civil List search query database according to allotment year at 14 Remarkably, few studies exist on gendered norms and practice in the Indian civil service. Sarojini Thakur’s study of gender in the Indian civil services is the most detailed (Thakur, c.1997; see also Thakur, 2000). At the time of Thakur’s study, she was an IAS officer posted at the LBSNAA in Mussorie. 15 Thakur’s study reported 20.3 percent of all women officers surveyed were in ­social sectors and 43.9 per cent of all men officers surveyed were in field positions. 16 The reports are available on the 2005 Administrative Reforms Commission’s website (GoI, n.d.-a). 17 Also known as the Hota Committee, after Chairperson P.C. Hota, former ­Chairperson of the UPSC. 18 Candidates categorised as SC, ST, and OBC enter as direct recruits to the All India Services through two streams: the general category and the reserved ­category. The latter has ‘relaxed standards’ for recruitment (GoI, 1989). 19 Module topics included gender and development, violence against women, gender and forestry, women and panchayati raj, gender and health care, gender and literacy, girls’ education, gender and co-operatives, gender issues in anti-poverty programmes, and gender and entrepreneurship development. 20 Jandhyala (2003: fn.5) notes Vimala Ramachandran’s subsequent appointment as the Mahila Samakhya programme’s first National Project Director was unprecedented, in that a non-governmental person was appointed to director in the national Department of Education.

104  National initiatives in gender mainstreaming

References Arya, S. (2009) The National Commission for Women: Assessing Performance, ­Centre for Women’s Development Studies, Monograph, available online at http://www. pdf Last accessed 7th December 2018. Benbabaali, D. (2008) ‘Questioning the Role of the Indian Administrative Service in National Integration’, South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, available online at Last accessed 7th December 2018. Chidambaram, P. (2004) ‘Union Budget Speech of the Finance Minister 2004’, ­Ministry of Finance, Government of India, Lok Sabha, New Delhi, 8th July, available online at, last accessed 2nd January 2008. Chidambaram, P. (2005) ‘Union Budget Speech of the Finance Minister 2005’, ­Ministry of Finance, Government of India, Lok Sabha, New Delhi, 28th February 2005, available online at, last ­accessed 2nd January 2008. Das, S. K. (2005) ‘Reforms and the Indian Administrative Service’, pp. 171–196 in Mooij, J. (Ed.) The Politics of Economic Reforms in India. New Delhi: Sage Publications. Deccan Chronicle (2016) ‘UPSC Encourages Women to Apply for Civil Services Exam, Deccan Chronicle, 28 April 2016, available online at www.deccanchronicle.­ com/nation/in-other-news/280416/upsc-encourages-women-to-apply-for-­c ivilservices-exam.html. Last accessed 7th December 2018. Elson, D. (Ed.) (1991) Male Bias in the Development Process, Manchester: Manchester University Press. GoI (1989) ‘Measure to Increase SC/ST Representation in the Services under the Government through Direct Recruitment (Govt Circular No. 36012/13/88-Estt (SCT)’, Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India, available online at­Estt(Res).pdf. Last accessed 7th December 2018. GoI (2002) ‘Department of Women and Child Development: Annual Report ­2001–02’, Department of Women and Child Development, Government of India, available online at, last accessed 2nd January 2008. GoI (2004) ‘Report of the Committee on Civil Service Reforms’, Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, Government of India, available online at asp, last accessed 6th December 2007. GoI (2005) ‘Department of Women and Child Development: Annual Report ­2004–05’, Department of Women and Child Development, Government of I­ ndia, available online at, last ­accessed 2nd January 2008. GoI (2006) Report of the Working Group on Empowerment of Women for the XIth Plan, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. GoI (2008) Refurbishing of Personnel Administration, Tenth Report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission, available online at http://indiagovernance. Last accessed 7th December 2018.

National initiatives in gender mainstreaming  105 GoI (2010) Engendering Public Policy: A Report on the Work of the Working Group of Feminist Economists during the Preparation of the Eleventh Five Year Plan, Planning Commission, Government of India. GoI (2011) Union Budget 2011–12: Expenditure Budget: Volume II: All Statements of Budget Estimates, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, available online at Last accessed 7 December 2018. GoI (n.d.-a) ‘Administrative Reforms Commission’: Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, available online at, last accessed 2nd January 2008. GoI and British Council (1996) Gender Planning Training Project: End of Project Seminar, New Delhi: Department of Personnel and Training, GoI. Goyal, A. (2005) ‘Women’s Empowerment Through Gender Budgeting’, D ­ epartment of Women and Child Development, Minister of Human Resource Development, Government of India, New Delhi, mimeo, copy on file with the author. Hirway, I. (2006) ‘Where is Gender in the Eleventh Plan Approach Paper?’ E ­ conomic and Political Weekly, 41 (32), 12 August 2006, pp. 3464–3466. Holli, A. M. (2008) ‘Feminist Triangles: A Conceptual Analysis’, Representation: Journal of Representative Democracy, 44 (2), pp. 169–185. Indian Express (2015) ‘To ensure gender balance, UPSC encourages women to apply for civil services exam’ Indian Express, 26 May 2015, available online at http://­ encourages-women-to-apply-for-civil-services-exam/. Last accessed 7th December 2018. Jandhyala, K. (2003) Empowering Education: The Mahila Samakhya Experience, UNESCO background paper 2004/ED/EFA/MRT/PI/29, UNESCO. Lahiri, A. K., Chakraborty, L. S. and Bhattacharyya, P. N. (2005) Gender Budgeting in India, New Delhi: UNIFEM/NIPFP, ‘Follow the Money’ Series. LBSNAA (2003) Integration of Gender Issues into the Existing Syllabi of LBSNAA (Workshop Report), Mussorie: Lal Bahadur National Academy of Administration. Lok Sabha (2009) Unstarred Question No. 1126 Answered on 25.11.2009 by Minister of State Prithviraj Chavan, Government of India, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Fifteenth Lok Sabha, available online on Lok Sabha Question website­ aspx?qref=78388&lsno=15. Last accessed 7th December 2018. Mars, T. (1974) ‘The National Academy of Administration: Normative Vocabularies and Organisational Reality’, pp. 315–382 in Schaffer, B. (Ed.) Administrative Training and Development: A Comparative Study of East Africa, Zambia, ­Pakistan, and India. New York: Praeger Publishers. Mazumdar, V., Sharma, K., Buch, N. and Sujaya, C. P. (2001) Gender and Governance – A Country Paper (India), New Delhi: Centre for Women’s Development Studies. Mishra, Y. and Sinha, N. (2012) ‘Gender Responsive Budgeting in India: What Has Gone Wrong?’ Economic and Political Weekly, 47 (17), pp. 50–57. NAWO (2000) Report of PFA Implementation in India-NAWO (19995–2000), New Delhi: NAWO Secretariat NAWO (n.d.) ‘Women Working for Peace, Justice and Development’, National ­A lliance of Women, (organisation pamphlet), copy on file with the author.

106  National initiatives in gender mainstreaming Patel, V. (2007) ‘Gender Budgeting in India’, presented at National Workshop on ‘Gender Budgeting – An Effective Tool for Achieving Women’s Empowerment’ on 15.4.2007 organised by Equity Foundation, Patna and Supported by ­Planning Commission of India, Delhi, available online at http://gender-financing.­unwomen. org/~/media/files/un%20women/grb/resources/gender%20budgeting%20in%20 india%20by%20dr%20vibhuti%20patel.pdf. Last accessed 7th December 2018. Potter, D. (1986) India’s Political Administrators 1919–1983, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Puwar, N. (2004) Space Invaders: Race, Gender and Bodies Out of Place, Oxford: Berg. Rai, S. M. (2003) ‘The National Commission for Women: The Indian Experience’, pp. 223–242 in Rai, S. M. (Ed.) Mainstreaming Gender, Democratizing the State? Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women. Manchester: ­Manchester University Press/United Nations. Rai, S. M. and Spary, C. (2019) Performing Representation: Women Members in the Indian Parliament, New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Rajya Sabha (2004) ‘Department-Related Standing Committee on Human Resource Development: Hundred Fifty-Third Report on Gender Budget Analysis (Presented to the Rajya Sabha on 21st December 2004)’, Rajya Sabha Secretariat, available online at htm, last accessed 2nd January 2008. Rajya Sabha (2005a) ‘Unstarred Question No. 3198: Men Women Ratio in Government Offices’, Rajya Sabha, available online at asp?qref=104644, last accessed 9th December 2007. Rajya Sabha (2005b) ‘Hundred Sixty Sixth Report on Action Taken by Government on the Recommendations/Observations Contained in the Hundred Fifty-­Third Report on Gender Budget Analysis’, Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee On Human Resource Development, presented to Rajya Sabha 24 August 2005, New Delhi: Rajya Sabha Secretariat, available online at book2/reports/HRD/166threport.htm Last accessed 7th ­December 2018. Rege, S. (2013 [1999]) ‘Introduction’, pp. 1–10, in Rege, S. (ed.) Writing Caste, Writing Gender: Narrating Dalit Women’s Testimonios. New Delhi: Zubaan Books. Rose, K. (1992) Where Women are Leaders: The SEWA movement in India, London: Zed Books. Rudolph, L. I. and Rudolph, S. H. (1987) In Pursuit of Lakshmi: The Political Economy of the Indian State, London: University of Chicago Press. Santhanam, K. (2005) ‘At the Apex of Administration’, Metro Plus: Chennai in The Hindu, available online at htm. Last accessed 7th December 2018. Sen, G. (2000) ‘Gender Mainstreaming in Finance Ministries’, World Development, 28 (7), pp. 1379–1390. Sharma, K. (1990) ‘Women’s Commission: Flawed Framework’, The Times of India, 30 June 1990, p. 12. Squires, J. (2000) Gender in Political Theory, Oxford: Polity Press. Thakur, S. G. (c.1997) Increasing Awareness for Change: A Survey of Gender and the Civil Services, Mussorie: Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration. Thakur, S. G. (2000) ‘“More Equal than Others?” Gender Bias in the Constitution of Bureaucratic Merit in the Indian Administrative Service’, pp. 102–146 in

National initiatives in gender mainstreaming  107 Kabeer,  N. and Subrahmanian, R. (Eds.) Institutions, Relations and Outcomes: Framework and Case Studies for Gender-Aware Planning. London: Zed Books. Think Tank (2006) ‘Engender the Eleventh Plan Approach Paper: A Presentation by the Think Tank’, March 28 2006, mimeo, copy on file with the author. Times of India (1981) ‘Panel to End Atrocities on Women Urged’, Times of India, 5 January 1981, p. 23. UNIFEM (2000) ‘India: Engendering the Ninth Five Year Plan: The Think Tank Process’, UNIFEM Best Practices South Asia Series I, New Delhi: UNIFEM (19 pp) Weiner, M. (2002) ‘The Struggle for Equality: Caste in Indian politics’, pp. ­193–225 in Kohli, A. (Ed.) The success of India’s democracy. New Delhi: Cambridge ­University Press/Foundation Books.

5 Subnational policy in context A profile of two Indian states

Introduction From this chapter, we shift from the national to subnational levels, to the south Indian states of Andhra Pradesh1 and Tamil Nadu. This chapter introduces these states, discussing two themes. First, what do official data and independent analyses say about gender inequalities in the socio-­economic development of each state? Do they face similar or different challenges? Second, how have wider socio-political movements in each state in the post-­Independence period treated the issue of gender (equality)? How has this treatment framed possibilities for articulating feminist policy goals of ­gender-equitable development? These questions assume that the broader social context partially determines the ‘conditions of possibility’ for acceptable strategies for mainstreaming gender in development policy (John, 1996). The first half of the chapter uses official data supplemented, informed, and contested by studies of gendered development in these two states. It focuses especially on gender and employment, but also discusses gender and education, and gendered life chances including the child sex ratio, maternal mortality, and violence against women (political participation is discussed later in this chapter and subsequent chapters). These are highly complex and nuanced issues; I provide only a brief discussion due to space constraints. The purpose is to ‘co-construct’ (Sunderland, 2004) a dynamic picture of gendered socio-economic development inequalities in both states, to contextualise and demonstrate the complexity of gender and intersecting inequalities. Comparing two south Indian states also provides an alternative lens to the common ‘north-south’ distinction in debates on gender inequality in India, which emphasise the higher status of women in south India. Observable changes brought by economic development suggest it is important to understand how such processes are mutually constitutive of gender relations and that development and growth may have both beneficial and deleterious effects. This is relevant for the two states analysed here, given that both have been characterised as ‘reform states’ (Bajpai and Sachs, 1999; cited in Kennedy, 2004: 34, n. 12). As discussed below, several contributions in Kapadia (2002b) suggest that economic development and its wider corollary, ‘modernity’, have produced some adverse consequences for women and girls, exacerbating rather

Subnational policy in context  109 than eradicating gender inequalities in India. I argue that significant gendered development inequalities exist within and across the two case study states, which dispels a more common perception that (a) Andhra Pradesh is universally less ‘developed’ than Tamil Nadu, despite its lower status in many national indices of state-level development, and also that (b) Tamil Nadu’s higher achievement in many development indicators does not necessarily also entail a greater degree of gender equality and female autonomy, as indicated by data on the child sex ratio and attitudes towards violence against women. The second half of the chapter explores how gender relations have been conceived in the dominant socio-historical trajectories of the two states. I selectively examine important post-Independence socio-political debates, to understand the historically contingent construction of gender relations and their implications for the articulation of gendered development discourse in the two states in the 1990s and beyond. In Tamil Nadu, I discuss the reconstituted articulation of gender in Tamil cultural nationalist discourse in the political discourse of one of the state’s main political parties, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (hereafter DMK), and gendered characteristics of competing styles of populism in the DMK and its main rival party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (hereafter AIADMK) from the 1980s onwards. In Andhra Pradesh, I focus on the participation of women in two movements commonly associated with the politicisation of women in Andhra Pradesh (Niranjana, 2002): the left-wing class-oriented struggles primarily in Telangana but also elsewhere in the state, and the well-­documented women-led prohibition movement in the early 1990s. I argue that socio-political movements and debates in Andhra Pradesh offered more opportunities for the articulation of feminist demands compared to the more conservative context of neighbouring Tamil Nadu, particularly because in the latter, women were positioned more symbolically and in the former they were interpellated with more agency in movement discourse. However, opportunities in Andhra Pradesh were not realised, largely due to the manoeuvring of both statist and non-statist forces. Concerns of gender equality did not find prominence in the dominant post-Independent socio-political debates in these two states, or were transformed by their articulation in conservative or paternalist discourses. Women have been positioned discursively as objects and subjects in socio-political debates in problematic ways. The latter narrowly circumscribe women’s participation in cultural nationalist (TN) and left-based movements (AP), and paternalist, co-optive, and politico-economic compulsions of the state (in both TN and AP) shape the ways in which women experience the state in both the more abstract sense of citizenship and in their everyday experiences of the state.

A profile of gender and development in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh Tamil Nadu is one of India’s more economically prosperous and industrialised states. In 2003, it was ranked second in the country for quality of

110  Subnational policy in context infrastructure facilities and third for Foreign Direct Investment approval (GoTN, 2003: 7). Tamil Nadu is one of the most industrialised states in India (GoTN, 2003: 6) and ranks third amongst major states in per capita net state domestic product in 2012–2013, after Haryana and Maharashtra (GoI, 2014).2 Prior to the 1990s, per capita income was below the national average, until 1991–1992, and has remained above the national average since (GoTN, 2003: 8). The service sector in Tamil Nadu is the largest contributor to net state domestic product, followed by the manufacturing and agricultural and allied sectors (see Table 5.1). Agriculture’s share of the state’s economy has declined in recent decades, but nearly two-thirds of the state’s population still depend on agriculture for their livelihood (GoTN, 2003). Madras Economic Processing Zone (EPZ) is one of the three largest in the country, along with the Santa Cruz EPZ and Noida EPZ, producing more than 85 percent of total exports from India’s EPZs (Ghosh, 2009: 73). After Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu has the largest number of notified SEZs in India (Vijayabhaskar, 2014: 311). Most EPZs in Tamil Nadu are located in Chennai and Coimbatore and situated in two main sectors: IT and IT-enabled services and the automobile sector, prominent industries in the state (ibid). Andhra Pradesh is a less prosperous state than Tamil Nadu but not a poor state. Andhra Pradesh ranked third amongst major states for net state domestic product in 2012–2013, just in front of Tamil Nadu, but eighth amongst major states for per capita net state domestic product 2012–2013, behind Tamil Nadu (third), Gujarat (fourth), Uttarakhand (fifth), Kerala (sixth), and Punjab (seventh) (GoI, 2014). Growth in gross state domestic product in AP for 2005–2006 to 2006–2007 was lower than the national average, due to negative growth rates in agriculture (GoAP, 2007; see Table 5.1). The tertiary Table 5.1  Economic indicators for Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India Andhra Tamil Pradesh Nadu


Net state domestic product (NSDP) (Rs. crore), 2012–20131 Growth in Net SDP, % increase from previous year Per capita Net SDP (Rs.), 2012–20131 Growth in per capita Net SDP (Rs.), % increase from previous year

678,524 671,729 837,27442 14.2 78,958 13.2

11.4 98,628 10.8

11.5 67,839 9.73

State-wise gross domestic product by industry of origin 2012–2013 (% of total state gross state domestic product)

Agriculture and allied












Source: Tables 1.8A and 1.8B, Government of India Economic Survey 2014–2015 (GoI, 2014). Notes 1 Based on 2004–2005 current prices. 2 Net national income rather than NSDP. 3 At 2004–2005 Current Prices.

Subnational policy in context  111 sector contributes the largest share of gross state domestic product, followed by primary and secondary sectors. Since 1999–2000, the share of the tertiary sector has increased, with the primary sector’s share declining and the secondary sector staying constant (GoAP, 2007). The primary sector registered negative growth in 2006–2007, mostly due to negative growth rates in agriculture. In 2012–2013, industry contributed proportionally more to gross state domestic product than the agriculture and allied sector, though gross state domestic product from agriculture is still greater than manufacturing, and agriculture and allied still comprises a larger share than at the national level (Planning Commission, 2014). Andhra Pradesh is home to the Hyderabad Information Technology and Engineering Consultancy City, which in addition to domestic companies, also hosts offices of Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, amongst others. Andhra Pradesh has almost 100 SEZs and the land allotted to the 56 ‘notified’ SEZs in the state makes up to one-fifth of land allotted to SEZs across the whole of India (Srinivasulu, 2014: 75). Many are concentrated in two regions of Andhra Pradesh – in districts next to the state capital Hyderabad, and in Visakhapatnam, in coastal Andhra. More than half of all AP’s SEZs are in the IT and IT-enabled services sectors (ibid). Human development and poverty reduction Official human development indicators suggest that Tamil Nadu has higher levels of human development than Andhra Pradesh. Tamil Nadu has a higher than average score compared to all India, whereas Andhra Pradesh has been located closer to the all-India score. Scores and rankings vary depending on when they are recorded and how many states are included, but this overall picture remains the same from 1996 to 2006 to 2014.3 Different methods estimate poverty levels in India from 29 percent to 55 percent (OPHI, 2010). Whilst different measures contest the extent of poverty, they show roughly the same picture for Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh relative to each other and to all India.4 Tamil Nadu has lower levels of poverty than Andhra Pradesh, in both rural and urban areas, and both states suffer less poverty than the all-India average (see Table 5.2).5 Official figures suggest that poverty in both states declined from 1980 to 2000, with Tamil Nadu now lower than the all-India average and with poverty in Andhra Pradesh declining at a much faster rate than at the national level, over the period 1983 to 1999–2000, mostly due to a sharp decline in rural poverty figures; urban poverty figures actually increased slightly during the period 1983 to 1993–1994 (GoI, 2002b). More recently, since 2000, poverty in Tamil Nadu has fallen faster than in Andhra Pradesh and the national average, according to official estimates (see Table 5.3). But considerable intra-state inequalities remain in both states, according to official data. Unsurprisingly, poverty in both states is higher amongst SC and ST households, and the Tamil Nadu Human Development Report shows higher poverty in urban compared to rural areas (GoTN, 2003: 35).

112  Subnational policy in context Table 5.2  Human and gender development, gender and empowerment, and poverty indicators in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India

Human development index1 Gender and Development index (GDI)2 Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM)3

1996 2006 1996 2006 1996 2006

Andhra Pradesh

Tamil Nadu




Value Rank

Value Rank

0.519 0.585  0.509 0.574 0.467 0.547

27 28 27 27 4 5

0.589 0.666 0.576 0.655 0.459 0.498

0.53 0.605 0.514 0.590 0.416 0.497

15 16 15 16 5 14

Incidence of poverty, 2009–2010 (% population below poverty line) Rangarajan method Total 28.1 27.7 Rural 27.0 25.9 Urban 30.5 29.7 Tendulkar method Total 21.1 17.1 Rural 22.8 21.2 Urban 17.7 12.8

n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

38.2 39.6 35.1 29.8 33.8 20.9

Decline in poverty incidence, 2004–2005 to 2009–2010 (in percentage points) Tendulkar method Total 8.5 12.2 7.4 Rural 9.5 16.4 8.2 Urban 5.7 7.0 4.6 Source: Planning Commission (2014) and MWCD (2009). Notes 1 Health, education, and income. 2 HDI adjusted for gender disparities. The MWCD methodology differs from the UNDP methodology. The latter is the proportion of female HDI to male HDI; a score less than 1 indicates an unfavourable score for females. 3 Political decision-making, ‘economic’ decision-making (civil service and medical/­ engineering enrolment), and power over economic resources.

Gendered inequalities in socio-economic development Whilst officially Tamil Nadu has better levels of human development amongst men and women compared to Andhra Pradesh and all India, the gender disparity between men and women within each state is similar (MWCD, 2009: 14; see Table 5.2).6 Though Tamil Nadu leads Andhra Pradesh, which recorded a score below the all-India average, Tamil Nadu is still placed only amongst the middle ranks of Indian states. Moreover, Tamil Nadu fell from fifth place to fourteenth in its Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) between 1996 and 2006. It scores well on some health indicators such as maternal mortality ratio, being less than half that of the all-India average (111 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in Tamil Nadu compared to 254 for all-India in 2004–2006 according to official government data). In this measure, amongst all 16 major states it came second only to Kerala (95). But Tamil Nadu fares less well on the GEM, which is a composite index reflecting decision-making power and power over resources. Andhra Pradesh is placed higher than Tamil Nadu, and both states are above the GEM average for India. Tamil Nadu’s score for 2006

Subnational policy in context  113 Table 5.3  Work participation rates and status of workers for Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India, 2011

Percent of total Total population classified Rural Urban as workers Main and marginal workers (percent of total workers)

Total Rural Urban

Main Marginal Main Marginal Main Marginal

Andhra Pradesh

Tamil Nadu


Males Females

Males Females Males Females

57 58 54

36 45 19

59 60 59

32 41 22

53 53 54

26 30 15

89 11 88 12 89 11

76 24 76 24 75 25

88 12 85 15 92 8

78 22 76 24 84 16

82 18 79 21 90 10

60 40 56 44 77 23

Source: Census of India, 2011. NSS data for 2011–2012 show similar patterns (see NSSO, 2013: 58, Table S23).

is the lowest amongst the four south Indian states whilst Andhra Pradesh has the highest score, exceeding both Kerala and Karnataka.7 The following ­subsections explore some of the relevant socio-economic indicators in more detail, beginning with a basic thematic profile followed by a discussion. Gender and employment Labour markets are gendered institutions (Elson, 1999). Women’s increasing or decreasing participation in the formal labour market can signify different dynamics and needs careful interpretation. Liberal feminist approaches to development see women’s participation in the labour market as positive and empowering for women and their households8; thus upwards trends in work participation rates amongst women are welcomed (for a critique, see Swaminathan, 2002). Alternative perspectives see high (or increasing) rates of women’s labour force participation as driven by economic necessity, signifying economic stress (Swaminathan, 2002; Ghosh, 2009).9 Declining women’s participation rates also raise questions. Women may withdraw amid increasing household income and greater financial security, though their withdrawal may not necessarily mean empowerment and autonomy for women.10 They may be forced to withdraw due to individual or structural changes, such as illness (including from poor working conditions), depleted sources of livelihood, or to increase their reproductive labour to compensate for the absence or inaffordability of public goods and services, including childcare, elderly care, inadequate or non-functioning public infrastructure, and so on (Chandrasekhar and Ghosh, 2014: 26). Different kinds of work are valued differently; formal work participation does not include all forms of labour. The Census of India defines work as ‘any economically productive activity with or without compensation, wages or profit…including part time help or unpaid work on farm, family enterprise or in any other economic activity’ (GoI, 2005). However, ‘persons engaged in

114  Subnational policy in context Table 5.4  D  istribution (%) of status of ‘usual’ worker (all ages), 2011–2012

Rural Male Female Person Urban Male Female Person Rural Male Female + urban Person

Andhra Pradesh

Tamil Nadu


SelfRegular/ Casual employed salaried labour

SelfRegular/ Casual employed salaried labour

SelfRegular/ Casual employed salaried labour

48.4 44.7 46.8 35.4 44.4 37.5 44.2 44.7 44.4

31.5 27.8 30.0 32.4 39.8 34.3 31.9 31.4 31.7

54.5 59.3 55.9 41.7 42.8 41.9 50.7 56.1 52.2

11.8 3.2 8.0 49.4 37.4 46.6 23.8 8.5 17.9

39.8 52.1 45.2 15.2 18.1 15.8 31.9 46.8 37.7

17.0 9.5 14.0 43.7 41.8 43.2 28.9 19.1 25.5

51.5 62.8 56.0 23.9 18.4 22.5 39.2 49.5 42.8

10.0 5.6 8.7 43.4 42.8 43.3 19.8 12.7 17.9

Source: NSSO (2013).

daily household chores like cooking, cleaning utensils, looking after children, fetching water etc’ are classified as non-workers (ibid), discounting considerable labour often performed by women (and girls). Women’s unpaid domestic work thus constitutes a shadow subsidy to the household economy.11 The Census of India classifies workers as either main or marginal, reflecting whether employment is sustained throughout the year or is only seasonal or intermittent.12 The split character of women’s paid employment and unpaid domestic labour mean women are more likely to be classified as marginal workers than men, despite women often working longer hours, as Time Use studies have shown. The Government of India’s National Sample Survey (NSS) Organisation uses a similar classification distinguishing between a worker’s principal and subsidiary status, which together distinguish workers from non-workers.13 The NSS also captures differences in the type of work, whether regular/salaried, casual labour, or self-employment. Both sources of data are used here.14 Data on gender and employment in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh suggest an interestingly mixed picture, with clear similarities and differences compared to all-India averages, as well as differences between the two states. A general impression is that Andhra Pradesh is more typical of the all-India picture than Tamil Nadu, but it also differs in some important respects. Similarities with all-India patterns include work participation rates for men are higher than those for women, higher in rural areas compared to urban for both men and women, and much lower for urban women. Most men and women workers are classified as main workers, but a higher proportion of women workers are marginal workers compared to men, and rural women marginal workers outnumber men in the same category (see Tables 5.3 to 5.6). Women are predominantly employed in the agricultural sector, though urban women in Tamil Nadu are more commonly found in manufacturing (NSSO, 2013: 80, Table 35). Women workers are generally more occupationally concentrated than men in both states, and at the all-­India level, though they may perform supplementary work in

35.5 35.1 35.4 14.9 14.3 14.8 29.4 31.2 29.9

Subnational policy in context  115 Table 5.5  D  istribution (%) of males and females across worker categories for Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India, 2011 Andhra Pradesh Tamil Nadu Males Females Total

Cultivators 18 Agricultural labourers 34 Household industry 3 workers Other workers 46 Total 100 Rural Cultivators 25 Agricultural labourers 46 Household industry 2 workers Other workers 26 Total 100 Urban Cultivators 2 Agricultural labourers 6 Household industry 4 workers Other workers 88 Total 100


Males Females Males Females

14 58 5

13 23 3

13 42 7

25 25 3

24 41 6

23 100 17 67 4

62 100 22 37 3

38 100 18 56 5

47 100 35 34 3

29 100 29 48 5

12 100 2 15 9

38 100 3 7 3

21 100 3 14 9

28 100 3 5 4

18 100 3 9 9

74 100

88 100

74 100

89 100

79 100

Source: Census of India, 2011.

Table 5.6  D  istribution (%) of males and females within worker categories for Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India, 2011


Total Rural Urban Agricultural Total Rural labourers Urban Household industry Total Rural workers Urban Other workers Total Rural Urban Total workers Total Rural Urban Source: Census of India, 2011.

Andhra Pradesh

Tamil Nadu


Males Females

Males Females

Males Females

67 67 74 48 48 55 45 40 53 76 74 77 61 57 74

64 64 71 50 50 57 43 41 46 75 73 76 65 59 73

70 69 77 57 57 66 53 49 61 78 75 81 69 65 79

33 33 26 52 52 45 55 60 47 24 26 23 39 43 26

36 36 29 50 50 43 57 59 54 25 27 24 35 41 27

30 31 23 43 43 34 47 51 39 22 25 19 31 35 21

116  Subnational policy in context other sectors (see Tables 5.5 and 5.6; see also NSSO 2013). Consistent with previous trends (Swaminathan, 1994: 69), work participation rates also generally vary amongst different caste groups, with women from SCs and STs recording higher rates than Other Backward Class women and upper caste women (NSSO, 2012). Similarities aside, in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, both men and women, but particularly women, have higher work participation rates compared to all-India levels. Women make up around four in ten workers in Andhra Pradesh and one third in Tamil Nadu; even in urban areas where participation is lower, women are still at least one quarter of all workers (Census 2011). Particularly in rural Andhra Pradesh, women have some of the highest work participation rates in the country.15 These contrast markedly with much lower work participation rates in some major states of north India such as B ­ ihar and Haryana. This is consistent with historical trends, where work p ­ articipation rates of women in south India have been higher than all-India (Da Corta and Venkateshwarlu, 1999: 73). But south India has seen a marked rise in the ­proportion of female workers, particularly female agricultural labourers, since the 1960s (ibid). Ghosh (2009: 61–62) also notes variations in women’s work participation rates across Indian states, but suggests that few studies have investigated what causes these variations. She suggests that social and cultural factors may provide only partial explanations (ibid). Overall, women are concentrated in agriculture more in Andhra Pradesh than in Tamil Nadu, with more than three-quarters of rural women workers, closer to the all-India average, compared to half of rural female workers in Tamil Nadu (NSSO, 2013: 80, Table 35; for census data, see also Tables 5.5).16 Female rural agricultural labourers also outnumber male rural agricultural labourers in Andhra Pradesh – almost nine million women (and girls) compared to just over eight million men (and boys) (Census 2011). Women in both Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu also make up more than half of all household industry workers (see Table 5.6), whereas male workers make up a higher proportion of ‘cultivators’ and ‘other’ workers (a large residual category). In both states, male workers are more dispersed than female workers across occupational sectors, with around 80 percent in five (men) as opposed to two or three sectors (women).17 The four most common occupational categories are the same for men and women, but the fifth largest sector of employment for female workers is education compared to transportation and storage for male workers (NSSO, 2013). These figures show the significance of attention to gender and women workers when formulating policy in these sectors. Another key difference to all-India is that more men and women, especially women, in both states are classified as ‘main’ workers (except in urban areas of Andhra Pradesh). Thus on average, men and especially women work for longer periods throughout the year. The gender gap between main and marginal worker status is smaller than at the all-India level (see Table 5.3).18 NSS data for 2011–2012 show similar patterns. However, casual labour, as

Subnational policy in context  117 Table 5.7  Daily wages (Rs.) of workers (15–59 years) and gendered wage disparities in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India, 2011–2012

Rural Male Female Female /male wages (%) Urban Male Female Female /male wages (%) Rural Male Female + Urban Female /male wages (%)

Andhra Pradesh

Tamil Nadu


Regular/ Casual salaried labour

Regular/ Casual salaried labour

Regular/ Casual salaried labour

251.28 225.01 90

167.65 111.19 66

292.55 199.44 68

196.65 110.41 56

322.28 201.56 63

149.32 103.28 69

427.82 244.3 57

193.52 126.6 65

420.76 297.63 71

227.66 126.53 56

469.87 366.15 78

182.04 110.62 61

369.3 238.41 65

– – –

378.79 264.53 70

– – –

417.08 307.72 74

– – –

Source: NSSO (2013). Wage disparity computed by the author.

opposed to regular/salaried work or self-employment, is the predominant form of work in Tamil Nadu, and for rural females in Andhra Pradesh (see Table 5.4). This suggests that whilst employment is more continuous, it may be insecure, low quality with low wages.19 Both states’ workers are less likely to be classified as self-employed than across all India where it is the main form of work, according to NSS data. Smaller proportions of urban women are in regular/salaried work in Andhra Pradesh compared to all India. This has implications for formal labour policy and social policy at the state level. Gender inequalities also manifest in child labour indicators in Andhra Pradesh; the rural 5–14 years age category is the only category of main workers in which females outnumber males (GoAP, 2005: 47). This has both immediate (child labour) and longer term implications (educational achievement amongst girls and their future livelihood opportunities). NSS data illustrate gendered wage inequalities in both states and compared to all-India averages (see Table 5.7). In Andhra Pradesh, this is much worse in urban areas where women’s wages are half those of male regular/ salaried workers, a disparity far worse than the national gender wage gap. Tamil Nadu shows a similar but not as stark disparity for the same category of workers. However, the gender wage gap in casual labour is much higher in Tamil Nadu: female casual labourers earn half of a male worker’s wages in both rural and urban areas, compared to almost two-thirds in Andhra Pradesh. Significant gendered inequalities in wage rates in Tamil Nadu exist even when the work requires similar levels of skill (Harriss-White, 2004a). The Equal Remuneration Act of 1976 is poorly implemented, and the lack of attention to highly gendered segregated labour activities affects the application of equal pay for equal work. Geetha’s study of women workers in the

118  Subnational policy in context construction industry and Dietrich’s study of women workers in the fishing industry in Tamil Nadu suggest that hard-won industry-specific legislation at the state level to protect informal sector workers does not adequately address the causes of poor working conditions and low wages of informal workers, particularly women (Geetha, 1990; Dietrich, 1995; for a discussion of challenges faced by women workers in construction and manufacturing in Chennai, see Kapadia, 2009). It is not surprising then that both Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have seen higher than average take-up of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) that aims to provide income security in rural areas by offering up to 100 days of employment per household, with one third of these days reserved for women.20 Jeyaranjan’s (2011) study of MGNREGA in a village in Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu, suggests the scheme has impacted working conditions and wages for women in the agricultural sector. This is partly due to flexibility in state implementation following initially low demand from workers (Jeyaranjan, 2011: 66). D ­ espite higher wages for women under NREGA compared to local market rates (Rs. 80 compared to Rs. 40 per day), women were reluctant to take up work under the scheme due to longer hours and more difficult working conditions. Once the norms of the scheme were made more flexible to enable women to combine different sources of employment, demand from women workers increased. Amid a limited supply of local agricultural labour, the change in the scheme enabled women workers to negotiate wage rates and working conditions for non-NREGA agricultural labour (Jeyaranjan, 2011: 68). Women’s wage rates doubled to meet NREGA wages and overall income increased as a result of multiple sources of employment per day (Jeyaranjan, 2011: 69). But despite the rise in wage rates, women agricultural labourers are still paid at rates lower than men and are often excluded from more mechanised activities. Studies have sought to understand changes in gendered labour patterns in agriculture. Some suggest women constitute a reserve army of labour in agriculture, increasing their formal labour to compensate for bad harvests (Parthasarathy and Anand, 1995: 811). In contrast, a study in Andhra Pradesh suggested women performed more days of agricultural labour than men, not just when seasonal demand was high but throughout the year (Da Corta and Venkateshwarlu, 1999: 97). Women’s increasing employment in agricultural work relates to changes in the gendered division of labour and the classification of agricultural activities designated as exclusively female (such as weeding and transplanting), joint work (such as seed preparation), and exclusively male (such as ploughing with bulls), and differential wage rates attached to male and female tasks (ibid: 97). Activities previously designated as exclusively male became designated as joint work, and some joint work became exclusively female. Because of women’s increasing entry into joint work, this is increasingly seen as women’s work, reducing wage rates.

Subnational policy in context  119 Men are thus deterred from low wage joint work, further increasing the feminisation of agricultural labour (Da Corta and Venkateshwarlu, 1999: 102). Male agricultural labourers are also attracted to higher wages in the off-farm sector, meaning women are taking over some of the labour men previously performed (ibid: 103). Thus, women’s employment in agricultural labour is increasing due to the exit of male workers. Significantly, women agricultural labourers are increasingly responsible for household income through increasingly ‘unfree’ labour relations with employers (Da Corta and Venkateshwarlu, 1999). Amid the breakdown of traditional agrarian patronage relationships between higher landowning and lower labouring castes, male agricultural labourers are increasingly assertive against tied labour, demanding better working conditions and wage rates (ibid: 105). However, the same male labourers have not prevented their wives from taking up the same work. When men refuse the work but do not find an alternative, they increasingly rely on the income of their wives to support the family (ibid: 108). Consequently, women ‘feel compelled to take up all offers of wage work, no matter how humiliating, which increases their unfreedom’ (Da Corta and Venkateshwarlu, 1999: 108). This effectively reduces household income and women’s wages and increases the gender wage gap and women’s work burden (ibid). Women’s increased responsibility for household consumption expenditure has increased their demands for small loans and led them to re-establish credit ties with employers, re-entering tied labour arrangements (Da Corta and Venkateshwarlu, 1999: 110). Thus, changes in the gendered division of labour in agriculture have benefited male labourers at the expense of female labourers. Research suggests that women prefer factory work as it is regular and confers higher status than agricultural work or household industry work, despite sometimes poorer working conditions. However, research has evidenced gender inequalities in manufacturing employment practices in AP. A study of garment manufacturing firms in and around Hyderabad found that, similar to landowners’ preference for obedient and disciplined female agricultural labour, women in manufacturing are hired for their ‘characteristic docility’ and the lower likelihood of trade union organising (Chakravarty, 2004: 4912). Gendered inequalities in wage remuneration are also evident in manufacturing in Andhra Pradesh (Parthasarathy and Anand, 1995: 816). A different dimension of gender inequality in manufacturing employment relates to working hours. Labour laws, which prevent women from working during the night if the company cannot provide dedicated transport facilities for women to ensure their safety, mean that male workers often benefit from additional wages from piece rate work in export manufacturing firms, which characteristically demands overtime (Chakravarty, 2004: 4913). Both these examples challenge the wider assumption outlined earlier that the increased work participation of women in paid employment is beneficial and empowering for women.

120  Subnational policy in context Economic growth and development may or may not bring employment opportunities for women; new jobs may be concentrated in male-dominated occupational sectors.21 If economic development in India has brought new employment opportunities for women, research has shown these opportunities have not been straightforwardly liberating (see Mukhopadhyay and Sudarshan, 2003). This seems to bear witness to the concerns feminist economists raised towards liberalisation in the early 1990s, highlighting the likely harmful effects of women’s concentration in the informal sector and the increasing ‘feminisation’ of employment. Research has documented the concentration of women in low-paid, low-skilled employment, with high levels of employment insecurity and casualisation of work contracts, and poor working conditions, to suggest that gendered labour market inequalities have not receded in the process of economic development and modernisation in India. National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data from 2005 to 2006 show women’s higher participation at predominantly lower levels of wealth, suggesting that women more often participate in the labour market out of ‘economic necessity rather than … an expression of choice and self-fulfilment’ (Kishore and Gupta, 2009: 48). Concerns have also been raised over the growth of urban female domestic workers, because of low pay and precarious working conditions in the sector and lack of growth in formal wage/salaried work for female urban workers. Particularly worrying are increases in female child and adolescent labour associated with new employment opportunities, with implications for educational achievement (Majumdar, 2001; cited in Swaminathan, 2002: 119). Opportunities can be undermined by a lack of investment in education and vocational and professional training for women and girls to pursue skilled jobs and professional careers, rather than low or unskilled jobs and casual labour. Also of concern is how economic development affecting gendered patterns of employment, and the impact on women’s reproductive labour burdens. It has important implications for labour and social policy, particularly in the context of government focus on women’s self-employment strategies discussed in later chapters. Government schemes which make substantial demands on poor women’s time, sometimes for no remuneration at all, need to be more considerate of and responsive to women’s existing productive and reproductive labour burdens. Gender and education Gender inequality in school education has been explained by gendered social role expectations and discriminatory attitudes on the comparative worth of educating boys and girls, which result in the undervaluation of girl’s education (Drèze and Sen, 2002: 161–162). The practice of patrilocality in much of north India also means that the investment in a daughter’s education will be transferred to the affinal family upon marriage. Social practices commonly dictate a bride should be of equal or lower educational background

Subnational policy in context  121 than their groom; thus, ‘female education can turn into a liability…“over-­ educating” a daughter may make her more difficult – and expensive – to marry’ (Drèze and Sen, 2002: 162). The prevalence of these practices and beliefs mean that girls receive less education than boys, particularly if this involves making a decision about whether to educate sons or daughters. Women and girls generally record lower literacy rates, levels of educational attainment, and enrolment ratios, and higher dropout rates, particularly for educational levels beyond primary school. Gender inequalities also intersect significantly with other educational inequalities, like poverty. Amongst lower income groups, sending a daughter to school denies or reduces the household the income or unpaid labour, such as caring for elderly members or younger siblings, she could be contributing to the household, Elder daughters in particular may receive a lower level of schooling than their younger siblings (Drèze and Sen, 2002: 157). The social status of SCs and STs often limits access to educational opportunities due to social discrimination and poverty. Rural areas also suffer from lower educational achievement due to poorer educational infrastructure, proximity to schools, and higher teacher absenteeism in rural areas, which exacerbates low demand for education. Supply-side factors affecting the demand for school education include affordability, accessibility, and quality of schooling (Drèze and Sen, 2002: 159). Supply-side failures in educational infrastructure impact female children more than male children because parents are less likely to spare additional expenditure for daughters’ private education or send their daughters to school outside the village (Drèze and Sen, 2002: 161). Measures to increase participation of girls in school education include subsidising girls’ schooling, reducing the distance to schools, providing a midday meal, and installing toilets for girls, particularly in rural areas where they are often absent (Basu, 1999: 151). Women’s movement educator-activists have also urged educational authorities to address gender stereotypes in school curriculum textbooks and teaching practices (Patel, 1998). Policy initiatives to increase the educational development of women and girls are driven by both intrinsic and instrumental motives; intrinsic for valuing the importance of women and girls’ education for its own sake, and instrumental for the assumed impact of female education on lowering fertility and child mortality rates, and improving child nutrition (Drèze and Sen, 2002: 39). The prevalence of conservative attitudes on gender inequalities in educational achievement and a demographic obsession with curbing population growth ensures the fertility argument is a far more influential argument for women’s education than women’s technical education and training for employment in the modernising economy (Swaminathan, 2002). Overall, literacy rates are above the national average in Tamil Nadu, but below the national average in Andhra Pradesh (see Table 5.8). Tamil Nadu compares favourably with other states in India on literacy rates, ranked

122  Subnational policy in context Table 5.8  L  iteracy rates for Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India, 2001–2011 Andhra Pradesh

Tamil Nadu


Males Females

Males Females

Males Females

Percent of population Total literate (aged 7 years Rural Urban and above) (2011) SC ST

75 69 86 70 58

59 52 74 54 40

87 82 92 81 62

73 65 82 66 47

81 77 89 75 69

65 58 79 56 49

Percent of population Total literate (aged 7 years Rural Urban and above) (2001) SC ST

70 65 83 55 39

50 44 69 37 22

82 77 89 64 43

64 55 76 46 28

75 71 86 55 48

54 46 73 35 28

Increases in literacy rates of population aged 7 years and above, 2001–2011 (percentage points)

Total 5 Rural 4 Urban 3 SC 15 ST 19

9 8 5 17 18

5 5 3 17 19

9 10 6 20 19

6 6 3 20 21

11 12 6 21 21

Increases in literacy rates of population aged 7 years and above, 1991–2001 (percentage points)

Total Rural Urban SC ST

18 20 12 16 13

9 10 3 5 7

13 13 6 11 8

11 13 5 5 8

14 16 9 11 10

15 18 7 13 14

Source: Based on data in Census of India, 1991, 2001, 2011. 1991 data cited in GoI (2002a: 190–191). Increases in literacy computed by the author.

third amongst major states after Kerala and Maharashtra. Following national trends, higher literacy rates can be observed in urban as opposed to rural areas, amongst males as opposed to females, and amongst the overall population as compared to members of SC and ST communities. Tamil Nadu has witnessed increased literacy over the past two decades, particularly in rural areas and for females, slightly narrowing the gap between both rural and urban areas and male and female literacy. However, female rural literacy levels remain low and gender disparities in literacy remain highest in rural areas. The urban-rural literacy gap is still wider for females than for males. Other intra-state inequalities exist. Gender inequalities in literacy across districts of Tamil Nadu suggest large variations in gender inequality. Kanyakumari and Dharmapuri districts record the highest and lowest literacy rates for both males and females overall (Census 2001). Female literacy rates vary more widely across districts (from 85 percent to 51 percent) than male literacy rates (from 90 percent to 72 percent).22 Notwithstanding Tamil Nadu’s high literacy levels overall, literacy amongst SC and ST communities is much lower, particularly for women and girls. Literacy amongst ST communities in Tamil Nadu

Subnational policy in context  123 is lower than the national average. Literacy increases between 1991 and 2001 were lower for SC and ST communities than for the overall population, although the gender gap in SC literacy was comparable to the gender gap for all, and slightly lower for STs. However, between 2001 and 2011, the largest increases in literacy were found amongst these communities, with the highest increases amongst SC females. Despite these encouraging signs, the gender gap within these communities narrowed more slowly than amongst the total population. In contrast to Tamil Nadu, overall literacy rates in Andhra Pradesh remain below the national average, ranking 13th amongst major states, but 12th for female literacy (Census 2001). Literacy in AP also follows some all-India trends. Males have higher literacy rates than females, females attain lower levels of schooling, post-primary enrolment ratios are generally lower for girls, and girls’ dropout ratios are higher across all class levels. Gender inequalities in literacy vary across districts, and rural areas have lower literacy levels than urban areas. SC and particularly ST communities have lower literacy levels than the rest of the population.23 Combined district and intersectional variations illustrate complex and wide-ranging inequalities in literacy levels: compare overall male literacy in Hyderabad (84 percent) to female ST literacy in Mahbubnagar district (11 percent). Improvements in literacy rates in AP between 1991 and 2001 in both ­r ural and urban areas and for males and females were impressive, particularly in rural areas and for females, slightly closing the literacy gender gap. These improvements were higher than in Tamil Nadu and the national ­average. Between 2001 and 2011, literacy increased at a slower pace but like in Tamil Nadu, important gains were made amongst SC and ST communities. Improvements in literacy in TN between 1991 and 2001 were lower than the national average, perhaps due to TN’s higher initial levels. The greater improvement in literacy in AP has thus narrowed the gap between the two states, but the gender gap remains larger in AP than TN, narrowing faster in TN during the period 1981–2001, despite initially higher literacy levels. Despite state differences, literacy rates are comparable in the state capitals Chennai and Hyderabad generally (79–80 percent), and for males (84–85 percent) and females (74–75 percent). Gender inequalities in education are also illustrated by levels of educational participation and achievement (measured by enrolment ratios, dropout ratios, and completed stages of formal education) (see Table 5.9). Census data suggest that fewer females compared to males go on to secondary and higher education, but the gender disparity is more marked in Andhra Pradesh than Tamil Nadu. In 2001, the proportion of females going on to complete some form of secondary education or higher was similar in both states, but by 2011 Tamil Nadu had pulled ahead.24 The implications for female skilled employment in Tamil Nadu are significant; as Swaminathan suggests, ‘literacy and the completion of some basic education no longer guarantees a place in the labour force…[E]mployers begin to require higher levels of attainment for the same jobs’ (1994: 73). The lower level of

124  Subnational policy in context Table 5.9  Levels of educational achievement in formal education in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India, 2011 Andhra Pradesh Tamil Nadu


Males Females Males Females Males Females Educational achievement as percent completing each stage of formal education

Change since 2001 (percentage points)

Literate without educational level Below primary Primary Middle Total before secondary Matric/secondary Higher secondary/ intermediate pre-university/ senior secondary Non-technical diploma or certificate not equal to degree Technical diploma or certificate not equal to degree Graduate and above Total secondary and above (Unclassified) Total before secondary Total secondary and above







14 24 11 55

16 29 12 63

10 23 18 56

12 25 19 60

18 23 18 63

21 26 17 69

17 12

17 10

16 12

15 13

15 11

13 10











































Source: Census of India, 2011.

educational attainment of women may exacerbate existing gender-based discrimination in the labour market as educational standards of recruitment increase. The much lauded Chief Minister’s Noon Meal Scheme, first launched under Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran in July 1982, aimed to ‘increase enrolment in schools and reduce dropouts’ by providing a nutritious meal for all children at lunchtime (GoTN, 2002–2003, cited in Swaminathan et al., 2004: 4811). However, concerns have been raised about

Subnational policy in context  125 the dubious quality and quantity of meals, questionable implementation and reporting practices, and vastly different experiences amongst the scheme’s beneficiaries (Harriss-White, 2004b; Swaminathan et al., 2004). However, studies do suggest that the scheme has encouraged enrolment and reduced dropouts even though this is by no means universal across all categories, and it has been influential beyond the state. ‘Gendered life chances’25: child sex ratios, reproductive health, and violence against women Whilst gendered inequalities in employment and education represent s­ ocio-economic forms of structural violence and deprivation, women and girls face direct forms of violence in other areas. In India, the sex ratio, calculated as the number of females per 1,000 males, serves as a key indicator of the status of women vis-à-vis men. Lower child sex ratios mark discriminatory societal practices, most notably son preference, in household decisions on fertility, nutrition, education, health care, and can involve extreme strategies of female infanticide and female foeticide through sex-selective abortions. Low child sex ratios are also caused indirectly by birth order and the decision to stop having children after a son is born (Jeffrey et al., 2012).26 These practices have resulted in the phenomenon of ‘missing women’ (Sen, 1990; Das Gupta and Bhat, 1997; Drèze and Sen, 2002). Low child sex ratios have commonly been associated with northern states, but declining ratios in south India (and elsewhere) in recent decades has caused further concern. Discriminatory practices such as son preference were assumed to be ‘traditional practices’ which would wither away during processes of modernisation, economic prosperity, and greater education. But it is now well established that the unfavourable decline in the child sex ratio is occurring alongside, with some arguing it is an integral element of, economic development (Heyer, 1992; Harriss-White, 2001; Swaminathan, 2002; Kapadia, 2002a). Studies note some of the lowest sex ratios can be found in economically ‘developed’ states like Haryana and Punjab (in 2001, 861 and 876, respectively). NFHS data show the child sex ratio steadily declines in ever higher wealth quintiles and is lowest amongst more highly educated mothers (Kishor and Gupta, 2009: 10, 12). A plausible explanation is that increasingly consumerist-­ oriented dowry practices, which serve as a means for capital accumulation and economic upward mobility, have intensified discrimination towards the girl child and the ‘radical devaluation of women’ (Kapadia, 2002a: 164, 170).27 … [I]n the popular imaginary, “dowry” is …the quintessential modernity because it provides the fast track to class mobility. The capital transfer embodied in “dowry” is the single largest sum of money that most men will receive in their entire lives…“[D]owry” is “necessary” to every man, because those men who don’t receive it are left behind. (Kapadia, 2002a: 164)

126  Subnational policy in context Policymakers and social reformers were advised to rethink dowry not as a ‘traditional’ practice, but intrinsic to modernity and modernisation, and therefore not something likely to ‘disappear as India “modernises”’ (ibid: 164). Low child sex ratios have posed problems in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh at different times. Both states have higher sex ratios than the national average, for all ages, 0–6 years, and in both rural and urban areas (Census 2011; see Table 5.10). Tamil Nadu witnessed a longer term decline in its sex ratio (all ages) since 1901, decreasing sharply until the 1970s, more moderately thereafter until 1991. The long-term trend for Andhra Pradesh is more mixed, starting from a lower base and seeing Tamil Nadu’s ratio come into line with its own (see Figure 5.1). Both states’ ratios (all ages) improved in 2001 and 2011. But Tamil Nadu’s child sex ratio remained virtually static between 2001 and 2011, recovering from an earlier decline, whereas a recent decline in Andhra Pradesh’ child sex ratio means it has now fallen below that for Tamil Nadu. Some important inter- and intra-state differences include variations between and within social groups and communities. SC communities in both states tend to have similar or higher sex ratios than the national average for all ages and for 0–6 years.28 For STs, sex ratios are mostly the same or lower than the national average, with the child sex ratio amongst Tamil Nadu’s ST communities strikingly lower at 918. Whilst the child sex ratio for ST communities is declining elsewhere in India, it has declined particularly sharply in both Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and should be cause for serious concern.29 In some districts of Andhra Pradesh, the child sex ratio amongst STs is as low as 823, widening the gap between SC and ST child sex ratios. Table 5.10  S  ex ratios for Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and all-India, 2011

Sex ratio (number of females per 1,000 males)

Tamil Nadu


All ages

0– 6 years

All ages

0– 6 years

All ages

0– 6 years

939 941 935 959 931 975 (R) 1002 (U) 961

996 993 1000 1004 981 981

943 936 952 958 918 945 (R) 954 (U) 942

943 949 929 1008 993 927

918 923 905 933 957 945



−22 −24 −23 −14 −41

9 1 18 5 1

1 3 −3 −1 −27

10 3 29 72 15

Total 993 Rural 996 Urban 987 SC 1008 ST 993 1991 (total) 966 2001 (total)

Change 2001–2011 (number of females per 1,000 males)

Andhra Pradesh

Total Rural Urban SC ST

978 15 13 22 27 21

Source: Census of India, 1991, 2001, 2011. Note: R = rural, U = urban.


−9 −11 2 −5 −16

Subnational policy in context  127 1,060 1,040 1,020

Sex Ratio

1,000 980 960



Andhra Pradesh


Tamil Nadu

















Figure 5.1  C  omparative sex ratios (all ages) for Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and all-India (1901–2011).

In Tamil Nadu, low child sex ratios have affected particular districts. In 2001, Tamil Nadu’s child sex ratio was prominently lower than the state average ‘in a contiguous belt of districts running south to north along a western corridor of the state’ (Athreya and Chunkath, 2000: 4345). Salem district’s ratio was most unfavourable at 811 (for rural areas) and, disturbingly, the second lowest district ratio for rural areas in the country (GoI, 2003: 4),30 and the only district outside Haryana and Punjab amongst the country’s worst ten districts. Ratios are more uniform across Andhra Pradesh, though slightly higher in northern coastal districts. Child sex ratios are not as low as in Tamil Nadu’s lowest districts, but the decline is more widespread, which presents a different challenge if it further declines. What explains Tamil Nadu’s low child sex ratios? Some point to the increasing acceptance of female infanticide and female foeticide in Tamil Nadu (Athreya and Chunkath, 2000; Harriss-White, 2001; Kapadia, 2002a), but also government propagation of a small family norm, which combined with the ‘prevailing socio-cultural ethos of strong son preference’ to threaten the survival of females of higher birth orders (Athreya and Chunkath, 2000: 4348). A Danish government-funded project implemented by the Government of Tamil Nadu (GoTN) during the late 1990s focused on female infanticide using a strategy of social mobilisation, and was judged successful in reducing incidences of female infanticide in Dharmapuri (Athreya and Chunkath, 2000: 4347). However, the project’s evaluators warned against complacency and advocated the creation of structural mechanisms

128  Subnational policy in context for active monitoring against the re-emergence of female infanticide, with proactive government involvement (Athreya and Chunkath, 2000: 4348). More recent, Census data suggest efforts in Salem and Dharmapuri districts made a long-term positive impact improving child sex ratios.31 However, the problem later appeared in two eastern districts: Cuddalore’s rural child sex ratio rapidly declined from 957 to 878 as did Ariyalur’s from 946 to 890. These trends suggest new areas for attention, on top of continued efforts to maintain previous improvements. Women’s reproductive choices are affected by India’s population control objective of replacement fertility levels of 2.1 children per couple. Tamil Nadu achieved this towards the end of the 1980s and Andhra Pradesh in the mid-1990s. More recent, NFHS data show both states have now dipped below replacement levels, with some of the lowest fertility rates in the country. Past success in fertility control programmes has been facilitated by high institutional delivery rates in Tamil Nadu (Van Hollen, 1998). Tamil Nadu, with more than 90 percent of urban deliveries, has the second highest proportion of institutional deliveries amongst major states after Kerala (NFHS data for 1998–1999 cited in GoI, 2002b: 248). Success also resulted from widespread use of contraceptive technologies, particularly in Andhra Pradesh. By the age of 25–29 years, more than two-thirds of women in Andhra Pradesh had already been sterilised, and just over half of women of the same age in Tamil Nadu (NFHS, 2008: 52, Table 21). Corresponding figures for male sterilisation are a tiny fraction. Family planning in India has officially adopted a more consensual approach after the horrors of compulsory sterilisation of men and women during the 1970s Emergency. Yet several studies contest the notion that the success in reducing fertility rates has been as co-operative as claimed (Van Hollen, 1998; Swaminathan, 2002). In Tamil Nadu, Van Hollen’s mid1990s ethnographic research corroborated a previous study to suggest that in urban-based government hospitals, contraceptive targets were achieved through practices such as routine intrauterine device (IUD) insertion which were not always consensual, either against the patient’s will or without their knowledge (Van Hollen, 1998: 103; cf. Swaminathan, 1996, cited in Van ­Hollen, 1998). Van Hollen’s interviews and NGO campaigns pointed to a target culture amongst health institutions and workers which, combined with high levels of female sterilisation, partly explain how Tamil Nadu achieved its demographic transition so effectively, with serious consequences for women’s reproductive rights. Though NGOs were successful in convincing government ministers to officially end aggressive target-driven approaches, Van Hollen’s follow-up visit suggested an enduring target culture. Recent NFHS data also suggest that Tamil Nadu continues to promote female sterilisation despite having achieved replacement fertility levels. Recent reports also suggest IUD ‘camps’ in primary healthcare centres have emerged in the state (HRW, 2012). Similar concerns have been raised in Andhra Pradesh with regard to sterilisation camps. It is also worrying that despite educational achievements, attitudes towards spousal violence are reportedly more accepting in both states than

Subnational policy in context  129 across all India, especially amongst women (see Table 5.11). A national survey on attitudes to wife-beating found that just over half of men and women aged 15–49 years agreed a husband is justified in hitting or beating his wife for at least one specified reason (Kishor and Gupta, 2009: 74).32 Agreement was substantially higher in Andhra Pradesh, where around three-quarters of women and men agreed, and slightly above average amongst women in Tamil Nadu where nearly two thirds of women agreed, compared to just over half of men (Kishor and Gupta, 2009: 81). Few states outside the North East had levels of agreement similar to Andhra Pradesh. Figures for neighbouring Kerala were similar to Tamil Nadu, once again demonstrating that conservative gender norms can exist alongside higher levels of education and prosperity.33 Furthermore, rates of spousal violence are higher in Tamil Nadu than Andhra Pradesh (Kishor and Gupta, 2009: 108). Four out of ten married women in Tamil Nadu had experienced spousal physical violence, the fourth highest rate in the country out of 29 states, behind Bihar (56 percent), Madhya Pradesh (43 percent), and Uttar Pradesh (41 percent), and on par with Rajasthan (40 percent). Around one third of women in Andhra Pradesh (34 percent) had experienced spousal violence, slightly above the all-India average (30 percent) (ibid). Levels of spousal sexual violence are lower in both states, though men and women’s attitudes towards sexual autonomy of married women are less encouraging, particularly in Andhra Pradesh. The analysis presented thus far suggests the two states share some similarities compared to all-India, but also that Tamil Nadu is considered more Table 5.11  Attitudes towards and experiences of gender-based violence in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and all-India Andhra Pradesh

Tamil Nadu


Percentage of women (15–49 years) allowed to go alone to market, health facility, and outside community Women respondents 37 54 37 Agreement amongst men and women regarding justification of ‘wife-beating’ (%) Women 75 66 56 Men 73 52 54 Currently married women’s (age 15–49) experience of spousal violence (ever experienced) Physical 34 40 30 Sexual 3 3 8 Emotional 12 15 14 Percentage of women and men agreeing that wife’s refusal to have sex with her husband is justifiable Women 59 63 68 Men 65 73 71 Source: Compiled by the author from NHFS-3 survey data presented in Kishor and Gupta (2009).

130  Subnational policy in context ‘developed’ than Andhra Pradesh in many conventional development indicators. However, gender inequalities are discernible in both states, and sometimes more marked in Tamil Nadu. The picture is further complicated by important intra-state variations according to caste, class, community, religion, age, and locality (across districts and in rural/urban areas), highlighting the importance of intersectionality when considering gendered development inequalities. Such a dynamic picture demonstrates that women’s interests, already diverse, are also fragmented across Indian states, even amongst neighbouring states, highlighting the importance of state-level policy which captures state-specific challenges. Agriculture holds clear importance for women’s employment in both states, and yet employment patterns are changing, and seemingly not always for the better. Indications of growing casualisation, longer working hours, lower pay, or more insecure work for women are cause for concern. Educational improvements are laudable achievements but do not have straightforwardly empowering effects, as attitudes towards dowry, the girl child and violence against women show. Thus, some inequalities remain or have become reconfigured whilst new forms of inequality emerge. This demonstrates the complex relationship between economic development and gender (in)equality and cautions against assumptions about what development can do for women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Gender and socio-political histories in state politics The remainder of the chapter explores socio-political constructions of gender in state politics during the post-Independence period. Party political and movement-based discourses in the states partially constitute social histories of gender relations and norms; these discourses influence the conditions of possibility for what can be articulated in development policy, and partially determine the extent to which women mobilise collectively for gender equality. Thus, dominant socio-political discourses in each state have some bearing on how the state’s vision of desirable gender relations is articulated in state-level development policy discourse (discussed in Chapter 7), and the extent to which this vision is adopted, subverted, or contested by different actors in each state (discussed in Chapter 8). The discussion is necessarily selective. For Tamil Nadu, this includes the rise of Tamil cultural nationalist discourse, the politico-cultural project of movement protagonists and party political conduit, the DMK, and the ‘paternalist populism’ (Subramanian, 1999) of the AIADMK. I also draw on analyses of more recent developments in Tamil politics, to explore whether the emergence of several smaller movements and parties offered opportunities for alternatively conceptualising and articulating demands for gender equality beyond dominant socio-political discourses. For Andhra Pradesh, I focus on women’s participation in leftist agrarian

Subnational policy in context  131 movements in the 1940s and 1970s, the gendered populist style of leadership of N.T. Rama Rao (the leader of the regional Telugu Desam Party or TDP), and the much-­documented women’s anti-arrack movement in the early 1990s. Gendered discourses of populism and cultural nationalism in Tamil Nadu Historical accounts of late twentieth-century Tamil politics show the declining influence of the national Congress Party, transformation of the anti-­Brahmin Self-Respect Movement into a political party (the ­Dravida Kazhagam) and its later consolidation as the DMK, appealing to a Dravidian cultural nationalism, and the subsequent emergence of the rival regional political party, the ADMK. Since 1967, when under the leadership of C.N.  ­Annadurai the DMK was elected to the Tamil Nadu State Legislative Assembly, ­Tamil Nadu has been governed by either the DMK (1967–1977, 1989–1991, 1996–2001, 2006–2011) or the AIADMK (1977–1989, 1991–1996, 2001–2006, 2011–present). After Annadurai’s death, M. Karunanidhi led the DMK. M.G. Ramachandran (hereafter MGR), a popular film-­actor-turned-politician and prominent DMK leader, left the party in 1972 to form the ADMK (later renamed the All India ADMK). Upon MGR’s death in 1987, a leadership struggled ensued between two factions: the first led by his widow, Janaki, and the second by his former co-star and AIADMK party propaganda secretary, J.  Jayalalithaa. The latter subsequently won the battle to succeed MGR as party head, and remained leader until she passed away in December 2016. Gender equality has featured discursively in state politics in various forms: from the radical social reform agenda of the Self-Respect Movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with progressive ideas on gender relations, and its subsequent demise in the mid-twentieth century; cultural nationalist interpretations of gender relations DMK party discourse, and contrasting gendered discourses and politics of social welfare in the competitive populisms of the two main rival parties from the 1980s. Prominent scholars such as S. Anandhi, M.S.S. Pandian, S.V.  ­Rajadurai, and V. Geetha (cited in Harriss, 2002, and discussed below) lament the demise of progressive Self-Respect discourse on gender equality, arguing it represented a radical vision towards more equitable gender relations in areas of marriage (including inter-caste marriage), work, and community relations. These authors have deconstructed the gendered cultural nationalist discourses of the DMK, which gradually pushed out those of the Self-­ Respect Movement, and rearticulated gender relations through notions of Tamil honour based on women’s chastity. Rajadurai and Geetha (1996) discuss how the DMK attempted to recast Tamil history by reinterpreting classic Tamil literary works to generate popular support for a cultural nationalist Tamil identity. Representations of

132  Subnational policy in context Tamil identity posited notions of maanam (honour) which equated a woman’s purity with the purity of the Tamil nation (ibid: 554). Drawing ­parallels with Indian nationalism, Anandhi referred to Tamil nationalism as a ‘masculine dream’, arguing that ‘control over women and their sexuality has been central to the construction of Tamil identity and Tamil nationalism…’ (2005: 4876). Cultural nationalists positioned ‘women, as markers of Tamil national identity, … [and set] the boundaries of culturally acceptable feminine conduct; … gender interests could only be articulated within these parameters’ (ibid). Thus, Tamil nationalist discourse positioned women as cultural repositories of the nation, evident in the gendered subjectification in Tamil nationalist discourse of woman as mother, in the imaginary of Tamilttay (Tamil mother) and the thai-kulam (community of mothers) as cultural reproducers of the Tamil nation. The mother icon is one of the most enduring images of Tamil cultural discourse throughout the twentieth century. Though ­Tamilttay originated as an elite literary concept in classic Tamil literature, epitomised as the ‘guardian deity of the Tamil-speaking community’ and the personification of the Tamil language, it was popularised and reimagined as a ‘frail and endangered mother to be protected by her “children”, the loyal speakers of Tamil’ (Ramaswamy, 2001: 19). The protection of Tamilttay featured prominently in anti-Hindi language protests in the newly independent Indian nation-state, sitting uncomfortably beside the Hindi Indian nationalist imaginary of Bharat Mata (‘Mother India’) (Ramaswamy, 2001: 21). The importance given to women as mothers of the Tamil nation, specifically mothers of Tamil sons, reified the role of motherhood in upholding ­Tamil national honour. Tamil mothers’ bodies became ‘sites of divinity, sanctity and purity’ (Lakshmi, 1990: WS-80). Their bodies are endowed with ‘mystical qualities which make them “naturally” produce what is termed ‘the milk of valour’ for their sons to infuse in their blood bravery and courage to make them warriors…’ (ibid). Moreover, the protection of Tamil mothers becomes central to Tamil masculinity. Women’s identity becomes co-­terminous with motherhood, and women as subjects of a gendered nationalist discourse are positioned as a supportive rather than a transforming element. This supportive role for Tamil women reflects in women’s limited participation in Tamil political party organisations and associated forms of activity. Lakshmi (1990) comments on how the DMK party organisation mirrored familial structures, such that DMK women occupied supportive subservient roles, limiting their party activities to ‘womanly’ areas, and limiting their participation in decision-making and debates (Lakshmi, 1990: WS-81). Outside main party structures, women have often been excluded from a key party political organisational activity – cinema fan clubs – both in the AIADMK and the DMK (Dickey, 1993, 2003). The powerful symbiotic relationship between Tamil cinema and politics has meant cinema has been used as ‘a political springboard’ for aspiring politicians (with many leading politicians entering politics from the film industry), and one of the most effective mechanisms

Subnational policy in context  133 political leaders use to communicate with the electorate (Dickey, 1993: 340).34 Cinema fan clubs ‘provide a pre-existing network of supporters, often highly organised, that can easily be transformed into a political cadre’ (Dickey, 1993: 342). However, gender norms restrict women’s participation in fan clubs: clubs are ‘male institutions’ dominated by young men; their public nature and the ‘vaguely licentious reputation of cinema’ pose dangers to a woman’s reputation under prevailing cultural norms (Dickey, 2003: 214–217; see also Dickey, 1993). Women also face time and mobility constraints for leisure (ibid). These restrictions on women’s participation in film fan clubs consequently limit opportunities for women’s induction into mainstream political parties, where fan clubs have provided important training grounds for Tamil politicians (Dickey, 1993: 361; Dickey, 2003: 361).35 However, women had greater access to MGR’s films. The popularity of MGR’s films was strategically beneficial for his subsequent political career, including the AIADMK’s appeal to women voters. Narratives of social struggle against inequality, the representation of women in his films and their treatment by MGR’s characters influenced his political persona and immense popularity in Tamil politics, enabling him to shape debates about gender relations in Tamil society. MGR’s films appealed to women in several ways (Pandian, 1996): subverting conventional power structures that determined marriage choices such as parental authority and class and caste norms; presenting MGR’s character as guardian and protector in an environment rife with physical and sexual violence towards women; MGR’s characters’ adoration of the mother-figure; and MGR’s self-positioning as the object of female desire (Pandian, 1996: 536–539). What may be overestimated, however, is the transformative potential of MGR’s films with regard to prevailing gendered inequities in Tamil society. Pandian argues MGR’s films rarely developed ‘a subversive critique of the iniquitous system which [MGR’s films] portray[ed]…’, instead resolving conflict within the male-dominated system, reaffirming it rather than transcending it (1996: 535). Conservative gender norms are ‘defended as embodying the foremost “womanly virtues”’ (Pandian, 1996: 540). Thus, MGR’s films did little to envision a more gender egalitarian order. The paternalist approach to women evident in MGR’s films became prominent in state politics, as part of a competitive populist dynamic made possible by MGR’s establishment of a party rival to the DMK, the (AI)ADMK, in 1972 (Swamy, 1998). Several authors suggest that despite this break, the two parties initially remained virtually identical in ideology; Dickey suggests the split was more a personality clash between Karunanidhi and MGR (Dickey, 1993). In contrast, Swamy argues that ‘MGR’s accession to power marked a shift in the politics of Tamil Nadu from one characteristically associated with issues relating to upward mobility to one in which social welfare policies became the hallmark of the state’ (1998: 119). Issues of social inequality, welfare, justice, and development have been constituted through two competing populist styles in the 1990s and beyond (discussed in Chapter 7).

134  Subnational policy in context Both Swamy (1998) and Subramanian (1999) have attempted to define and analyse the two parties’ distinct styles of populism. Swamy (1998) distinguishes between the ‘empowerment populism’ of the DMK and the ‘protection populism’ of the AIADMK. Similarly, Subramanian (1999) refers to the ‘assertive populism’ of the DMK’ and the ‘paternalistic populism’ of the AIADMK. Both authors adopt a similar understanding of populism as ‘a style of political rhetoric that describes society as a conflict between ‘the common people’ and a narrow elite, demanding greater privileges for out-groups on behalf of ‘the people’’ (Swamy, 1998: 110). The DMK’s empowerment populism is based upon notions of upward mobility. Along with cultural nationalist appeals to Dravidian, and later Tamil, identity, the DMK also mobilised on the issue of poverty, a significant theme in the DMK’s delegitimation of the Congress Party as a representative of the poor in the 1967 election (Swamy, 1998: 117). But the DMK had problems appealing to lower caste groups and the poorest, exacerbated by the death of the popular DMK leader, C.N. Annadurai, in 1969, and the leadership accession of M.K. Karunanidhi, who enjoyed more popularity with the backward classes but did not then have mass appeal (Swamy, 1998). In contrast to the DMK’s ‘empowerment populism’, Swamy defines the AIADMK’s protection populism as ‘a rhetoric that emphasises themes of vulnerability, offering to protect “the weak” and “truly needy”’ (1998: 110). Similar is Subramaniam’s (1999) ‘paternalist’ populism, which articulates the state as a paternalist and benevolent protector of the poor and vulnerable. Studies of the AIADMK’s popular appeal and their social welfare policies often emphasise how MGR’s popular political image and policy orientation drew on his film roles (Pandian, 1992; Dickey, 1993). MGR most commonly played a crusader against tyranny, a champion of the poor, and a protector of women (Swamy, 1998: 135). MGR’s policies focused, in a much more limited sense, on the poorest, rather than the backward classes or intermediate social groups and he directed social policies such as prohibition towards women (ibid: 119). MGR came from a high caste background but had a poor childhood due to his father’s early death, and he often referred to his ‘mother’s plight’ to justify his concern for widows and abandoned women (ibid). Partly due to MGR’s appeal, his rhetorical style of ‘protection populism’, and his consistent appeal to women, the AIADMK opened up a gender and class voting gap (ibid: 112). Women and the poorest comprised a greater share of the AIADMK’s electoral base compared to the DMK; opinion polls showed women and illiterate voters supported MGR in larger numbers than men and college-educated voters, and opposition to Karunanidhi was more marked amongst women voters (ibid: 121). After MGR’s death in 1987, his political heir and former co-star J. ­Jayalalithaa continued his paternalist or protective populist legacy. This political style is thus significant for how gender relations are articulated through populist party political discourses, and how the proximity of statelevel party politics to government, policymaking and the bureaucracy, and

Subnational policy in context  135 the development of an identity-based politics constrains a more comprehensive state-level policy of redistribution. The contrasting empowerment and protection populisms invoke tension ‘as visions of social justice…’ which accordingly ‘…allows them to be championed by rival parties under competitive conditions’ (Swamy, 1998: 110). The extent to which these political styles affect the discursive substance of gendered development policy is a question explored in later chapters, as is how competitive party politics and personalised political leadership influence gendered development policy. Following these two populism models, we expect to find the DMK’s cultural nationalism infuses state discourses on women’s empowerment in conservative ways, as will the AIADMK’s claims of concern for women’s welfare but in a way that perpetuates women’s dependence on a paternalistic state, positioning its pursuit of gender equality as a benevolent act rather than a constitutional obligation to citizens. We might expect the close identification of party politics with social policies to have a substantial impact on state-level policy on gender-equitable development; alternatively, the state bureaucracy might enjoy relative autonomy from party political elites, who may be more concerned with superficial repackaging of state policy on gender-equitable development according to their populist rhetorical styles. These issues are examined in later chapters. A later development in Tamil politics is also noteworthy: the political mobilisation of Dalits and the rise of smaller caste-based parties such as the Dalit Panthers of India (DPI), and the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), the latter a party appealing to the Vanniyar ‘backward’ caste community concentrated in northern Tamil Nadu (see Harriss, 2002; Wyatt, 2004, 2010; Gorringe, 2005). What is particularly interesting about this development is the complex relationship between the Tamil Nadu Dalit movement and gender, and the Dalit movement’s caste-based solidarity with Dalit women. Anandhi argues that in the case of the DPI, its transition ‘from a political movement to a party seems to have led to a dramatic dilution of its radicalism’ (Anandhi, 2005: 4877). Previously, the movement invoked the radical progressive values of Periyar and the Self-Respect Movement, including the rejection of the violent masculine imposition of women’s chastity (ibid). But events such as the establishment of the Tamil Protection Movement by the DPI and PMK demonstrate attempts to revive a pan-Tamil identity, to ‘expand their support base beyond their respective caste constituencies’ (Anandhi, 2005: 4876). In a particular episode in September 2005. Kushboo, a popular Tamil film actress, during a Tamil Magazine interview on women’s sexuality, spoke openly about cultural taboos on women’s virginity and sexuality. Kushboo argued that, contrary to cultural expectations, many women engaged in pre-marital sex and were not virgins at the time of marriage. The DPI and PMK protested, claiming the actress had insulted the morality and dignity of Tamil women, thus mobilising a gendered Tamil cultural nationalism. The PMK’s women’s wing filed defamation cases against Kushboo. Anandhi concluded at the time, ‘the past of the DMK has become

136  Subnational policy in context the present of the DPI and the PMK’ (2005: 4876). Moreover, the DPI’s newfound role as protector of an ‘homogenised, hegemonic, collective identity of the “Tamil women”’ undermined gains made by Dalit women’s organisations in the state to gain recognition for Dalit women’s specific identity and experience, distinct from upper caste women and Dalit men and between multiple oppressions suffered by Dalit women (Anandhi, 2005: 4877). These events demonstrate the resilience and diffusion of the DMK’s early conservative cultural nationalist discourse. In summary, the DMK’s early conservative Tamil cultural nationalist discourse revised the more gender egalitarian ethos of the earlier Dravidian Self-Respect Movement, positioning women as cultural repositories of the nation, foregrounding their role as mothers of Tamil sons. With the rise of MGR’s leadership of the breakaway AIADMK party, women became one amongst several favoured beneficiary groups of his paternalist style of leadership, demonstrating a gendered and class-based style of populism. Yet, neither the DMK’s conservative cultural nationalist discourse nor the ­AIADMK’s paternalist populism offered much potential for gender egalitarianism in Tamil Nadu. Furthermore, both party organisations present few opportunities for women’s leadership to challenge dominant gender norms, despite Jayalalithaa’s leadership of the AIADMK after MGR’s death in 1987. The emergent smaller movements and related political parties have also not offered much potential for more gender egalitarian relations, rearticulating the dominant socio-political discourses in the state. Left-wing agrarian movements, populism, and state co-optation in Andhra Pradesh Historically, women in Andhra Pradesh actively participated in political and social movements but were often disappointed with movement outcomes. One example is the Telangana struggle, documented in oral histories by Lalita et al. (1989). Whilst India was transitioning to Independence in the late 1940s, an anti-feudal struggle occurred in the Telangana region (1946–1951), with rural lower castes mobilised against forced labour (vetti) and exploitation by upper caste landlords. The movement operated through the Communist-dominated Andhra Maha Sabha, forming sanghams (movement groups) at the grassroots. The Telangana movement differed significantly from the character of the women’s movement at the time, attracting rural low caste women rather than urban middle and upper caste women. Party support for women’s symbolic participation in the movement remained marginal, positioning women as ‘supportive’ despite extensive participation. Communist Party of India (CPI) leader, Ch. Rajeshwar Rao, said of the time, ‘We praised women when they came, but we did not do anything to encourage them to come… They fought boldly, organised shelters, brought food etc. [Yet] the party made no special efforts to attract them.’ (quoted in Lalita et al., 1989: 17).

Subnational policy in context  137 The party’s reluctance to encourage women’s participation was partly because of how the movement’s struggle was conceptualised. A CPI party document acknowledged: ‘We always viewed … [women’s] problems as a separate issue. Due to this attitude, we only succeeded in making them sympathetic to the movement, but could not involve them as a direct force in the fight’ (cited in Lalita et al., 1989: 17). Women’s participation in the movement also challenged societal norms: ‘women had to fight against traditional beliefs and a feudal outlook even to become a part of the political struggle’ (Lalita et al., 1989: 263). This posed a problem for the party ‘because their protection was a problem’ (Ch. Rajeswar Rao, quoted in Lalita et al., 1989: 17), and they were seen as ‘separate, embarrassing and burdensome’ (Lalita et al., 1989: 263). Women’s oral narratives of their experience in the Telangana movement suggest ‘women often felt used and then cast aside’ and that within the movement there was a ‘brooding, pervasive sense that women were “problems”’, articulated not always explicitly but in ‘everyday moments of dismissive encounter’ (Lalita et al., 1989: 25). Despite their symbolically marginal status in the Telangana movement, Lalita et al.’s analysis suggests their participation was liberating and empowering: ‘they believed it was possible to break with custom – to travel alone, travel at night, carry guns, act as couriers, fight in squads – all of which they did’ (1989: 261). Women’s involvement increased their consciousness: Reading, writing, discussing political questions, attending classes, addressing public meetings and organising women gave [women] a very positive sense of their role…[The Party] gave them the tools to understand their social reality and was a source of enormous strength and clarity. They felt that the struggle brought them wisdom, knowledge, clarity and enormous physical stamina. (Lalita et al., 1989: 261) Yet this positive sense of the movement’s impact on women’s agency was accompanied by disappointment at the lack of change (Lalita et al., 1989: 25). Women felt frustrated when asked to return to their families when the movement ended; as Brij Rani attested, ‘what do you think it means, to wield weapons in the struggle and sit before sewing machines now?’ (quoted in Lalita et al., 1989: 18). Contemporary electoral politics Since the formation of Andhra Pradesh along linguistic lines in 1956, the Congress Party has dominated government and party politics in the state, until the 1980s when a regional-based party, the TDP, was elected to the State Assembly in 1983.36 The leader of the TDP, N.T. Rama Rao, was a populist leader and former film actor, who had rapidly established the party and came to power astonishingly within less than a year. The Congress

138  Subnational policy in context regained political office in 1989 but were elected out of office in 1994. The TDP returned to government from 1994 to 1999 and 1999 to 2004, mostly under the leadership of Chandrababu Naidu, NTR’s son-in law, after Naidu deposed NTR in a party leadership coup in 1995. The Congress Party returned to government in the 2004 State Assembly elections, and again in 2009, fighting off the challenge posed by a new party, the Praja Rajyam Party, led by another popular Telugu film actor, Chiranjeevi. Other parties in state politics were those from the Left (CPI, CPI(M)), less so in recent years after the Left’s popularity declined (Srinivasulu, 2011), and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS). The TRS was driven by its campaign for Telangana statehood, enjoying some early influence and electoral success followed by decline (Srinivasulu, 2011: 303–304), until the state’s electoral context changed with the death of Congress Chief Minister Y.S.R. Reddy in 2009. The national Congress-led coalition government granted separate statehood in 2014, and the TRS was elected to the new Telangana state government on the basis of their majority of seats in the newly formed state’s territory. The rise of the TDP was significant as an alternative to Congress Party dominance, and for caste and regional identity politics. According to Suri, ‘the emergence of the TDP heralded a new era in AP politics’ as a result of increased inter-party competition and electoral choice (2006: 283). Suri offers five different explanations for the formation and rising popularity of the TDP, centring on firstly, intra-caste rivalry between the two dominant peasant castes, the Reddy’s (which dominated the Congress Party) and the Kammas (who formed the TDP); secondly, the importance of the backward caste vote after their alienation from the Congress Party; third, the issue of Telugu self-respect in protest at Indira Gandhi’s centralising tendencies during the late 1970s and early 1980s and her encouragement of factionalism within the Congress Party in AP; fourthly, increasing demands for statelevel autonomy as a result of a conflict between an emerging regional bourgeoisie and their national counterpart; and lastly, the ability of the TDP to attract the vote of non-Congress political parties (Suri, 2006: 284–287). Suri concludes that all these explanations have some merit, but each alone are insufficient to explain the TDP’s rise. The TDP’s rise in the 1980s and 1990s was also significant for gender politics. NTR’s charismatic leadership and populist appeals helped build the TDP’s popularity. Kannabiran (1997) is one of few studies on the TDP paying attention to N.T. Rama Rao’s charismatic appeal and paternalist and benevolent persona amongst women voters. Kannabiran argues ‘women have always been central to the rhetoric of the Telugu Desam Party, since its inception. N.T. Rama Rao entered politics appealing to Telugu mothers and sisters to use their political will to bring his party into power, since his party was the only one that held the promise of a ‘better life for women’’ (1997: 1237). Similar to MGR, he harnessed the patron-protector and benevolent elder brother roles he played as a film actor (although NTR’s characters

Subnational policy in context  139 were rarely common heroes, more mythological characters or kings) (ibid). NTR particularly appealed to women because his rhetoric starkly contrasted the inability of the Congress government to stem the rising tide of violence against women in the state (Kannabiran, 1997: 1236). Thus, ‘when NTR came with his offerings of equal property rights and a safe and clean environment free of violence, women were more than eager to give him a chance…’ (Kannabiran, 1997: ibid). His scheme of rice for Rs 2 a kilo was also popular amongst women, and he implemented reservations for women in local bodies. However, as women’s experience of campaigning for prohibition in AP show, the TDP’s willingness to address women’s demands was ultimately limited. The anti-arrack movement The struggles discussed so far were not specifically or solely ‘women’s struggles’ but part of larger struggles, evidencing women’s participation in more radical but still mainstream movements. In contrast, the anti-arrack movement in AP in the early 1990s was a specifically women-led movement against the sale of arrack (saara in Telugu, meaning country liquor). The movement, crystallising in Nellore district in the early 1990s, and leading to the (albeit temporary) state prohibition of arrack, is now well documented (see Anveshi, 1993; Reddy and Patnaik, 1993; Rao and Parthasarathy, 1997; Pande, 2002). The large-scale mobilisation of poor lower caste women resulted from a state-directed literacy programme which used literacy towards empowerment. The programme materials sought to raise awareness and provoke debate on social issues. Through this programme, women became increasingly agitated around what they saw as the underlying reasons for domestic violence and poverty: alcohol consumption by male household members and the presence of arrack shops in their villages. The political economy of arrack is significant to the Andhra Pradesh ­government – excise revenue is sourced from liquor sales and from licensing fees from liquor contractors. In 1991–1992, arrack was the largest source of revenue from liquor sales (Rs. 630.27 crores), and excise taxes constituted 8 percent of state taxes (Anveshi, 1993: 87). Arrack sales were also linked to the village labour economy – landlords often paid labourers in arrack tokens rather than cash or other goods. Furthermore, arrack sales had risen rapidly between 1981 and 1991 due to a deliberate state-led marketing strategy known as ‘varun vahini’ (‘the flood of liquor’) which packeted liquor in individual sachets, partly to facilitate convenient consumption beyond conventional public drinking spaces (ibid). The Congress government at the height of the movement’s expansion was reluctant to concede women’s demands because arrack generated revenue and was a source of power from patronage of liquor contracts. But the women’s anti-arrack movement successfully closed liquor shops, protested against and prevented the state-sponsored sale and marketing of arrack, and eventually achieved

140  Subnational policy in context their goal of prohibition in October 1993. The movement also effected considerable changes in the lives of the lower caste, rural (but later also urban) women participating in the movement, raising awareness, spreading the movement’s message, and encouraging other women to mobilise and protest against arrack, to combat domestic violence and poverty. However, the movement ultimately exemplified the state’s willingness and ability to co-opt the demands of the women’s movement, motivated by electoral compulsions to capture women’s votes (Kannabiran, 1997: 1237). Movement support began to evaporate once it became a partisan issue supported by the TDP opposition (Pande, 2002: 360). But the TDP successfully converted its support of the prohibition movement into women’s votes in the 1994 election; the newly elected TDP implemented prohibition soon after. Prohibition was short-lived, however, and lifted from November 1995, when the TDP’s new leader, Chandrababu Naidu, faced opposition to tax increases intended as an alternative source of revenue to replace lost liquor excise duties (Pande, 2002: 360). Thus, women’s votes were deemed insufficiently important to continue prohibition. The reneged promises of the AP government on prohibition evidences the reluctance of political elites and the Indian state to uphold demands for change generated through their own programmes of social mobilisation and empowerment.37 The anti-­ arrack stories were removed from the texts used by the state-led literacy programmes (Pande, 2002: 360). Naidu’s TDP instead sought women’s votes by reviving Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) groups (an earlier form of self-help groups) and distributed funds to these groups. National Election Survey data showed a gender voting gap with women more in favour of the TDP than men by 10 percentage points (50–40 percent) (Srinivasulu, 2011: 297). However, women’s support returned to the Congress Party in the 2004 election due to greater attention to the rural crisis, promises of a broad welfare policy package, and low interest loans to DWCRA groups (Srinivasulu, 2011: 298). In the 2009 election, both TDP and Congress lost some support from women voters, and a slightly higher proportion of women than men (13.5 percent women and 11.5 percent men) supported the new Praja Rajyam Party (NES 2009 data, in Srinivasulu, 2011: 298). Congress Chief Minister Y.S.R. Reddy was often associated with development and populist welfare policies, including election pledges and policies aimed at women voters (Srinivasulu, 2011; discussed in later chapters). YSR developed some autonomy from the central Congress Party leadership in Delhi, acting almost as a regional party with a highly centralised leadership in the state (ibid). However, with his accidental death in September 2009, the leadership trajectory and electoral support for the Congress Party became unclear. Then Finance Minister and long-serving Congress politician, K. Rosaiah, was appointed Chief Minister, but later resigned on health grounds and Kiran Kumar Reddy, a reported YSR loyalist and former Assembly Speaker, was appointed Chief Minister. Meanwhile, YSR’s son

Subnational policy in context  141 Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, an MP, split from the Congress Party and formed the YSR Congress, managing to persuade some Congress leaders to join, and achieved some success in subsequent by-elections. But in August 2011 a CBI investigation was ordered by the Andhra Pradesh High Court and ­Jaganmohan Reddy was arrested in May 2012 in a disproportionate assets case (The Hindu, 2012). The longer term impact on the electoral support of the Congress Party, and thus the broader long-term policy context, is still unclear, but in the 2014 state elections, the TDP under Chandrababu Naidu returned to government. The new YSR Congress still managed to win 70 of 293 seats available, with the original Congress Party winning only 20 seats. Simultaneously, the TRS formed the government in the new Telangana state. Comparing socio-political histories Important similarities and differences within and between the two states demonstrate the diversity of the broader subnational socio-political context. Both states historically experienced regionally concentrated social movements, engaging, albeit in limited ways, with the question of gender inequality and women’s participation, but ultimately offered limited substantial opportunities for changes in gender relations. In both states, regional parties emerged, two appealing specifically to women voters (AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and TDP in Andhra Pradesh), albeit in ways which reinforced conservative gender norms. Regional parties have become politically institutionalised in state government (and at the national level in recent years) and have therefore become important actors in state-led development. But significant differences remain between the two states. Regional parties have not emerged under the same conditions or followed similar trajectories (Suri, 2006: 281). The TDP and DMK (and later AIADMK) have different origins (ibid); the nature of regional party competition in the state is different; the Congress retained influence in Andhra Pradesh longer than in Tamil Nadu. This suggests a complex relationship between state and national development policy, with different levels of influence of national parties on state-level policy, though permutations of coalition politics complicate this dynamic. Notwithstanding early feminist debates of Tamil Nadu’s Self-Respect Movement, the women’s movement appears stronger and more mobilised in Andhra Pradesh, possibly due to the stronger presence of left-wing politics compared to Tamil Nadu. It is unclear what role women played in Dalit movements emerging in AP from the 1980s, and whether these movements incorporated understanding of Dalit women’s oppression within movement discourse, since there are few detailed studies.

Conclusions This chapter explored the broader socio-economic and socio-political dynamics which constitute the context for gendered subnational state-led

142  Subnational policy in context development in these two states. Gendered development is highly complex and nuanced, intersecting with unequal relations of caste, class, space, and place. Generalisations about levels of subnational development must be watchful of simplistic assumptions about relative women’s status and whether gender relations are more egalitarian in south India. Tamil Nadu is not universally more developed and gender-egalitarian compared to Andhra Pradesh. Higher income and more industrialised states like Tamil Nadu may experience new challenges of inequality, marginalisation and deprivation in the context of economic change. Possibilities for articulating feminist strategies of gender-equitable development may be enabled or constrained by broader socio-historical and political developments. Analyses of statelevel policies of development must sufficiently consider their embeddedness in state-specific socio-economic and historical contexts and the conditions of possibility these contexts constitute. The next two chapters focus on state-level initiatives that have exhibited an interest, in various ways, in addressing gender inequalities in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Notes 1 ‘Andhra Pradesh’ refers to the state pre-2014 bifurcation. 2 The state rose from sixth in the country in per capita income (Rs. 23,358) after Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, and Kerala (GoI, 2007: Table 18). However, relative positions depend on specific figures used and baseline. The Tamil Nadu Human Development Report (2003), using per capita income data (2000–2001) ranked the state fourth amongst major States and first amongst southern States. Both sets of figures compare major States (population over 10 million). 3 Tamil Nadu scored a higher HDI than Andhra Pradesh in 1996 and 2006, but still only ranked 16th in 2006. Whilst both states’ HDI scores improved from 1996 to 2006, Tamil Nadu’s improved more (see Table 5.2). The Government of India’s Economic Survey (2014–2015) shows Tamil Nadu placed higher than Andhra Pradesh in HDI rankings, improving in HDI scores from 1999 to 2000, but Andhra Pradesh improved faster than Tamil Nadu, rising above the national average, though from a lower base (GoI, 2014). 4 Government poverty headcounts and measurement criteria are contested, criticised for their unrealistically low household income/expenditure levels for defining poverty (Roy, in Times of India, 2011). Changes in measurements make comparison difficult over time. The national Below-Poverty-Line criteria (­Tendulkar method) estimated that in 2009–2010 only 29 percent of India’s population were poor, compared to 42 percent using the international measure of US$1.25 a day (OPHI, 2010). The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative’s (OPHI) Multidimensional Poverty Index uses several criteria beyond income, and estimates an even higher proportion of 55 percent (ibid). The Planning Commission’s Rangarajan committee adopted a different methodology, revising the Tendulkar estimates of the all-India population in poverty in ­2009–2010 upwards to 38 percent (Planning Commission, 2014; see Table 5.2). 5 OPHI estimates almost one-third in poverty in Tamil Nadu compared to 45 percent in Andhra Pradesh, in 2005–2006 (OPHI, 2010), whereas the Rangarajan method places estimates closer together.

Subnational policy in context  143 6 See Table 5.2. Both states have a 0.011 difference between HDI and GDI scores. Official report compiled by Indian Institute of Public Administration, Delhi, for the Ministry of Women and Child Development, supported by UNDP. 7 Tamil Nadu’s decline in score might be explained by the 1996–2006 decline in women in the civil service and enrolment in medical and engineering colleges (few states declined in this indicator over the same period). Gains in the indicator of political participation and decision-making power were not enough to offset this decline relative to other states’ achievements, pushing Tamil Nadu’s position down the ranking, in one of the largest overall declines in rankings amongst all states between 1996 and 2006. 8 Women’s increased income-earning capacity may increase their intra-household financial independence and thus their social standing, voice within the family, and agency overall (Drèze and Sen, 2002: 246). Women’s increased labour force participation may have positive effects on household expenditure, such as in child nutrition and health care. 9 This may be due to reduced capacity to meet consumption needs arising from unemployment or underemployment of other income earners in the household, reduction in wages, or increasing rents and consumer prices. Furthermore, the freedom of income-earning women to spend on education, nutrition, and health care for family members assumes sufficient income and some security and autonomy to spend the income. 10 Though if they return at a higher income or skill level, a U-shaped curve results in women’s work participation rates (for discussion of the Indian context, see Das et al., 2015). 11 Other non-workers include students, dependents such as infants and the elderly not included as workers, pensioners, ‘beggars, vagrants [and prostitutes’, prisoners, those officially seeking work, and others deemed as not working (GoI, 2005a). The NSS collects data on these activities under two separate codes. 12 The definition of a main worker is having undertaken no less than six months’ work in the 12 months preceding the census survey period; a marginal worker is defined as having undertaken less than six months work in the preceding 12 months. 13 ‘Usual status’ denotes a majority of time spent on an activity over the preceding year, whereas current weekly status has a minimum threshold of one hour on one day in the preceding seven days, and current daily status has a threshold of four hours or more in the previous week (Ghosh, 2009). 14 Ghosh argues that whilst the NSSO classification is not perfect, it is better than census data at capturing women’s work activity, though census data still provide valuable coverage of broad trends (Ghosh, 2009: 54–56). 15 Female WPRs in rural areas vary by district from 24 percent (rural East ­Godavari) to 51 percent (rural Vizianagram), both northern coastal districts. 16 Census data show slightly different figures to the NSS: more than half of female workers in AP are classed as agricultural labourers, rising to two-thirds of rural female workers (see Table 5.5). This can be mostly explained by the distinction between cultivator and agricultural labourer in the census data, whereas NSS data record work by sector (agriculture). 17 Just over 80 percent of male workers in five sectors (agriculture, manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail trade, and transportation and storage), whereas women workers in Tamil Nadu tend to be concentrated in three sectors (78 percent in agriculture, manufacturing, and construction) and in two sectors in Andhra Pradesh (77 percent in agriculture and manufacturing, with the next largest being construction, another 6 percent of women workers). The fourth largest sector for both men and women workers in both states is wholesale and retail trade.

144  Subnational policy in context 18 Census data over time suggest a casualisation of employment, indicated by the shift from main to marginal workers status in the two states, between 1991 and 2001, with the exception of urban female workers. Comparing 2001 and 2011 data shows a mixed picture, but in rural areas in both states there was a shift towards main status for women overall, but towards marginal status for women in urban Andhra Pradesh. 19 Tamil Nadu’s State Human Development Report attributes this to agrarian transformation and mechanisation of agriculture, reducing demand for labour (GoTN, 2003: 27). 20 According to the Government of India’s Economic Survey for 2013–2014, T ­ amil Nadu recorded the highest number of person days per household (59 days) for MGNREGA amongst major states (GoI, 2013), higher than the average for Andhra Pradesh (50 days), and the all-India average (46 days). Tamil Nadu’s share of women’s employment under NREGA at 84.1 percent, is the second highest (Kerala’s is 93.4 percent), and higher than Andhra Pradesh at 58.7 percent (GoI, 2013: 236–237, 239). 21 One study suggests gendered occupational segregation negatively affected opportunities for growth in women’s employment and is partly responsible for women’s declining labour force participation between 2005 and 2010 amid high growth (Kapsos et al., 2014). 22 The male-female disparity in literacy rates is highest in Ariyalur district and lowest in Kanyakumari district. 23 After the state capital of Hyderabad, the coastal district of West Godavari has the highest literacy and surpasses Hyderabad for female literacy, including SC and ST females. Mahbubnagar district registers the lowest literacy for the same groups. The largest gender differential in literacy rates is recorded in Cuddapah district (76 percent males and 50 percent females); the smallest differential is in coastal East Godavari district (70 percent for males and 61 percent for females). 24 Between 2001 and 2011, both states saw increases in completed secondary or higher education, above the national average. Male completion of secondary education was higher in Andhra Pradesh than Tamil Nadu in 2001, but the larger increase in Tamil Nadu during 2001–2011 brought them level. 25 Term adapted from Harriss-White’s essay (2001). 26 NFHS national data on small families show sex ratios amongst first, second, and third birth orders are adverse for girl children, particularly in more recent rounds, with 762 girls per 1,000 boys at the birth of a couple’s second child (Kishor and Gupta, 2009: 13). Figures are slightly higher for Tamil Nadu (819) and Andhra Pradesh (844). ‘Last births’ show even lower child sex ratios at 630 girls for every 1,000 boys amongst women sterilised after their last birth (Kishor and Gupta, 2009: 14). This figure is similar across levels of wealth and education (ibid: 15). 27 Caplan (1985) distinguishes between consumer-oriented dowry (gifts in cash, white goods, a car or moped) and traditional stridhanam (such as gold bangles). The latter served as a pre-mortem inheritance from parents to the bride, kept by the bride and only converted into cash in dire need. It is consumer-oriented dowry, not stridhanam, that is commonly denounced as ‘the social evil of dowry’, but still widely practiced (Caplan, 1985: 45–48). 28 2001 Census data for child sex ratios show diversity amongst different SC groups in Tamil Nadu, the lowest amongst Arunthathiyars (928), who are more urbanised than other SC groups. In Andhra Pradesh, although all major SCs groups have higher sex ratios than the national average, figures still vary between SC groups. Apart from Madigas, the child sex ratio is lower than the all ages sex ratio.

Subnational policy in context  145 29 In 2001, the child sex ratio in Tamil Nadu differed markedly amongst major ST groups: Irulars had the highest ratio at 984, Kondareddis much lower at 859. It also varied amongst ST groups in Andhra Pradesh: the lowest amongst Sugalis (944), the highest amongst Koyas (1,000). It also varied geographically between Nalgonda district, (921, all ages) and Srikakulam (1,009, all ages). Further research could explore the recent decline in both states, particularly Andhra Pradesh. 30 The ranking in GoI (2003) was based on provisional population totals from the 2001 Census. 31 Salem’s rural child sex ratio increased from 811 to 897 and Dharmapuri’s from 815 to 905, between 2001 and 2011. 32 Specified reasons include ‘She shows disrespect for in-laws’, ‘He suspects her of infidelity’, ‘She does not cook food properly’, ‘She refuses to have sex with him’, ‘She argues with him’, ‘She neglects the house or children’, ‘She goes out without telling him’ (Kishor and Gupta, 2009: 74). 33 All four south Indian states had agreement rates amongst women higher than the national average. The contrast between Kerala and Himachal Pradesh is striking, despite otherwise similar position on gender-related indicators: in the latter, only 28 percent of both men and women agreed with wife-beating for at least one specified reason (Kishor and Gupta, 2009). Studies have discussed Kerala’s more conservative gender norms in the context of high socio-economic indicators (see Mukhopadhyay, 2007). 34 Extensive literature discusses this relationship between cinema and party politics in Tamil Nadu. See Dickey (1993, 2003), Hardgrave (1973), and Pandian (1992). 35 Dickey (1993: 357, note 7) acknowledges film clubs have occasionally involved women in their social service activities. 36 Prior to 1956, Brahmins dominated post-Independence state politics, but were replaced by the Reddys, a dominant peasant caste. The latter’s rise resulted from land reforms implemented after the late 1940s Telangana struggle. 37 Another example is Rajasthan’s Women’s Development Programme, where the state government’s goal was to empower women and undo gender hierarchies, [but which] actually ended up repressing women and reconstituting patriarchy [in the face of women’s collective mobilisation as a result of the programme] by such actions as ordering men to control their wives or else. (Sharma, 2001: 1–2; see also WDP Fact Finding Team, 1992, in Sharma, 2001)

References Anandhi, S. (2005) ‘Sex and Sensibility in Tamil Politics’, Economic and Political Weekly, 40 (47), pp. 4876–4877. Anveshi (1993) ‘Reworking Gender Relations, Redefining Politics: Nellore Village Women Against Arrack’, Economic and Political Weekly, 28 (January 16–23), pp. 87–90. Athreya, V. and Chunkath, S. R. (2000) ‘Tackling Female Infanticide: Social ­Mobilisation in Dharmapuri, 1997–1999’, Economic and Political Weekly, 35 (9) (2nd December), pp. 4345–4348. Bajpai, N. and Sachs, J. D. (1999) ‘The Progress of Policy Reform and Variations in Performance at the Sub-National Level in India’, Development Discussion Paper 730, Cambridge, MA: Harvard Institute for International Development.

146  Subnational policy in context Basu, A. (1999) ‘Women’s Education in India: Achievements and Challenges’, pp. 135–157 in Ray, B. and Basu, A. (Eds.) From Independence to Freedom: Indian Women Since 1947. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Caplan, P. (1985) Class and Gender in India: Women and Their Organisations in a South Indian City, London: Tavistock Publications. Chakravarty, D. (2004) ‘Expansion of Markets and Women Workers: Case Study of Garment Manufacturing in India’, Economic and Political Weekly, 39 (45), pp. 4910–4916. Chandrasekhar, C. P. and Ghosh, J. (2014) ‘Growth, Employment Patterns and Inequality in Asia: A Case Study of India’, ILO Asia-Pacific Working Paper Series, Bangkok: ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, available online at www. wcms_334063.pdf. Da Corta, L. and Venkateshwarlu, D. (1999) ‘Unfree Relations and the Feminisation of Agricultural Labour in Andhra Pradesh, 1970–1995’, Journal of Peasant Studies, 26 (2–3), pp. 71–139. Das, S., Jain-Chandra, S., Kochhar, K. and Kumar, N. (2015) ‘Women Workers in India: Why So Few Among So Many?’ IMF Working Paper WP 15/55 March 2015, International Monetary Fund, available online at pubs/ft/wp/2015/wp1555.pdf. Das Gupta, M. and Bhat, P. N. M. (1997) ‘Fertility Decline and Increased Manifestation of Sex Bias in India’, Population Studies, 51 (3), pp. 307–315. Dickey, S. (1993) ‘The Politics of Adulation: Cinema and the Production of Politicians in South India’, Journal of Asian Studies, 52 (2), pp. 340–372. Dickey, S. (2003) ‘Opposing Faces: Film Star Fan Clubs and the Construction of Class Identities in South India’, pp. 212–246 in Dwyer, R. and Pinney, C. (Eds.) Pleasure and the Nation: The History, Politics and Consumption of Public Culture in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Dietrich, G. (1995) ‘Women’s Struggle for Production of Life: Public Hearings of Women Workers in Informal Sector’, Economic and Political Weekly, 30 (26), (July 1st), pp. 1551–1554. Drèze, J. and Sen, A. (2002) India: Development and Participation, New Delhi: ­Oxford University Press. Elson, D. (1999) ‘Labour Markets as Gendered Institutions: Equality, Efficiency, and Empowerment Issues’, World Development, 27 (3), pp. 611–627 Geetha, R. (1990) ‘The Tamil Nadu Construction Workers’ Union’, pp. 182–193 in Sen, I. (Ed.) A Space Within The Struggle: Women’s Participation In People’s Movements. New Delhi: Kali for Women. Ghosh, J. (2009) Never Done and Poorly Paid: Women’s Work in Globalizing India, New Delhi: Women Unlimited. GoAP (2005) Statistical Abstract Andhra Pradesh 2005, Hyderabad: Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Government of Andhra Pradesh. GoAP (2007) ‘Socio-Economic Survey’, Planning Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh, available online at economic_Survey.html, last accessed 4th October 2007. GoI (2002a) ‘National Human Development Report 2001’, Planning Commission, Government of India, available online at­ reports/genrep/nhdrep/nhdreportf.htm, last accessed 16th October 2007.

Subnational policy in context  147 GoI (2002b) ‘Tenth Five Year Plan (2002–2007)’, Planning Commission, Government of India. GoI (2003) ‘eCENSUS India Issue No. 15’, Office of the Registrar General, Government of India, available online at, last accessed 19th September 2007. GoI (2005) ‘Concepts and Definitions: Census 2001’: Office of the Registrar General, Government of India, available online at­concepts_ def.htm, last accessed 10th October 2007. GoI (2007) ‘Selected Educational Statistics 2004–2005’, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, available online at http://education., last accessed 10th October 2007. GoI (2013) Economic Survey 2013–2014, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, available online at GoI (2014) Economic Survey 2014–2015, Statistical Appendix, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, available online at­ estat1.pdf. Gorringe, H. (2005) Untouchable Citizens: Dalit Movements and Democratisation in Tamil Nadu, New Delhi: Sage. GoTN (2003) Tamil Nadu Human Development Report, Tamil Nadu, Chennai: Government of Tamil Nadu/ Social Science Press. Hardgrave, R. L. (1973) ‘Politics and the Film in Tamil Nadu: The Stars and the DMK’, Asian Survey, 13 (3), pp. 288–305. Harriss-White, B. (2001) ‘Gender-Cleansing: The Paradox of Development and Deteriorating Female Life Chances in Tamil Nadu’, pp. 125–154 in Rajan, R. S. (Ed.) Signposts: Gender Issues in Post-Independence Thought. New Brunswick, ­ utgers University Press. NJ: R Harriss-White, B. (2004a) India Working: Essays on Society and Economy, New Delhi: Foundation Books. Harriss-White, B. (2004b) ‘Nutrition and its Politics in Tamil Nadu’, South Asia Research, 24 (1), pp. 51–71. Harriss, J. (2002) ‘Whatever Happened to Cultural Nationalism in Tamil Nadu? A Reading of Current Events and the Recent Literature on Tamil Politics’, Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, 40 (3), pp. 97–117. Heyer, J. (1992) ‘The Role of Dowries and Daughters’ Marriages in the Accumulation and Distribution of Capital in a South Indian Community’, Journal of International Development, 4 (4), pp. 419–436. HRW (2012) ‘India: Target-Driven Sterilisation Harming Women’, Human Rights Watch, 12 July 2012, available online at Jeffrey, P., Jeffrey, R. and Perwez, S. (2012) ‘A Demographic Epiphany? Declining Child Sex Ratio and Sex-Selection in India’, Economic and Political Weekly, 47 (33), 18 August, pp. 73–77. Jeyaranjan, J. (2011) ‘Women and Pro-Poor Policies in Rural Tamil Nadu: An ­Examination of Practices and Responses’, Review of Women’s Studies, Economic and Political Weekly, 46 (43), pp. 64–74. John, M. E. (1996) ‘Gender and Development in India 1970s–1990s: Some Reflections on the Constitutive Role of Contexts’, Economic and Political Weekly, 31 (47), pp. 3071–3077.

148  Subnational policy in context Kannabiran, K. (1997) ‘Gender in Mainstream Politics: Case of the Telugu Desam Party’, Economic and Political Weekly, 32 (May 31st), pp. 1236–1239. Kapadia, K. (2002a) ‘Translocal Modernities and Transformations of Gender and Caste’, pp. 142–179 in Kapadia, K. (Ed.) The Violence of Development: The Politics of Identity, Gender and Social Inequalities in India. London: Zed Books. Kapadia, K. (Ed.) (2002b) The Violence of Development: The Politics of Identity, Gender and Social Inequalities in India, London: Zed Books. Kapadia, K. (2009) ‘Liberalisation and Transformations in India’s Informal Economy: Female Breadwinners in Working Class Households in Chennai’, Chapter 13 pp. 267–290, in Harriss-White, B. and Heyer, J. (Eds.) The Comparative Political Economy of Development: Africa and South Asia. Abingdon: Routledge. Kapsos, S., Silberman, A. and Bourmpoula, E. (2014) ‘Why is Female Labour Force Participation Declining so Sharply in India?’ ILO Research Paper No. 10, available online at—dgreports/—inst/documents/ publication/wcms_250977.pdf. Kennedy, L. (2004) ‘The Political Determinants of Reform Packaging: Contrasting Responses to Economic Liberalisation in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu’, pp.  29–65 in Jenkins, R. (Ed.) Regional Reflections: Comparing Politics across India’s States. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Kishor, S. and Gupta, K. (2009) Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in I­ ndia. National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), India, 2005–2006. Mumbai: International Institute for Population Sciences; Calverton, Maryland, USA: ICF Macro. Lakshmi, C. S. (1990) ‘Mother, Mother-Community and Mother-Politics in Tamil Nadu’, Economic and Political Weekly, 25 (42–43), pp. WS72–WS83. Lalita, K., Kannabiran, V., Melkote, R., Maheswari, U., Tharu, S. and Shatrugna, V. (1989) ‘We Were Making History’: Life Stories of Women in the Telangana ­People’s Struggle, New Delhi: Kali for Women. Mukhopadhyay, S. (Ed.) (2007) The Enigma of the Kerala Woman: A Failed Promise of Literacy, New Delhi: Social Science Press. Mukhopadhyay, S. and Sudarshan, R. M. (Eds.) (2003) Tracking Gender Equity under Economic Reforms: Continuity and Change in South Asia, Ottawa: International Development Research Centre. MWCD (2009) Gendering the Human Development Indices: Recasting the Gender Development Index and Gender Empowerment Measure for India: Summary Report, Ministry of Women and Child Development/Indian Institute for Public Administration, New Delhi: Government of India, available online at http://wcd.nic. in/publication/gdigemSummary%20Report/GDIGEMSummary.pdf. NFHS (2008) ‘National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), India: Andhra Pradesh’, Mumbai: International Institute for Population Sciences. Niranjana, S. (2002) ‘Exploring Gender Inflections within Panchayati Raj Institutions: Women’s Politicisation in Andhra Pradesh’, pp. 352–392 in Kapadia, K. (Ed.) The Violence of Development: The Politics of Identity, Gender and Social Inequalities in India, London: Zed Books. NSSO (2012) Employment and Unemployment Situation among Social Groups in India, NSS 66th Round, 2009–2010, Report No. 543, National Sample Survey Office, Government of India. NSSO (2013) Key Indicators of Employment and Unemployment in India, NSS 68th Round (July 2011–June 2012), National Sample Survey Office, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India.

Subnational policy in context  149 OPHI (2010) ‘Country Briefing: India’, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, University of Oxford, available online at­content/ uploads/Country-Brief-India.pdf. Pande, R. (2002) ‘The Public Face of a Private Domestic Violence’, International Feminist Journal of Politics, 4 (3), pp. 342–367. Pandian, M. S. S. (1992) The Image Trap: M G Ramachandran in Film and Politics, New Delhi: Sage. Pandian, M. S. S. (1996) ‘Politics of Representation: Women in the Films of M.G. Ramachandran’, pp. 533–549 in Sathyamurthy, T. V. (Ed.) Region, Religion, Caste, Gender and Culture in Contemporary India. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Parthasarathy, G. and Anand, J. (1995) ‘Employment and Unemployment in Andhra Pradesh: Trends and Dimensions’, Economic and Political Weekly, 30 (15), pp. 811–821. Patel, I. (1998) ‘The Contemporary Women’s Movement and Women’s Education in India’, International Review of Education, 44 (2–3), pp. 155–175. Planning Commission (2014) ‘Report of the Expert Group to Review the Methodology for Measurement of Poverty’, Planning Commission, Government of India, June 2014. Rajadurai, S. V. and Geetha, V. (1996) ‘DMK Hegemony: The Cultural Limits to Political Consensus’, pp. 550–586, in Sathyamurthy, T. V. (Ed.) Region, Religion, Caste, Gender and Culture in Contemporary India. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Ramaswamy, S. (2001) ‘Virgin Mother, Beloved Other: The Erotics of Tamil Nationalism in Colonial and Post-Colonial India’, pp. 17–56 in Rajan, R. S. (Ed.) Sign­ utgers posts: Gender Issues in Post-Independence India. New Brunswick, NJ: R University Press. Rao, B. S. and Parthasarathy, G. (Eds.) (1997) Anti-Arrack Movement of Women in Andhra Pradesh and Prohibition Policy, New Delhi: Har-Anand Publications Pvt Ltd. Reddy, D. N. and Patnaik, A. (1993) ‘Anti-Arrack Agitation of Women in Andhra Pradesh’, Economic and Political Weekly, 28 (21), pp. 1059–1066. Sen, A. (1990) ‘More than 100 million Women are Missing’, The New York Review of Books, 20 December 1990, available online at articles/1990/12/20/more-than-100-million-women-are-missing/. Sharma, A. (2001) ‘Women’s Development through ‘Empowerment’: The Gender of the State and the State of Gender in India’, Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Stanford University. Srinivasulu, K. (2011) ‘Political Mobilization, Competitive Populism, and Changing Party Dynamics in Andhra Pradesh’, Chapter 14, pp. 286–310 in Wallace, P. and Roy, R. (Eds.) India’s 2009 Election: Coalition Politics, Party Competition and Congress Continuity. New Delhi: Sage. Srinivasulu, K. (2014) ‘Andhra Pradesh: Land Acquisition and Popular Resistance’, Chapter 2, pp. 72–107 in Jenkins, R., Kennedy, L. and Mukhopadhyay, P. (Eds.) Power, Policy and Protest: The Politics of India’s Special Economic Zones. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Subramanian, N. (1999) Ethnicity and Populist Mobilization: Political Parties, Citizens and Democracy in South India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Sunderland, J. (2004) Gendered Discourses, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Suri, K. C. (2006) ‘Telugu Desam Party’, pp. 281–310 in de Souza, P. R. and ­Sridharan, E. (Eds.) India’s Political Parties. New Delhi: Sage.

150  Subnational policy in context Swaminathan, P. (1994) ‘Development Experience(s) in India: Gendered Perspectives on Industrial Growth, Employment and Education’, Social Scientist, 22 (3–4), pp. 60–92. Swaminathan, P. (2002) ‘The Violence of Gender-Biased Development: Going Beyond Social and Demographic Indicators’, pp. 69–141 in Kapadia, K. (Ed.) The Violence of Development: The Politics of Identity, Gender and Social Inequalities in India. London: Zed Books. Swaminathan, P., Jeyaranjan, J., Sreenivasan, R. and Jayashree, K. (2004) ‘Tamil Nadu’s Midday Meal Scheme: Where Assumed Benefits Score over Hard Data’, Economic and Political Weekly, 39 (44), pp. 4811–4821. Swamy, A. (1998) ‘Parties, Political Identities and the Absence of Mass Political Violence in South India’, pp. 108–148 in Basu, A. and Kohli, A. (Eds.) Community Conflicts and the State in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. The Hindu (2012) ‘CBI Arrests Jagan; Call for Bandh Today’, The Hindu, 27 May 2012, available online at, last accessed 24th July 2013. Times of India (2011) ‘Aruna Roy flays new BPL norms’, Times of India, 21 September 2011, available online Van Hollen, C. (1998) ‘Moving Targets: Routine IUD Insertion in Maternity Wards in Tamil Nadu, India’, Reproductive Health Matters, 6 (11), pp. 98–106. Vijayabhaskar, M. (2014) ‘Tamil Nadu: The Politics of Silence’, Chapter 9, pp.  ­304–331 in Jenkins, R., Kennedy, L. and Mukhopadhyay, P. (Eds.) Power, Policy and Protest: The Politics of India’s Special Economic Zones. New Delhi: Oxford ­University Press. WDP Fact Finding Team (1992) ‘Development for Whom? Critique of Rajasthan Programme’, Economic and Political Weekly, 27 (5), pp. 193–198. Wyatt, A. K. J. (2004) ‘The Turn Away from Cultural Mobilisation in Contemporary Tamil Nadu’, pp. 234–256 in Zavos, J., Wyatt, A. and Hewitt, V. (Eds.) The Politics of Cultural Mobilization in India. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Wyatt, A. K. J. (2010) Party System Change in South India: Political Entrepreneurs, Patterns and Processes, Abingdon: Routledge. Internet sources Census of India (2011) html, last accessed 15 December 2018. Census of India (2001), last accessed 23rd October 2007. Census of India (1991), last accessed 4th October 2007. Directorate of Census Operations Tamil Nadu (n.d.), last ­accessed 23rd October 2007. GoAP Directorate of Economics and Statistics (n.d.), last ­accessed 23rd October 2007.

6 Gendered institutional contexts State-level machineries?

Introduction Chapters 3 and 4 discussed the gendered character of national development policy and initiatives to mainstream gender. They explored the gendered discourses produced by, and embedded within, state institutions like the Planning Commission, and institutional structures, mechanisms, and initiatives created for the purposes of making the state more gender-­responsive. This chapter re-focuses towards subnational institutions in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Less attention has been paid to ‘state feminist’ institutional strategies at the subnational level in India. Here, we explore the subnational institutional context for gender mainstreaming in development policy to understand the ‘institutional politics of pursuing feminist policy ambitions’ (Goetz, 1997: 3) – how the state becomes an institutional site of struggle for the constitution of gender-responsive development policy. This chapter presents the institutional context for the state’s discourse on gender-equitable development explored in the next chapter. Feminists cautiously engage with the state to bring change; their strategies are informed by their understanding of the state’s institutional terrain. The first half of this chapter explores how the state is an ensemble of gendered organisational and institutional norms and practices and how these embedded norms and practices reproduce the ‘state’ as a gendered institution (Pringle and Watson, 1992; Brown, 2006). Gendered norms and practices embedded within state institutions in India create a context rarely conducive to feminist policy goals and strategies, including tokenistic efforts to increase the descriptive representation of women within these institutions. This does not rule out the possibility of change, however, because the institutional sites, within which dominant gendered discourses of development are embedded, are contestable (Weedon, 1987: 109). With this potential for change in mind, the second half of the chapter discusses how these institutional norms and practices determine the possibilities for feminist institutional transformation. I argue that ‘state-feminist’ (Stetson and Mazur, 1995) strategies for transforming state institutions towards more gender-equitable goals in the two subnational states of Tamil

152  Gendered institutional contexts Nadu and Andhra Pradesh represent a complex assortment of opportunities and limitations, some offering more potential for feminist intervention and transformative change than others, with notable differences between and within states’ institutional contexts. Generally, this demonstrates how the ‘state’ is not a monolith but an ensemble of organisational and institutional structures, norms, and practices, which do not always act in unison, sometimes even in contradiction (Pringle and Watson, 1992; Rai, 1996; ­Waylen, 1996). This chapter demonstrates that the institutional contexts for women, gender, and development policy have developed distinctive to individual subnational states in India. This implies that to understand national and subnational policy, the historical specificity of the institutional context from which policy emerges needs to be understood, in order to recognise the conditions of possibility for gendered development policy as much as the strategies required to transform it. Feminist interests ‘do not pre-exist, fully formed, to be simply “represented” in the state, but have to be actively forged and, arguably, it is in the domain of the state that they are formally constituted’ (Watson, 1992: 186–187). This chapter draws on my analysis of policy documents, fieldwork, interviews, and other primary data, as well as the most relevant secondary literature.

Part I – The gendered institutions of the state Goetz (1997: 10) suggests that ‘in deconstructing institutions by gender, it is easiest to begin by identifying their gendered effects, or their “gendering” outcomes, and move from there to understanding how they are actually constituted by gender difference’. We can ask how the state is both descriptively and substantively gendered; ‘descriptively’ in the presence of men and women in state government employment, in state structures, as political representatives in electoral democracy, and as officers in the state bureaucracy; and ‘substantively’ in terms of how gendered institutional norms and practices reproduce the ‘gendered’ state in complex ways. Focusing on gendered bureaucratic norms and practices and the distribution and concentration of men and women in different sectors and departments of government, I suggest their employment and positioning represents and reproduces gendered hierarchies within state institutions, demonstrating assumptions underpinning the sectoral location of policy issues concerning women, gender, and development. This gendered policy hierarchy influences the production of policy discourse (discussed in Chapter 7). Women in governance structures The Government of Tamil Nadu (GoTN) directly employs more than 350,000 women, representing almost one third of government employees out of a total of just over 1.1 million employees (figures for 2004–2005 in

Gendered institutional contexts  153 GoTN, 2006b). This figure includes employment in state government, state public undertakings, and local bodies. Women at the local level outnumber men (around 42 percent men and 58 percent women), whereas at the state level this is reversed (around 63 percent men and 37 percent women). Men far outnumber women in state public undertakings (approximately 91 percent men and 9 percent women) (ibid). This may represent the more autonomous, ­private-sector orientation of many state public undertakings, often a more hostile employment environment towards women.1 As Sheela Rani Chunkath, a senior woman IAS officer from Tamil Nadu cadre, was reported as saying, ‘government service, in general, is more accepting of women and more gender friendly than the private sector’ (Santhanam, 2005). Additionally, many women work for the government but in a non-regularised – and under-recognised, under-valued – capacity, as Accredited Social Health ­Activists on the National Rural Health Mission, and anganwadi workers and helpers on the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). Both are central schemes, but the state government contributes towards workers’ wages, classed as ‘honorariums’ rather than salaries, as programme workers are not categorised as government employees. Low wages and lack of recognition have prompted persistent protests (discussed further below), not least because of the state’s additional demands on these workers to raise awareness of government schemes and perform unrelated tasks additional to their main duties. In the senior state bureaucracy, the Civil List shows 19 percent of all IAS officers in Tamil Nadu are women (GoI, n.d.-b), up from 13 percent or 38 of 293 officers in 2007 (GoI, n.d.-b), and 11 percent in 1985 (Goyal, 1989).2 In 2007, the most senior woman IAS officer in Tamil Nadu (by year of i­ nduction) was C.K. Gariyali, who held the post of Principal Secretary to the Governor (GoI, 2007). In December 2002, the state government appointed Lakshmi Pranesh as its first woman Chief Secretary, the senior-most bureaucrat in the state government (she later retired in 2005). Despite these two examples of senior appointments, women still only occupy a minority of senior posts in the state-level bureaucracy. According to its official Employee Census 2006, the State Government of Andhra Pradesh employs nearly 1.3 million people, the majority of which work for the state government (46.65 percent), more than one quarter for local bodies (26.07 percent), and nearly one fifth for public-sector undertakings (19.47 percent).3 In 1985, the proportion of women IAS officers in AP was only 5 percent, or 15 women IAS officers (Goyal, 1989: 428). By 2007, this figure almost trebled with 41 women IAS officers or 13 percent of IAS officers, similar to Tamil Nadu (GoI, 2007). By 2016 after state bifurcation, women’s presence had increased in both states, to around 18 percent in Andhra Pradesh and around 24 percent in ­Telangana. In 2002, Sathi Nair was appointed the first woman Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh, at the age of 59, and six months before her official superannuation date.

154  Gendered institutional contexts As elected representatives4 During British colonial rule, Madras province was one of the first legislative councils to permit women to contest elections: well-known freedom fighter Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was the first woman candidate in 1926, and Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy was the first woman nominated to Madras Legislative Assembly in 1927. Tamil Nadu is home to one of the country’s longest serving women Chief Ministers, J. Jayalalithaa, but women’s participation in formal electoral politics as candidates in State Assembly elections and as Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in Tamil Nadu, has been ­generally low. Despite increases over the past two decades, men still dominate, with women representing less than 10 percent of candidates and elected representatives. The picture is similar for Lok Sabha elections (see Table 6.1). Both the DMK and AIADMK, the two major parties, have expressed support for the Women’s Reservation Bill to reserve one third of seats for women in national and state legislatures. The AIADMK party has fared slightly better, committing to 33 percent reservation in the party organisation responding to ‘the demand for recognition of women and according them equal status as men in public life’ (AIADMK website, n.d.). Consequently, the ­AIADMK has been acknowledged as one of the few parties in India to make a ‘conscious Table 6.1  W  omen in Tamil Nadu Assembly and Lok Sabha elections (1984–2016) State Assembly elections

1984 1989 1991 1996 2001 2006 2011 2016

Women Number of 46 candidates candidates Percent 3 of total candidates Women Number of 8 elected elected Percent of 3 total elected (Total = 234)





























Lok Sabha elections

1984 1989 1991 1996 1998 1999 2004 2009 2014

Women Number of candidates candidates Percent of total candidates Women Number of elected elected Percent of total elected (Total = 39)





































Source: Calculated by the author from Election Commission of India reports: Note: a Total of 225.

Gendered institutional contexts  155 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0%




1991 1996 2001 State Assembly Election Year



AIADMK % women party candidates

AIADMK % women party MLAs

DMK % women party candidates

DMK % women party MLAs


Figure 6.1  Women candidates and elected Members of Tamil Nadu Legislative ­Assembly – AIADMK and DMK parties (1980–2016). Source: Election Commission of India reports, various years (HYPERLINK "http://www.eci."

move to bring many more women into d ­ ecision-making levels and posts within the party’ (Ghosh, 1999). The party has also nominated a higher proportion of women candidates in state elections (see Figure 6.1), though this may not always translate to more meaningful participation of women, given the centralised character of the AIADMK party (e.g. Palshikar, 2004). In Andhra Pradesh, gender politics has played a role in electoral competition between the two major parties, Congress and the TDP, but the presence of women as candidates and elected representatives is still relatively low in the state, increasing slowly over the past two decades (see Table 6.2). Women embodied less than 10 percent of candidates and elected representatives in 2014, and their participation in Lok Sabha elections is similarly low. Political parties in AP have shown varying inclination to increase their proportion of women candidates in Assembly elections (see Figure 6.2). In absolute numbers, the TDP and the Congress Party have in the past nominated larger numbers of women compared to other parties, but numbers are low overall for both parties and the proportion of women candidates nominated has fluctuated for both parties and fallen too. Neither party has nominated women in more than one in five seats in the past eight Assembly elections – at best the TDP managed to nominate women to 16 percent of seats contested (in 2004), and Congress only 12 percent (2009). The Telangana Rashtra Samithi, a new party, nominated no women amongst their 45 candidates in the 2009 Assembly election, but increased this to ten women candidates (8 percent of party candidates) in 2014).5

156  Gendered institutional contexts Table 6.2  W  omen in Andhra Pradesh Assembly and Lok Sabha elections (1985–2014) State Assembly elections

1985 1989 1994 1999 2004 2009 2014

Women Number of 66 candidates candidates Percent of total 3 candidates Women Number of 10 elected elected Percent of total 3 elected (Total = 294)

























Lok Sabha elections

1984 1989 1991 1996 1998 1999 2004 2009 2014

Women Number of candidates candidates Percent of total candidates Women Number of elected elected Percent of total elected (Total = 42)





































Source: Compiled by the author from Election Commission of India reports: Note: a Not included are the nominated Anglo-Indian MLAs Christine Lazarus (1990–1994, 2004) and Della Godfrey (1999–2004). 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0%









State Assembly Election Year Congress Party % women party candidates

Congress Party % women party MLAs

TDP % women party candidates

TDP % women party MLAs

Figure 6.2  Women candidates and elected Members of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly – Congress Party and Telugu Desam Party (1983–2014). Source: Election Commission of India reports, various years (HYPERLINK "http://www.eci." Note: Figures for 2014 are Congress Party. Corresponding figures for YSR Congress in 2014 are 8 percent women party candidates and 11 percent women party MLAs

Gendered institutional contexts  157 The low proportion of women contestants and elected representatives at the state level limits the availability of women for ministerial appointments. The number of women appointed as ministers in the Tamil Nadu state cabinet (Council of Ministers) has been consistently low: three of the thirty-one ministers under the DMK government elected in 2006, or just under 10 percent. One of these women, Dr. Poongothai, held the portfolio of Minister for Social Welfare (GoTN, c.2006). The other two, Geetha Jeevan and Tamilarasi, held the portfolios of Minister for Animal Husbandry and Minister for Adi Dravidar Welfare, Hill Tribes and Bonded Labour, respectively. Under the previous AIADMK government (2001–2006), three of the 24 ministers were women (or over 12 percent), one of whom included the Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa (GoTN, n.d.-a). Again, a woman minister was appointed the portfolio of Social Welfare (P. Vijaylakshmi Palanisamy). The other minister, B. Valarmathi, was appointed as Minister for Rural Industries. These three women were appointed to the state cabinet amongst 20 elected women MLAs from the AIADMK. Under the DMK government elected in 1996, only two of the 25 ministers were women, one of whom, S.P. Sarkuna Pandian, was appointed as Minister for Social Welfare, and the other, S. Jenefer Chandran, as Minister for Fisheries (GoTN, n.d.-b). In AP, the Congress Party state government from 2004 appointed four women amongst 41 ministers (AP Online, n.d.). One of the four, ­Rajyalakshmi Nedurumalli, held the post of Minister for Women Development and Child Welfare, Disabled Welfare and Juvenile Welfare.6 Under the previous TDP government (1999–2004), there were only three women ministers (and all were new to electoral politics). The first, S. ­Saraswati, held the portfolio of Minister for Women Development and Child Welfare. The second, Alimineti Uma Madhava Reddy, was elected in 2000 in a by-election, after the death of her husband, former Home Minister A. Madhava Reddy (The Hindu, 2004d). She was appointed Minister of Social Welfare. The third woman minister, K. Pushpa Leela, was given the portfolio of Social Welfare Minister.7 In contrast to these relative newcomers, Pratibha Bharathi became the first woman Speaker of the AP Legislative Assembly in 1999; she was also the first Dalit to hold the position (Rediff, 1999). Bharathi, a TDP MLA, had been elected consistently from the same constituency since 1983, and served as Social Welfare Minister in 1983, 1985, and 1994, under the former Chief ­M inister N.T. Rama Rao, and as Minister for Higher Education in 1998 under former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu (Indian Express, 1999). ­Bharathi was not re-elected, however, in 2004. Another experienced woman MLA, Gummadi Kuthuhalamma, was appointed Deputy Speaker of the State Legislature Assembly in 2007. Kuthuhalamma served four terms as a Congress MLA, elected from the same constituency in 1985, 1989, 1999, and 2004. Major political parties in Andhra Pradesh agree that the Women’s Reservation Bill should be passed at the national level to reserve 33 percent of

158  Gendered institutional contexts seats in national- and state-level assemblies. The TDP and the Congress Party also committed to increasing the number of women in party organisation posts through reservation. The TDP’s policy stated that At least 50% of the executive committee positions, right from the primary level to the State level, shall be reserved for the Women, Dalits, Girijans, Backward classes and the minorities. Care shall be taken to see that women are given proper representation in all levels of Party positions, and in the people’s representatives [sic] for various [government] bodies. (Telugu Desam Party, n.d.) One-third of all party organisation posts in the Congress Party have been reserved for women since the All India Congress Committee voted in the resolution in December 1998 (Indian Express, 1998). Before this, the party operated a 15 percent quota for women (Wolkowitz, 1987). But the composition of State Legislative Assembly committees under the Congress government elected in 2004 suggested an inconsistent approach to the inclusion of women MLAs. In many committees, women are the minority; in others, there are no women; and the Women’s Welfare Committee consists of only women, suggesting a link between ascriptive identity and substantive portfolios.8 Strategies to increase women’s presence in government The State Government of Tamil Nadu is one of several to have adopted affirmative action policies to increase women’s presence in government employment.9 Government reservations first came in March 1989 when the government amended the Tamil Nadu State and Subordinate Service Rules (the state government’s personnel policy) to reserve 30 percent of all direct recruitment vacancies for women, including reservations within reservations (for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, Backward Classes, Most Backward Classes, as well as the ‘General Turn’) (GoTN, 2007d: 33). A 10 percent reservation within the reservation also applied to ‘destitute widows’ (ibid). Women could also compete alongside men for unreserved posts. State policy also stipulated that ‘women alone shall be appointed to post in any institution or establishment specially provided for them’ and that men would only be appointed to such posts when ‘suitable and qualified’ women were not available (GoTN, 2007d: 33). However, data on recruitment against reservations are unavailable, making it difficult to assess whether recruitment reservations have been effective. In 2001, the AIADMK government’s finance minister announced another strategy to increase women in government employment: ‘exclusive coaching programmes’ for women at centres in Chennai and Madurai, to ‘encourage women to join the All India Services and Central Services’ (Ponnaiyan, 2001: 17, para 69).

Gendered institutional contexts  159 The same year, Tamil Nadu government announced affirmative action to bring more women into state-level government committees: 30 percent reservation for women in all statutory and non-statutory committees, ‘[c]onsidering the imperative need to involve women in decision-making as a step towards empowerment’ (GoTN, 2001: section 3.7). The State Minister for Finance also mentioned this in the 2001 Budget Speech (Ponnaiyan, 2001: 24, para 97), but again a lack of accessible data prohibits assessment of implementation. The composition of the 38 steering committees, constituted to formulate the state’s Eleventh Five-Year Plan, suggested women’s participation was uneven and depended on their government position (GoTN, 2006a). Gendered norms of portfolio appointment, where women tend to be appointed to the so-called ‘soft’ sectors like Social Welfare and Health and Family Welfare (discussed below), determined women’s participation in committee structures for planning. The GoAP has also utilised affirmative action policies to recruit more women into government employment, first introducing 30 percent reservation for women in government jobs in 1984. The Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) states that 33.3 percent of state and sub-state vacancies are reserved for women (GoAP APPSC, n.d.).10 The APPSC also relaxes the maximum age for recruitment, otherwise set at either 26 or 28 years of age (depending on the post applied for). Age constraints vary for different categories of reservation: it is extended to 40 years of age for widows, divorced women, and separated women not remarried who apply for SC- and ST-reserved posts, and 35 years for all other posts (ibid). Comparative conclusions on women’s presence in government structures Whilst the number of women in government has visibly increased over the past two decades, and with the exceptions of a few experienced women bureaucrats, and current and former MLAs and ministers, women are descriptively under-represented and form a small presence in electoral politics, state government employment, and public office. Affirmative action strategies to address under-representation have been employed, but the impact is unclear or limited. Local government (panchayat) reservations for women were implemented in both states. Parties in both states have expressed support for the Women’s Reservation Bill for reserved seats for women in national and state legislatures, but this commitment has not translated into parties nominating a higher proportion of women candidates in state and national elections. Parties in both states have made at least rhetorical commitments to reserving party posts for women, though this may increase their obligation to their party once in public office. Reservation for women in government jobs exists at the State Subordinate Services level in both AP and TN (though not all States). But a lack of available data makes it difficult to discern whether these are being implemented. Reservation is not used to increase women’s descriptive representation in higher levels of bureaucracy, such as the IAS.

160  Gendered institutional contexts The descriptive under-representation of women in state government institutions is a manifestation of gendered state institutional norms and practices. Women are constituted as gendered subjects in ways that deem them incompatible with a masculine public sphere, indirectly excluding them from participating in public governance structures, or enabling limited participation, aligned with conventional gendered divisions of labour, for example, women in social welfare portfolios. Brown argues that ‘the elements of the state identifiable as masculinist correspond not to some property contained within men but to the conventions of power and privilege constitutive of gender within an order of male dominance’ (2006: 188). Women’s greater presence in government, and in particular sectors, may disrupt institutionally embedded assumptions of organisational culture – that men dominate public sector and particular policy sectors – regardless of whether women themselves bring a change in institutional norms and practices, though such change could happen, but would depend on the norms that shape their incorporation and the degree of agency afforded to them. Gendered institutional norms of the state Can we observe the same gendered distributional patterns of IAS postings at the subnational level that Thakur (c.1997) observed at the national level? A basic examination verifies Thakur’s observation to some extent.11 In Tamil Nadu, women rather than men have tended to hold posts in the Department of Social Welfare (responsible for Women and Child Welfare), but at senior (Secretary) level, appointments are more representative of the service as a whole, including male officers, indicating that seniority is also a factor. As expected, Planning and Finance have been male-dominated with some exceptions. The Principal Secretary’s post, Finance Department, has been held by only five male bureaucrats since 1989. One senior woman IAS officer from TN cadre was quoted as saying, ‘We are waiting now for a woman to be posted as Finance Secretary…When that happens, the last bastion of the male officer would have fallen…’ (Santhanam, 2005). Similar data show gendered patterns of postings of male and female bureaucrats in Andhra Pradesh, confirming some of Thakur’s national observations. Women have rarely occupied the most senior posts in the state. Sathi Nair was the first woman officer to be appointed Chief Secretary in the State in 2002; the second, Minnie Mathew, was appointed in 2012. The sectoral location of postings shows some gendered patterns; data since 2000 suggest equal numbers of men and women have served in the Department of Women’s Development and Child Welfare, GoAP, including at the senior secretary level,12 which, on the one hand, suggests gender balance, but given the proportion of women in the IAS in AP, women are over-represented in this department. Male officers have dominated the top post of Principal Secretary in the Finance Department throughout the 1990s, although some female IAS officers, such as Veena Ish and Vasudhra Mishra, have served in lower posts in the department.

Gendered institutional contexts  161 State service conduct rules, some applying only to lower levels of government employment, suggest that the state government has attempted to institutionalise some of its more progressive anti-discrimination legislation in state government employment codes of conduct. Rule 3A of the GoTN’s Government Servants Conduct Rules prohibits government servants from giving, receiving, demanding, or abetting the giving and receiving of dowry as defined by the Government of India’s Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 (GoTN, 2005b: 4). Rule 19 prohibits government servants from entering into bigamous marriages (GoTN, 2005b: 21). Sexual harassment of women, or more specifically ‘working women’ or ‘any woman at the work place’ (harassment of men is not referred to), is also prohibited under Rule 20A (GoTN, 2005b: 22). Government servants in a position of authority are also expected to take steps to prevent sexual harassment (ibid). But several other government employment rules and norms are imbued with gendered norms restricting the autonomy of women employees and making visible their marginal status in the gendered somatic norm of the civil service employee (Puwar, 2004). The small family norm for family planning constrains female government employees entitlements to maternity leave. Implicit in GoTN rules on maternity leave is that only married women are eligible, and the entitlement to 90 days maternity leave on full pay is available to permanent (and some non-permanent) female government employees and is restricted to women with less than ‘two surviving children’ (GoTN, 2007c: 136).13 The state provides special leave entitlements for women and men undergoing sterilisation and for women for operations to insert contraceptive devices (GoTN, 2007c: 266). Government personnel service rules reveal men to be the default gender of government servants, with ubiquitous references to ‘he’ and ‘his’, rarely ‘she’ and ‘her’, particularly evident in a rule pertaining to the posting of government personnel and the prevention of corruption: Every member of a State Service… other shall inform his immediate official superior of any reason that there may be why it is undesirable in the public interest that he should be employed in a particular district or division such as the near relationship of himself or his wife to any person or persons residing in that district or division. (GoTN, 2005b: 20, my emphasis) State civil service norms in AP mirror much of those already discussed for TN: a contradictory mix of gender-responsive and lightly coercive rules for government employment on issues such as dowry, sexual harassment, maternity leave policies, and small family norms. Another illustrative example of the default male civil servant is articulated in regulations on bigamous marriage (but also defers to personal law): No Government employee who has a wife living shall contract another marriage without first obtaining the permission of the Government, notwithstanding that such subsequent marriage is permissible under

162  Gendered institutional contexts the personal law for the time being applicable to him…No female Government Servant, whether unmarried or widow or divorced, as the case may be, shall marry any person who has a wife living without first obtaining the permission of the Government, though the parties are governed by the personal law which otherwise permits contracting more than one marriage while the prior marriage is subsisting. (GoAP, n.d.: 36–37, my emphasis) Note the absence of the male prefix and the presence of the female prefix; government employees have wives, female ‘government servants’ need to be explicitly marked as female. It is significant that the state feels compelled to make an explicit statement on regulations regarding marriage relations for its employees – public servants are used to set an example to society. The emphasis on personal law is perhaps not surprising given that Hyderabad, the erstwhile state capital, has a majority Muslim population. This analysis of the substantively gendered norms of state-level administration suggests that bureaucratic rules and norms are fairly similar despite variations in the specific institutional context between States, but within each state we can identify examples where state institutional norms vary according to specific policy sectors such as in Finance or Planning compared to Health or Social Welfare. Thus, whilst bureaucratic norms seem to remain stable across states, within states bureaucratic norms vary. Nationally, a perception exists that the civil service in the southern states (and West Bengal) is generally more gender egalitarian, but that stereotyping may take place at the centre. Thakur’s survey respondents suggested that gender stereotyping in the bureaucracy reflected regional variation in gender relations in India (c.1997), leading her to conclude that the nature of gender stereotyping of posts tends to correspond with the overall situation of gender disparities within a particular state. This correspondence underscores the fact that the IAS and the way it functions is part of a wider societal context, and thus cannot be viewed in isolation. (c.1997: 18–19) Elsewhere, C.K. Gariyali, once the most senior female IAS officer in Tamil Nadu, suggested that ‘Tamil Nadu is a great State to serve in, as culturally, women are held in high regard here compared to other States’ (quoted in Santhanam, 2005). Several respondents interviewed for the research in this book also commented on regional differences in gender relations, suggesting that the southern states were both more gender egalitarian and also better administered states. National IAS training to inculcate an all-India espirit de corps, transcending regional differences in officers’ backgrounds, and a sense of belonging to a larger entity, thus collides with socio-cultural norms which IAS recruits

Gendered institutional contexts  163 bring with them into the service and the institutional context in which they work. Potter and others have demonstrated a similar endurance of regional differences in bureaucratic norms and practices between states (Potter, 1986: 211). But this has potential implications for gender mainstreaming opportunities in AP and TN. Does the assumption of relatively more gender egalitarian norms and culture in southern states influence the gendered bureaucratic norms of formulating gender-responsive development policy? Does it construct expectations that bureaucrats in southern states will necessarily be more gender-responsive or gender-aware? Or can it potentially close down bureaucratic efforts to scrutinise policies, norms, and practices in these states, having assumed problems are worse elsewhere, leading bureaucrats to underestimate the scope for improvement in southern states, regardless of their more progressive position amongst Indian states? These are pertinent questions requiring further research. In the following section, I discuss the development of state-level institutions most closely identifying a concern with women, gender, and development, to explore potential institutional openings for feminist transformative strategies.

Part II – ‘State feminist’ bureaucratic spaces in state-level institutions? As discussed in Chapters 2 and 4, a feminist bureaucratic-structural intervention is where ‘women [and men] create new structures within government or university administrations specifically designed to benefit women (such as women’s policy units, women’s studies programmes, or ministries for women’s affairs)…’ (Eisenstein, 1989, 1991, cited in Witz and Savage, 1992: 39). In Chapter 4, I briefly explored the development of the national machinery for women in India, including the Ministry of Women and Child ­Development and the National Commission for Women, and argued that the bureaucratic-structural strategy has been a more common strategy in the Indian national context, more so than a bureaucratic-individual or ‘femocrat’ strategy. Weedon (1987: 110) argues ‘in order to have a social effect, a discourse must at least be in circulation’. Feminist bureaucratic-structural strategies can ‘get a foot in the door’, creating some space, albeit limited, for feminist negotiation with the state, as a complementary strategy to a transformative gender mainstreaming strategy. One of my central arguments is that the institutional context for gendered development policy at the subnational level is important, and increasingly so since the early 1990s. Here, I analyse the development of the subnational state institutions, including government departments identifying policy responsibility towards women, State Commissions for Women, and parastatal agencies administering government programmes for women, gender, and development, and compare these trajectories in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, considering the implications these institutional developments have for opportunities to mainstream gender in development policy at the subnational level.

164  Gendered institutional contexts Tamil Nadu No distinct state government ministry or department for women or gender equality exists in Tamil Nadu. Ostensibly relevant policy and programmes have been located mostly within two departments – the Department of ­Social Welfare and the Department of Rural Development (DRD). Until the DMK government came to power in 1967, the Women’s Welfare Unit was located in the Home Department. Subsequently, it was removed, upgraded to a full department, named the Social Welfare Department, and welfare of the disabled and welfare of children was added to its list of activities (Rao, 2003: 359). The Social Welfare Department has since been one of the main departments involved in policy issues and programmes for women. Not surprisingly given their title, many of these schemes are welfare oriented, including assistance to ‘women in difficult circumstances’, working women’s hostels, incentives and assistance schemes for inter-caste marriage, widow remarriage, and marriage of daughters of poor widows, and, most famously, the Nutritious Meal Programme, providing daily meals in schools for children (discussed in Chapter 5). The Social Welfare Department has historically been the administrative parent of the semi-autonomous government undertaking or parastatal agency, the Tamil Nadu Corporation for the Development of Women (TNCDW), since its inception in 1983. The Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare, an IAS officer, has acted as Chairperson of TNCDW. This institutional arrangement lasted until July 2006 when administrative control of TNCDW transferred to the DRD and Panchayati Raj. Until the late 1990s, the DRD administered a UNICEF-funded (until 1996) central government scheme, the Integrated Rural Development Programme, and its subcomponent, the Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA). This subcomponent mobilised women to form self-help groups (SHGs) of around 20 women for the purposes of savings and credit, and other social and educational activities (similar to the scheme the Tamil Nadu government would establish years later). Government funding was split 75:25 between central and state governments. DWCRA had varied results, notably its lack of coverage of poor women. In 1999, ­DWCRA, its parent scheme IRDP, and several other rural development and employment-generating schemes were merged under a new central government scheme, Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY). This new scheme continued to emphasise self-employment through the SHG model and targeted poor women as key beneficiaries. The relationship between this scheme and the Tamil Nadu government’s own scheme is discussed further below. The National Commission for Women Act 1990 provided for individual states to form their own state-level Commissions for Women. Several state governments did so from the 1990s onwards, including both state governments of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The Tamil Nadu State

Gendered institutional contexts  165 Commission for Women was established in 1993 as a government undertaking but positioned under the Department of Social Welfare, and located in the state capital, Chennai. In 2005–2006, the State Commission and TNCDW were housed in the same building in Guindy, Chennai, but in 2008 the Commission was moved to a more central Chennai location in the Secretariat building. Whilst the Commission is not explicitly concerned with gender and development, it has an important mandate for women’s empowerment, from a rights and justice-based perspective: to ‘protect the rights and to safeguard the welfare of women’ (GoTN, 2005a: 26). This entails taking up legal cases on behalf of women and raising awareness about women’s rights through legal literacy programmes. The Commission has also conducted gender sensitisation training for members of the police force, the judiciary, and Government Revenue officers. The Commission includes a chairperson and nine part-time members. In 2007, these nine members including the Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme, two women MLAs, one IAS officer and one Police officer, two ‘reputed’ public women, one lawyer, and the Director of Social Welfare (to act as member-secretary) (GoTN, 2007b: 10). In the early years of the State Commission for Women, the chairperson was not an obviously political appointee; more recent appointments have had clear political links. The first Chairperson of the Commission was Justice Padmini Jesudurai, the first woman judge of the Madras High Court. In March 2002, Vasanthi Devi, a prominent social activist and a former University Vice Chancellor, took over the position of chairperson. Arguably, Vasanthi Devi had the most visible impact amongst chairpersons of the State Commission for Women, and she continues to speak out on women’s rights since leaving the Commission. After her tenure ended in March 2005, the post became vacant and the Commission lapsed. Shortly after the DMK was elected in 2006, the National Commission for Women representative for the southern states, Nirmala Venkatesh, called on the new Chief Minister Karunanidhi to reconstitute the commission and appoint a chairperson. From 2007, Dr. K.M. Ramathal, a former member of the State Public Service Commission (overseeing the appointment of employees to government service at lower levels), was appointed as Chairperson. A subsequent Chairperson, Sarguna Pandian, a former Social Welfare Minister in the 1990s and Deputy General Secretary of the DMK, was appointed in 2010. This appointment was more obviously political. She was replaced by a relatively unknown chairperson, Saraswati Rangaswamy, in September 2011 after the rival party AIADMK’s election in 2011 (GoTN, 2011). Rangaswamy later went on to become leader of the AIADMK women’s wing (2014) and a District Secretary (an important party position), and was initially nominated as an AIADMK candidate in the 2016 State Assembly elections, but was replaced by another candidate. In 2013, the AIADMK government appointed another political associate as chairperson, Dr. Visalakshi Neduncheziyan, at the age of 89. Dr. Nedunchezhiyan was a former senior Public Health

166  Gendered institutional contexts official, senior AIADMK party official, and widow of a former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (New Indian Express, 2013a). Thus, in more recent years, chairpersons of the Commission have had clear political links with the incumbent government. The Commission suffers from several limitations. It was established by a government order rather than a statutory obligation, and does not have statutory powers like the National Commission for Women and most other State Commissions for Women. Its continued operation relies on the good will of the state government to reconstitute the Commission, appoint its chairperson, and provide adequate funds and powers. The Commission’s lack of status is evident compared to the Tamil Nadu Human Rights Commission (established in 1997), and relative to the national level. At the federal level, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women sits on the National Human Rights Commission as one of its members, but this is not the case in Tamil Nadu. At an AIDWA Conference in 2005, former Chairperson Vasanthi Devi reiterated her previous assessment in 2003 that the Commission lacked power and status. She called for the Commission to be granted more funds, infrastructure, and powers (The Hindu, 2005a), supporting Poornima Advani, Chairperson of the National Commission for Women, in her appeal to the TN Chief Minister (J. Jayalalithaa) two years earlier (The Hindu, 2003b). In a separate statement, then National Commission Chairperson, Poornima Advani, praised the TN Commission for its achievements despite the constraints it faced (The Hindu, 2005b). Women’s organisations also continue to engage the state government to improve the functioning of the Commission. In 2016, whilst Dr. Neduncheziyan was Chairperson, several women’s organisations from Tamil Nadu wrote to the Chief Minister asking her to appoint a ‘proactive, gender sensitive [chairperson who]… will work in consultation with civil society, especially women’s organisations, in the state’ (cited in Times of India, 2016). The Commission and its members have managed to dispose of legal cases on behalf of women and address grievances despite acute limitations of reach and resources, as well as wider political constraints, but have been less directly associated with policies and programmes relating to gender and development in the state. Whilst the State Commission for Women is focused on legal redressal of atrocities against women rather than women’s wider economic and social development, the lack of recognition and support for the commission from the State Government raises questions about the latter’s commitment to gender equality. Tamil Nadu Corporation for the Development of Women The 1990s in Tamil Nadu saw the successive expansion of a government programme aimed at women’s development, first through the International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD)-funded Women’s Development Project from 1989 to 1998, and the continuation of that programme in Mahalir Thittam

Gendered institutional contexts  167 (Women’s Scheme), funded by the TN state government. Both projects were implemented by the parastatal agency introduced above, the TNCDW, established in December 1983 and registered under the Companies Act (1956). In 2006, administrative control of TNCDW transferred from the Department of Social Welfare to the DRD and Panchayati Raj. IFAD’s involvement in the Tamil Nadu Women’s Development Project officially ended on 31 December 1998. The year before, the government launched its own project called Mahalir Thittam as a larger scale extension. The new scheme envisioned enrolling ten lakhs (1 million) women, forming groups of 20 women into SHGs. By 2004–2005, the target was increased to 15 lakhs (1.5 million) women over the next three years (GoTN, 2004: section 4.2).14 From its initial beginnings in one district (Dharmapuri), the programme grew to cover all 30 districts of the State, both rural and urban areas, in 13 years.15 The Corporation (TNCDW) operated at the state, district, and block (local) levels. The Project Management Unit (PMU) was based at TNCDW headquarters in Chennai; Project Implementation Units (PIUs) were based in the project districts; and several committees were based at the state, district, and local levels (TNCDW, 2000b).16 The PMU was headed by a chairperson who also occasionally held the post of managing director, assisted by an executive director. The first appointed Chair under the IFAD-funded TNWDP, Valamarthi Jebaraj (Chairperson TNCDW, 1991–1996), was, exceptionally, a political appointee, as a former MLA, and, according to the media, a loyal supporter of the Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa (The Hindu, 2001). All other subsequent chairpersons, managing directors, and executive directors have been IAS officers from the state cadre. The chairperson is usually a senior bureaucrat of at least Joint Secretary rank (with 16 years of service), although higher and lower ranked officers have also occupied this post. IAS officers appointed as chairpersons of the Corporation have almost invariably been women, but other senior posts have often been staffed by male officers. There appears to be no pattern of career service for the chairperson – previous appointees had experience in agriculture, health and family welfare, energy, planning, and finance – emphasising the generalist orientation of the civil service, rather than specific sectoral expertise in gender equality and women’s empowerment. From 2006 to 2008, the state government’s SHG activities underwent some changes, increasing the reach and responsibilities of TNCDW significantly. In July 2006, the new DMK government moved the TNCDW to the DRD ‘to bring about greater synergy and better coordination in implementing various schemes for Self Help Groups’ (GoTN, 2007a: 30). For about a year, the Tamil Nadu-specific SHG scheme and the centrally sponsored scheme, SGSY, were administered separately – Mahalir Thittam by TNCDW and SGSY by DRD, before finally merging the two in April 2008, when TNCDW took on the SGSY scheme as well, to ensure a ‘convergence of activities’. TNCDW also took charge of a similar World Bank–sponsored programme initiated in 2005, the Tamil Nadu Empowerment and Poverty

168  Gendered institutional contexts Reduction Project (also known as Vazhndhu Kaattuvom or Pudhu Vazhvu under different administrations; GoTN, 2008: 37). TNCDW’s administrative move to the DRD indicated changes in some institutional and discursive logics – the DRD was a higher status department because of its access to central government funding and close links with the District Rural Development Administration (DRDA) in Tamil ­Nadu’s 30-plus districts. Funds under SGSY would also be made available to eligible SHG members under Mahalir Thittam (GoTN, 2008: 36–37). The move was consistent with the broader convergence and efficiency policy discourse (discussed in Chapter 7) and it made sense administratively, but it would have implications for the workload of both the TNCDW and the SHG women (discussed in Chapter 8). The TNCDW’s role after the move was undiminished but changed orientation, with augmented responsibility, and key personnel from the Mahalir Thittam scheme were retained. The move also suggested a shift in gendered discourse from welfare to development, but also towards a closer association between rural poverty and gender inequality rather than a broader gender-analytical approach.17 The autonomous status of TNCDW, lauded by some, is debatable given its close links with government. Its most senior staff members are IAS officers, and at least two past chairpersons have also held the position of Secretary for Social Welfare. At the state level, the two committees responsible for directing policy are headed by senior government bureaucrats; the Central Project Co-ordination Committee headed by the Chief Secretary of the GoTN (the most senior civil servant in the state government), as well as a TNCDW review committee headed by the Development Commissioner (who is also the finance secretary, another senior position). But day-to-day autonomy exists, the PMU undertakes monthly reviews of the project and manages operations, and the board of directors take decisions over operational and sometimes policy issues. Furthermore, the senior profile of these committee chairs gives TNCDW and its programmes, in principle, some visibility in state government. The IFAD Completion Evaluation Report looked positively on the TNCDW’s position in government and its semi-­ autonomous status as a government undertaking as a factor contributing to the success of the project: [I]t was able to benefit from the support of government authorities and line departments while minimizing undue political or bureaucratic interference due to its close association with IFAD and knowledge of the latter’s implementing procedures and loan agreement clauses. (IFAD, 2000) But in acknowledging this autonomy, IFAD neglected to consider that it was also more sheltered from public scrutiny at the state level, and also suggested the programme’s autonomy was linked with the presence of the external donor, with implications for non-donor–funded projects.

Gendered institutional contexts  169 TNCDW and its Mahalir Thittam scheme also involved a diverse range of governmental and non-governmental actors, with vertical and spatial hierarchies, giving TNCDW the ‘onerous’ task of co-ordinating a number of different agencies to work towards the goals of the project (TNCDW, 2000a: 9). The key institutional actors included banks – solely the Indian Bank under the IFAD-funded TNWDP – and NGOs, government departments, and many women’s SHGs. TNCDW celebrated their cordial relationship with banks, considering them the ‘most important partners’, with an ‘excellent working relationship’ with the State Level Bankers Committee, and with NABARD ‘an important ally’ (TNCDW, 2000a: 5). But TNCDW also recognised the need for gender sensitisation training for their banking partners, and with some ­assistance from NABARD they delivered training and orientation programmes to bank employees involved with MaThi to sensitise them to the core principles of the project and the delivery of microcredit loans to SHG members. TNCDW reported this training generated interest amongst bankers in linking SHGs with credit and enabled SHGs to open accounts with ease (TNCDW, 2000a: 8). They also claimed it had positively influenced bankers’ perceptions about the potential of women SHGs as ‘a promising business segment’ with high repayment rates (ibid), reproducing instrumental discourses of women’s empowerment as ‘smart economics’. Such positive evaluations glossed over a more complex picture: banker orientation was clearly necessary – according to the IFAD completion evaluation in 2000, ‘a significant proportion of the women interviewed stated that bankers’ attitudes had not changed towards poor women’ (IFAD, 2000). External dynamics beyond the control of TNCDW, such as bank staff relocation, also frustrated the institutionalisation of sensitisation and orientation training, requiring repeated rounds of orientation training to ‘sensitise’ new staff (TNCDW, 2000a: 8). The project also involved a diverse range of welfare and charity-oriented voluntary organisations such as the Women’s Indian Association, to more professional NGOs such as MYRADA. NGOs were key to the delivery of training and support to SHGs, but their transformative potential was diminished by the project’s target-driven approach which generated a competitive dynamic amongst NGOs for government funding for setting up groups, which at times involved ‘poaching’ SHG members from existing groups to form new ones (personal communication, NGO in Salem district, June 2007). Part of the mission of Mahalir Thittam was ‘to advocate changes in government policies and programmes in favor of disadvantaged women’ (TNCDW, 2000b: 17). The IFAD Completion Evaluation Report suggested that the project had made a complementary and ‘unmistakable’ impact on the organisation: major increases in funds and influence have resulted from project activities and new, purpose-built premises have been built…[resulting in] ­better-trained and more motivated staff, more confident management and greater bargaining power vis-à-vis the state authorities. [It] has matured

170  Gendered institutional contexts into a solid institution, capable of implementing poverty eradication programmes efficiently and of providing invaluable advice to GOTN and others… (IFAD, 2000) But like many microcredit programmes for women, the Corporation’s programme design aimed to inculcate a ‘highly disciplinary institutional culture’ in programme participants (Rankin, 2004: 189; discussed in Chapter 8). It said little about the Corporation’s own institutional culture, and whether it had a self-reflexive organisational gender policy of its own, or considered one necessary. The gendered discourse employed by the TNCDW’s policies and programmes and the subjectivities and degrees of agency they manifest are discussed further in the following two chapters. Andhra Pradesh In Andhra Pradesh, policy issues and administration relating to women, gender, and development are mostly concentrated in the Department of Women Development and Child Welfare (DWD&CW) and the DRD. The DWD&CW was established in 1952 as the Women’s Welfare Department in what was then Madras State. It became the Department of Women and Child Welfare in 1973, and the Department of Women Development and Child Welfare in 1989. According to the official ‘AP State Portal’ website, this department currently sits within a larger department, the Department for Women, Children, Disabled and Senior Citizens.18 DWD&CW classifies its activities into two categories: (i) implementation of the part-World Bank– funded Central Government’s ICDS and (ii) welfare-oriented schemes for women, children, and the elderly, such as working women’s hostels, Swadhar (central government scheme for ‘women in difficult circumstances’), schemes to compensate for discrimination against girl children, and state homes for the elderly (GoAP DWD&CW, n.d.). DWD&CW has also been involved with prevention and investigation of domestic violence and dowry practices and compensation of women survivors/victims, and efforts to combat trafficking of women. The ICDS programme dominates the department and is implemented through a network of more than 66,000 local anganwadi centres, run by women anganwadi workers; the scheme claims to reach nearly 2 million women, 7 million children, and 4 million adolescent girls (figures for 2004–2005; GoAP DWD&CW, n.d.). In contrast, the DRD has been more closely involved with anti-poverty and development programmes for women, as the implementing agency of the central government scheme, the IRDP, discussed above, since 1982. Since the 1990s, the programmatic set-up has undergone several changes specific to Andhra Pradesh. In 1999, when the central government merged the components of the IRDP in to the new scheme, SGSY (introduced earlier), women’s SHGs remained separate and continued to be popularly known

Gendered institutional contexts  171 as DWCRA. These groups existed alongside SHGs formed under a World Bank–funded project specific to Andhra Pradesh called Velugu (meaning ‘light’ in Telugu) from 2000. Velugu comprised of two phases under the TDP government,19 but a year after the new Congress Party government came to power in the State Assembly elections in 2004, Velugu was merged with SGSY and renamed Indira Kranthi Patham.20 Thus, the structure and terminology of SHG programmes have been partly tied to party political and electoral configurations of the state government.21 These programmatic changes entailed symbolically significant but practically minor changes in administration. In 2001, the DRD established the sub-department Commissionerate for Women’s Empowerment and Self-Employment, to formalise the ‘DWCRA wing’ of the department. Mooij (2002: 37) argues the establishment of the new Commissionerate reflected the importance political leaders assigned to the programme, and the government’s focus on women. But this changed in January 2005, as part of a larger departmental reorganisation related to the Velugu/SGSY convergence. The Commissionerate for Women’s Empowerment and SelfEmployment was merged with the Commissionerate for Rural Development, creating instead an SHG wing in the Department for Panchayati Raj and Rural Development. Thus, programme convergence has influenced the administrative structures for state government policy for women. The Andhra Pradesh State Commission for Women was first constituted in 1999 after the Andhra Pradesh Women’s Commission Act was passed in March 1998 with Presidential approval. This was several years after ­Tamil Nadu and seven years after the National Commission for Women in Delhi was established. The Act provided for a Commission consisting of a chairperson and six other members from AP, including one each from the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Backward Classes, and Minorities Communities (GoAP, 1998: article 5:1). Members hold office for five years. The Act stated that the chairperson ‘shall be an eminent women [sic] committed to the cause of [the] welfare of women with sufficient knowledge and experience in dealing with women’s problems’ (ibid: article 5:2). Members of the Commission should be women of ability, integrity and standing who have served the cause of women or have had sufficient knowledge and experience in law or legislation, administration of matters concerning the advancement of women for protection or leadership of any trade union or voluntary organization for women for protection, upliftment and promotion of common interests of women. (ibid: article 5:1) The Commission could also invite subject experts to advise members. Most chairpersons of the Commission to date have had political backgrounds, though the first Chairperson, Susheela Devi, appointed in 1999,

172  Gendered institutional contexts had legal advocacy background and had worked as the State’s Public Prosecutor prior to her appointment. It is likely that her expertise influenced her emphasis on raising women’s awareness of their legal rights whilst Commission Chairperson. Mary Ravindranath was appointed Chairperson in 2005, after unsuccessfully contesting in the State Assembly elections in 2004 on a Congress Party nomination. She had previously been elected to the same constituency in 1989, but was not subsequently re-elected in 1994 or 1999 when both elections saw the rival party, the TDP, elected to office. As Chairperson in 2006, Ravindranath asked the Chief Minister to demonstrate support for her authority in response to what she perceived as disrespect towards her leadership amongst Commission members (The Hindu, 2007a). In contrast, members accused the chairperson of poor leadership and bad administration. In July 2007, Ravindranath was reportedly asked by the Chief Minister to resign as Chairperson after a public dispute with another Commission member (who was also asked to resign) (The Hindu, 2007b). Media reports quoted the Chief Minister of accusing Ravindranath of damaging the reputation of the Commission as a result of the media coverage of the dispute. The Commission subsequently remained defunct for several years until it was reconstituted in 2013, with Dr. Tripurana Venkataratnam appointed as Chairperson (New Indian Express, 2013b). Dr. ­Venkataratnam was a former TDP MLA elected in 1983 and a former Minister in the state government, as well as a law graduate. When Andhra Pradesh state was bifurcated in 2014, Dr. Venkataraman initially continued as Chairperson of Commissions for both the Andhra Pradesh Commission and (newly created) Telangana State Commission for Women, and remained Chair of the Telangana Commission, after a senior TDP leader, former state legislator and state government minister, and official spokesperson of the party, Nannapaneni Rajakumari, was appointed to chair the Andhra Pradesh Commission in 2016. Thus, party political links and experience in government continued to be important for appointing State Commission ­Chairpersons in the newly created state. Unlike in Tamil Nadu, the Andhra Pradesh Commission for Women was granted statutory powers, including its own budget allocated by government and the same powers as a Civil Court to try legal cases. The Commission’s wide mandate, outlined in the Act, includes examining legal provisions and state recruitment practices affecting women, inspecting state institutions such as jails, police stations, and state-owned women’s hostels; submitting annual reports to government on the Commission’s activities and recommendations; and conducting or commissioning research and maintaining data on the condition of women in the state (GoAP, 1998: article 15: 1). The Commission’s mandate also includes participating in, and advising on, the ‘planning process of socio-economic development of women’ (GoAP, 1998: article 15: 1: xi) and to ‘undertake promotional and educational research so as to suggest ways of ensuring due representation of women in all spheres and identify factors responsible for impeding their advancement’ (GoAP,

Gendered institutional contexts  173 1998: article 15: 1: xiv). Despite this wide mandate, the Commission focused on legal and educational activities, including raising awareness about HIV/ AIDS, improving women’s legal literacy and awareness, setting up a civil court dedicated to women’s issues (the Mahila Lok Adalat), inspecting a state prison, and trying to bring together a women’s university consortium. It has not involved itself much with the planning process nor did it have much to do with independently monitoring and evaluating the growing women’s SHG programme in the state. Indeed, when a National Commission for Women member visited villages surrounding Vijayawada in June 2006 regarding allegations of harassment of women by micro-finance organisations, there was no notable presence of the State Commission for Women (author’s fieldnotes, June 2006). The Commission was defunct for several years until 2013, despite pleas from women’s organisations to reconstitute the Commission. In 2013, when it was reconstituted, the chairperson focused in particular on violence against women including trafficking and domestic violence. Society for the Elimination of Rural Poverty In Andhra Pradesh, gender-equitable development is part of a broader mainstream programme at the parastatal level to address rural poverty, unlike in Tamil Nadu. The Society for the Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP) was established as an independent, autonomous society registered under the Public Societies Act to serve as the main implementing agency for Velugu, the World Bank–funded project in Andhra Pradesh, commencing in June 2000. Velugu’s model was largely based on the earlier UNDP’s South Asia Poverty Alleviation Programme, implemented in three state districts between 1996–2000, deemed successful in building community-based institutions for and by the rural poor to address rural poverty. Velugu/IKP operated on the SHG model, with primarily women-only groups of around 15–20 members. Microfinance activities were seen as a cohering force for the groups and provided an entry point for the programme’s social mobilisation and social change objectives. SHGs were clustered into Village Organisations (VOs) and further federated to form Mandal Samakhyas. VOs were involved in monitoring and strengthening their SHGs and village development activities. Mandal Samakhya leaders were trained by SERP and other contracted agencies to implement project components and take up larger scale activities compared to SHGs and VOs, and helped strengthen VOs. By December 2004, more than 440,000 SHGs, more than 27,000 VOs, and nearly 750 Mandal Samakhyas were involved with the programme (GoAP, 2005: 7). The Gender Strategy of the programme involved five interventions, four of which required that mainstream institutional processes and activities took gender issues into consideration: ‘mainstreaming gender in CIF activities’, ‘promoting gender awareness among project stakeholders’, ‘introducing

174  Gendered institutional contexts engendered project management’, and ‘implementing gender disaggregated [Monitoring and Evaluation]’ (World Bank, 2003: 25). Gender was one of several cross-cutting issues for which SERP appointed functional specialists at the State level as State Project Directors (others included marketing, microfinance, disability, and institution building) and at the district level. Whilst Velugu/IKP was a mainstream programme designed to reduce rural poverty, gender was seen as a key component, partly because women formed a majority of SHG members, but also because its perspective on gender difference as complementary rather than conflictual: ‘poor communities are able to achieve poverty alleviation through self-managed grassroots institutions by harmonising the concerns of men and women’ (SERP, c.2002: 37). But the project did not make women hyper-responsible agents – it sought to expand beyond women-only groups to form men’s groups and youth groups, based on the recognition that the ‘organization of women’s groups alone would not help in either eliminating poverty or empowering women; the process can be triggered and made sustainable when all members of the family are organized’ (SERP, c.2002). Ostensibly, this seemed to reflect increasing practice to involve men and boys in projects on gender equality and women’s empowerment, though operationalising this strategy has not been as clear cut, (discussed in Chapter 8). Whilst SERP is considered independent and autonomous of government, it has considerable government links with government personnel amongst its most senior staff, and is under administrative control of the DRD. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh acts as official Chairperson of SERP, and the Minister for Rural Development is Vice Chairperson22 and ­President of SERP’s Executive Council. IAS officers hold senior posts in SERP – the Principal Secretary for Rural Development is Vice President of the ­Executive Council and sits on the General Body Council of SERP. The CEO of SERP is an IAS officer heading the State Project Management Unit in Hyderabad, member-convenor of the Executive Council, and secretary of the General Body. Notwithstanding some intermittent periods, a single IAS officer, T. Vijaya Kumar, held the post of CEO of SERP for the longest period since it was established; prior to 2002, the founding CEO was K. Raju, who later served as Principal Secretary in the Chief Minister’s Office, and was subsequently appointed as secretary to the national UPA government’s National Advisory Council, a body responsible for drafting several rightsbased legislations enacted by the UPA(I) government (2004–2009). Despite this strong government presence, an interesting institutional feature of SERP is its mix of personnel; non-government personnel form a significant part of SERP, as the discussion above about the programme’s approach to gender indicates. P. Jamuna, the State Project Director for Gender (also credited as Director (Advocacy)), joined SERP in 2003, and had a background in the women’s movement.23 Likewise, many of the State Project Directors do not have a background in government service. Additionally, subject experts appointed from the NGO sector sit on the General

Gendered institutional contexts  175 Body Council. Rural development professionals are recruited as community co-ordinators at the mandal level as ‘change agents’: ‘key functionaries who facilitate social transformation in direct participation with the people’ (SERP, c.2002: 13). Furthermore, SERP has often approached state-based NGOs and educational institutions to compile training material or evaluate policies and strategies: the Centre for Women’s Development at the National Institute of Rural Development in Hyderabad was consulted to provide inputs into the programme’s gender strategy. APMAS, a Hyderabad-based, professional development sector NGO part-funded by the UK Department for International Development, influenced the evolution of assessment techniques of microfinance activities in the programmes SERP administered. SERP is also notable for the extent to which programme participants are involved in the programme’s functioning; participatory identification and assessment approaches have been a lauded feature of the programme. Ten Mandal Samakhya leaders (all of them women) are selected by the government to sit on the General Body of SERP, and programme participants become part of the programme’s administration through its federated structures. Under the TDP government, the significant presence of non-government personnel emerged as a source of political controversy, with the Congress Party, then in opposition, accusing the TDP government of ensuring that Velugu, and by implication SERP, lacked transparency and accountability and that it bypassed democratically elected institutions of government at the sub-state level (The Hindu, 2003a). Manor noted that the TDP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, suspicious of the possibility of Congress control in local bodies, preferred to operate through non-elected committees and user associations ‘which [Naidu] is able to pack with his own party loyalists’ (Manor, 2004: 273). Manor also noted, however, that Congress was also guilty of undermining panchayat authority for the same reason. It is clear from a programmatic comparison of Velugu (TDP government) and IKP (Congress government) structures that the sub-state District Administration did not play a major role in Velugu; by merging SGSY (administrated by the DRDA) with Velugu, this enhanced their role within the state’s anti-poverty programme. Yet Congress did not radically alter the role of SERP; in fact, in June 2007 the government awarded SERP a leading role in setting up a similar new agency to deal with urban poverty (GoAP, 2007b). Although it appeared at first sight that government personnel would play a larger role in the new agency, provisions for non-government functional specialists remain part of the institutional design (GoAP, 2007a, 2007b). Comparisons of bureaucratic-structural strategies and some conclusions To what extent do the institutional structures discussed above represent opportunities for gender mainstreaming strategies? The state-level government

176  Gendered institutional contexts departments most visibly identifiable with women were not originally designed to be ‘women’s policy units’ – nodal agencies to champion gender-­ responsive policy in other departments. They were largely designed to deliver welfare-oriented schemes, financially dominated by the massive child health and nutrition scheme (ICDS), thus dealing mostly with women as mothers or anganwadi workers, or to provide state protection through shelters and hostels for women, dealing mostly with women as a more vulnerable, disadvantaged, or ‘weaker’ section of society. State governments have not been inclined to expand and convert these departments into nodal agencies, unlike the national government’s reorientation of the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Departments of rural development have increasingly taken on women’s empowerment as a policy concern, through the co-­ordination of the SHG programmes, which conflates women’s empowerment with rural poverty reduction. State governments have established State Commissions for Women, but with varying efficacy, often appointing loyal party affiliates as chairpersons. Both State Commissions for Women have provided some room for questioning the political marginalisation of women and gender equality, but focus largely on legal issues, protective rather than developmental, investigating current, and trying to prevent future, atrocities against women. Often, a lack of resources and political status means they are limited to redressing past injustices, and even then, are often overstretched. Whilst the State Commission for Women in Andhra Pradesh was established with more powers than its counterpart in Tamil Nadu, it was not always able to use them as effectively, and remained defunct for several years. The Commission in T ­ amil Nadu had fewer powers but has managed at times to be a vocal-lobbying instrument, despite similar resource constraints, political affiliations which restricted its critical capacity, and varying commitment to and experience in work on gender equality and women’s empowerment amongst its leadership. As semi-autonomous agencies, the two parastatal agencies engaged in women, gender, and development, TNCDW and SERP, offer a more complex set of opportunities than government departments or state commissions for women. They have both involved a larger range of actors from different backgrounds, offering potentially more opportunities for non-­ governmental involvement including feminist-oriented NGOs, although such opportunities have been inconsistent, due to variations in access, strategic input, and impact on social and institutional transformation, with SERP seemingly offering more potential than the TNCDW. Significantly, SERP’s Velugu/IKP is largely a mainstream programme with gender as a cross-cutting concern and intervention for social change in the project; Mahalir Thittam focuses largely on women rather than gender, and appears to be more integrationist in approach, something which we explore further in the next chapter. TNCDW’s later move to Rural Development suggested a convergence in sectoral location of women’s empowerment programmes in the two states.

Gendered institutional contexts  177

Conclusions Women are numerically under-represented in state government institutions in both states and the gendered norms and practices of state government institutions limit how women as potential and actual policymakers are imagined and how gender equity as a policy issue is constituted. Such norms are incompatible with a bureaucratic-individual feminist strategy, or at least make individual bureaucrats’ tasks very difficult. The bureaucratic-­ structural strategy has provided varied opportunities for feminist transformative strategies. Some examples suggest successful efforts to challenge the gendered bureaucratic institutions of the state government. But both state governments have not shown much evidence of efforts to mainstream gender perspectives throughout government policy. State-led strategies have focused on increasing descriptive representation through affirmative action policies, more than attempting to change the gendered norms and practices of state institutions. Parastatal agencies have been more effective in making a largescale impact and with a greater explicit focus on women’s development and empowerment rather than welfare. But state structures are outward oriented, concerned more with increasing the delivery and efficiency of pre-designed programmes than with inward self-reflection on how they are themselves gendered organisations. Both state governments have implemented several initiatives, but these are not in the mould of an institutional context conducive to gender mainstreaming through all state government policy sectors. The plurality of institutions established in the past three decades to address women’s welfare, development, and empowerment demonstrates how the state is a not a monolith but an ensemble of institutions, offering varied scope for feminist intervention. This is not a static process but a dynamic one, offering cautious hope for feminist engagement with the state. In the next chapter, I explore the state governments’ discourse on women, gender, and development to understand how the state government talks (or not) about gender equality, whether and to what extent it forms a central concern in the state governments’ mainstream development policy, how the constructions of policy ‘problems’ and ‘solutions’ of gender-equitable development are envisioned, and whether these are conducive to more transformative approaches towards gender-equitable development.

Notes 1 More detailed sex-disaggregated data on levels of seniority or by identity groups such as SC, ST, OBC, and so on, are not published. 2 Calculated by the author from the publicly available Civil List database. These are approximate figures based on title designation (Shri, Smt., Ms., etc. listed against each IAS officer). Gender identity is not indicated for a small number of IAS officers with ‘Dr.’ titles, so this is a conservative but approximate figure. 3 The GoAP publishes two reports, ‘Manpower Profile’ and ‘Andhra Pradesh: At a Glance’ which include sex-disaggregated data on public sector employees from the government’s periodical employee census. However, these publications were

178  Gendered institutional contexts not available when I visited Andhra Pradesh and they are not published outside India. Available employee census data are highly disaggregated by department and not readily comparable to the data on Tamil Nadu. 4 Space constraints prevent discussion of women in gram panchayats and municipal corporations in the two states, and there is a growing literature on this. See Ghosh and Tawa Lama-Rewal (2005). 5 Women candidates nominated by the TRS decreased to four in the 2018 ­Telangana Assembly election. 6 The remaining three held the portfolios of Minister for Mines and Geology, Handlooms and Textiles, and Spinning Mills; Minister for Medical Education and Health Insurance; and Minister for Major Industries, Sugar, Commerce and Export Promotion. 7 More detailed information on past Council of Ministers is not accessible on GoAP websites. Grover and Arora (1998) provide detailed information of government ministers until 1984, thereafter only including names of governors and chief ministers each year until 1997. 8 A lack of historical data on committees under previous governments prohibits comparison between parties and over time. A similar dynamic occurs in the national parliament, with women as the majority of members of the Committee for the Empowerment of Women (Rai and Spary, 2019). 9 This is not standard practice across all states within India. In 2005, in answer to a Rajya Sabha MP’s question, Union Government Minister of State for Human Resource Development listed ten state governments as having state-level reservation for women in government posts (Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Sikkim, and Tamil Nadu) with Bihar state government providing reservations for women belonging to the Backward Class category only (Rajya Sabha, 2005). In contrast, there are no reservations for women in central government posts. 10 25 percent are reserved for Backward Classes, 15 percent for SCs, 6 percent for STs, 3 percent for the physically disabled, and 1 percent for Ex-Servicemen. 11 Data sourced from press report of IAS transfers and confirmed by records on the Ministry of Personnel website (GoI, n.d.-a). Data are limited to active IAS officers at the time of access, including officers on leave or on deputation. Data limitations prevent a thorough historical analysis – continuous data are limited and less accessible. 12 Between 1999 and 2006, women to hold this portfolio were Comal R. Gayathri (aka Gayathri Ramachandran) (1999–2001), Minnie Matthews (2002–2003), and Vasuda Mishra (2006). During the same period, men holding this portfolio were S.P. Singh (2001–2001); Dr. S. Chellappa (2001–2002); Dr. Prasanta Mahapatra (2003–2004); and Prabhakar D. Thomas (2004–2006). See (GoI, n.d.-b, n.d.-a). 13 Prior to 1993, the entitlement was three children (GoTN, 2007c: 136). 14 Most of the following analysis is based on Mahalir Thittam rather than the ­IFAD-funded TNWDP, because the most available programme documentation is on Mahalir Thittam, because of the larger scale of Mahalir Thittam, because Mahalir Thittam has claimed to have incorporated lessons learnt from evaluations of the IFAD project (also discussed), because Mahalir Thittam is more recent, and because of space constraints. 15 Under the IFAD-funded phase, the project began in 1990 in Dharmapuri district, with plans to extend it to another two districts (Salem and the erstwhile district of South Arcot, which became Cuddalore and Villupuram districts in 1993). These three districts were selected as the ‘most backward districts in the State with respect to the status of women’ (IFAD, 1989: 7–8). The programme was extended to another two districts (Madurai and Ramanathapuram) by the end of the IFAD phase. With the launch of Mahalir Thittam in 1997–1998,

Gendered institutional contexts  179



18 19

20 21 22


the project included the same TNWDP districts and incorporated eight further districts. In the second expansion phase (1998–1999), the project was extended to another seven districts and then another seven districts in phase three ­(1999–2000). Its focus was rural until in 2000–2001, the scheme was extended to all town panchayats and municipalities in the 28 districts covered by the project (TNCDW, 2000a: 5). In 2002–2003, the scheme expanded to include Chennai, eventually covering all then 30 districts of Tamil Nadu. At district level, the PIU is headed by a project officer with assistant project officers. The large-scale replication of Mahalir Thittam required significant co-ordination between the PMU in Chennai and District PIUs. District Project Co-ordination Committees are headed by the district collector, with the district project officer for TNCDW as member-secretary, and remaining members composed of district government line department heads, bank, NGO, and NABARD representatives, two elected representative women SHG members, ‘two women with proven commitment to women’s issues’, and secretaries of the local Block Level Co-ordination Committees. The latter is made up of NGO representatives, bankers, the assistant project officer from the District PIU, and one representative from each SHG in the Block (TNCDW, 2000b: 23–25). In 2015, feminist scholars, activists, and women members of the Mahila Samakhya programme appealed against the government’s proposal to close down the widely praised Mahila Samakhya programme and merge it with the National Rural Livelihoods Mission, effectively moving it from Education to Rural Development (Menon-Sen, 2015). They suggested this move would ruin the essence of the more educational and radically empowering Mahila Samakhya programme, considered central to its success, and lead to a narrower target-driven programme logic., last accessed 16 August 2018. The first was the Andhra Pradesh District Poverty Initiatives Project in 180 selected ‘backward’ mandals of six districts of the state, from 2000–2005, and with funding of Rs. 600 crores (approximately £73.5 million). The second phase of Velugu was the Andhra Pradesh Rural Poverty Reduction Project, in selected ‘backward’ mandals of the remaining 16 districts, from 2003–2008, with funding of nearly Rs. 1,500 crores (approximately £184 million). As mentioned, IKP also includes the central government SGSY programme after it was merged with Velugu in 2005, and which SERP also administers. TDP reinstated the term Velugu when re-elected in 2014; ‘Velugu’ and ‘IKP’ are now used interchangeably by independent observers. A recent exception is the appointment of Minister of Women Empowerment, Child Welfare, Disabled and Senior Citizens Welfare as also the Minister for SERP (Smt. Paritala Sunitha), possibly as a junior ministerial portfolio in Rural Development. P. Jamuna was later appointed as a member of the State Commission for Women when it was reconstituted in 2013.

References AIADMK (n.d.), last accessed 22nd January 2017. AP Online (n.d.) ‘Council of Ministers’, available online at apportal/contact/listofcontacts.asp?id=01, last accessed 1st August 2007. Brown, W. (2006) ‘Finding the Man in the State’, pp. 187–210 in Sharma, A. and Gupta, A. (Eds.) The Anthropology of the State: A Reader. Oxford: Blackwell. Ghosh, J. (1999) ‘Women in Indian Politics’, Frontline, 16 (20), available online at, last accessed 13 December 2018.

180  Gendered institutional contexts Ghosh, A. and Tawa Lama-Rewal, S. (2005) Democratization in Progress. Women and Local Politics in Urban India, New Delhi: Tulika Books. GoAP (1998) Andhra Pradesh Women’s Commission Act. 1998/9. GoAP (2005) ‘Department of Rural Development Annual Report 2005’, Department of Rural Development, Government of Andhra Pradesh. GoAP (2007a) ‘Memorandum of Understanding between Mission for the Elimination of Poverty in Municipal Areas (MEPMA) and Society for the Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP)’, Department of Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Government of Andhra Pradesh. GoAP (2007b) ‘Strategy for Elimination of Urban Poverty – Establishment of Mission for Elimination of Poverty in Municipal Areas (MEPMA) (GO Ms. No 414 Dated 04/06/07)’, Department of Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Government of Andhra Pradesh. GoAP (n.d.) ‘Vigilance Manual Vol. IV’, Andhra Pradesh Vigilance Commission, Government of Andhra Pradesh, available online at download.asp?file=./Vol-IV.pdf, last accessed 2nd January 2008. GoAP APPSC (n.d.) ‘Information Brochure’: Government of Andhra Pradesh, available online at, last accessed 1st August 2007. GoAP DWD&CW website, (n.d.), last accessed 22nd January 2017. Goetz, A. M. (1997) ‘Introduction: Getting Institutions Right for Women in Development’, pp. 1–28 in Goetz, A. M. (Ed.) Getting Institutions Right for Women in Development. New York: Zed Books. GoI (n.d.-a) ‘Executive Record Sheet Generator (IAS Officers)’, Ministry of Personnel Government of India, available online at­ knowyourofficerIAs.aspx, last accessed 15 December 2018 GoI (n.d.-b) Civil List 2007: The Indian Administrative Service’, Ministry of Personnel Government of India,, last accessed 15 December 2018 GoTN (2001) ‘Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme Policy Note 2001–2002’, Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme, Government of Tamil Nadu, available online at­ archives/policy2001-2/social-e-2001-02.htm, last accessed 1st August 2007. GoTN (2004) ‘Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme Policy Note 2004–2005’, Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal ­Programme, Government of Tamil Nadu. GoTN (2005a) ‘Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme ­Policy Note 2005–2006’, Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal ­Programme, Government of Tamil Nadu. GoTN (2005b) ‘Tamil Nadu Government Service Conduct Rules, 1973’, Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Government of Tamil Nadu, available online at, last accessed 19th July 2006. GoTN (2006a) ‘Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007–2012): A List of Steering Committees/Working Groups – Composition and Terms of Reference’, State Planning Commission, Government of Tamil Nadu, available online at eleventhplan/steering_working_committee.pdf, last accessed 8th June 2007. GoTN (2006b) ‘Statistical Handbook of Tamil Nadu: Chapter 17 Employment’, Department of Economics and Statistics, Government of Tamil Nadu, available online at, last accessed 17th August 2007.

Gendered institutional contexts  181 GoTN (c.2006) ‘Council of Ministers’, available online at­tnassembly/ ministers.htm, last accessed 1st August 2007. GoTN (2007a) ‘Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Policy Note 2007–2008’, Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Government of Tamil Nadu, available online at­ development.pdf, last accessed 17th August 2007. GoTN (2007b) ‘Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme Policy Note 2007–2008’, Programme, D. o. S. W. a. N. M., Government of Tamil Nadu. GoTN (2007c) ‘The Fundamental Rules of the Tamil Nadu Government’, Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Government of Tamil Nadu, available online at, last accessed 8th December 2007. GoTN (2007d) ‘Tamil Nadu State and Subordinate Service Rules (Corrected up to 15th May 2007)’, Ministry of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Government of Tamil Nadu, available online at­tnsssrweb.pdf, last accessed 1st August 2007. GoTN (2008) Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department Policy Note 2008–2009, Demand No. 42, Government of Tamil Nadu, available online at, last accessed 9th January 2012. GoTN (2011) G.O. Ms No. 51 Dt: May 16, 2011 Tamil Nadu Leave Rules – Maternity Leave – Enhancement of Maternity Leave to 180 days – Orders – Issued., Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department, Government of Tamil Nadu, available online at, last accessed 9th January 2012. GoTN (n.d.-a) ‘Council of Ministers of Twelfth Assembly 2001–2006’, available online at, last accessed 1st August 2007. GoTN (n.d.-b) ‘Council of Ministers with their Portfolios 1996–2001’, available online at, last accessed 1st August 2007. Goyal, S. (1989) ‘Appendix II Social Background of Officers in the Indian Administrative Service’, pp. 425–433 in Frankel, F. R. and Rao, M. S. A. (Eds.) Dominance and State Power in Modern India: Decline of a Social Order. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Grover, V. and Arora, R. (1998) Encyclopaedia of India and her States: Vol. 7 Andhra Pradesh, 2nd edition, New Delhi: Deep & Deep Publications. IFAD (1989) Report and Recommendation of the President to the Executive Board on a Proposed Loan to the Republic of India for the Tamil Nadu Women’s Development Project, Rome: International Fund for Agricultural Development, available online at, last accessed 4th June 2007. IFAD (2000) ‘India: Tamil Nadu Women’s Development Project Completion Evaluation Report’, Rome: International Fund for Agricultural Development, available online at india/r240ince.htm, last accessed 6th June 2007. Indian Express (1998) ‘A Third of Cong Posts for Women’, Indian Express, 19th December.

182  Gendered institutional contexts Indian Express (1999) ‘Pratibha Bharati is Andhra Pradesh Assembly's first woman to officially be a Speaker of AP’, 12 November 1999, http://archive.indianexpress. com/Storyold/131475/, last accessed 13 December 2018 Manor, J. (2004) ‘Explaining Political Trajectories in Andhra Pradesh and ­Karnataka’, pp. 255–284 in Jenkins, R. (Ed.) Regional Reflections: Comparing Politics Across India’s States. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Menon-Sen, K. (2015) ‘Educationists and Women’s Rights Activists Oppose Closure of Mahila Samakhya’, 21 November, Kafila, available online at https://kafila. online/2015/11/21/educationists-and-womens-rights-activists-oppose-­closure-ofmahila-samakhya/, last accessed 13 December 2018. Mooij, J. (2002) Welfare Policies and Politics: A Study of Three Government Interventions in Andhra Pradesh, India: ODI Working Paper No. 181. London. New Indian Express (2013a) ‘Visalakshi Nedunchezhiyan is New Chief of TN Women’s Commission’, New Indian Express, 9 January, available online at www.­, last accessed 13 ­December 2018. New Indian Express (2013b) ‘Andhra Pradesh Women’s Commission Reconstituted’, New Indian Express, 4 June, available online at andhra_pradesh/Andhra-Pradesh-Womens-Commission-­reconstituted/2013/06/04/ article1619070.ece, last accessed 13 December 2018. Palshikar, S. (2004) ‘Revisiting State Level Parties’, Economic and Political Weekly, 39 (14–15), pp. 1477–1479. Ponnaiyan, C. (2001) ‘Government of Tamil Nadu Finance Minister’s Budget Speech 2001–2002’, Minister of Finance and Law, Government of Tamil Nadu, Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, 18th August. Potter, D. (1986) India’s Political Administrators 1919–1983, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Pringle, R. and Watson, S. (1992) ‘‘Women’s Interests’ and the Post-Structuralist State’, pp. 53–73 in Barrett, M. and Phillips, A. (Eds.) Destabilising Theory: Contemporary Feminist Debates. Cambridge: Polity Press. Puwar, N. (2004) Space Invaders: Gender, Race and Bodies Out of Place, London: Berg Publishers. Rai, S. M. (1996) ‘Women and the State in the Third World: Some Issues for Debate’, pp. 5–22 in Rai, S. and Lievesley, G. (Eds.) Women and the State: International Perspectives. London: Taylor and Francis. Rai, S. M. and Spary, C. (2019) Performing Representation: Women Members in the Indian Parliament, New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Rajya Sabha (2005) ‘Unstarred Question No. 2795: Job Reservation for Women’, Rajya Sabha, available online at, last accessed 9th December 2007. Rankin, K. N. (2004) The Cultural Politics of Markets: Economic Liberalisation and Social Change in Nepal, Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Rao, V. (2003) ‘Social Welfare in Tamil Nadu Politics’, Indian Journal of Social Work, 64(3) pp. 350–372 Rediff (1999) Pratibha Bharathi is AP’s first woman speaker’, Rediff, 11 November, available online at, last accessed 13 ­December 2018. ­ hennai in Santhanam, K. (2005) ‘At the Apex of Administration’, Metro Plus: C The Hindu, available online at 01040200.htm, last accessed 13 December 2018.

Gendered institutional contexts  183 SERP (c.2002) APDPIP Progress Report June 2000–March 2002, Hyderabad: ­Society for the Elimination of Rural Poverty, Government of Andhra Pradesh, copy on file with the author Stetson, D. M. and Mazur, A. G. (Eds.) (1995) Comparative State Feminism, ­London: Sage. Telugu Desam Party (n.d.) ‘Bye Laws’, available online at html/bye-laws.htm, last accessed 1st August 2007. Thakur, S. G. (c.1997) Increasing Awareness for Change: A Survey of Gender and the Civil Services, Mussorie: Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration. The Hindu (2001) ‘Valamarthi Jebaraj in a Spot’, The Hindu, 24th November, available online at, last accessed 13 December 2018. The Hindu (2003a) ‘Cong. Seeks to Probe into Velugu Implementation’, The Hindu, 21st January, available online at stories/2003012104840400.htm, last accessed 13 December 2018. The Hindu (2003b) ‘Statutory Powers Elude Women’s Panel’, The Hindu, 29th October, available online at htm, last accessed 13 December 2018. The Hindu (2004d) ‘Uma Madhava Reddy still rides sympathy wave’, The Hindu, 15 April 2004, 300.htm The Hindu (2005a) ‘Funds and Powers Sought for Commission for Women’, The Hindu, Sunday 7th August, available online at­ stories/2005080713980300.htm, last accessed 13 December 2018. The Hindu (2005b) ‘Register Houses in the Name of Couple’, The Hindu, 21st ­January, available online at, last accessed 13 December 2018. The Hindu (2007a) ‘Differences Plague Women’s Commission’, The Hindu, 24th July, available online at htm, last accessed 13 December 2018. The Hindu (2007b) ‘YSR asks Mary, Padmaja to quit’, The Hindu, 14th July, available online at, last accessed 13 December 2018. Times of India (2016) ‘Appoint Active Woman Leader, Activists to CM’, Times of India, 25 May, available online at­Appointactive-woman-leader-activists-to-CM/articleshow/52425388.cms, last accessed 13 December 2018. TNCDW (2000a) Bangaru Ammaiyar Ninavu Mahalir Thittam Annual Report ­1999–2000, Chennai: Tamil Nadu Corporation for Development of Women Ltd., available online at, last accessed 2nd November 2007. TNCDW (2000b) Mahalir Thittam Working Manual, Chennai: Tamil Nadu Corporation for the Development of Women. Watson, S. (1992) ‘Femocratic Feminisms’, pp. 186–204 in Savage, M. and Witz, A. (Eds.) Gender and Bureaucracy. Oxford: Blackwell. Waylen, G. (1996) ‘Democratization, Feminism and the State in Chile: The Establishment of SERNAM’, pp. 103–117 in Rai, S. (Ed.) Women and the State: International Perspectives. London: Taylor and Francis. Weedon, C. (1987) Feminist Practice and Poststructuralist Theory, Oxford: Blackwell.

184  Gendered institutional contexts Witz, A. and Savage, M. (1992) ‘The Gender of Organizations’, pp. 3–62 in Savage, M. and Witz, A. (Eds.) Gender and Bureaucracy. Oxford: Blackwell. Wolkowitz, C. (1987) ‘Controlling Women’s Access to Political Power: A Case Study in Andhra Pradesh, India’, pp. 205–225 in Afshar, H. (Ed.) Women, State and Ideology: Studies from Africa and Asia. London: MacMillan. World Bank (2003) APRPRP Project Appraisal Document (Report No. 24771-IN), South Asia Regional Office: World Bank.

7 Gendered discourses of development in two Indian states

Introduction The previous chapter discussed the institutional context for gender mainstreaming strategies in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, including the development of the state-level institutional machinery for women. This chapter discusses gendered discourses of development underpinning statelevel development policy, deconstructing and analysing discursive articulations of gendered development and the policy strategies they prescribe, to understand exactly ‘what is being mainstreamed when we mainstream gender’ (Eveline and Bacchi, 2005). The aim is to ‘encourage deeper reflection on the contours of a particular policy discussion, the shape assigned a particular “problem”’ (Bacchi, 2000: 48) – here, the relationship between ‘gender’ and ‘development’ in state policy. Policy is a site of discursive articulation and activity (Bacchi, 2000) and ‘it is only by looking at a discourse in operation, in a specific historical context, that it is possible to see whose interests it serves at a particular moment’ (Weedon, 1987: 111). The aim of this chapter is to understand how discourse affects what can be said, thought, or done in policy, particular meanings which arise as a result, and the possibilities these meanings create or foreclose for gender mainstreaming strategies. I argue that three gendered discourses of development can be identified in state policy, which I label ‘protective-paternalist’, ‘competitive-­capabilities’, and ‘structural-transformative’. I show how these three discourses, internally complex and articulating gendered development in very different ways, help to explain divergent policy approaches (and absences) to gender-­ equitable development in the two states. I argue that important similarities and differences are evident in the relative dominance or marginalisation of policy discourses on gender-equitable development both within and between the two states. This produces a highly complex but interesting comparative dynamic. Furthermore, discourses of gender and development often reflect the state’s wider development discourse. These observations suggest the wider discursive and institutional context matters for how some discourses become embedded within policies and others do not and that this is a complex process. I conclude arguing that two discourses in particular

186  Gendered developmental discourses present limited opportunities for gender mainstreaming, and the third – the ­structural-transformative discourse – holds the most potential, but has its own limitations. To demonstrate these arguments, the first section provides a brief background to each state government’s development policy since the 1990s, focusing on two identifiable discourses: reformist and populist. I then examine articulations in state policy of the three discourses of gendered development named above, followed by a comparative discussion, before concluding. I draw upon a range of governmental and non-governmental documentary and non-documentary sources: the most significant planning and policy documents, programme documentation such as annual reports and training manuals, evaluative reports, and budget speeches; my own fieldwork interviews, press coverage, and secondary literature. For Tamil Nadu, I have focused on discourses articulated within the state government’s Tenth Five-Year Plan (2002–2007), supplemented by other relevant planning and policy documents. For Andhra Pradesh, I have examined discourses articulated by Vision 2020, a longer term comprehensive development policy released by the state government in 1999. Also included is an analysis of policy discourses of the parastatal programme for women’s SHGs outlined in the previous chapter –Tamil Nadu Women’s Development Programme/Mahalir Thittam administered by the TNCDW and Velugu/Indira Kranthi Patham administered by SERP in Andhra Pradesh.

Part I – State-level development policy: reformist and populist discourses Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have been labelled reform states because when the central government announced liberalisation reforms in 1991, these two states embarked on a similar agenda. As at the national level, this reforms agenda held significant implications for gendered development discourse in the states: reimagining the role of the state and its commitment to social and human development, and formulation and funding of social sector programmes and policies. As discussed in Chapter 5, state-level policies in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have articulated populist discourses, driven by electoral compulsions. These populist discourses interact in significant ways with reformist discourses of development emerging in the 1990s. Here I outline the main features of these two wider state-level development policy discourses as a backdrop to the articulation of gender-­ equitable development discourse in each state, discussed later. Tamil Nadu From the mid-1990s, but particularly between 2001 and 2004, the Tamil Nadu’s state government development policy articulated a reformist discourse of development, which partially resembled the Government of India’s reformist

Gendered developmental discourses  187 discourse discussed in Chapter 3. This discourse was evident in Tamil N ­ adu’s Tenth Five-Year Plan (2002–2007) and several reform-oriented policies thereafter. The reforms envisaged a restructuring of the public sector, including government downsizing, an increased role for the private sector in state development, but perhaps most prominently, fiscal reforms prompted by the state’s fiscal crisis in the late 1990s. Tamil Nadu’s Eighth Five-Year Plan (1992–1997) suggested a re-envisioning of the role of the state to create ‘a conducive environment for building individual capabilities and encouraging private initiative’ (GoTN, 2003b, my emphasis). Tamil Nadu’s Tenth Five-Year Plan statement on governance reforms defined governance as ‘the management of all such processes that, in any society, define the environment which permits and enables individuals to raise their capacity levels…and provide opportunities to realize their potential and enlarge the set of available choices…’ (GoTN, 2003b: 901). Policies ensuing from this discursive shift included partial privatisation of the road transport sector and closure of loss-making Public Sector Units, downsizing government, and encouraging public-private partnerships in infrastructure development (GoTN, 2003b: 37). Government subsidies such as food subsidies under the Public Distribution System (PDS) and power subsidies for farmers were either reduced or modified to improve targeting (GoTN, 2003b: 42–43). Governance reforms included streamlining administrative procedures, with single window clearance for private investors. A New Industrial Policy was announced in 2003, reiterating reforms outlined in the state’s Tenth Five-Year Plan aimed at increasing investment in the state. Reforms relating to public sector privatisation, downsizing government, and government employee entitlements and benefits were accompanied by legislation to discipline labour relations. In 2002, the Tamil Nadu Essential Services Maintenance Act (TESMA) was implemented, prohibiting government employees of selected ‘essential services’ from striking. The following year, several thousand government employees went on strike, protesting reductions in government employee entitlements and customary benefits. The government responded, invoking TESMA, dismissing many of those on strike and later penalising those who were subsequently reinstated, by recognising the strike period as a disruption in service without pay, adversely affecting employee entitlements. In the interim, the government replaced striking government employees with temporary casual workers. Fiscal reforms were considered essential to the wider reforms agenda, as the finance minister explained, ‘a stable fiscal situation is an essential pre-requisite for enabling the Government to implement its development agenda’ (Ponnaiyan, 2003: para 9). The government sought to establish a firm consensus on the need for fiscal reforms. The finance minister declared, there cannot be two opinions on the urgent need to rectify the fiscal imbalance before it completely paralyses the functioning of the

188  Gendered developmental discourses Government. Fiscal recovery is in the best interests of the State and has to be above political differences, compulsions and expediency. (Ponnaiyan, 2003: para 29) Signalling commitment to fiscal reforms was also necessary to attract external agency investment, impacting the government’s ability to compete with other states. In 2003, the finance minister stated in his budget speech: external funding agencies like the World Bank had moved away from Tamil Nadu in the absence of any effort at fiscal reforms by the previous Government. Meanwhile, all neighbouring States have benefited by such assistance and have been able to go in for larger Plan outlays while Tamil Nadu was left behind. This Government has shown the will to undertake the reforms necessary for restoring the fiscal health of Tamil Nadu and taking the State forward on a higher growth trajectory. (Ponnaiyan, 2003: para 10) To institutionalise fiscal management and financial discipline at state level, the Tamil Nadu government introduced the Fiscal Responsibility Act in 2003, which the finance minister suggested would ‘save future governments from experiencing the serious fiscal problems that we have had to confront’ (Ponnaiyan, 2003: para 9). The reformist discourse emerged in state policy despite a history of populist policies in Tamil Nadu embedded in political party discourse (discussed in Chapter 5). Populist discourses in Tamil Nadu have been labelled as either empowerment/assertive or protective/paternalist, and associated with DMK and AIADMK governments, respectively (Swamy, 1998; Subramanian, 1999). However, from the 1990s, Tamil Nadu government’s reformist discourse challenged established populist discourse. To an extent, the state’s fiscal crisis provided a useful entry point for the reformist discourse. The AIADMK frequently justified reformist policies by referencing the large fiscal deficit, which it claimed was caused by the liberal expenditure of the previous DMK government. Under reformist discourse, populist policies were implied to be expensive and wasteful; repeated references to ‘reining in’ the fiscal deficit depicted expenditure as uncontrollable and irresponsible. However, the government also tempered fiscal reforms – reforms should be considered with ‘the people’ in mind, particularly ‘vulnerable sections of society’, taking care not to alienate the electorate (Ponnaiyan, 2003). The fiscal reforms were segregated from the wider development agenda – the finance minister declared in his budget speech in 2003 that ‘this Government has the onerous responsibility of integrating the reform priorities with the development imperatives of the State. The interests of the poor and the needy have to be protected’ (Ponnaiyan, 2003). He appealed to government employees to share the burden:

Gendered developmental discourses  189 This Government recognises the important role played by Government employees in implementing development and welfare programmes of the Government. Government employees will have to also recognise that at a time of extreme fiscal distress, they have to come forward to share the distress. It is the policy of this Government to ensure the welfare of its employees. At a time of extreme financial stress, it has been difficult to entertain requests for increases in pay and allowances. (Ponnaiyan, 2003) The government’s stand on the wider reform policies remained relatively unmoved in the state’s turbulent few years between 2001 and 2004, but this period of second-generation economic reforms was interrupted following the 2004 national Lok Sabha elections. The AIADMK failed to win a single seat in the elections, so Chief Minister Jayalalithaa reversed several reforms from the previous three years, reinstating some populist policies. Policy reversals included reduction in electricity tariffs, restoration of free farm power supply, and relaxation of restrictions on eligibility for food subsidies under the PDS. Perhaps the most significant reversal was the dismissal of disciplinary proceedings against striking government employees from the previous year, and the reinstatement of several thousand government employees temporarily hired to cover for the striking government workers but dismissed prior to the latter’s reinstatement. This starkly contrasted with earlier reform policies of government downsizing and disciplining labour relations. The repeal of TESMA, invoked during the strike to discipline government employees, was a DMK election manifesto promise, which they later fulfilled in June 2006 after being elected into state government (GoTN, 2006). The media quickly linked the policy reversals to the Lok Sabha defeat and upcoming Tamil Nadu State Assembly Elections in 2006. Not surprisingly, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa publicly rejected this representation (BBC World, 2004). She justified reducing electricity tariffs as a special protective measure to relieve domestic consumers, particularly those affected by drought, claiming ‘no other State provides such relief to all families in the domestic category in order to protect them’ (The Hindu, 2004). The World Bank was disappointed, stating the policy reversals threatened progress on fiscal reforms, and warned that ‘Tamil Nadu has little choice but to return to the path of fiscal consolidation if it is to meet its development goals’ (World Bank, 2005: iv). Thus, reformist discourse was restricted by populist discourse influenced by an electoral logic. The 2006 State Assembly elections demonstrated that populist discourse remained strong in Tamil Nadu. The DMK offered major populist concessions including free colour TV sets and subsidised rice in its election campaign. However, the DMK’s association with a national telecom sector scandal during the UPA-I government (2004–2009), in which DMK Union government ministers were implicated, affected the party’s

190  Gendered developmental discourses re-election prospects at the state level. With heavy irony, an article in Business Today pointed out the same TV sets given away by the DMK after the 2006 election ‘served to keep [electors] very well informed’ about the 2G spectrum controversy and accusations of DMK corruption (Madhavan and Balasubramanyam, 2011). The DMK’s loss repeated in 2011, when Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK won the State Assembly election with a majority 150 of 234 seats; the DMK won 23 seats. The AIADMK also won 37 of Tamil Nadu’s 39 Lok Sabha seats during the 2014 elections. However, in September 2014, Jayalalithaa was convicted in a long-standing disproportionate assets case, filed in the mid-1990s. The Supreme Court granted her bail and a suspended sentence, but on appeal a Special Court acquitted her in May 2015. Between her conviction and acquittal, she was disqualified from the legislature and a party loyalist temporarily held the chief minister’s post. Upon acquittal she was re-elected in a June 2015 by-election. In the following State Legislative Assembly election of May 2016, her party won a majority of seats. Some attribute Jayalalithaa’s success to her sustained populist politics, combining socio-economic provisions through a protective-paternalist frame. Jayalalithaa provided basic subsidised goods branded ‘Amma’ (Mother), such as subsidised canteen meals, bottled mineral water, medicines through Amma pharmacies, and later, Amma mobile phones, distributed to SHG women trainers (The Economic Times, 2015). In 2013, there were thought to be almost 300 Amma canteens providing subsidised nutritious meals, managed and funded by municipal corporations and run by SHG women, and reports suggest they have been especially popular with the urban working poor (­Rajendran, 2013; see also Madhavan, 2014).1 Andhra Pradesh Since the mid-1990s, the Andhra Pradesh state government’s commitment to economic reforms has been characterised by aggressive self-promotion as a reform-oriented government and, unlike most other reform-oriented States, has extended the economic reforms agenda to encompass wider transformational governance reforms (Mooij, 2003; Kennedy, 2004; Kirk, 2005). The state government’s strong pro-reform stance was articulated at a National Development Council meeting in 2002, when then Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu stated, ‘reforms are no longer a matter of choice but have become a matter of necessity…In an increasingly competitive world unless we reform we will be in danger of being left behind’ (Naidu, 2002). The strongest identifiable articulation of the TDP government’s reformist discourse can be found in the state government’s Vision 2020 document, an ‘ambitious’ vision for the achievement of economic and human development and governance reforms by the year 2020. Released by the state government in January 1999, Vision 2020 was compiled in consultation with global

Gendered developmental discourses  191 consulting firm McKinsey and supported by the UK government’s Department for International Development. Vision 2020 proposed a shift in the role of the state ‘from being primarily a controller of the economy, …[to] a facilitator and catalyst of its growth’ (GoAP, 1999: 8). By stimulating economic growth, the state could achieve development through increased incomes resulting from new employment opportunities. Economic growth would increase state resources, which could be invested in social sectors to combat poverty, improve education and health, and build infrastructure for services such as water supply, transport, and housing (GoAP, 1999: 1). Governance reforms proposed a transition to ‘SMART’ government administration – simple, moral, accountable, responsive, and transparent. Investments in education and health were deemed important for increasing productivity to achieve the high rates of economic growth required (GoAP, 1999: 7). High demand for infrastructure required ‘large-scale private investment’, facilitated by a ‘regulatory environment that enables private investment and facilitates business’ (GoAP, 1999: 14). Vision 2020 proposed restructuring government expenditure for efficiency. The drive to reduce and target government social sector subsidies was heavily concerned with ‘leakages’, and schemes should ‘provide only for those with a genuine need’ (GoAP, 1999: 57). On sustainability of food subsidies in the PDS, Vision 2020 urged targeting of the PDS to clearly identified groups who are poor, vulnerable, or risk-prone. Since food subsidies are consumption- rather than investment-oriented, they are inherently less efficient than public employment programmes…[T] argeting such subsidies…is difficult, making these programmes expensive. In Andhra Pradesh, such programmes should be used only to provide relief to genuinely vulnerable groups. (GoAP, 1999: 58) The government also proposed privatisation of sectors like higher education and health care, suggesting ‘the private sector, operating in a competitive situation, is better able than governments to provide efficient, rationally priced and high quality services in many areas’ and that ‘the State’s support in such areas should gradually be limited to ensuring access for the poor to these services’ (GoAP, 1999). Privatisation would purportedly increase quality of service provision and ‘free Government resources and attention for higher priority developmental goals’ (GoAP, 1999). Vision 2020 proposed to build on Janmabhoomi, an ostensibly large-scale exercise in participatory development, which had established in parallel to the local panchayats several non-state local community groups such as Water Users Groups to monitor irrigation schemes and Mothers’ Committees to oversee child education and the Integrative Child Development Services scheme at the local level. SHGs would also be encouraged.

192  Gendered developmental discourses In line with governance reforms, in 2001 the AP government set up a new division of the General Administration Department to oversee administrative reforms, and the same year, with a £6 million grant from the UK’s Department for International Development, established the Centre for Good Governance in Hyderabad as an academic think tank advising on state-level reforms. The World Bank has also been a substantial international donor of reforms in Andhra Pradesh; AP state constitutes one of the few Indian states where the World Bank received agreement from the central government to enter into subnational lending agreements with state governments (Kirk, 2005). The first AP-specific World Bank project, the Andhra Pradesh Economic Restructuring Project, was approved in 1998, and planned interventions in education, health, nutrition, roads, irrigation, and governance and fiscal reforms (World Bank, 1998). The state government’s willingness to avail of World Bank funding was unsurprisingly criticised: Left parties criticised the state government for acquiescing to anti-imperialist forces and media reports suggested the BJP-led central government stalled approval to the 1998 World Bank loan, from a nationalist perspective of swadeshi (self-reliance) (Indian Express, 1998). A third criticism positioned Naidu’s pro-Bank reform approach as ‘a “betrayal” of the state’s autonomy – a charge that resonated with an AP political tradition of asserting Telugu “self-respect” after years of central government interference in its affairs’ (Kirk, 2005: 292). Despite criticism from the Congress Party whilst in opposition, they continued World Bank funding once elected to state government in 2004. Populism has been a characteristic feature of electoral politics in Andhra Pradesh since the emergence of the TDP under N.T. Rama Rao in the early 1980s (see Chapter 5). However, economic reforms espoused by new Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu in the mid-1990s suggested the TDP was beginning to reject this style of politics, citing fiscal necessity (e.g. prohibition discussed in Chapter 5). Nevertheless, on two occasions, Naidu reverted to populist promises of concessions. The first instance occurred just three months before State Assembly elections in October 1999, in which Naidu secured a second mandate. In early July 1999, Naidu launched the ‘Deepam Scheme’, which aimed to provide one million liquid petroleum gas connections to poor rural women who were members of DWRCA groups (Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas). This made Naidu popular amongst women voters, and also did not help the opposition Congress Party when they protested against the scheme, complaining the scheme’s launch had violated the Election Code of Conduct by occurring after elections were announced. Murty explained the ‘TDP cleverly used this as proof to show that the Congress was opposed to this welfare measure… creat[ing] a feeling among women voters that the Congress was trying to thwart this scheme’ (2001: 222). Several commentators suggested this scheme’s influence on the electoral choices of women voters decisively impacted the following elections, securing a large vote

Gendered developmental discourses  193 bank for Naidu (Murty, 2001: 222). However, after elections, the Deepam Scheme was criticised by DWCRA groups citing high increases in the costs of refill cylinders. The second instance occurred before the 2004 State Assembly election which elected the opposition Congress Party into government. One of Congress’ campaign promises was free power to farmers and continuation of the Deepam Scheme. They later extended this to all below-poverty-line families regardless of whether they were members of SHGs, although SHG members would be allocated extra eligibility points, as would individuals with low incomes and small family size, amongst other criteria. The TDP’s Janmabhoomi scheme attracted strong criticism from Congress, who accused the TDP government of bypassing panchayats omitting this was because Congress had a stronghold there. The newly elected Congress government terminated the Janmabhoomi programme almost immediately when it came to government (GoAP, 2004). Comparing state discourses of development Both states embarked on a reformist agenda in the 1990s, emphasising a new role for government, including (partial) privatisation, increased efficiency in public sectors, government expenditure and government administration, and deregulation in favour of the private sector. GoAP’s vision was more comprehensive and far reaching than that of GoTN, although execution was perhaps more extensive in Tamil Nadu. Kennedy’s notes differences in the way each State government politically positioned the reforms: Andhra Pradesh loudly ‘trumpeting’ them, and Tamil Nadu’s main parties following them more ‘discreetly’ (2004: 44). In Tamil Nadu, the broader positioning is also different: economic reform has not been situated ‘within a larger transformationalist development agenda built around a vision of radical citizen-oriented governance reform’ (Kennedy, 2004: 44). Furthermore, both states’ reform agendas have been limited by populist discursive logics, which are arguably more embedded in Tamil Nadu but have proven decisive in both states in stalling some reform efforts, especially around election time. The analysis of gendered discourses of development in the following section needs to be understood against this backdrop of both a new reformist discourse of development in the 1990s but also its limited ability to challenge and overcome embedded populist discourse in both states.

Part II – Discourses of gendered development Mapping dominant and marginal discourses Discourses of gendered development are often articulated strongest in policies on women, gender, and development, but can be evident in polices not

194  Gendered developmental discourses paying particular attention to the status of women, their development or empowerment, or gender (in)equality. Here I identify three discourses of gendered development traceable in state government policies in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. I have labelled these discourses protective-paternalist, competitive-capability, and structural-transformative.2 ‘Women’s empowerment’ is prominently articulated in the latter two, but its context-specific meaning differs in important ways. Below I outline some dominant characteristics of these discourses, identified inductively in state policies, bearing in mind that identifying such ideal types in policy discourse is challenging because multiple discourses intersperse in policy. The implications of policy narratives containing multiple discursive logics are, however, important and explored further in Chapter 8. Protective-paternalist The protective-paternalist discourse depicts particular groups in society, such as women, as ‘weak’ and ‘vulnerable’, lacking full autonomy, and in need of ‘protection’. The state is characteristically depicted, often in the guise of a supreme leader, as a benevolent patron, or ‘leader-as-donor’ (Subramanian, 1999: 75). Paternalist policies focus on minimal provision and basic needs (Subramanian, 1999: 75). The large-scale distribution of resources amongst groups by the state is presented as a charitable and altruistic gesture, akin to gift-giving (Goodell, 1985) rather than on the basis of citizenship rights, human rights, or other forms of citizen entitlement. The positioning of the state as a benevolent leader ‘encourages supporters to assume an attitude of reverence and gratitude’ (Subramanian, 1999: 75). Because resource distribution by the state is depicted as altruism, the state ensures its relationship with beneficiaries is non-reciprocal because ‘altruism requires that nothing be returned’ (Goodell, 1985). But that means ‘beneficiaries’ have an ambiguous relationship with paternalist policies and the state ‘because these programs are granted and withdrawn at the discretion of the state,…they are neither designed in response to local request nor subject to sustainable local pressures, [and] preclude any continuity that the local “beneficiaries” themselves might be able to affect…’ (Goodell, 1985: 253). A protective-paternalist state often displays an ostensibly benign yet conservative attitude towards gender relations, a benevolent sexism, or ‘a set of interrelated attitudes toward women that are sexist in terms of viewing women stereotypically and in restricted roles but that are subjectively positive in feeling tone (for the perceiver)’ (Glick and Fiske, 1996: 491). The state’s protection of women is presented as an affectionate and caring gesture. As opposed to ‘hostile sexism’, which is defined as an overt antipathy towards women (drawing on Glick and Fiske, 1996; Barreto and Ellemers, 2005: 634), benevolent sexism ‘provides a comfortable rationalization for confining women to domestic roles’ (Glick and Fiske, 1996: 492).

Gendered developmental discourses  195 Competitive-capabilities The competitive-capabilities discourse draws on a liberal, integrative, equal opportunities equality model, in which it is assumed, notwithstanding instances of discrimination, the rules of society are generally fair and such instances are seen as aberrations, barriers to equal competition amongst individuals in society. It is the state’s task to remove barriers, creating a level playing field and ensuring equal opportunities for women to compete with men. The state-as-facilitator implements preferential policies, such as ensuring access to education and employment, to develop individual capabilities. ‘Removing the barriers’ initiates a particular kind of ‘empowerment’ process whereby individuals integrate into the existing system and ‘fulfill their potential’, enabling them to become ‘self-reliant’. It also ensures development is more efficient – women’s empowerment and gender equality serve a useful purpose to development; ‘gender equality is smart economics’. Eliminating discrimination towards women and enabling access for women to education and employment is instrumentally beneficial for development rather than merely intrinsically beneficial for women, rights, justice, or entitlement. As Squires suggests, ‘the potential weakness of this approach is that it may privilege those concerns that fit most readily with dominant policy-making rationalities, thereby obfuscating the normative and contested nature of gender equality and privileging the ‘objective’ knowledge of gender experts’ (2007: 148). Structural-transformative A structural-transformative discourse posits inequality as the result of inequitable power relations and recognises the centrality of power to the process of transforming inequitable relations. It tends to focus on empowering ‘vulnerable’ and ‘marginalised groups’ rather than individuals. It emphasises the importance of enabling participation of marginalised groups and augmenting their role in decision-making and agenda setting, often aiming to improve their access to mainstream institutional bodies. Increased participation is understood to enable the empowerment of poor and marginalised groups because it enables democratic deliberation and collective action. This occurs either through creation of new institutions or through transformation of existing mainstream norms, structures, and processes which have led to marginalisation and inequality. Thus, the onus of transformation is not restricted to individuals themselves but mainstream institutions. Because of its focus on structural inequalities and on groups rather than individuals, a structural-transformative discourse is the most likely of all three discourses to recognise intersectionality of multiple structural inequalities deriving from caste, class, gender, religion, sexuality, age, disability, and so on. However, a limitation of this discourse is the tendency to emphasise

196  Gendered developmental discourses group differences to the point of reinforcing them at the expense of others, privileging some groups or some forms of inequality over others, and thus attention to intersectionality is not always adequately recognised, understood, or addressed. Gendered development discourses in state policy Tamil Nadu The strongest articulations of protective-paternalist discourse were found in populist and welfare-oriented schemes of Tamil Nadu state government, presented as part of state-provided social safety nets for those excluded from national- or state-led development processes. The Department of ­Social Welfare commonly depicted women as weak, as one of several ‘vulnerable’ groups in need of state protection. Particularly ‘vulnerable’ women are identified as deserving beneficiaries of the state’s ‘affection’: ‘among women, pregnant women, lactating mothers, the poor women living below poverty line, widows and destitutes deserve more affection and assistance’ (GoTN, 2003a). Women are grouped with children, the destitute, the elderly, street children, ‘delinquent’ children and ‘juveniles’, and the disabled (GoTN, 2003b). Women and children are homogenised as ‘the most disadvantaged category of population’ regarding indicators on literacy, health, mortality, and dependency on agricultural livelihoods (GoTN, 2003b: 319). Many state-level policies articulating protective-paternalist discourse are administered by the Department of Social Welfare. Two prominent ­AIADMK schemes have sought to address female infanticide. The ‘Cradle Baby Scheme’, begun in 1992, responded to the ‘menace’ and ‘evil practice’ of female infanticide. The scheme enabled parents to give up for adoption their daughters at birth, transferring them into state care anonymously; the state provided cradles in reception centres in state-run hospitals, primary care centres, and children’s homes. The main concern was to ‘enable the rescue of female children abandoned by their biological parents due to various social circumstances’ (GoTN, 2003b: 332). The second scheme, the Girl Child Protection Scheme, was introduced in 1992. The government deposited funds on behalf of girls, which they would receive on their 20th birthday and could be used, the policy suggested, to fund higher education studies or ‘defray marriage expenses’, a euphemism for dowry (GoTN, 2003b: 332). The scheme’s eligibility criteria stipulated parents should have a low income, have undergone sterilisation, not have any male children, and be under 35 years of age. The girl also must complete her tenth standard education and appear for the public examination. Both schemes were reintroduced when the AIADMK party came back into government in 2001, and were continued by the DMK when they were elected into government in 2006.

Gendered developmental discourses  197 Several other Department of Social Welfare schemes included assistance (cash payments) for marriage for various women and girls in difficult circumstances, such as widows, ‘deserted wives’, orphan girls, and daughters and school children of poor widows. Many came with conditions, mostly income ceilings and age restrictions for the bride (but not the groom, 18–30 years). Sewing machines were given to destitute widows to assist them with a livelihood, free textbooks to school children of poor widows, free bicycles to Dalit girls as an incentive for education. The Department, through the Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Board, also assisted Family Counselling Centres run by voluntary organisations, to ‘preserv[e] the basic social unit of a family’ (GoTN, 2005: 230). These policies position the state as a benevolent and charitable figure protecting vulnerable women, girls, and poor and destitute widows; the state becomes the paternal figure writ large. An implicit heteronormativity and social conservatism underpin some of these policies. Many are compensatory measures which implicitly acknowledge state failure to eradicate illegal and unjust societal practices discriminating against women, such as dowry demands, sex-selective abortion and son preference, and other forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls. In contrast, the GoTN’s competitive-capability discourse stressed removal of barriers to gender equity (2003b: 328), and ‘removal of gender bias’ (2002: para 2.34). Its Tenth Five-Year Plan explicitly acknowledged the failure of constitutional guarantees of equality combined with legislation for social change: …[T]he mere enactment of laws does not change attitudes, and ironically, these advances in social legislation have engendered in some measure an attitude of complacency whilst the views of society towards the position of women have not changed much over the years. (GoTN, 2003b: 319) Failure of legislation justified affirmative action, particularly in education and employment, and the Tenth Plan set targets for 50 percent reduction in ‘gender gaps’ in literacy and wage rates by 2007 (GoTN, 2003b: 32). The efficiency orientation of the competitive-capability discourse meant concern for women’s empowerment was often instrumentally articulated as mutually supportive of poverty reduction. The GoTN’s Tenth Five-Year Plan explained that ‘promoting micro credit with groups of women is increasingly seen as the panacea for reducing poverty and empowering women’ (2003b: 328). Women’s empowerment was occasionally subordinated in favour of poverty reduction, predicated on assumptions concerning women’s status, family income, and the household. Policy often failed to distinguish gender-inequitable development and poverty as distinct problems, instead collapsing the two. This assumed a necessarily positive relationship between women’s empowerment and rising household income, which, as discussed in Chapter 5, is not straightforward.

198  Gendered developmental discourses Poverty reduction was one of the business cases offered for women’s empowerment; the other was women’s empowerment as an investment in human resources to benefit overall economic development. Women were viewed as assets or inputs into economic development processes, as was human development more broadly: ‘a country’s real wealth is its human resources. If human resources develop, then the country’s economy will also develop’ (GoTN, 2002: 1). Women become responsible for, but subordinated to, the nation’s economic and human development: ‘the economic development of a country depends largely upon the status of its human resource development. The index of a nation’s social development is the status of its women’ (GoTN, 2002: 1). But the strongest state-level articulation of this competitive-capability discourse came from the parastatal TNCDW (discussed in Chapter 6), responsible for implementing the state’s SHG programme Mahalir Thittam. The scheme’s empowerment objectives emphasised dismantling barriers to women’s empowerment: a key objective was to enable poor and disadvantaged women through capacity-building to ‘cross all social and economic barriers and thereby facilitate their full development into empowered citizens’. Social empowerment entailed dismantling various barriers to women’s and girls’ equal development. Economic empowerment would be achieved by greater access to financial resources outside the household and equal access and control over resources within the household, a ‘significant increase’ in women’s incomes, reduced vulnerability of poor women to crisis, and financial self-reliance of women (TNCDW, 2000: 18). Intrinsic and instrumental rationales were presented for women’s empowerment: the original IFAD project stated, ‘the principal objective of the project is the economic and social upliftment of women to enhance the welfare of their families and to improve their status in the family and the community’ (IFAD, 1989, my emphasis). Mahalir Thittam emphasised empowerment was about making choices, and only women and not ‘outsiders’ could empower women. Consistent with the government’s wider reimagining of the state’s role in development, TNCDW policy suggested government and non-government institutions could play a supportive, facilitative role in this process (TNCDW, 2000: 18). In contrast to protective-paternalist discourse, women were interpellated as responsible agents. One policy statement acknowledged ‘women are aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, family resources and risk-taking ability…Accordingly, it is the women themselves who would be the best judges in respect of economic activities and levels of credit required’ (GoTN, 2001a: section 3.1). Women were positioned as centrally responsible for their own empowerment. Thus, despite the emphasis elsewhere on changing structures, the implicit thrust was on women who themselves had to change. TNCDW’s SHG programme did, however, distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ choices, and thus between good and bad SHG members. Mahalir

Gendered developmental discourses  199 Thittam, and its predecessor the Tamil Nadu Women’s Development Project, focused on integration rather than transformation: the original IFAD project document identified the aim was to increase [women’s] income-earning potential by integrating them into the regular delivery system for credit and technical support services, to raise women’s level of awareness and, through the strength and mutual support of group interaction, to encourage self-reliance, both individually and communally and foster the confidence to strive for social change. (IFAD, 1989: 8, my emphasis) A former TNCDW official made clear the focus of the Corporation’s programme was women not gender (interview, June 2007). Notwithstanding the affirmative emphasis on women’s empowerment and ‘social change’, the project primarily aimed to integrate women into the mainstream, repositioning them as creditworthy, capable individuals requiring an enabling environment to participate in mainstream processes and institutions. However, creating the alternative and parallel structure of SHGs means this strategy still foregrounds women’s difference and separation from, rather than transformation of, the mainstream. Women’s access to institutional credit is made possible by the SHG operational model, relying on ‘social capital’, defined as informal networks, benefits, and norms generated by associational practices. Microfinance organisations, mainstream development agencies, and commercial banks positively associate ‘social capital’ with the dynamic of peer pressure, which enables higher repayment rates for creditors (Mayoux, 1995; Rankin, 2002). Such outcomes rely upon what Rankin calls a ‘highly disciplinary institutional culture’, nurtured within microfinance programmes by a detailed and strict regime of group practices. Mahalir Thittam evidenced elements of this ‘highly disciplinary institutional culture’ – the cultivation of self-regulating technologies moulding individual and group behaviour around programmatic norms – ­including detailed grading and assessment procedures which determined access to credit (discussed in Chapter 8). The SHG model gained significant support from the banking sector, which, driven by efficiency concerns, was persuaded that the SHG model was an effective and cost-efficient mechanism to expand demand for institutional credit and savings amongst the newly creditworthy rural poor. A Reserve Bank of India circular to commercial banks emphasised …the linking of SHGs with the banks is a cost effective, transparent and flexible approach to improve the accessibility of credit from the formal banking system to the unreached rural poor. It is expected to offer the much needed solution to the twin problems being faced by the banks, viz recovery of loans in the rural areas and the high transaction cost in dealing with small borrowers at frequent intervals. (RBI, 1996)

200  Gendered developmental discourses SHGs lowered transaction costs for banks because banks would deal with groups not individuals; high repayment rates were facilitated by peer group pressure amongst SHG members, and individual security for loan collateral was instead secured by group liability. The group approach also enabled the implementing agency to govern large numbers of programme participants from afar, encouraging them to govern themselves through federating groups into larger bodies, appealing to administrative efficiency concerns of the state government’s wider development discourse. Women’s SHGs were also seen as highly convenient and accessible institutional delivery entry points for other government schemes. Convergence of government poverty alleviation schemes through SHGs was listed as a key focus point for Social Welfare under Tamil Nadu’s Tenth Five-Year Plan (GoTN, 2003b: 330). However, as a former TNCDW official observed, the attention from other government departments often increased the burden of participation on women SHG members (discussed in Chapter 8). Instead of opening upwards and ushering in a process of gender awareness and inter-sectoral co-operation across a range of government departments, this ‘convergence’ logic meant different departments independently focused downwards and inwards towards local delivery. The structural-transformative discourse was the most marginal gendered development discourse, but did manifest in some state policies. Tamil ­Nadu’s development policy recognised two problems: first, structural gender inequalities which prevented women from possessing an independent economic asset base, and second, poverty and low household incomes. The Tenth Five-Year Plan stated, To be asset less, unemployed, illiterate, destitute and yet over worked, tired and weak is the lot of most rural women in India…[T]hrough their lack of recognition in society, women are powerless, deprived of access to improved means of production through credit, technical advice, training, marketing skills etc. (GoTN, 2003b: 328) One reason offered for women’s lower status was that ‘crucial decision making powers within the households are still with the males’ (GoTN, 2003b: 320). It acknowledged women’s income is often crucial in poor households: …[A]lthough accorded little social status or recognition, women’s earnings are frequently essential to the survival of the family. In many cases women are the actual de facto heads of the family by virtue of desertion, migration, illness, unemployment or the addictive habits of their husbands. (GoTN, 2003b: 328)

Gendered developmental discourses  201 This recognition and positioning of women’s economic contribution as ‘essential to the survival of the family’ stands in tension with how, elsewhere, women are positioned as dependent subjects: Within the family, a woman is treated as a social and financial dependent, controlled by the family in every aspect of her life; having had little or no education, her worth is measured in terms of her ability to produce male children or bring in money/assets; she no longer belongs to her father’s family whilst her position in her husband’s family is conditional. (GoTN, 2003b: 320) Jayalalithaa’s 18 Point Programme for Women and Child Welfare, otherwise known as Vision 2010, and released when the AIADMK was elected back into office in 2001, aimed to revive the 15 Point Programme unveiled in 1993. The programme noted several ‘critical governance issues’ to reform, indicating a willingness to transform gendered practices and orientation of the state bureaucracy. The need for a gender-sensitive approach was identified as the ‘hallmark’ of the programme. The ‘patriarchal attitude of Indian society’ was identified as ‘one of the major underlying causes for the violations and non-fulfilment of many of the rights of children and women…and the low status given to women and girls’ (GoTN 2001b: 13). The programme listed sensitisation of ‘management styles, techniques and work culture in government departments’ towards issues relating to women and children (ibid), akin to a gender mainstreaming approach, although it did not elaborate further on what this would entail, and these initiatives did not seem to find a prominent place in state policy. Mahalir Thittam articulated several policy aims representing a structural-­ transformative discourse: one was to ‘create or reorient’ processes and institutions to enable women’s participation and decision-making; another envisioned co-operative and egalitarian relationships between men and women ‘as equal partners’ and sought to ‘inspire a new generation of women and men to work together for equality, sustainability, and communal harmony’, and a further three aims sought to achieve ‘equality of status of poor women as participants, decision makers and beneficiaries’, to promote and ensure women’s human rights; and to influence Government policy in favour of ‘disadvantaged’ women (TNCDW, 2000: 17). In sum, dominant gendered development discourses identifiable in policy were protective-paternalist, and competitive-capabilities, with minor traces of ­structural-transformative discourse. The implications for subjectivity and agency will be discussed in the following chapter. Meanwhile, we turn to discourse in Andhra Pradesh, and compare discourses towards the end of the chapter. Andhra Pradesh Notwithstanding the populist appeals of N.T. Rama Rao’s TDP government up to the mid-1990s, the protective-paternalist discourse was the weakest of

202  Gendered developmental discourses three discourses in Andhra Pradesh state government development policy. Even when the government recognised women as a vulnerable group, it was often followed by a commitment to empower women or eliminate discrimination. In other words, vulnerability was understood as an aberration, not something inherent to women as a group; state intervention was not justified by affection or nurture. The Girl Child Protection Scheme in AP aimed to ‘eliminate gender discrimination, to eradicate female infanticide, to improve the sex ratio and empower and protect the rights of girl children and women’ (GoAP, 2005a). The scheme aimed to facilitate ‘the emergence of a girl child to become a strong and assertive individual who will command equal status and respect in society’ (ibid). This stronger articulation of an equality and rights-based perspective contrasted with the benevolent charity articulated in Tamil Nadu state policy (although AP policy still employed small family norm criteria). Several AP government policies on child trafficking and adoption, for which the state could potentially articulate a protective-­ paternalist role, particularly in the wake of an adoption-trafficking scandal in 2001, have not articulated such a paternalist discourse.3,4 The competitive-capabilities discourse was by far the most dominant gendered development discourse articulated in AP state development policy. Vision 2020 emphasised building capabilities in nutrition, education, health, and employment to ensure a healthy, skilled, and educated workforce. It emphasised removing barriers to gender equality based on policies enabling equal treatment of women and men, promising that ‘a girl child born in this year will have as many chances as her brothers will to go to school, find a job and live a healthy and productive life’ (GoAP, 1999: 2). The policy-­envisioned empowerment would enable women and girls to ‘fulfil their roles as equal shapers, with men of the economy and society’ (GoAP, 1999). Again echoing instrumentalist narratives of ‘gender equality as smart economics’, women were positioned as assets to state and national development, with immense potential as untapped resources: ‘women represent 50 percent of the population, yet their productive potential remains largely untapped’ (GoAP, 1999: 68). Investment in women’s empowerment in areas like education was justified by the positive externalities they produced for families (e.g. increased household income expenditure on nutritional, health, and educational levels of other household members) and the assumed effect of women’s education in lowering fertility levels: Vision 2020 in AP stated, education also leads to improvement in other critical areas such as health and family planning. Studies have shown educated women can take better decisions about nutrition and healthcare for their families. They are also more open to family planning and have fewer children. (GoAP, 1999) State policy positioned women as highly responsible for the overall development process: ‘Andhra Pradesh’s development goals cannot be

Gendered developmental discourses  203 achieved without harnessing the potential of its women’ (GoAP, 1999: 84). Their empowerment was presented as ‘critical to achieving the transition to development’ (ibid: 68). Vision 2020 viewed women’s increasing participation in employment positively, further encouraging this by proposing to ‘eliminate’ gender inequalities like women’s ‘lower pay and restricted access to employment opportunities and skill development’. Several prescribed strategies included enforcing equal pay legislation, continued ‘hard’ affirmative action policy of reserving one third of government and public sector jobs for women, and ‘softer’ affirmative action strategies of training, self-employment schemes, and institutional credit linkages (GoAP, 1999: 69). Vision 2020 policies to achieve equitable development of ‘vulnerable’ groups would also use temporary protective safety nets in the short term: ‘until these developmental goals are achieved, the poor and other vulnerable groups must be protected and provided with an acceptable standard of living’ (GoAP, 1999: ­56–57). Alongside encouraging women into the workforce, the government pledged to increase childcare provision, albeit leaving largely undisturbed the expectation that women and adolescent girls were the primary caregivers in the household. The self-help programme administered by the parastatal SERP provided the strongest articulation of a structural-transformative discourse of gendered development in Andhra Pradesh. To recall, this agency was responsible for implementing the World Bank-assisted Andhra Pradesh District Poverty Initiatives Project and its successor, the Andhra Pradesh Rural Poverty Reduction Project – both known collectively as Velugu, and then later under the Congress government, the Indira Kranthi Patham scheme which had merged Velugu with the central government SHG scheme (SGSY). Velugu’s project design articulated a strong explicit commitment to social transformation; a guiding principle aimed to ‘alter the relations of power’ (SERP, c.2002: 4). Like Vision 2020, participatory development was given high priority. Velugu envisioned it was ‘through decentralized, community based, people participatory approach alone that the poor are made equal partners in eliminating poverty and enable themselves to change their destinies’ (SERP, c.2002: 1). The programme’s participatory features were considered particularly important for enabling agency of the poor (SERP, c.2002: 2). The programme claimed to foreground a ‘positive rights-based empowerment approach’ (SERP, c.2002: 2). Inequitable power relations were considered central to understanding the pervasiveness of poverty: Poverty has become deep rooted as large sections of people are denied equality in the control of resources and are not included in the decision making process. As such widespread poverty must be seen as a political process as it denotes undeniable violation of human rights. (SERP, c.2002: 1)

204  Gendered developmental discourses The poor were interpellated as competent and independent agents: ‘…[with] tremendous potential to help themselves and that this potential can be harnessed by organizing them. The poor have demonstrated that when adequate skills and inputs in community organization, management and action are provided they can shape their destinies’ (SERP, c.2002). The programme thus demonstrated it was not restricted to micro-credit but involved a powerful social-transformative component. Gender formed one of several ‘­action-oriented strategies’ for social mobilisation and social change. Velugu’s gender strategy claimed to extend beyond targeting women to address gender-specific disparities (SERP and Centre for World Solidarity, 2006: 2). It recognised differences amongst women: ‘women are a heterogeneous group and that gender inequalities are linked with other inequalities related to caste, class and religion’ (ibid). Training and sensitisation of programme participants and personnel was emphasised. A Gender Resource Group was established at state level for consultation and training, comprising ‘representatives from various sectors like academicians, law, research, education, NGOs working on gender issues, activists on women’s empowerment, health, human rights etc.’ (SERP, c.2002: 32). A similar arrangement existed at district level. Social action committees were established at village level to address social issues. The project claimed gender equity concerns had been built into guidelines and criteria for funding sub-projects from the Community Investment Fund. Women were trained as paralegal workers to address violence against women in several project districts. Internally, SERP established its own HR policy on sexual harassment in the organisation which became operational (GoAP, 2005b: 53). However, there were still considerable limitations to SERP’s model; one concerned opportunities for group members to opt for non-conventional forms of livelihood. A senior official involved in SERP commented, …we have decided to focus on the existing livelihoods of the rural poor… We realized with a project of our scale…even to support existing livelihoods itself is quite a complicated task. So rather than pick up new livelihoods, we decided to focus on whatever they’re doing…[I]t is our duty to support those livelihoods, rather than identify new livelihoods depending on our own particular choice. However, wherever there are new opportunities which we can tap with the support of some NGOs this requires a longer period of time. That also we have facilitated in a few cases. (Vijay Kumar, in World Bank, 2004: c. 30 mins 43 secs)5 Furthermore, as discussed in Chapter 8, convergence of departmental schemes through SERP was strongly emphasised, creating problems for SERP in co-ordinating and administering these schemes, but demonstrated that SHGs were are a popular institutional delivery point for the government, similar to Tamil Nadu.

Gendered developmental discourses  205 Interdiscursivity in two states Similarities between states are evident in the gendered development discourses of state policy. Common to both is a broad explicit statement of intent – commitment towards intervention to improve the status of women, some form of affirmative action. Both states policies also embody strong appeals to instrumental rather than intrinsic logic or rights-based perspectives of gender-equitable development. Some discourses were articulated more prominently in one state compared the other: the competitive-capabilities discourse was found in both states, but the protective-paternalist discourse was stronger in Tamil Nadu, and the structural-transformative discourse was stronger in Andhra Pradesh. Particular differences were evident at the parastatal level: in Tamil Nadu, programmes under study involved a less radical, more integrative approach, whereas those in Andhra Pradesh envisioned a more transformative project of altering power relations through social mobilisation and participation of the poor. The contrast is stronger in Andhra Pradesh where there was considerable parastatal emphasis on rights-based empowerment of the poor. The SHG model, popular in both states, appealed to the efficiency concerns of both state governments’ wider development discourse. Parastatal policy evidenced a stronger articulation of more critically informed elements of wider state policy: the parastatal policy in Tamil Nadu more strongly articulated the competitive-capabilities discourse of state policy, and traces of structural-transformative discourse in Andhra Pradesh state policy were augmented in SERP’s programmes. Thus, parastatal policies transcended more conservative elements of state policy, although whether this creates agency conducive for gender mainstreaming is discussed in Chapter 7. Did the relative autonomy of parastatal agencies and increased circulation of gendered development discourses, in part due to international agency funding and/or non-government interventions, creates openings for more gender-responsive approaches? Parastatal agency discourse was still situated within and influenced by the wider state-level development discourse in both states. Finally, a discursive policy analysis was not a straightforward exercise and it must be acknowledged that traces of each of the three distinct discourses can be found in most policies examined. The presence of competing discourses in policy unsurprisingly can lead to varied and sometimes contradictory constructions of gendered development. Policy prescriptions were not always clearly inferred from policy problems, suggesting that progressive discourses were only superficially embedded and more established conservative discourses shaping policy formulation and practice endured. For example, in Tamil Nadu structural-transformative constructions of gendered discrimination against the girl child and preferences for male children, practices of female infanticide, female foeticide, and dowry were assigned ­protective-paternalist policy solutions. This enabled the state to

206  Gendered developmental discourses perform, and even strengthen, its protective-paternalist role whilst leaving unchallenged societal norms which sanctioned such discrimination. In Andhra Pradesh where the protective-paternalist discourse was weak, policies which were often associated with protective-paternalist discourse in Tamil Nadu enunciated a more structural-transformative discourse (though paternalist implementation practices cannot be ruled out).

Conclusions What are the implications of these discursive configurations for opportunities to mainstream gender in development policy? Analysing policy discourse was complicated by the absence of explicit discussion of a ‘diagnosis’ of policy ‘problems’. Even less evident was a specific acknowledgement or commitment to ‘gender mainstreaming’ per se. Jayalalithaa’s 18 Point ­Programme mentions gender mainstreaming once but this was largely a redundant feature of the policy. Part of the mission of Mahalir Thittam was ‘to advocate changes in government policies and programmes in favor of disadvantaged women’ (TNCDW, 2000: 17). However, such ‘mainstreaming’ was not designed on an organisational level to effect change in wider state government policy. Prospects for mainstreaming gender across both state governments, in a transformative manner, were superseded by an efficiency discourse, prioritising convergence, streamlining delivery of schemes and benefits to women through the institutional opening of the SHG. Involvement with and exposure to Tamil Nadu’s women’s empowerment programme was limited to conventional departments. Given the programme’s scale in Tamil Nadu, gender-sensitisation of government participants even on paper appeared to include only those directly involved with the programme, if at all. Gender mainstreaming language was similarly absent in Vision 2020 in Andhra Pradesh, but curiously ‘mainstreaming’ did appear elsewhere in Vision 2020 in relation to disability. A rights-based approach to gender equality is also marginal in Vision 2020, but prevalent within discussions of child welfare. Gender and development policy in both states, if addressing gender inequality at all, has adopted a combination of integrative and affirmative action policies. The possibility for a potentially more radical, destabilising, and transformative discourse of empowerment was ‘colonised’ by a more liberal, integrative discourse. The policy objective of empowering women has an ambiguous relationship with the achievement of gender equality. Women’s empowerment is less often explicitly justified by a commitment to gender equality per se, this is more implicit by seeking to raise women’s status. Policy discourse only occasionally makes comparative references to the status of men. The few explicit references to gender equality or gender equity are ambiguous, providing another example of how ‘women’s empowerment’ is polysemic, malleable, and contingent, and often connotes more than it can deliver. It can appear radical whilst reproducing conservative or conventional depictions of gender relations, empowering women only to be

Gendered developmental discourses  207 good mothers, providing for their household and children, or empowering them to integrate into an unequal gendered system. Squires argues ‘as long as gender equality is framed by dominant considerations of utility with respect to other existing policy priorities, mainstreaming will remain an integrationist rather than a transformative practice’ (Squires, 2007: 150). Development policy in both states articulated gendered development in instrumentalist terms of efficiency, lauding the anticipated positive externalities of investing in ‘women’s development’ and ‘women’s empowerment’ for wider development outcomes. Given the importance assigned to income-generating schemes and prominence of rural development departments, gender-equitable development continues to be associated with and limited to poverty reduction, meaning wider impacts of gendered development evade policy attention. Thus, possibilities for a transformative gender mainstreaming at state level are highly questionable. The next chapter examine forms of developmental subjectivity and agency, constituted by the institutional and discursive contexts discussed, to ask whether these forms of agency offer opportunities for more transformative gender mainstreaming strategies for state-level policy towards gender-­ equitable development.

Notes 1 Labelling provision of such important public goods, services, and resources as populism may seem overly critical, but it is the precarity of this provision I would emphasise. 2 The protective-paternalist concept builds on and extends Swamy’s (1998) and Subramaniam’s (1999) concepts discussed in Chapter 5, but highlights its gendered aspects. The competitive-capability discourse incorporates more aspects of empowerment than paternalism, but in a more (neo-)liberal direction than populism, focusing more on the individual than group identity. 3 Child trafficking is a serious concern in Andhra Pradesh. In 2001, it emerged that several adoption agencies that rehoused girl children given up for adoption were trafficking girl children, including across state borders. This prompted the government to ban a scheme homing unwanted girl children in state institutions. The government prohibited non-state agencies from carrying out adoptions. Critics of the ban suggested it will not solve the problem and may increase unmonitored abandonments and female infanticide. See Nair and Sen (2005) and Sharma (2001). 4 Whether or not government officials adopt this discourse in everyday practice is a question not discussed here. 5 In Tamil Nadu, TNCDW emphasised diversification and conducted (or commissioned) studies of local markets to investigate potential opportunities for new micro-enterprise for SHG women to develop (author’s fieldnotes, 2006).

References Bacchi, C. (2000) ‘Policy As Discourse: What Does It Mean? Where Does It Get Us?’ Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 21 (1), pp. 45–57. Barreto, M. and Ellemers, N. (2005) ‘The Burden of Benevolent Sexism: How It Contributes to the Maintenance of Gender Inequalities’, European Journal of ­Social Psychology, 35, pp. 633–642.

208  Gendered developmental discourses BBC World (2004) ‘Jayalalithaa’s Interview to BBC World’s HARDtalk India’, BBC World, available online at jayainterview.shtml, last accessed 31st December 2007. Eveline, J. and Bacchi, C. (2005) ‘What Are We Mainstreaming When We Mainstream Gender?’ International Feminist Journal of Politics, 7 (4), pp. 496–512. Glick, P. and Fiske, S. T. (1996) ‘The Ambivalent Sexism Inventory: Differentiating Hostile and Benevolent Sexism’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70 (3), pp. 491–512. GoAP (1999) ‘Swarna Andhra Pradesh – Vision 2020’, Government of Andhra Pradesh. GoAP (2004) ‘Janmabhoomi - Discontinuation of the Programme - Orders - Issued (G.O.Ms.NO.8. Dated: 30–6–2004)’, Department, P., Government of Andhra Pradesh, available online at Planning/Govt-Gos-Acts/2004/GO.Ms.8.2004.html, last accessed 6th November 2007. GoAP (2005a) ‘Announcement of New Insurance Scheme for Protection of Girl Child on International Women’s Day celebrations on 8th March, 2005 – ­Guidelines – ­Issued (G.O.Ms.No. 16)’, Department of Women Development and Child Welfare, Government of Andhra Pradesh, available online at http://­ guidelines/gcpsgl.doc, last accessed 4th June 2006. GoAP (2005b) ‘Department of Rural Development Annual Report 2005’, Department of Rural Development, Government of Andhra Pradesh. Goodell, G. E. (1985) ‘Paternalism, Patronage, and Potlatch: The Dynamics of Giving and Being Given To’, Current Anthropology, 26 (2), pp. 247–257. GoTN (2001a) ‘Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme Policy Note 2001–02’, Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme, Government of Tamil Nadu, available online at in/policynotes/archives/policy2001–2/social-e-2001–02.htm, last accessed 1st August 2007. GoTN (2001b) ‘GO MS No. 190 18.12.2001 Social Welfare – Dr. J. Jayalalithaa 15 Point Programme for Child Welfare – Revived as Tamilnadu 18 Point Programme for Women & Child Welfare – Orders – Issued’, Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme, Government of Tamil Nadu. GoTN (2002) ‘Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme Policy Note 2002–03’, Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme, Government of Tamil Nadu, available online at­ policynotes/­archives/policy2002–03/swnmp2002–03-1.htm, last accessed 6th November 2007. GoTN (2003a) ‘Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme Policy Note 2003–04’, Department of Social Welfare & Nutritious Meal Programme, Government of Tamil Nadu. GoTN (2003b) ‘Tenth Five Year Plan 2002–2007’, State Planning Commission, ­Government of Tamil Nadu. GoTN (2005) ‘Government of Tamil Nadu Annual Plan 2005–06: Chapter 8.2 ­Social Welfare’, State Planning Commission, Government of Tamil Nadu, available online at–06/ch_8_2.pdf, last accessed 2nd January 2008. GoTN (2006) ‘Tamil Nadu Government Gazette Extraordinary No. 131 June 7th 2006’, Government of Tamil Nadu, available online at law/ACT_10to12_131_07JUN06.pdf, last accessed 6th November 2007.

Gendered developmental discourses  209 IFAD (1989) Report and Recommendation of the President to the Executive Board on a Proposed Loan to the Republic of India for the Tamil Nadu Women’s Development Project, Rome: International Fund for Agricultural Development, available online at, last accessed 4th June 2007. Indian Express (1998) ‘Centre Clears World Bank Funding AP Projects’, Indian Express, 2nd December 1998, available online at pIe/ie/daily/19981202/33650304.html. Kirk, J. A. (2005) ‘Banking on India’s States: The Politics of World Bank Reform Programs in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka’, India Review, 4 (3), pp. 287–325. Kennedy, L. (2004) ‘The Political Determinants of Reform Packaging: Contrasting Responses to Economic Liberalisation in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu’, pp.  29–65 in Jenkins, R. (Ed.) Regional Reflections: Comparing Politics across India’s States. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Madhavan, N. (2014) ‘Mother of All Populist Schemes’, Business Today, 20 July 2014, available online at­ amma-unavagam-project-canteen-in-tamil-nadu-sustainable/story/207764. html, last ­accessed 13 December 2018. Madhavan, N. and Balasubrahmanyam, K. R. (2011) ‘Running On Empty’, Business Today, 12 June 2011, available online at jayalalithaa-tamil-nadu-assembly-polls-2011/story/15808.html, last accessed 13 December 2018. Mayoux, L. (1995) From Vicious to Virtuous Circles? Gender and Micro-Enterprise Development, Geneva: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, available online at 6805797760f80256b4f005da1ab/5901781754e7c91580256b67005b6af7/­$FILE/opb3. pdf, last accessed 13 December 2018. Mooij, J. (2003) Smart Governance? Politics in the Policy Process in Andhra Pradesh, India, London: Overseas Development Institute, ODI Working Paper No. 228, available online at, last accessed 5th November 2007. Murty, K. R. (2001) Parties, Elections and Mobilisation, New Delhi: Anmol Publications. Naidu, C. (2002) ‘Speech of Shri N. Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh’, 50th National Development Council Meeting, New Delhi, 21st December 2002, available online at­pl50ndc/ andhra.pdf, last accessed 5th November 2007. Nair, P. M. and Sen, S. (2005) Trafficking in Women and Children in India, New Delhi: Orient Longman. Ponnaiyan, C. (2003) ‘Government of Tamil Nadu Finance Minister’s Budget Speech ­ amil 2003–04’, Ministry of Finance, Government of Tamil Nadu, Government of T Nadu Legislative Assembly, 21st March 2003, available online at budget/archives/budgetspeech2003–04.pdf, last accessed 15th May 2007. Rajendran, S. (2013) ‘Amma Unavagams of Tamil Nadu: Panacea for Urban Food Insecurity’, Economic and Political Weekly, 48 (50), 14 December, pp. 22–24. Rankin, K. N. (2002) ‘Social Capital, Microfinance and the Politics of Development’, Feminist Economics, 8 (1), pp. 1–24. RBI (1996) ‘Linking of Self Help Groups with banks- Working Group on NGOs and SHGs- recommendations –Follow Up,’ Reserve Bank of India Circular RPCD. No.PL.BC.120 /04.09.22/95–96, 2 April 1996.

210  Gendered developmental discourses SERP (c.2002) APDPIP Progress Report June 2000–March 2002, Hyderabad: Society for the Elimination of Rural Poverty, Government of Andhra Pradesh, available online at SERP & Centre for World Solidarity (2006) Women’s Self-Help Group Organisations in India; Opportunities for Counselling and Legal Assistance, Hyderabad: SERP/ Centre for World Solidarity Sharma, R. (2001) ‘Children as Commodities’, Frontline, 18 (10), available online at, last accessed 2nd January 2008. Squires, J. (2007) The New Politics of Gender Equality, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Subramanian, N. (1999) Ethnicity and Populist Mobilization: Political Parties, Citizens and Democracy in South India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Swamy, A. (1998) ‘Parties, Political Identities and the Absence of Mass Political Violence in South India’, pp. 108–148 in Basu, A. and Kohli, A. (Eds.) Community Conflicts and the State in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. The Economic Times (2015) ‘Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa Announces ‘Amma Mobile Phone’ for Self Help Group Trainers’, The Economic Times, 28 September 2015, available online at­politics-andnation/tamil-nadu-cm-j-jayalalithaa-announces-amma-mobile-phone-for-selfhelp-group-trainers/articleshow/49138047.cms, last accessed 13 December 2018 The Hindu (2004) ‘Power Tariff Reduced for Domestic Sector’, The Hindu, June 1st 2004, available online at htm, last accessed 13 December 2018. TNCDW (2000b) Mahalir Thittam Working Manual, Chennai: Tamil Nadu Corporation for the Development of Women. Weedon, C. (1987) Feminist Practice and Poststructuralist Theory, Oxford: Blackwell. World Bank (1998) ‘Project Information Document for Andhra Pradesh Economic Restructuring Project,’ World Bank, available online at www-wds.worldbank. org/servlet/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2000/04/05/000009265_39809291019 11/Rendered/PDF/multi0page.pdf, last accessed 2nd January 2008. World Bank (2004) ‘Andhra Pradesh District Poverty Initiatives Project (AP DPIP) India: Team Debriefing, and Meeting with Vijay Kumar – Managing Director to AP DPIP’, World Bank, available online at­W BSITE/ EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/AFRICAEXT/EXTINDKNOWLEDGE/0, content MDK:20841951~menuPK:2291452~pagePK:64168445~­p iPK:64168309~theSit ePK:825547,00.html#, last accessed 2nd January 2008. World Bank (2005) Economic Growth and Poverty Alleviation in Tamil Nadu: Notes on Selected Policy Issues. World Bank: Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit, South Asia Region.

8 Gendered developmental subjectivities Actors, agency, and gender mainstreaming

Introduction In the previous chapter, I mapped the various competing discourses of gendered development in state policy in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. I paid attention to how these discourses interpellated actors such as the state and women as subjects and objects of development – weak and dependent, or agents of and participants in development processes. I argued that these discourses differed across different institutional contexts according to the relative dominance of a particular discourse. This chapter explores the possibilities and limitations for agency as a result of these discursive and institutional practices. By examining the gendered developmental subjectivities that emerge, it is possible to understand what kind of agency this creates for particular actors to promote or obfuscate efforts to make development policy more gender-responsive. To recall, the concept of ‘agency’ employed here posits that agency can be derived from, firstly, the authority accorded to each subject as positioned within a particular discourse, and secondly, the simultaneous existence of different subject positions and the ensuing dislocatory effect of competing discourses, which creates momentary openings for creative capacity and action including but also beyond resistance. Two possibilities for agency arise – agency within discourse, and dislocatory agency, as the result of a discourse’s inability to fully fix subject positions. The discursive articulation of gendered developmental subjects in the previous chapter enables an understanding of ‘how it becomes possible for subjects to act as agents…’ (Doty, 1997: 384). Some subjects are afforded more agency than others within a particular discourse, but the complex interaction of multiple, unstable, competing discourses, provides potentially dislocatory moments, which, in turn, offer possibilities for transformative change. The more hegemonic a discourse, embedded to the point of appearing commonsensical, the less likely alternative subject positions will emerge, resulting in fewer opportunities for dislocatory agency. The possibilities are highly complex and differentiated between and amongst different sets of actors, and between and within different institutional and discursive contexts. I conclude that whilst the extent of agency is

212  Gendered developmental subjectivities in some cases substantial, it is not always the right kind of agency to enable more transformative mainstreaming strategies. ‘Agents’ might be enabled to act by a particular discourse, but in the context of an inequitable status quo, thus reproducing and embedding conservative gender norms. Agents bestowed with protective authority may undermine transformation of unequal gender relations and further position women as weak and incapable of action. Equally, the responsibilisation of women as agents of development may entail the deferral of state responsibility and accountability for implementing gender-responsive reforms. To demonstrate this argument, the chapter discusses selected actors: the SHG women of the parastatal programmes in both states, bureaucrats and parastatal agency personnel, political leaders, and the women’s movement. I also briefly acknowledge other actors originally beyond the remit of this study, but who were revealed to be more important than anticipated – NGOs, banking institutions, and international organisations. Given the wide range of actors in different institutional settings and different positions in multiple discourses, the comparative analysis for both states is not presented separately, as in previous chapters, but rather is presented in passim, with any notable differences identified. Without political will and commitment from political leaders, gender mainstreaming initiatives will likely fail, as will they if bureaucrats formulating and implementing policies are unsupportive or if supportive bureaucrats lack control over policy content and processes. But the agency of SHG women and women’s movement actors is the most important for enabling a more deliberative democratic model of gender mainstreaming. At the best of times state feminist policy agencies ‘can facilitate the influence of feminist arguments for women’s political representation, and the inclusion of women in decision-making processes, but only where the women’s movement is cohesive on this issue and the policy environment is receptive’ (Squires, 2007b: 176). Without a strong women’s movement making political demands on the state, representative of poor rural women who form a majority of SHG members, supportive state policy agencies will struggle to ensure gender-­responsive perspectives are embedded within state policymaking processes.

Women of the self-help groups The competitive-capability discourse and the structural-transformative discourse both interpellated women as responsible agents, thus increasing women’s potential agency relative to their interpellation as weak, vulnerable, and dependent subjects of the protective-paternalist discourse. However, this gendered developmental subjectivity presented some detrimental implications for women. The agency afforded to women SHG members had, in many cases, empowering effects in each state, as suggested by programme evaluations.

Gendered developmental subjectivities  213 Large numbers of SHG members have contested elections at the panchayat level – one study estimated nearly one third of SHGs in Andhra Pradesh have at least one member who has contested elections and nearly one quarter of SHGs have members that have been elected to the panchayats (EDA/APMAS, 2006).1 Policy instruments that aimed to empower women were substantially, but not wholly, directed towards women and their self-­ improvement, implying that the ‘problem’ of their disempowered status could largely be remedied by women themselves, by building their own capacities to participate in mainstream development processes: policies articulating a competitive-capability discourse obliged women to take advantage of preferential policies designed for them. This was noticeable in both states’ policies, but the emphasis on women’s self-improvement was far more noticeable in Tamil Nadu, at the parastatal level in TNCDW. This was exemplified when, during a visit to the TNCDW headquarters in December 2005, an official in TNCDW passed to me the most recent copy of Mutram (‘courtyard’), the Corporation’s monthly newsletter for SHGs. On the front cover was a picture of a potter’s wheel which, the official explained to me, signified ‘a woman moulding herself’, through a process of self-development. Thus, a key narrative of project success was the extent to which women participants had experienced a self-transformation. Whilst this may be interpreted as increased agency for women to act on themselves in a refashioning project of the self, it suggests they were disempowered to begin with, and were expected to mould themselves into newly empowered women. In a visit to a project office in Chennai, training certificates were being distributed to women participants. One woman explained to me how she had become ‘developed’, describing how she had obtained qualifications and built a successful microenterprise, and gave me her business card (author’s fieldnotes). The focus, on individual improvement, was predominantly towards women developing their own capabilities so as to compete as qualified entrepreneurs in the market. Programme literature tended to overstate programme success, reflecting accounts in the literature of the inherent logic in development programmes to produce narratives of success (Mosse, 2005: 8; Jakimow and Kilby, 2006). This was more noticeable in Tamil Nadu, possibly due to the more vocal scrutiny of women’s organisations in Andhra Pradesh (discussed further below). As discussed in Chapter 7, microfinance programmes for women are popular amongst banking and credit agencies because of assumed advantages of low transaction costs and high repayment rates. But the critical literature on microfinance argues that microcredit programmes discipline rather than empower women. A ‘highly disciplinary institutional culture’ is nurtured within microfinance programmes to inculcate ‘women’s responsiveness to the discipline of weekly repayment schedules… [and involves] wearing uniforms, chanting slogans, singing songs and taking oaths … [practices which] may be credited for the extraordinarily high repayment rates of most microfinance programmes’ (Rankin, 2004: 189).

214  Gendered developmental subjectivities This ‘highly disciplinary institutional culture’ could also be observed in both Mahalir Thittam and Velugu/IKP. Embedded in the programme design of both AP and TN parastatal programmes was a detailed and strict regime of practices which every group must adhere to and will be graded upon, determining their creditworthiness for formal lending. The grading process involved a detailed list of criteria to evaluate SHG performance, including meeting frequency, attendance, member participation, savings frequency, average savings per month, criteria relating to internal loans and savings rotation, repayment of internal and formal loans, bookkeeping, group accounts auditing, and group regulatory mechanisms. Group members must regularly maintain and update seven different books and registers. Groups that meet weekly are marked higher than those that meet less frequently, as are groups that save more regularly (the most marks for weekly savings), have higher attendance (above 80 percent is deemed high) and higher participation (‘high’ is again above 80 percent). Groups that score highly overall in the grading process, normally undertaken by their facilitating NGO, then become eligible for applying for formal credit. As a result, whilst individual members join a group based on entitlement criteria, determined by poverty line estimates, the group’s access to formal credit, a key component of the scheme and marker of group success, is based on performance-related criteria, criteria largely unrelated to social empowerment objectives apart from some crudely awarded ‘bonus points’ to groups for preventing dowry payments and occurrences of female infanticide. The effect is the cultivation of self-regulating technologies, moulding individual and group behaviour around programmatic norms, enabling the implementing agency to govern a large number of programme participants from afar. As in many SHG-based microfinance programmes, the SHG model of Mahalir Thittam and Velugu/IKP relied on group pressure to enforce repayment of loans, internally and to the formal lending agency. The willingness of group members to exert peer pressure on other group members is cited as an effective means of loan recovery and attractive to lending agencies in terms of reducing transaction costs by reducing the level of external intervention in groups. In addition, group compliance is enforced by a collective oath-taking ritual at the start of every meeting.2 The programme’s neo-liberal approach also transferred the responsibility for collective development from the state onto non-state actors, including individuals and communities (Rankin, 2002: 10). Whilst this developed a new managerial subjectivity for women, it is not necessarily empowering in ways that challenges gender inequalities. Mahalir Thittam in Tamil Nadu envisioned extensive roles for SHG women, proposing that SHGs become a key delivery agent of government programmes: ‘massive and intensive involvement and participation of SHGs’ in government schemes was expected to lead to ‘greater transparency, outreach and impact of economic development programmes’ (TNCDW, 2000b: 47). Emphasis on convergence placed an undue burden on SHG members, as a former TNCDW official explained:

Gendered developmental subjectivities  215 …in some ways, there were some negative implications also, because other government departments… basically everyone started eyeing these groups. The Health Department thought it was just easier to piggyback on the regularity of these institutions … For example, health schemes, family planning, education department started wanting to go through them for promoting family school enrolment. … The nutrition scheme for women and children, nutrition, the importance of regular AIDs monitoring … Everything started being piggybacked onto these groups which in some ways was good up to a point but in some ways, it became, it could have become a burden… [O]thers thought it was efficient to work through these groups … things started working better through the groups. There were also concerns that there was too much being expected of these groups. We had to make that as part of the training, including training of trainers, [saying to them] ‘you know it has to make sense for you, don’t just take on every social service without building your capacity to do so. And it’s ok to say yes to certain things and find other ways to do other things’… Basically we wanted the women to do what they wanted out of their choice, rather than dictating, being pressured by other departments… It was just more efficient to have all services converged … it was efficient, and everybody was tempted to do that… (interview with former TNCDW official, 2007) Governmental and non-governmental agencies were urged to ‘use the organizational capabilities of SHGs to improve local governance’ (ibid). SHGs became involved in running fair price shops of the Public Distribution System, government sanitation programmes, and in a case reported by the media in October 2006, the IKP Mahila Mandal Samakhya in Andhra Pradesh had contracted the state’s public sector power utility to act as an intermediary to supply power, guard against power theft, and administer billing and revenue collection (The Hindu, 2006). The participation of programme beneficiaries at a level which enabled decision-making on programme direction can be seen as an enabling factor for women’s agency, even if alone it is not a sufficient condition for women’s empowerment (Jakimow and Kilby, 2006). As outlined in Chapter 6, opportunities for SHG women’s participation in the governance of SHG programmes varied between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and were more institutionalised in the AP programme than in TN. A programmatic drive to federate SHGs creates a potential opportunity for agency, enabling collective organisation, potentially increasing their bargaining power and collective voice (Nair, 2005), and a mandated space to come together, articulate, discuss, and debate their experiences of the programme and other issues (Jakimow and Kilby, 2006: 383). Both SERP and TNCDW federated SHGs into larger units. In Tamil Nadu, this objective evolved slowly over time; in AP, it was built in to the programme model from the beginning,

216  Gendered developmental subjectivities though because the Velugu programme in AP was designed several years later, federating occurred at similar times.3 These federated institutions act as apex organisations for SHG members, providing services such as bookkeeping and training. They also act as on-lenders to SHGs, sustained by the interest they charge SHGs and the marginal interest earned on their own savings. Parastatal agencies in both states viewed SHG federations positively. A TNCDW report suggested that ‘federations can be very successful when the decision-making process and the operations at the group level are truly democratic, efficient and based on sound operational principles in the overall interest of group members’ (TNCDW, 2000a). A senior TNCDW official suggested that the quality of those federations formed had varied, but was optimistic about their potential (interview with TNCDW official, January 2006). One evaluation of federations in the AP programme observed that ‘federations of SHGs are fast becoming powerful voices expressing the social and economic needs of the poor’ (Deshmukh-­Ranadive, 2004: 1). Federating SHGs can reduce the burden on individual SHGs as the government shifts its implementation focus to federations. However, a study by APMAS, an NGO closely associated with the AP parastatal, suggested that federations are highly dependent on the promoting organisation and staff who support the federation (Reddy and Prakash, 2003). Providing a structural mechanism for collective voice, identity, and increased bargaining power is just one concern driving parastatal efforts to federate SHGs; another is to enable SHG sustainability. Three other commonly cited concerns include reducing transaction costs (of agencies dealing with SHGs), reducing the incidence of default amongst SHG lenders, and reducing the cost of SHG formation (Nair, 2005: 15–18). Additionally, to what extent does federating SHGs discipline rather than enable SHGs? Do federations ‘manage down’ (SHGs) rather than ‘manage up’ (state apex agencies)? Do disciplining dynamics restrict the potential of federations to confer individual and collective agency on SHGs? And what kind of relationship do federations have, if at all, with the women’s movement (and other social movements) in the state, with panchayat representatives, and political parties generally, beyond the local level? Discursive practices may discipline and regulate participant behaviour, such technologies are rarely fully successful, creating ‘partial and contradictory subjects of development who occupy certain identity slots that development discourse creates for them while contesting others’ (Sharma, 2001: 8). Kalpana’s (2011) research on Tamil Nadu’s SGSY scheme details how some women SHG members exercised creative agency, resisted the programme requirements of collective SHG entrepreneurship, and subverted ­ rogramme – programme rules, colluding with other actors involved in the p bank staff, NGOs, and the local Block Development Official – to secure loans for household consumption needs. In one case, women SHG members

Gendered developmental subjectivities  217 pretended to be involved in brick-making and colluded with the brick kiln owner to provide evidence they had acquired the kiln and had leased it to him to manage for them (Kalpana, 2011: 53). Bank officials visited several times to verify, though the SHG co-ordinator claimed the bank officials knew the SHG was not managing the brick kiln (ibid). Elsewhere, women SHGs claimed to be manufacturing footwear and apparel, and so bought shoes and rented clothes to display at SHG product exhibitions as evidence of their business. Kalpana (2011: 53) suggests that although subversion was not always possible, the co-operation of other actors, including local government officials, was driven by programme pressure to achieve quotas for loan dispersal, demonstrating again how such programmes manufacture their own success narratives (Mosse, 2004; cited in Kalpana, 2011). ­Kalpana’s study also demonstrated how women SHG members exercised control over the end use of their loans, even if this involved subverting programme rules. In Andhra Pradesh, Velugu/IKP workers resisted the government’s narrative of convergence outsourcing by demanding recognition as government employees for their role as village organisation assistants or ‘animators’. IKP animators have organised and affiliated with the large national trade union, the CITU, associated with the Left, protesting and demanding payment of wages, reportedly promised to them in the past by the state government, including by the SERP CEO and a state government minister. Women IKP workers staged dharnas in front of district collector offices demanding payment of wages or higher wages, job security, formal appointment letters, and access to insurance schemes amongst other demands (The Hindu, 2012, 2013, 2014). This suggests collective agency (and the presence of the Left in facilitating mobilisation).

Bureaucratic actors Discursive and institutional practices of development policy and programmes provide different examples of how bureaucratic agency is enabled and constrained. Gender-sensitised bureaucrats constitute a potential new developmental subjectivity: opportunities for gender-sensitisation may arise in their formal professional capacity rather than as private citizens through gender training, or exposure to gender-equitable development concepts and practices through postings to parastatal programmes, and through exposure to gender inequality and discrimination in postings. But there appeared to be no state-level policy in either state on gender training. State departments of personnel are responsible for training at the (subnational) state level and operate training on request from state government departments. Consequently, training at IAS level is often voluntary, based on individuals identifying their own training needs and self-nominating, as well as demand-driven, based on individual nominations by department heads (who are also able to control training requirements).

218  Gendered developmental subjectivities Given when gender training was introduced at the LBSNAA, most senior IAS officers would not have received gender training as part of their induction period in Mussoorie. But most can attend gender training during their mid-career training. Anecdotal evidence suggests this is not always initially well received: one IAS officer recalled a situation in which participating IAS officers raised several hostile questions towards the gender trainer at the beginning of a two-day session, which made that officer uncomfortable. Fortunately, the trainer overcame these hostile questions and participants were more compliant throughout the remainder of the session as a result (interview with IAS officer, June 2007). But this might differ amongst individual bureaucrats, across the two states, and across different government departments and parastatal agencies within states, particularly given the gendered pattern of postings outlined earlier in Chapters 4 and 6. Exposure to gender-awareness through postings also has varying potential. In Tamil Nadu, the IFAD Completion Evaluation report of the Tamil Nadu Women’s Development Project (the precursor to Mahalir Thittam) claimed that officials associated with the programme had undergone a change in mind set, stating: ‘the skepticism of the officials has given way to appreciation for the efforts of the SHG members…[for] saving regularly, selecting proper beneficiaries for different enterprises, the excellent recovery made by them, the regular conduct of meetings, etc’ (TNCDW, c.1998: 10). One former TNCDW official expressed that they had derived a ‘tremendous amount of personal satisfaction’ from being involved in the project and that it had been ‘personally enriching’ (interview, March 2006). The same official stated that many involved in the project were relatively more sensitive to the concept of gender inequality when they were posted on, but acknowledged the challenge was to institutionalise these changes (ibid). Another official suggested that after having been posted to the TNCDW for some time, she became associated with posts which had a similar empowerment orientation (interview, June 2007). She also suggested that gender-­ sensitisation remained strictly in the bureaucratic field and did not transfer into the bureaucrats’ personal lives; gender-sensitisation had its limits. In Andhra Pradesh, on the other hand, an independent evaluation of the earlier UN SAPAP project concluded that screening the ‘vision, social/gender commitment and competence’ of staff hired from other areas of government, had contributed to the project’s success, as had collaboration with NGO activists and academics, in addition to the continuity of staff in the project unit which later became SERP (Murthy et al., 2002: 44). The emphasis both states’ reformist discourse placed on convergence created varied possibilities for agency for senior parastatal personnel. The heightened relative importance of the parastatal agency increased the agency of senior personnel, positioning them as gatekeepers to a large number of potential beneficiaries of government programmes and an existing institutional structure through which delivery could be managed. But parastatal personnel also became partially responsible for implementing the

Gendered developmental subjectivities  219 agendas of other government departments in addition to their own. SERP personnel felt the pressure: The expectations from the government were very high. And we were struggling to meet the competing demands of the variety of departments. The Health department wanted us to do this work, the AIDS Controller wanted us to do this work, the Agriculture department wanted our collaboration. So we became victims of our own success. So we had all departments wanting to ride on the institutional arrangements…So we’ve now learned to say no… quite forcefully also. Unless institutions are strong they really can’t cope with the various competing demands. So this was a very important challenge that we faced. (Vijay Kumar of SERP in World Bank, 2004: circa 1 hr 20 mins 30 secs) Parastatal personnel also had to negotiate with other agencies, which sometimes required articulating project goals using a language these agencies found more acceptable but which could potentially dilute more transformative goals. A former official of TNCDW recalled it was necessary, when negotiating with different agencies, to ‘bridge’ the discourse of the programme with their own institutionally embedded discourse to convince others. Finance Ministry officials had to be convinced on efficiency grounds; politicians had to be convinced of a popular demand and that the programme would be a ‘vote winner’. Once convinced, however, the operational autonomy of the programme was largely secure (interview with former TNCDW official, June 2007). In contrast, P. Jamuna, the State Project Director for gender in SERP, suggested that she worked relatively autonomously from both the World Bank and senior personnel at SERP (interview, June 2006). Reformist discourse which sought to ensure greater stability of tenure for bureaucrats offered increased potential for agency through improving bureaucratic autonomy from interference by political leaders. Political leaders transfer bureaucrats as a means to exert control over policy and powerful bureaucrats, and to ensure important sectoral postings are staffed by supportive bureaucrats (contesting the notion of impartial government service). In both states, instances of bureaucratic transfers occurred immediately after elections. But the relative continuity of senior civil service personnel SERP in AP demonstrated considerably more autonomy at the parastatal level than the frequent transfers in TNCDW in Tamil Nadu.

Political leadership Two factors enabled a high degree of agency amongst the most senior party political leaders in both states when in government as chief ministers. The first relates to the centralisation of party political leadership. Three out of four political parties in power in the two states during the case study period

220  Gendered developmental subjectivities were regional political parties, known for their high degree of centralised leadership – AIADMK and DMK in Tamil Nadu and the TDP in Andhra Pradesh (Suri, 2002; Palshikar, 2004). The centralisation of party political leadership in AP was greater in the TDP than the Congress Party, the latter a national party where regional leaders are accountable to the national leadership. Centralised leadership characterised the TDP under its founder leader, N.T. Rama Rao, and his successor Chandrababu Naidu. Srinivasulu argued that the TDP is a highly personalised party therefore there has been an overt and excessive focus on the persona of Naidu…[H]e has assumed an iconic status with regard to the State-level economic reforms in the international and national press and in the eyes of international donors and captains of domestic big business. (2007: 185) Chandrababu Naidu, as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh from 1995 until 2004, came to personify the State’s reform enthusiasm, and was dubbed ‘the CEO of Andhra Pradesh’ for his business-like style and pro-­technology reforms. This was central to the state government’s relationship with the World Bank; ‘Naidu impressed the Bank as a dynamic market advocate who was prepared to take tough measures and inject greater professionalism into governance’ (Kirk, 2005: 293). Naidu’s exaggerated reform enthusiasm was a conscious strategy to strongly signal to potential investors the state government’s commitment to economic and governance reforms (Kennedy, 2004: 51). The Andhra Pradesh government needed to adopt this signalling strategy more so than Tamil Nadu because of AP’s comparatively lower indicators on economic growth, human development, and infrastructure (Kennedy, 2004: 51). The second factor relates to the protective-paternalist discourse articulated in government policy, and the personalisation of development and welfare schemes by party leaders, restricting opportunities for less senior leaders to champion policy. This dynamic appeared to be more dominant in Tamil Nadu, but Naidu also had to carve out his own leadership persona to distinguish himself from his TDP predecessor N.T. Rama Rao who often self-­ presented as a benevolent patriarch, a protective brother (Kannabiran, 1997). Chapter 7 demonstrated that political leaders are positioned differently within competing reformist and populist discourses and are thus subject to competing logics. To an extent, the political leaders of both state governments have witnessed challenges to their reform agendas, forcing them to revert to populist politics. Subramanian (1999) notes ‘populist regimes face pressure to deliver in some way on their promises to increase the entitlements of emergent groups, and retain support only if they do so’. The way in which political leaders have resorted to populist politics in AP suggests that populism in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu is qualitatively different in

Gendered developmental subjectivities  221 4

character. In Chapter 5, I questioned whether gendered development policy in Tamil Nadu might be aligned more with the ‘assertive/empowerment’ populist style of the DMK or the ‘paternalist/protective’ populist style of the AIADMK (Swamy, 1998; Subramanian, 1999). It is possible to argue that the DMK were often also paternalist towards women, even though they have been more closely associated with assertive or empowerment populism. Not surprisingly given the populist orientation of Tamil Nadu politics, social welfare schemes were often closely associated with party political leaders, such as MGR’s ADMK government and the Nutritious Meal Scheme. When the DMK came to power, they were keen to break this association, by adding a fortnightly egg to the meal provision (Harriss-White, 2004: 53). Similar ‘embellishments’ were made when the AIADMK party came back to power in the 1990s (ibid). To some extent, social policy benefitted from electoral competition. Protective-paternalist discourses articulated in state policy in Tamil Nadu expressed reverence to chief ministers for their leadership for the welfare and development of society. This was common in both policy documents of the Social Welfare department, but also public arenas such as the Budget Speech with regard to the then Chief Minister J.  J­ ayalalithaa. Reverential expressions praised their ‘able’ or ‘skillful’ leadership or personal commitment to ensuring the welfare of the poor (GoTN, 2007: 1).5 The same political personalisation of social welfare in Tamil Nadu occurred with state government programmes for women’s development. Both the DMK and AIADMK and their respective leaders have sought to be closely affiliated with the programme in various, usually unsubtle, ways. Mahalir Thittam was politically personalised by being associated with a late political leader and popular figure in Tamil Nadu: on International Women’s Day in March 2000, M. Karunanidhi, then Chief Minister, renamed Mahalir Thittam as Annai Bangaru Ammaiyar Ninaivu Mahalir Thittam, in memory of the mother of a former Chief Minister and founder of the DMK party, the late C.N. Annadurai. This act of memorialisation attempted to associate a government programme with the benevolence of the DMK party. Different Tamil Nadu governments have attempted to associate the growth of women’s SHGs in the state and their success with each party’s term in office. For example, whilst the IFAD-funded phase of the programme began in 1989 under the DMK government, some later policy statements by the AIADMK government (2001–2006) traced the start of the programme to 1991–1992 when the AIADMK were in power (GoTN, 2004: 47).6 Competing claims to patronage, manifest in policy language, thus politicised the bureaucratic-institutional memory of the programme. Chief ministers have also closely associated themselves with the programme through visual images on programme literature. Images of ­Jayalalithaa appeared on promotional literature of Chennai-based branded SHG products as well as the government’s promotional brochure on SHG success stories in Tamil Nadu.7 During a visit to the District Project Implementation Unit in Chennai, a picture of then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa,

222  Gendered developmental subjectivities hung high on the wall next to the clock. Whilst this is common practice in government buildings, it represents the important part charismatic leadership and personalised politics plays in Tamil Nadu. The monthly newsletter of TNCDW, Mutram, distributed to SHG members in the State, has also served as a means of delivering the chief minister’s message to large numbers of women and their families. Events and features involving political leaders from both parties appeared frequently in the magazine, suggesting that party political leaders were keen to communicate with women SHG members. This generated exposure to government and party politics for SHG members, and a direct association with political leaders rather than the state bureaucracy.8 Political leaders have also tried to mobilise women SHG members as potential vote banks. The AIADMK in Tamil Nadu was accused of encouraging SHG women to campaign on the party’s behalf during the 2004 Lok Sabha election campaign. The rival DMK party, the left-wing CPI(M) and AIDWA, appealed to the Election Commission protesting the AIADMK’s alleged coercion of SHG members (The Hindu, 2004; cf. Kalpana, 2005). In AP also, SHGs have become somewhat politicised, in terms of potential candidates for panchayat elections and as potential vote banks (EDA/APMAS, 2006: 67). Local party workers interact with SHG members, parties bring SHG members to political and government meetings, and at election time, parties reportedly ‘distribute money to SHGs and SHGs have in turn begun to demand funds and benefits’ (ibid). According to Kennedy, the agency of political leaders to signal support to ‘internal political constituencies’ differs in each state, but is also affected by two broader determinants: first, the level of political party fragmentation in the state (which increases electoral competition), and second, the degree of ‘political mobilization of Dalits and other traditionally low status groups’ (2004: 52). Tamil Nadu’s greater fragmentation and higher mobilisation helps to explain why the state government chose to pursue economic reforms with less fanfare than that observed in AP, where the two determinants were relatively absent (Kennedy, 2004: 52). However, can the same be said when we shift our focus to the women’s movement in each state, and consider their level of political mobilisation, particularly in relation to the Dalit movement? Perhaps not. First, as was suggested in Chapter 5, Anandhi (2005) and others have questioned the extent to which the Dalit movement in Tamil Nadu has been willing to consider the discrimination faced by Dalit women and their political demands as core issues of the Dalit movement (beyond reducing issues such as the rape of Dalit women during episodes of caste-based violence to acts which symbolise of the oppression of Dalit men). Second, despite the Left’s low presence in mainstream electoral politics in Andhra Pradesh, women’s groups associated with the Left parties are vocal in the State, something which I return to later. Therefore, Kennedy’s argument needs to be adapted when applied to the context of state government welfare, development, and empowerment schemes for women.

Gendered developmental subjectivities  223 As explained in Chapter 5, populist politics in Andhra Pradesh is driven in part by electoral compulsions, and the women’s vote has been considered important in the state. The TDP has in the past considered women as an important constituency, at least in terms of electoral votes, and they proved crucial in voting the TDP in to government in 1994 and keeping them in office in 1999. Many political observers attribute the TDP’s state election defeat in 2004 to Naidu’s overt reform stance (see Sridhar, 2004). But Ayyangar suggests that in the 2004 elections, ‘the vote against Chandrababu Naidu and the TDP was not a mandate against the World Bank programmes espoused by the incumbent but for it [sic], and more of it [sic]’ (, 2004). The TDP and the Congress competed for the votes of SHG women through various promises on lower loan interest rates; ultimately in 2004, the Congress Party won. A critical development took place in 2006 which shaped subsequent approaches to SHGs in Andhra Pradesh – a crisis in the microfinance sector in Andhra Pradesh led to several private microfinance institutions (MFIs) being temporarily shut down by the state government after protests and complaints alleging exploitative practices (see Shylendra, 2006). The Congress Chief Minister took a strong stance against the MFIs and ordered an enquiry. The MFIs in Andhra Pradesh agreed to adopt a voluntary Model Code of Conduct (ibid). In 2007, the Government of India drafted a Bill which proposed to regulate the microfinance sector (the Micro Financial Sector (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2007). This was criticised by several groups, including the women’s movement who argued it would impact SHG women adversely. In October 2010, the Government of Andhra Pradesh passed an ordinance to regulate microfinance organisations (GoAP, 2010) and days later issued orders to accompany the rules with a stringent time frame in which to register their compliance. The ordinance was entitled ‘An Ordinance to Protect the Women Self Help Groups from Exploitation by the Micro-Finance Institutions in the State of Andhra Pradesh…’ (ibid; my emphasis). The following year, the state government enacted the ordinance as legislation in the Andhra Pradesh Microfinance Institutions (Regulation of Money Lending) Act, 2011. This slowed lending and encouraged some SHGs not to repay at all, something which had earlier been encouraged by the TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu. The government then established Streenidhi, a credit co-operative managed by a combination of SHG women and state officials, thus enhancing the position of SHG women in programme leadership and as borrowers due to the low cost of lending via Streenidhi. The central government in Delhi introduced in the Lok Sabha another draft Bill in 2012 to regulate the microfinance sector and referred it to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, but the Bill was rejected by the Committee in 2014 and it subsequently lapsed when general elections were called. The Andhra Pradesh state law strengthened the authority of SERP and the state government over private MFIs, and demonstrated the state

224  Gendered developmental subjectivities government’s willingness to act in the interest of women’s SHGs, or at least assert the state’s domain vis-à-vis private lenders.9 However, other accounts suggested that the government’s response from 2010 onwards was provoked by criticisms from the rival TDP, claiming that the state government was not doing enough to curb the exploitative practices of MFIs and alleged Congress links with one of the surviving MFI organisations in the state. According to this narrative, the Congress Party was forced to respond by regulating the operation of MFIs in the state (Kumar, 2010).

The women’s movement at the state level The extent of engagement by both states’ women’s movements with state policies and programmes has not been uniform across different sectors. Whilst the women’s movement have been more engaged in campaigning for or against particular legislation on issues like rape, dowry, and coercive population policies, it appears that women’s movements have been less directly involved with state-led development policies and programmes, particularly so in relation to state-led SHG programmes where few feminist-oriented women’s movement organisations are involved as SHG promoting organisations in collaboration with government programmes, and where few women’s movement organisations have really engaged critically with state-led SHG programmes to scrutinise and monitor them from the sidelines for the impact they have on women of the state. This was a surprising finding, though more critical engagement has emerged over time. As an experienced feminist consultant observed, We really need to look at self-help groups a little more critically and see what’s happening, because unfortunately …if you look at it, none of the organisations with a strong feminist orientation are running self-help groups… maybe it’s because…it’s within the nature of the feminist movement, I don’t know, but we really need to look at it more carefully. (interview, December 2007) Development NGOs have a far more significant presence but do not always have an explicit feminist agenda. This may be due to the more rural character of the SHG movement and the rural NGOs implementing poverty alleviation programmes, relative to the more common advocacy focus of urban women’s movement organisations than (IDS Bridge, 1995: 59). Women’s wings of political parties appear to be far more critical of the government, unsurprisingly when their own party is not in government. In both Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, women’s organisations affiliated to the Left parties have been the most vocal amongst various women’s movement groups in their scrutiny of state government schemes for women’s empowerment. Left-leaning feminist scholars and activists have also provided important

Gendered developmental subjectivities  225 insights into SHG practices in the south. However, Soma K.P. suggests that there has been little interaction between government and civil society organisations more generally with regard to SHG programmes, about …their potential for empowerment or poverty reduction between civil society actors and policy makers regarding the expectations from SHGs, the ground level realities as well as possible ways of strengthening SHGs in order that they may serve better the interests of poor women. (Parthasarathy, 2006) Feminist scholars in the state have argued that the institutionalisation of women’s studies in higher education institutions in Tamil Nadu has affected the capacity for feminist research and scholarship, which might purposefully engage with and influence subnational state policy towards gender-equitable development (Anandhi and Swaminathan, 2006). The institutionalisation of women’s studies in Indian institutions of higher education from the 1970s onwards was intended to generate data and analysis to understand women’s socio-economic position (ICSSR Advisory Committee on Women’s Studies 1977, cited in Anandhi and Swaminathan, 2006: 4444). It was hoped that women’s studies would challenge ‘the marginalization and misrepresentation of women in social science disciplines and scholarship’ and play a critical interventionist role in the production of knowledge about women’s role in, and the impact upon gender relations, of the processes of modernity and development (ibid: 4444–4445). Yet, it was the way in which women’s studies were institutionalised in Indian higher education that limited the possibilities of the newly established discipline to produce such knowledge: focusing on extension activities constrained the discipline’s ability to also critique knowledge production (Anandhi and Swaminathan, 2006). Thus, despite a high profile for women’s studies in the state of Tamil Nadu, the discipline does not have much influence on government policies, and women’s studies centres ‘have been instrumental in uncritically carrying out the state’s “women’s empowerment” programme’ (Anandhi and Swaminathan, 2006: 4451). Research on gender, caste, and sexuality and more interdisciplinary connections has not been a strong theme of women’s studies in the state (ibid). Therefore, the feminist academic-activist link for contesting state policy is relatively weak in Tamil Nadu due to the low institutional capacity of women’s studies as a discipline to engage critically with, rather than merely implement, government policy on gender and development, and this has arguably reduced the potential influence such a collaboration might have on state policy, if the state government was at all open to such a collaborative relationship. Women’s groups affiliated to the Left parties in Andhra Pradesh are particularly strong. The Andhra Pradesh Mahila Samakhya,10 a women’s organisation affiliated to the National Federation of Indian Women (which is, in turn, linked to the Communist Party of India) has been persistently

226  Gendered developmental subjectivities vocal. Women’s groups in AP are acutely aware of how political parties have treated them as vote banks in the past, and have been keen to hold political leaders to account for the pre-election promises they make to women voters. In December 2003, just a few months before the election, Chandrababu Naidu announced a series of populist measures targeted specifically at members of DWCRA groups, including cellular phones and increased subsidies on bank loan interest (The Hindu, 2003b). Just a few days later, a state-level meeting of women’s SHGs criticised Naidu for exploiting them for political gain and demanded he implement his promises (The Hindu, 2003a). However, it is only in the past few years that feminist organisations have been vocal on the limited empowering effects of SHG programmes. As Kameswari Jandhyala, former director of AP Mahila Samakhya, pointed out, …in Andhra Pradesh, the home as it were of the self-help strategy, even the celebrated Nellore example, …has yet to be fully researched to establish the sustainability of the gains made by women…[T]here has been little engagement with what is happening in the lives of the selfhelp group members. (Jandhyala, 2001) The 2006 microcredit crisis generated further debate. A collective of three women’s development NGOs released a report suggesting that women’s participation in SHGs had increased their access to credit but has become an extra burden and provided few empowerment effects otherwise (Nirantar, 2007). The draft Government Bill of 2007 which sought to regulate microfinance organisations was criticised by women’s movement activists. Led by the CPM-affiliated women’s organisation AIDWA, women’s groups ­designated the Bill as a ‘black Bill’; they anticipated that if passed, it would negatively impact poor women as consumers of microfinance products and services (People’s Democracy, 2007). Representatives from AIDWA also gave evidence to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance when they examined a redrafted microfinance regulation bill in 2012, which was ultimately rejected by the Committee. A more worrying observation concerns the lack of critical research being conducted on the effects of SHG schemes. According to one well-placed observer, there is a silent but strong lobby in India against the kind of critically engaged research which might draw out some of the more disempowering effects of SHG schemes; many organisations funding research on SHGs are reluctant to fund more critically informed research (interview, December 2007). The same observer suggested that research on SHGs in India is most often commissioned research, driven by donors for project planning rather than independent research, which is negatively impacting the extent to which financially constrained institutions of higher education can conduct critically informed research on SHGs:

Gendered developmental subjectivities  227 …The quality of research has come down in India… partly because over the last at least ten years, there is more commissioned research than independent research… [A] lot of the research is purely driven by the projects that they are funding. So the whole world of commissioned research has actually squeezed institutions and there is very little money. (interview, December 2007) This suggests feminist organisations, which have more recently begun to critically engage the state on issues relating to SHGs and the state’s questionable claims to women’s empowerment, might demand more independent funding of research into the impact of state-led SHG p ­ rogrammes on women participants and gendered development inequalities in India more generally. Whilst this may create hierarchies as to which feminist organisations then become involved in the research process at the expense of others, it may offer a first step towards stimulating increased democratic deliberation to usher in more transformative ­feminist-inspired strategies.

Conclusions I have argued that there are two potentially constraining and two potentially enabling discursive effects on the agency of women SHG members. Constraining effects include the interpellation of (particularly poor) women as hyper-responsible agents of development and the disciplinary power of SHG programme practices. Enabling effects include the potential for collective mobilisation and articulation as a result of programmatic drives to federate SHGs, as well as the participation of women SHG members in decision-­making structures within and outside programme structures. ­According to the programme design, this is a more embedded feature of the AP State SHG programme, although Tamil Nadu’s programme has evolved to include this. I have also argued that, in relation to the agentic capacity of bureaucratic actors and parastatal agency personnel to mainstream gender within statelevel policies and programmes, the constraining institutional context of the bureaucracy which closes down the creative potential for ‘policy entrepreneurs’ or ‘femocrats’ (often lacking within the state-level bureaucracy as a result), is counter-balanced by the need for co-ordinating bureaucrats and parastatal agency personnel to negotiate between different actors and their discursive frames. Whilst the relative autonomy of parastatal agency personnel appears to be significant in both states, the continuity of appointment and freedom from bureaucratic-institutional transfers is more evident in AP than TN. In both states, parastatal agencies provide bureaucrats with opportunities to work with a wider range of actors, more so in AP than TN. The agency of bureaucratic actors seems to be higher

228  Gendered developmental subjectivities in the parastatal programmes, particularly in AP. Reformist discourses emphasising convergence can increase bureaucratic actors’ agency by enabling them to become important gatekeepers, but can also constrain their agency as they are expected to implement the agendas of other government departments. The agentic capacity of political leaders was discussed with reference to competing logics of reformist and populist discourse, which both constrain and enable agency. It was compared to the effect of the centralisation of political party leadership and paternalist discourses in augmenting the agency of political leaders, in a way that was not conducive to transformative gender mainstreaming strategies. This is despite demands of accountability to women voters determining their policy priorities and the recognition given to women in state policy. Both states have highly centralised political parties, more so for the AIADMK than the DMK in Tamil Nadu, the TDP in Andhra Pradesh, but not so much the Congress Party in AP. This centralisation allows agency for only the most senior political leaders, and in Tamil Nadu limits the accessibility of political parties to external advocacy. Personalisation of social welfare schemes by political leaders within paternalist discursive frameworks is more evident in TN than AP, but Chandrababu Naidu’s personal association with development policy has been more of a liberalising reformer. As reformers, political leaders were constrained by populist logics, driven by electoral considerations, and, in Tamil Nadu by a party political legacy of social movement discourse. As populists, they were constrained by the need to reform. Populist discourse appeared to be considerably effective at stalling the reformist agenda in both states and social policy benefitted to an extent, avoiding the ‘fiscal discipline’ of public sector ‘rationalisation’. Protective-paternalist discourse enhanced the agency of political leaders as benevolent leaders, more so in Tamil Nadu than Andhra Pradesh, which is likely a legacy of the Dravidian parties’ former social movement history and the way its parties consolidated their move into electoral politics and government. The more centralised leadership of the TDP in AP, and the DMK and AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, places limits on the structural-transformative discourse of gender mainstreaming which emphasises deliberation. Given the emphasis on policy expertise, a ­c ompetitive-capability discourse requires that political leaders work closely with bureaucratic actors, which both enables them as reformers but constrains them as populists. Analysis of the possibilities for agency for the women’s movement showed constraints in both states on the women’s movement and their critical engagement with SHG programmes, the presence of many non-feminist NGOs, and a lack of critically informed research on the effects of state-level policies of gendered development. Opportunities to institutionally support feminist actors have also been restricted, with serious implications for the

Gendered developmental subjectivities  229 capacity of feminist civil society organisations to engage the state for transformative change. What conclusions can be drawn as to whether the various kinds of agency identified in this chapter are enabling or constraining for transformative gender mainstreaming strategies? Studies of actor participation in gender mainstreaming strategies generally distinguish between two models: ‘­expert-bureaucratic’ and ‘participative-democratic’ (Squires, 2007a). As their labelling suggests, the ‘expert-bureaucratic’ model characteristically draws upon technical gender expertise, whereas the ‘participative-­democratic’ model invites civil society organisations to participate in the process of policy deliberation, but tries to avoid ways which cements certain organisations’ and representatives’ privileged access to mainstreaming processes at the expense of others. Where policy attempted to address concerns of gender-equitable development, in both states the prominent gendered development discourse, the competitive-capabilities discourse, articulated an integrative approach to gender-equitable development, and reflected an expert-bureaucratic model. This was more the case in Tamil Nadu than in Andhra Pradesh – SERP’s more institutionalised collaboration with NGOs and its more structural-­ transformative discourse appeared to offer greater prospects for a more participative-democratic model of gender mainstreaming. But because this discourse is prominent at the parastatal rather than state level, these prospects are circumscribed. Furthermore, as Squires (2007a: 153) points out, ‘consultation with non-governmental organizations is not synonymous with the democratic participation of citizens’. This is particularly evident amongst some of the more prominent NGOs that worked with both SERP and the TNCDW, as professional, technocratic, and consultancy-type NGOs. Another impediment to a participative-democratic model is the limited state funding available for civil society organisations to support such a model (Squires, 2007a: 154). The fiscal prudence promoted by the reformist discourse of both states and party patronage and control over state programmes suggests that funding is not likely to come from government for this purpose. It is also questionable whether the participatory and ­deliberative spaces envisaged by federating SHGs provide such a space for democratic debate given their disciplinary tendencies, but also their assumption that women members have the resources to participate in such deliberation.

Notes 1 However, the study also notes most of these women contestants ‘came from families active in local mainstream politics’, suggesting that their selection as panchayat candidates ‘is typically a question of money, contacts, and political networks outside an SHG’ (EDA/APMAS, 2006: 59).

230  Gendered developmental subjectivities 2 The MaThi pledge was designed by MYRADA, an NGO working with TNCDW. At the time of research, it was not clear whether there was a scheme-wide oath for groups in Velugu/IKP. 3 In Tamil Nadu, SHGs are federated into block-level federations and then ­cluster-level federations. SHG Federations in Tamil Nadu are sometimes referred to as kalanjiams (following the Dhan Foundation approach). In Andhra Pradesh, SHGs are federated into village-level organisations and then into ­Mandal Mahila Samakhyas, the latter located at the mandal (sub-district administrative area) headquarters. 4 Using populist politics to soften (or contradict) economic reforms has not been confined to these two states, and developments in one state serves as useful information for policy direction in another. Srinivasulu (2004: 6, n.3) suggests that the Congress Party’s election victory in Andhra Pradesh in 2004, attributed to their promise of free power to the agricultural sector, persuaded the AIADMK state government in Tamil Nadu to implement the same. 5 Tamil Nadu MPs in the national parliament frequently make speeches revering their party leaders, including on social policy matters. 6 In 2001–2002, 2002–2003, and 2003–2004, the policy statement previously expressed this as the programme receiving ‘its first growth thrust in 1991–1992’, which would be more accurate, but omitted the start date of the programme as 1989. 7 It is not uncommon to find graphics used to make literature accessible to nonand semi-literate members, but even for literate members, can still be personalised by political leaders to signal their association. 8 The readership of these magazines and how they are received by SHG women is an interesting question but is beyond the scope of this research. 9 In 2011, the AP state government established Stree Nidhi, a credit co-operative society linked to SERP’s poverty alleviation strategy. The government homepage of Stree Nidhi claims, in a clear reference to MFIs, that ‘SHGs are comfortable to access hassle free credit from Sthree Nidhi as and when required… and therefore do not see any need to borrow from other sources at usurious rates of interest’ (GoAP, n.d.). The 2014 Annual Report has on the front cover a large picture of Chandrababu Naidu, re-elected as Chief Minister in 2014 (GoAP, 2014). 10 In Andhra Pradesh, there are three similar sounding but distinct organisations: first, the AP Mahila Samakhya, as described above; second, the Andhra Pradesh Mahila Samatha Society (, which is part of the Government of India’s Mahila Samakhya programme on educational empowerment operating in selected States; and third, the Mahila Mandal Samakhyas, which are federated organisations of the Velugu/IKP programme of the Government of Andhra Pradesh.

References Anandhi, S. (2005) ‘Sex and Sensibility in Tamil Politics’, Economic and Political Weekly, 40 (47), pp. 4876–4877. Anandhi, S. and Swaminathan, P. (2006) ‘Making It Relevant: Mapping the Meaning of Women’s Studies in Tamil Nadu’, Economic and Political Weekly, 41 (42), pp. 4444–4454.. Ayyangar, S. (2004) ‘Why Women Did Not Vote for TDP’, Economic and Political Weekly, 39 (20) (May 15), pp. 1992–1993. Deshmukh-Ranadive, J. (2004) ‘Women’s Self-Help Groups in Andhra Pradesh – Participatory Poverty Alleviation in Action’, Case Study Commissioned by the

Gendered developmental subjectivities  231 World Bank, available online at docs/FullCases/India%20PDF/India%20Andhra%20SHGs.pdf, last accessed 5th November 2007. Doty, R. L. (1997) ‘Aporia: A Critical Exploration of the Agent-Structural Problematique in International Relations Theory’, European Journal of International Relations, 3 (3), pp. 365–392. EDA/APMAS (2006) ‘Self Help Groups in India: A Study of the Lights and Shades’, available online at, last accessed 16th December 2007. GoAP (2010) ‘Andhra Pradesh Ordinance No. 9 of 2010’, G.O. Ms. No. 356 Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh, 19 October, 2010, available online at­downloads/2010PR_ MS356.PDF, last accessed 15 December 2018. GoAP (2014) Stree Nidhi Credit Co-operative Federation Ltd. Annual Report 2014–15, Hyderabad: Government of Andhra Pradesh, available online at www.sthreenidhi. version.pdf, last accessed 13 December 2018. GoAP (n.d.) ‘Stree Nidhi Homepage’, Department of Rural Development, Government of Andhra Pradesh, available online at­ SNBank/UI/Home.aspx, last accessed 25th August 2016. GoTN (2004) ‘Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme Policy Note 2004–05’, Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme, Government of Tamil Nadu, available online at sites/default/files/documents/sw2004-05.pdf. GoTN (2007) ‘Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme Policy Note 2007–08’, Department of Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal P ­ rogramme, Government of Tamil Nadu, available online at files/documents/socialwelfare_0.pdf. Harriss-White, B. (2004) ‘Nutrition and Its Politics in Tamil Nadu’, South Asia ­Research, 24 (1), pp. 51–71. IDS Bridge (1995) Background Report on Gender Issues in India: Key Findings and Recommendations, Brighton: Bridge, Institute of Development Studies, available online at, last accessed 12th October 2007. Jakimow, T. and Kilby, P. (2006) ‘Empowering Women: A Critique of the Blueprint for Self-Help Groups in India’, Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 13 (3), pp. 375–400. Jandhyala, K. (2001) ‘State Initiatives’, Seminar, 505 (Special issue: Towards Equality: A Symposium on Women, Feminisms and. Women’s Movements), available online at htm, last accessed 5th December 2007. Kalpana, K. (2005) ‘Situating Microcredit in India: Some Reflections’, pp. 149–158 in Guérin, I. and Palier, J. (Eds.) Microfinance Challenges: Empowerment or Disempowerment of the Poor? Pondicherry: French Institute of Pondicherry. Kalpana, K. (2011) ‘Subverting Policy, Surviving Poverty: Women and the SGSY in Rural Tamil Nadu’, Economic and Political Weekly, 46 (43), 22 October, 2011 pp. 50–57. Kannabiran, K. (1997) ‘Gender in Mainstream Politics: Case of the Telugu Desam Party’, Economic and Political Weekly, 32 (May 31st), pp. 1236–1239.

232  Gendered developmental subjectivities Kennedy, L. (2004) ‘The Political Determinants of Reform Packaging: Contrasting Responses to Economic Liberalisation in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu’, pp.  29–65 in Jenkins, R. (Ed.) Regional Reflections: Comparing Politics Across India’s States. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Kirk, J. A. (2005) ‘Banking on India’s States: The Politics of World Bank Reform Programs in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka’, India Review, 4 (3), pp. 287–325. Kumar, S. N. (2010) ‘New Loan Sharks’, Frontline, 27 (24), 20 November–3 December, 2010, available online at­stories/ 20101203272403800.htm. last accessed 13 December 2018. Mosse, D. (2005) Cultivating Development: An Ethnography of Aid Policy and Practice, London: Pluto Press. Murthy, R. K., Raju, K., and Kamath, A. with SAPAP Research Team (2002) ­‘Towards Women’s Empowerment and Poverty Reduction: Lessons from the Participatory Impact Assessment of South Asian Poverty Alleviation Programme in Andhra Pradesh, India’, World Bank,­ INTEMPOWERMENT/Resources/13338_murthy_etal.pdf. Nair, A. (2005) ‘Sustainability of Microfinance Self Help Groups in India: Would Federating Help?’, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3516, available online at 005/03/06/000090341_20050306103912/Rendered/PDF/wps3516.pdf, last accessed 21st November 2007. Nirantar (2007) Self-Help Groups – Relevance to Poverty Alleviation and Women’s Empowerment, New Delhi: Nirantar, available online at www.­solutionexchange-un., last accessed 16th December 2007. Palshikar, S. (2004) ‘Revisiting State Level Parties’, Economic and Political Weekly, 39 (14–15), pp. 1477–1479. Parthasarathy, S. K. (2006) ‘Institutionalising Gender, Engendering I­ nstitutions – Issues for Consideration for the 11th Plan’, available online at www.­, last accessed 16th December 2007. People’s Democracy (2007) ‘National Convention Demands “Reconsider Provisions of Micro Finance Sector Bill 2007”’, People’s Democracy, 31 (20) 20 May, 2007, available online at mf%20bill.htm. Rankin, K. N. (2002) ‘Social Capital, Microfinance and the Politics of Development’, Feminist Economics, 8 (1), pp. 1–24. Rankin, K. N. (2004) The Cultural Politics of Markets: Economic Liberalisation and Social Change in Nepal, Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Reddy, C. and Prakash, L. (2003) ‘Status of SHG Federations in Andhra Pradesh: APMAS Assessment Findings’, SHG Federation Workshop, New Delhi, APMAS. Sharma, A. (2001) ‘Women’s Development through ‘Empowerment’: The Gender of the State and the State of Gender in India’, Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Stanford University. Shylendra, H. S. (2006) ‘Microfinance Institutions in Andhra Pradesh: Crisis and Diagnosis’, Economic and Political Weekly, 41 (20) pp. 1959–1963. Squires, J. (2007a) The New Politics of Gender Equality, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Gendered developmental subjectivities  233 Squires, J. (2007b) ‘Review of Joni Lovenduski (ed), “State Feminism and Political Representation”, Cambridge University Press, 2005’, Parliamentary Affairs, 60 (1), pp. 170–179. Sridhar, V. (2004) ‘Neoliberalism Spurned’, Frontline, 21 (12), available online at, last accessed 22nd November 2007. Srinivasulu, K. (2004) Political Articulation and Policy Discourse in the 2004 Election in Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad: Centre for Economic and Social Studies, available online at, last accessed 22nd November 2007. Srinivasulu, K. (2007) ‘Political Articulation and Policy Discourse in the 2004 Election in Andhra Pradesh’, Chapter 7, pp. 180–205 in Roy, R. and Wallace, P. (Eds.) India’s 2004 Elections: Grassroots and National Perspectives, New Delhi: Sage. Subramanian, N. (1999) Ethnicity and Populist Mobilization: Political Parties, Citizens and Democracy in South India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Suri, K. C. (2002) Democratic Process and Electoral Politics in Andhra Pradesh, London: Overseas Development Institute, Livelihood Options, available online at, last accessed 2nd January 2008. Swamy, A. (1998) ‘Parties, Political Identities and the Absence of Mass Political Violence in South India’, pp. 108–148 in Basu, A. and Kohli, A. (Eds.) Community Conflicts and the State in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. The Hindu (2003a) ‘DWCRA Members Allege Exploitation by Naidu’, The Hindu, 9th December, available online at 2003120906110400.htm, last accessed 13 December 2018. The Hindu (2003b) ‘DWCRA Members Set to Go Cellular’, The Hindu, 6th December, available online at htm, last accessed 13 December 2018. The Hindu (2004) ‘Stop Meeting, DMK Tells EC’, The Hindu, 1st April, 2004, available online at, last accessed 13 December 2018. The Hindu (2006) ‘Transco Inks Pact with Mahila Samakhya’, The Hindu, 20th October, 2006, available online at 2006102013050300.htm, last accessed 13 December 2018. The Hindu (2012) ‘‘Chalo Assembly’ by IKP Animators Tomorrow’, The Hindu, 26 March, 2012, available online at chalo-assembly-by-ikp-animators-tomorrow/article3231871.ece, last accessed 13 December 2018. The Hindu (2013) ‘IKP Animators’ Strike’, The Hindu, 14 May, 2013, available online at­ animators-strike/article4713133.ece, last accessed 13 December 2018. The Hindu (2014) ‘IKP Volunteers Stage Protest Seeking Salary Dues’, The Hindu, 23 November, 2014, available online at­ telangana/ikp-volunteers-stage-protest-seeking-salary-dues/article6625355.ece, last accessed 13 December 2018. TNCDW (c.1998) Report of the State Level Workshop Held 30– 09–97 to 01–10–97 at Chennai, Chennai: Tamil Nadu Corporation for the Development of Women Ltd.

234  Gendered developmental subjectivities TNCDW (2000a) Bangaru Ammaiyar Ninavu Mahalir Thittam Annual Report ­1999–2000, Chennai: Tamil Nadu Corporation for Development of Women Ltd., available online at, last accessed 2nd November 2007. TNCDW (2000b) Mahalir Thittam Working Manual, Chennai: Tamil Nadu Corporation for the Development of Women. World Bank (2004) ‘Andhra Pradesh District Poverty Initiatives Project (AP DPIP) India: Team Debriefing, and Meeting with Vijay Kumar – Managing Director to AP DPIP’, World Bank, available online at­ WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/AFRICAEXT/EXTINDKNOWLEDGE/ 0 , , c o n t e n t M D K : 2 0 8 41 9 51 ~ m e n u P K : 2 2 914 5 2 ~ p a g e P K : 6 416 8 4 4 5 ~ piPK:64168309~theSitePK:825547,00.html#, last accessed 2nd January 2008.

9 Conclusion

Gender mainstreaming in Indian development policy is under-explored in the literature. National initiatives undertaken in India since the 1990s should be better understood. Increased Indian state autonomy since 1991 and changes in federal and electoral politics prompt analysis of gendered development policy and possibilities for gender mainstreaming at the subnational level. I explored this puzzle through three concepts – institutions, discourse, and agency – which, I argue, influence gender mainstreaming approaches in development policy. I suggested that institutional context matters, that gendered discourses of development frame policy, and that the successful pursuit of a mainstreaming strategy depends on the possibilities for agency provided by the complex interplay of institutional and discursive influences, which together shape gendered state developmental subjectivities. The main argument of the book is that, if at all gender mainstreaming has been adopted in India, this is much more observable at the national level than subnational level. National attempts to mainstream gender into the development planning process include increasing the influence of the national machinery for women to help champion gender mainstreaming, developing gender budgeting and gender planning initiatives, and developing gender expertise of senior civil servants (IAS) through international collaborative gender training projects (see Chapters 3 and 4). At the subnational level, in the two states examined, the discourses employed vary, but policy processes have focused more on women’s empowerment than gender equality, particularly through state-managed SHG programmes. State governments appear less receptive to involving women’s movement actors in policymaking, but have sought to engage women’s (and other) NGOs in implementation. Developments in national government institutions have not always been replicated at subnational level, with limited transformation of government ministries, limited incorporation of gender into planning processes, and some co-option of State Commissions for Women through appointing women loyal to ruling parties and often without women’s movement experience. Reflecting the less institutionalised subnational policy process, political elites appear to have greater relative power than bureaucrats,

236  Conclusion and political leaders personally associate with programmes, even in more autonomous parastatal agencies. But these dynamics are not universal; counter-examples to this national-subnational dichotomy include national government policies, like the National Policy on the Empowerment of Women (2001), which conceptually prioritise women’s empowerment rather than gender equality, and organisational structures whose nomenclature foreground women rather than gender equality (National Commission for Women, Ministry of Women and Child Development, National Mission for the Empowerment of Women, and Parliamentary Committee on the Empowerment of Women). Some subnational examples of efforts to address structural gender inequality exist, and other states not examined in this book may exhibit other dynamics. This final chapter summarises the book’s main findings and contribution to the literature and highlights fruitful directions for further research, proposing a new research agenda on gender and federalism in India.

Institutions, discourse, and agency: comparative findings The analysis of national policy (see Chapters 3 and 4) showed how national plans increasingly paid attention to the gendered dimensions of development, although not unproblematically. Several national gender mainstreaming initiatives from the 1990s attempted to transform national development institutions to produce gender-responsive development policy, albeit with varied success. Government policy mostly demonstrated integrationist and agenda-setting models of mainstreaming and employed affirmative action strategies to integrate women into the process of national development. Whilst gender-inequitable development was discursively framed through gender difference, policy strategies of women’s empowerment primarily sought to integrate women into development, rather than substantially alter the overall approach. Comparative profiles of the two states’ socio-economic features and political histories (see Chapter 5) showed how, despite their similar location in South India and shared historical context, they faced different challenges with regard to gender-equitable development. Andhra Pradesh is, in some indicators, more representative of all India than Tamil Nadu, but the latter has still faced challenges, including a declining child sex ratio unfavourable to girl children. Gender inequality also varies within these two states across districts, and intersects with other forms of marginalisation. Historical and contemporary political movements in both states provided varied opportunities for women’s participation. In Tamil Nadu, the potential of gender egalitarian perspectives in the Self-Respect Movement diminished due to the rise of Dravidian politics articulating more conservative gender norms and paternalist treatment of women. Thus, formal party politics, dominated by Dravidian parties, has not been an easy entry point for the state’s women’s movement organisations. Women participated in historical

Conclusion  237 and contemporary movements in Andhra Pradesh but were often sidelined or disappointed by political party leaders’ manipulations for electoral gains and subsequent unfulfilled promises. Comparative analysis of the two states’ approaches to gender and development policy demonstrated complex institutional, discursive, and agential dynamics, affecting possibilities for gender mainstreaming. Chapter 6 ­h ighlighted similarities in the descriptive and substantive gendering of state government institutions. In both states, women are a small minority in public office, governance, and decision-making, and those women who do make it into public office, often hold gendered portfolios such as social welfare. Women’s limited ministerial presence partly derives from the low nomination of women candidates by political parties to contest elections, as in the rest of India, though this has fluctuated over time. Tamil Nadu was intermittently governed by a female Chief Minister, J. Jayalalithaa, since the 1990s, but this has not necessarily improved women’s presence in legislative and ministerial positions. Much like all India, women are a minority in the senior civil service in both states. State Commissions for Women, established in the 1990s, have not been effective entry points for the women’s movement as they depend on state government patronage, usually chaired by loyal party women (with some important exceptions) with limited engagement with the women’s movement. Chapter 6 also shows how the gendered institutional context of subnational development policy has been internally differentiated in both states, but institutional structures for gender and development policy – including parastatal agencies SERP and TNCDW – have developed differently in the two states, suggesting state-level institutional context mattered. Gender and development policy has been situated primarily within the social welfare and rural development ministries, with rural poverty logics influencing both states’ programmes on women’s empowerment, though only more recently in Tamil Nadu suggesting a convergence in sectoral administration of policy on women, gender, and development. The approach of Andhra Pradesh’s parastatal agency, SERP, has been more characteristic of gender mainstreaming in that gender was one component of a larger programme involving both men and women, whereas Tamil Nadu’s parastatal approach saw women as primary beneficiaries and participants. There appeared to be few explicit attempts at government introspection on the gender-­responsiveness of its policies, except perhaps when government departments looked to SHG women to help implement policy agendas. The analysis of state-level gendered discourses of development (see Chapter 7) identified three prominent discourses: protective-paternalist, ­competitive-capability, and structural-transformative, all of which differed according to institutional context, both within and across states. These three discourses presented different perspectives on gender-­equitable development as a policy concern, with the protective-paternalist as the most conservative, the competitive-capabilities as the most (neo)liberal and integrationist,

238  Conclusion and the structural-transformative as potentially the most empowering and participatory of all three. Overall, the competitive-­capabilities discourse appeared to be dominant in the more reformist-oriented development policy in both states. The protective-paternalist discourse was far more prevalent in Tamil Nadu, especially in the Department of Social Welfare, and was particularly influenced by (patriarchal) populist discourses in state politics. The structural-transformative discourse was more prevalent in Andhra Pradesh, but this was mostly limited to the parastatal level (SERP), with some occasional articulation in state policy. Thus, the wider development discourse appeared to strongly affect the possibilities for the discursive articulation of gender-equitable development. The analysis presented in Chapter 8 also suggested considerable variations in the possibilities for agency. National and state policy discourses constituted women as subjects and objects of development policy differently through each discourse, ranging from weak, dependent, and vulnerable victims of oppression, through to hyper-responsible and altruistic heroines of national development. Whilst the former characterisation offered little room for agency, the latter offered extensive possibilities, but the kind of agency it offered was contingent on the disciplinary logic of particular institutional norms and discursive practices. In other words, women’s agency was dependent on a strategy of empowering the individual rather than the collective, and empowerment of a particular kind of individual as prescribed by the state – a subjectivity based on integration into the mainstream rather than the transformation of the mainstream. It also relied on women’s unpaid labour to bring about the kind of societal change seen as desirable by the state; it imbued women with a particular kind of agency and gave them responsibilities and duties, often without adequate recompense or support. Political leaders were positioned differently both through wider reformist and populist discourses of development and specifically gendered discourses of development, all of which offered different opportunities for agency, both enabling and constraining. Where explicit policies on gender and development did exist, these frequently reflected an expert-bureaucratic model of gender mainstreaming (according to Squires’ (2007) model discussed in Chapter 2). Bureaucratic agency appeared high in both states but especially at the parastatal level in Andhra Pradesh, and was more conducive to an integrationist, expert-bureaucratic model of gender mainstreaming rather than an agenda-setting, participative-democratic model. Women’s movement organisations were positioned with relative little agency by institutional norms and structures and discursive practices, and (implicitly) non-feminist NGOs occupied a far larger role instead. The wider institutional environment was also not conducive to the participation or critical engagement of women’s movements with state programmes and policies and thus did not offer significant opportunities for a more participative-­democratic model of gender mainstreaming.

Conclusion  239 The analysis presented in this book has highlighted the different institutional contexts between the national government and state governments. One clear finding is the relative absence of explicit attempts to adopt the language and approach of gender mainstreaming at the subnational level, when compared with the national level. In other words, at the national level, gender mainstreaming was one of the strategies being employed by (national) state and non-state actors to bring about a more gender-responsive development policy, through for example, engendering the planning process, gender budgeting initiatives, gender training in the civil service, and an augmented national machinery in the form of enhanced status to the Ministry of Women and Child Development, a new parliamentary committee for the empowerment of women, gender budget cells within central government ministries, and the National Mission for the Empowerment of Women to help co-ordinate schemes from across different government sectors. These initiatives involved a range of actors, but in particular UNIFEM, the Planning Commission, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Finance Ministry, the LBSNAA, and selected working groups of non-­ governmental gender experts, both scholars and practitioners. When the focus shifted from the national to subnational levels, the case study chapters (5–8) demonstrated little activity in terms of explicit strategies to mainstream gender in development at the state level, compared with the national level. In fact, the strong concern in both states with efficiency and ‘convergence’ of policy resources might be considered the reverse of a mainstreaming strategy, in that both state governments attempted to increase the efficiency of delivery of development policies and programmes with top-down, pre-designed policy, rather than reflexively introspecting on its own gendered norms and practices influencing policy. The lack of gender mainstreaming adoption, and opportunities for its adoption, at the subnational level in these two states suggests that the policy language has not travelled. One possible explanation is that, compared to state governments, the national government is more exposed to its international obligations, as signatories to international conventions such as the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. The institutional norms and practices of the state government departments in which women’s development was concentrated as a policy issue showed that in neither state was this department akin to what the academic literature refers to as a ‘women’s policy agency’, an agency to promote gender equality within state structures and policy. In other words, the augmentation of status and orientation – a­ lbeit partial and limited – of the national Ministry of Women and Child Development had not occurred, or had been resisted, at the subnational level. State government departments for women’s development or social welfare in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu do not (yet) offer an institutional opening for gender mainstreaming opportunities at the subnational level,

240  Conclusion and in any case are themselves marginal to, and lower placed in, the government sectoral hierarchy, which diminishes their authority to influence policy decisions and act as a gender mainstreaming champion without accompanying institutional changes or serious support from more senior ministerial actors.

What the Indian case contributes to existing literature and scope for further analysis This book contributes to the international literature on gender mainstreaming in development, exploring the journey of ‘gender mainstreaming’ in India, and reiterates cautionary tales of gender mainstreaming and disappointing progress discussed at the start of the book. But it also departs from claims of ubiquity of gender mainstreaming (see Parpart, 2014) to show ­limited adoption in India, especially at the subnational level. Women’s empowerment remains a dominant concept in policy and aligns with the discourse and logics of electoral politics. But it also reaffirms that if gender mainstreaming has been de-radicalised and co-opted in neo-liberal and technocratic ways, so has ‘women’s empowerment’ (Batliwala, 2007; Calkin, 2015; Kalpana, 2017). This book also contributes to studies of Indian development policy and planning, analysing gender and development discourse in national planning. It reaffirms that gender analysis should not be confined to or social sector policy and programmes, and reiterates feminist-informed perspectives which stress it is not enough for women (and men) to be visible in policy, but how they are thought about and spoken about matters, revealing the gendered assumptions and frameworks of planners and policymakers.1 The case of gender mainstreaming in India also further demonstrates the limited ability of gender mainstreaming to capture intersectional inequalities, and diversity generally. Women may be more visible in policy discourse, but diversity amongst women (and men) is still not sufficiently acknowledged, something which affects gender mainstreaming approaches internationally. In part, this is because policy discourse focuses on gender difference – ­comparing men and women – and less on gender diversity and intersectional inequality amongst women and men. These silences and omissions also derive from a technocratic urge to simplify and depoliticise (Ferguson, 1984). A more holistic intersectional examination of what planners know in really is a complex interrelationship of inequality, is splintered by bureaucratic fragmentation into different ministries. Simultaneously, women’s movement actors, in India and elsewhere, have been justifiably suspicious when minority or marginalised women become hyper-visible in policy discourse, because of historical experiences of co-option into policy discourse to serve colonial, postcolonial, and new imperial agendas (Abu-Lughod, 2002). For studies of federalism and multilevel governance, the book also provides further encouragement for systematic studies of national- and

Conclusion  241 state-level machineries for women in India. Comparing two Indian states brought greater insights than could have been achieved with one. However, the complexity of the comparative approach allowed only a limited depth of coverage in each case study. With reduced scope, and assuming access, the relationship between actors and policy could be explored in more depth. For example, K. Kalpana’s more ethnographic study of Tamil Nadu’s SHG programme provides greater ground-level insights into everyday practices (Kalpana, 2017; see also her earlier work, 2005, 2011). A broader range of policy initiatives or a different set of case study states could be explored, or a narrower focus on individual institutions such as the State Commissions for Women and state-level planning processes but across a broader range of states could yield interesting insights into gender, federalism, and the state in India (discussed below). Overall, the book provides further support to illustrate women’s fragmented experience of citizenship intersected with caste, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, and more, but crucially this book demonstrates how women’s experience of fragmented citizenship also differs from state to state, how political geography or territory also informs women’s fragmented citizenship in India. This book also re-emphasises both the recognition of gender roles and relations in policy and the need to transform them towards greater gender equality. This requires a corresponding redistribution of roles, rights, responsibilities, and especially resources (financial, institutional, political will) to support such responsibilities, especially if that responsibility is borne in the name of state-led development. Transformative gender mainstreaming requires not just looking outward at gendered outcomes, but inward to how institutional norms and cultures affect both policymaking and implementation, examining of gendered and intersectional biases in governance practices, which is a much more challenging, disruptive, and sensitive task for the state and a source of much resistance. Surprisingly, little research has been conducted on the Indian civil service as a gendered institution and the impact of this on the state’s gendered approach to development policy, and at the subnational level as opposed to the national level. Thakur’s (c.1997, 2000) studies are some of the few to explicitly address this issue, and came from within the service, but few have followed. This study also provides insights on the varied power of individual governmental actors; they can simultaneously be both powerful and powerless to effect change within state institutions. Individual commitment to, and action in favour of, gender mainstreaming in the absence of institutional memory can make a difference, but a well-informed champion of gender-responsive policy, unless well placed within the bureaucracy, with influence in the most powerful and well-resourced of ministries, and with support from political elites, cannot change the system alone, and faces multiple potential veto points across ministries, and across tiers of governance. The book provides further confirmation of the powerful agency of political elites in shaping subnational policy, where political power and

242  Conclusion policymaking decisions are often more centralised, and further confirms and reiterates development as a political rather than merely technical process. Advocates of women’s empowerment often stress the importance of attention to power in empowerment processes (Batliwala, 2007) whereas the shift to gender mainstreaming since the 1990s was lamented for the emptying out of the role of political struggle of women’s movements for achieving transformation. More recently, though, enduring resistance and slow progress amid increased awareness and more sophisticated analytical tools has increased awareness of gender mainstreaming as a political process (Parpart, 2014). Development politics literature has long recognised such fraught processes of change, so we should not be surprised that gender mainstreaming is difficult to achieve because it requires a fundamental transformation in power structures and political economy, changing deeprooted norms. Greater understanding is required to enable transformation of gendered state institutional norms and practices and the role and power of different actors. This book provided insights but certainly more can be done to build on these insights. The hypervisibility of women and invisibility of men in gender and development policy discourse in India suggests national and state policies still operate on a restrictive understanding of gender as largely synonymous with women. Applying a critical masculinities lens would bring further insights but was beyond the scope of this book. Studies employing a masculinities approach in the Indian context have tended not to focus on development policies, but have produced rich insights into colonial masculinities under the British Raj (Sinha, 1995; Banerjee, 2012), and contemporary Hindu nationalism (Banerjee, 2005). Policy and programme components focusing on masculinity are far less common, although there is evidence to suggest they are emerging. This can help to destabilise ‘abusive male’ stereotypes in development thought (John, 1996). A Tamil Nadu government official recounted to me that programme officials increasingly realised the importance of sensitising the male family members of women SHG members, and particularly boys and young men, in managing expectations in relation to changing stereotypical gender roles and the gendered division of labour (interview, former TNCDW official, June 2007). But it is also important to be mindful of the potential trade-offs and implications for women if scarce funding, resources, and visibility are diverted for programmes for men and boys (Chant and Gutmann, 2000; White, 2000; Cleaver, 2002). Another fruitful area for further research is the tentative relationship between women’s movements and SHG programmes. Further research could also explore in more detail the role and influence of international bilateral and multilateral donor agencies in terms of influencing Indian state institutional norms and practices and gendered development discourses. International organisations, particularly UNIFEM (later UN Women), were important actors in gender mainstreaming initiatives at the national level, often providing a crucial platform for practitioners to come together.

Conclusion  243 Further research could also follow up significant developments which occurred subsequent to the completion of the research for this book. The bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 raises questions about continuity and change in institutional norms and policy discourse. Can political elites or women’s movement actors use new state creation as an opening in institutional continuity to do something different or advocate for change with new political elites? The deaths of both party leaders in Tamil Nadu in 2014 (Jayalalithaa) and 2018 (Karunanidhi) raise questions about what will be the priorities of the future leadership of political parties in Tamil Nadu, and their approach to gender-equitable development. The abolition of the Planning Commission and the establishment of NITI Aayog in 2014 also raise questions about the consequences for established gender mainstreaming initiatives in national planning discussed in Chapter 4. Have these initiatives been sustained despite institutional changes?

Towards a new research agenda: gender, federalism, and the state in India The book’s aim was an analysis of gender mainstreaming in the multilevel governance context of India. Expanding this inquiry, we can ask questions about the broader relationship between gender, federalism, and the state in India. A growing international comparative literature on gender and federalism (Chappell 2002; Hausmann et al., 2010; Vickers, 2011, 2012), primarily focused on Western or higher income states,2 could benefit from insights from India, with its many different contextual challenges and dynamics. Increased scholarly interest in Indian federalism has not yet sufficiently engaged with the question of gender and federalism,3 though it has assessed the comparative politics of social welfare (Tillin et al., 2015), with some overlapping gender policy concerns (but not all), and with different interests. Literature on gender, development, women’s empowerment, and the Indian state has commented on regional variations in women’s rights and gender (in)equality, such as state-wise discrepancies in inheritance laws (Agarwal, 1994), regressive state government legislation in disqualification criteria for panchayat elections (Buch, 2006), and state-wise variations in the recognition of domestic workers’ rights (Deshpande, 2015). Though it has not addressed gender and federalism directly, it provides excellent material from which conclusions can be drawn. Opportunities exist, therefore, to contribute international literature on gender and federalism and on Indian federalism, and to add insights on gender and the state in India and beyond. The international literature asks whether federalism offers an advantage for women’s movements to achieve gender equality demands, with two competing perspectives: either that national governments are more receptive and effective than subnational governments in addressing such demands, or that the relationship between gender and federalism is contingent on several factors (Vickers, 2011).4

244  Conclusion Many subsequent questions follow this initial question. How does the federal arrangement affect women’s movement strategies of mobilisation and advocacy? Does the women’s movement benefit from ‘multiple access points’ of national and state governments, using demonstration effects or public support in one arena to convince politicians, policymakers, and the public in other arenas? Or do the ‘multiple veto points’ of Indian federalism make movement advocacy increasingly complex, time-consuming, and ­resource-draining? Does it help political elites in one arena to resist, reverse, or dilute policy and legislation painstakingly generated in a different arena? And can autonomy in subnational government jurisdictions enable greater progress towards gender equality goals, particularly when the national government is either unmoved, actively regressive, or hostile in its attitudes towards gender (in)equality? This entails understanding both formal and informal institutions of Indian federalism, and the relative power of different institutions and actors, that is, is the formal federal division of government less important than the informal power-sharing arrangements of coalition politics, party competition, and party elites? Why do competitive federal dynamics regarding economic and industrial development not apply to gender equality and women’s empowerment? From such studies, we might learn (a) whether Indian federalism enables or constrains the Indian state’s constitutional commitment to gender equality; (b) strategies to overcome specifically federalism-related challenges faced by women’s movements; and (c) the gendered assumptions underpinning federal divisions of responsibility in public policy and citizenship, with implications for the prioritisation and financing of public policy issues, the (re)distribution of public resources, and the realisation of citizenship rights and responsibilities. In assessing the trajectory of gender, development, and the state in ­India in the recent past, we can be more critically informed about future opportunities for transformation, and the role of the state in ensuring a more gender-equitable future amid India’s rapidly changing and vast social, economic, cultural, and political landscape of more than 1.2 billion citizens.

Notes 1 Feminist development scholars and practitioners have distinguished between practical and strategic gender interests (Molyneux, 1985), whereby policy attending to practical gender interests seeks to resolve women’s resource problems in their stereotypical gender roles (e.g. mothers), but does not question or redistribute those roles or the labour involved according to strategic gender interests of gender equality. Faced with limited resources, high demand due to poverty and socio-economic inequality, and challenges in distributing resources without ‘leakages’ or local elite or intra-household capture, political elites may use gendered role stereotypes and rhetoric to ringfence goods and services for women, hoping to reap rewards through electoral returns. In practice, this ­practical-strategic tension is difficult to resolve. 2 Solanki (2010) on federalism and the Mahila Samakhya programme in India is an exception, discussing these questions in the Indian context.

Conclusion  245 3 The only other studies I could find addressing this question were Chakraborty (2011) and Saxena (2017); whilst Saxena and I draw on similar international literature, our focus, examples, and treatment differ. Chakraborty (2011) is particularly focused on fiscal federalism and whether incentives for states to address gender inequality can be incorporated into federal fiscal transfer mechanisms. 4 Discussed in more depth in Spary (2018). Earlier versions were presented in ­Oxford (2014) and the Centre for Multilevel Federalism, Delhi (2017). My thanks to organisers and participants of both events.

References Abu-Lughod, L. (2002) ‘Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others’, American Anthropologist, 104 (3), pp. 783–790. Agarwal, B. (1994) A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Banerjee, S. (2005) Make Me a Man! Masculinity, Hinduism, and Nationalism in India, Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Banerjee, S. (2012) Muscular Nationalism: Gender, Violence, and Empire in India and Ireland, 1914–2004, New York: New York University Press. Batliwala, S. (2007) ‘Taking the Power Out of Empowerment – An Experiential ­Account’, Development in Practice, 17 (4–5), pp. 557–565. Buch, N. (2006) The Law of Two Child Norm in Panchayats, Bhopal: Concept ­P ublishing/Mahila Chetna Manch. Calkin, S. (2015) ‘Post-Feminist Spectatorship and the Girl Effect: “Go Ahead, ­Really Imagine Her”’, Third World Quarterly, 36, pp. 654–669. Chakraborty, L. (2011) ‘Determining Gender Equity in Fiscal Federalism: Analytical Issues and Empirical Evidence from India’, Economics, Management, and ­Financial Markets, 6(3) pp. 112–135 Chant, S. and Gutmann, M. (2000) ‘Mainstreaming Men into Gender and Development: Debates, Reflections, and Experiences’, Oxfam Working Papers, Oxford: Oxfam GB. Chappell, L. (2002) Gendering Government: Feminist Engagement with the State in Australia and Canada, Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. Cleaver, F. (2002) ‘Men and Masculinities: New Directions in Gender and Development’, pp. 1–27 in Cleaver, F. (Ed.) Masculinities Matter! Men, Gender and Development, London: Zed Books. Deshpande, R. (2015) ‘The Woman Constituency: Domestic Workers, Social Security and Gender Politics in Maharashtra and West Bengal’, Chapter 3 pp. 69–101, in Tillin, L., Deshpande, R. and Kailash, K. (Eds.) Politics of Welfare: Comparisons Across Indian States. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Ferguson, K. (1984) The Feminist Case Against Bureaucracy, Philadelphia, PA: ­Temple University Press. Hausmann, M, Sawer, M. and Vickers, J. (Eds.) (2010) Federalism, Feminism, and Multilevel Governance, Farnham: Ashgate. John, M. E. (1996) ‘Gender and Development in India 1970s–1990s: Some Reflections on the Constitutive Role of Contexts’, Economic and Political Weekly, 31 (47), pp. 3071–3077.

246  Conclusion Kalpana, K. (2005) ‘Situating Microcredit in India: Some Reflections’, pp. 149–158 in Guérin, I. and Palier, J. (Eds.) Microfinance Challenges: Empowerment or Disempowerment of the Poor? Pondicherry: French Institute of Pondicherry. Kalpana, K. (2011) ‘Subverting Policy, Surviving Poverty: Women and the SGSY in Rural Tamil Nadu’, Economic and Political Weekly, 46 (43), 22 October, pp. 50–57. Kalpana, K. (2017) Women, Microfinance and the State in Neo-liberal India, Abingdon: Routledge (South Asia edition). Molyneux, M. (1985) ‘Mobilization without Emancipation’, Feminist Studies, 11 (2), pp. 227–254. Parpart, J. L. (2014) ‘Exploring the Transformative Potential of Gender Mainstreaming in International Development Institutions’, Journal of International Development, 26 (3), pp. 382–395. Saxena, R. (2017) ‘Gendering Federalism in India’, Occasional Paper Series No. 21, Ottawa: Forum of Federations. Sinha, M. (1995) Colonial Masculinity: The ‘Manly Englishman’ and the ‘Effeminate Bengali’ in the Late Nineteenth Century, Manchester: Manchester University Press. Solanki, G. (2010) ‘A Fine Balance? Multilevel Governance and Women’s Organising in India’, Chapter 12 pp. 171–185, in Hausmann, M, Sawer, M. and Vickers, J. (Eds.) Federalism, Feminism, and Multilevel Governance, Farnham: Ashgate. Spary, C. (2018) ‘Gender, Federalism and the State in India’, paper presented at the IPSA 25th World Congress of Political Science, 21–25 July, Brisbane, Australia. Squires, J. (2007) The New Politics of Gender Equality, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Thakur, S. G. (c.1997) Increasing Awareness for Change: A Survey of Gender and the Civil Services, Mussorie: Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration. Thakur, S. G. (2000) ‘“More Equal than Others?” Gender Bias in the Constitution of Bureaucratic Merit in the Indian Administrative Service’, pp. 102–146 in Kabeer, N. and Subrahmanian, R. (Eds.) Institutions, Relations and Outcomes: Framework and Case Studies for Gender-Aware Planning. London: Zed Books. Tillin, L., Deshpande, R. and Kailash, K. (Eds.) (2015) Politics of Welfare: Comparisons across Indian States, New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Vickers, J. (2011) ‘Gendering Federalism: Institutions of Decentralization and ­Power-Sharing’, Chapter 8, pp. 129–146 in Krook, M. L. and Mackay, F. (Eds.) Gender, Politics and Institutions: Towards a Feminist Institutionalism, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Vickers, J. (2012) ‘Is Federalism Gendered? Incorporating Gender into Studies of Federalism’, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 43 (1), pp. 1–23. White, S. (2000) ‘“Did the Earth Move?” The Hazards of Bringing Men and ­Masculinities into Gender and Development’, IDS Bulletin, 31 (2), pp. 33–41.


Note: Boldface page numbers refer to tables; italic page numbers refer to figures & page numbers followed by “n” denote endnotes. abortion, sex-selective 197 Accredited Social Health Activists on the National Rural Health Mission 153 Adivasis 9 see also Scheduled Tribes (STs) Administrative Reforms Commission 103n16 ADMK see All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party (AIADMK) adolescent girls 69, 120 adoption 196, 207n3 Advani, Poornima 166 ‘advocacy coalitions’ 48n21 affirmative action 1, 67, 68, 71, 158, 159, 177, 197, 203, 205, 206, 236 Agarwal, Bina 3, 5, 103n5 agenda-setting strategies 101 agents and agency: gender and development 5–8, 34–9; gender mainstreaming, national initiatives 96–100; levels of 3 Agnihotri, I. 38 agricultural labourers 118–19 Ahluwalia, Montek S. 27, 36 All India Administrative Services 33 All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party (AIADMK): comparing socio-political histories 141; gendered developmental discourses 188–9; gendered developmental subjectivities 220–1, 228; gendered institutional contexts 165; populism and cultural nationalism 131; socio-political

histories 130; strategies, increasing women’s presence in government 158; subnational policy in context 109, 132–6; women as elected representatives 154, 157 All India Congress Committee 158 All India Services 92–3, 103n18, 158 Ambedkar, B. R. 29 Anandhi, S. 131, 132, 135, 222 Andhra Pradesh: anti-arrack movement 139–41; basic profile of 12; case selection 9–13; casualisation of employment 144n18; child sex ratios 125–30, 145n29; child trafficking 207n3; comparative sex ratios for 127; Congress Party 230n4; contemporary electoral politics 137–9; economic indicators for 110; Economic Restructuring Project 192; economic survey 144n20; education 124, 120–5; employment 113–20; gender and development 109–30, 112; gender and socio-political histories, state politics 136–7; gender-based violence in 129; gendered life chances 125–30; gender mainstreaming approach 5; HDI scores 112, 142n3; human development 112; inequalities, socioeconomic development 112–13; introduction 108–9; left-wing agrarian movements 136–7; literacy rates for 122; multilevel governance 3–5; populism 136–7; poverty 142n5; poverty reduction 111–13; pre-2014 bifurcation 17n4; reproductive health 125–30; sex ratios for 126, 127;

248 Index SHGs 230n3; socio-political histories 130–41; state co-optation 136–7; state feminist bureaucratic spaces 170–3; violence against women 125–30; women candidates in state elections 156, 156; work participation rates and status of workers 113 Andhra Pradesh District Poverty Initiatives Project 179n19 Andhra Pradesh Rural Poverty Reduction Project 179n20 Andhra Pradesh Society for the Elimination of Rural Poverty 173–5 anganwadi workers 153, 170 Annadurai, C.N. 131, 134, 221 Annai Bangaru Ammaiyar Ninaivu Mahalir Thittam 221 anti-arrack movement 139–41 APMAS 216 arrack, movement against 139–41 attitudes: change 98; vs. laws 197 autonomy, formulating policy 4 Bacchi, C. L. 3, 6–7 Bardhan, Pranab 13 Batliwala, Srilatha 43, 98 Beijing Platform for Action 40, 62, 99 Below-Poverty-Line criteria 142n4 beneficiaries vs. participants 65–6 benevolent sexism 194 Bergeron, S. 42 Bharathi, Pratibha 157 Bharat Mata 132 Bhatt, Ela 59, 66, 79–80 Bhattacharyya, P. N. 83 binary genders 87 biological essence 25 birth order 144n26 Borowiak, C. 25 Boserup, Esther 24–5 Brown, W. 160 budgeting 83–8, 103n9 bureaucratic postings 90–1 ‘business case’, gender equality 85 Byres, T. J. 36–7 capacity-building experiences 48n22 Caplan, P. 144n27 casualisation of employment 144n18 casual labour 116, 117 catalysts vs. participants/recipients 66 central government planning 29–34 Central Project Coordination Committee 168

Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB) 102n2 Centre for Good Governance 192 Centre for Multilevel Federalism 245n4 Centre for Women and Development Studies 14 Chakraborty, L. 83, 245n3 Chakravarty, S. 27, 32, 36, 47n5, 47n17 Chambers, R. 46n2 Chandran, S. Jenefer 157 Chatterjee, N. 31 Chatterjee, P. 28, 30 Chattopadhyay, Kamaladevi 154 Chaudhuri, M. 28 Chellappa, S. 178n12 Chhibber, V. 30 Chidambaram, P. 84 childcare provision 17n2 child nutrition 121, 124 child sex ratios 125–30, 144n26, 144n28, 145n29, 145n31 child trafficking 207n3 Chiranjeevi (actor) 138 choices, empowerment 198 Chunkath, Sheela Rani 153 cinema: fan clubs 132–3; and party politics relationship 145n34 CITU 217 civil service: data collection 13; debates and perspectives 32–3, 46; discrimination in 92; examination fee 93; gendered institutional norms 89–93; gender in 103n14; gender training in 93–6; ‘laterals’ 36–7; list database 103n12–103n13, 177n2 coastal Andhra regions 18n9 Commissionerate of Women Empowerment and Self Employment 14, 171 Committee for the Empowerment of Women 178n8 Committee on Civil Service Reforms 91 Committee on the Status of Women 59 compartmentalisation, women’s issues 71 competitive-capabilities discourse 5–8, 185, 195, 202, 205, 207n2 Congress Party: Andhra Pradesh 18n15, 230n4; gendered developmental discourses 192–3; gendered institutional contexts 172, 175; subnational policy in context 140–1; women as elected representatives 155, 158 contraceptive technologies 128

Index  249 Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women 100 Cradle Baby Scheme 196 Crenshaw, Kimberle 17n3 Dalit communities 9 see also Scheduled Caste groups Dalit Panthers of India (DPI) 135–6 ‘deconstructing the West’ 26 ‘Deepam Scheme’ 192–3 Department for Panchayati Raj and Rural Development 171 Department of Personnel and Training (GOI) 93 Department of Rural Development (DRD) 164 Department of Social Welfare 164, 167 Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD): approval of programme 48n27; data collection 13; gender budgeting 83–8; national initiatives in gender mainstreaming 76, 79–81 Department of Women Development and Child Welfare (DWD&CW) 170 dependency theory 24 Desai, M. 44–5 Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era 25 Development Crises and Alternative Visions (Sen and Grown) 25 Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) 140, 164, 192–3 development policy: gains to society in general 61; global mainstreaming 41–3; mainstreaming 43–6; plan discourse post-1990 period 43–6 Devika, J. 8, 34 Devi, Susheela 171–2 Devi, Vasanthi 165, 166 Dickey, S. 133 Dietrich, G. 118 ‘difference’, focus on 67–9, 71–2, 101–2 disability mainstreaming 3, 169, 176, 195, 196, 198, 201, 206 disabled populations 61–2, 73n5 ‘Disadvantaged Farmers Including Women’ 3, 103n5 discourses: analysing gender, development, and the state 5–8; competitive-capabilities 195; dominant and marginal discourses 193–4; gender and socio-political histories, state

politics 131–6; global mainstream and feminist debates 24–6; protectivepaternalist 194; selected mainstream and feminist debates 27–9; structuraltransformative 195–6 discrimination 39, 92, 125, 170, 197 District Project Coordination Committees 179n16 District Rural Development Administration (DRDA) 168, 175 division of labour, gendered 44 DMK see Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Domestic Violence Act see violence against women and girls dowry practices 125–6, 130, 144n27, 196–7, 224 Dowry Prohibition Act (1961) 161 Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK): gendered developmental discourses 188–9, 196; gendered developmental subjectivities 220–1, 228; gendered institutional contexts 165, 167; populism and cultural nationalism 131–6; socio-political histories 130; subnational policy in context 109; Tamil Nadu 164; women as elected representatives 154, 157 Drèze, J. 28 Dyson, T. 13 ‘economic activities’ 18n17 Economic Processing Zone (EPZ) 110–12 ‘Economic Survey’ 84, 144n20 education 103n19, 122–5, 144n24 18 Point Programme for Women and Child Welfare 201, 206 elderly population: development policy 61–2, 69; social welfare 73n5; state homes for 170 Election Code of Conduct 192 Elson, Diane 41 employment 63–4, 113–20 empowerment: debates and perspectives 26, 44; gendered developmental discourses 197; national planning policy 65, 67, 69, 72; subordinated 197 see also National Mission for the Empowerment of Women; Parliamentary Committee for the Empowerment of Women ‘empowerment populism’ 134 entrepreneurship 63, 103n19

250 Index epistemic community 36, 48n21 equal opportunity 40 Equal Remuneration Act (1976) 117 equity and equality: constitutional guarantee 59; Eleventh Five-Year Plan 81–5; gender budgeting 85, 88; multilevel governance 5 Escobar, A. 30 Eveline, J. 3 exogamous marriage practices 13 external female actors 98–9 external gender expertise 79–83 factory work 119 family commitments 89–90 family planning 34, 73n9, 128 federalism: multilevel character of planning 47n17; overview 4–5; policy jurisdiction 31–2 female child labour 120 female infanticide 196; acceptance 127–8 female political leadership 35–6 feminist debates 24–9 ‘feminist triangles’ 76 fertility regulation 30–1, 72, 73n9, 121, 202 15 Point Programme for Child Welfare 201 film clubs 145n35; see also cinema: fan clubs Finance Ministry 83–8, 97, 103n8, 103n10 Fiscal Responsibility Act (2003) 188 Five-Year Plans 45; Second Plan 27, 36; Third Plan 27; Sixth Plan 59; Seventh Plan 85; Eighth Plan 58, 61, 63, 65–8, 70, 103n5, 187; Ninth Plan 61, 65–70, 92–3, 103n3, 103n5; Tenth Plan 61, 63–8, 72n1, 80, 103n5, 186, 197, 200; Eleventh Plan 58, 61, 64, 73n8, 80–2, 103n5; Twelfth Plan 3, 82–3; debates and perspectives 45; gendered development discourse 64–70; gender-responsive development 67–9; replaced with medium and long-term planning 47n16; Think Tank 79; women, gender, and development in 44–5 foeticide, female 125, 127 forced sterilisation 30–1 formulation-implementation distinction 48n19 Foucauldian concepts 15, 30 Fourth World Conference on Women 99

Gandhi, Indira 30, 35, 72n3, 138 Gandhi, Rajiv 35–6, 46n4, 48n20 Gandhi, Sonia 36 Gandhian approach 47n5 Gariyali, C. K. 95, 153, 162 Gayathri, Comal R. 178n12 Geetha, V. 131 gender and development (GAD): agents of development 34–9; central government planning 29–34; child sex ratios 125–30; debates and perspectives 23–49; discourses of development 24–6; and education 120–5; and employment 113–20; gendered inequalities, socio-economic development 112–13; gendered life chances 125–30; global mainstream and feminist debates 24–6;; human development 111–13; institutions of development 29–34; mainstreaming 1–3, 39–46; module 103n19; and multilevel governance 3–5; overview 109–11; poverty reduction 111–13; reproduction health 125–30; selected mainstream and feminist debates 27–9; violence against women 125–30; see also Andhra Pradesh; Tamil Nadu gender and education 120–5 gender and employment 113–20 gender and socio-political histories, state politics: Andhra Pradesh 136–7; antiarrack movement 139–41; comparison of 141; contemporary electoral politics 137–9; discourses, populism and cultura nationalism 131–6; leftwing agrarian movements 136–7; overview 130–1; populism 136–7; state co-optation 136–7 gender-blind categorisations 18n17 gender budgeting 83–8, 103n9 gender-disaggregated statistical date 102n1 gendered development subjectivities: bureaucratic actors 217–19; conclusions 227–9; introduction 211–12; political leadership 219–24; women, self-help groups 212–17; women’s movement, state level 224–7 gendered discourses of development: Andhra Pradesh 190–3, 201–4; comparison 193; competitivecapabilities 195; conclusions 206–7; gendered development discourses

Index  251 193–204; interdiscursivity 205–6; introduction 185–6; mapping dominant and marginal discourses 193–204; overview 186, 193–4; protective-paternalist 194; reformist and populist discourses 186–93; in state policy 196–204; structuraltransformative 195–6; Tamil Nadu 186–90, 196–201 gendered inequalities, socio-economic development 112–13 gendered institutional contexts: Andhra Pradesh 170–7; gendered institutional norms of the state 160–3; introduction 151–2; state feminist bureaucratic spaces 163–73; strategies, increasing women’s presence in government 158–9; Tamil Nadu 164–70; women as elected representatives 154–8; women in governance structures 152–60 gendered institutional norms 88–93, 160–3 gendered life chances 125–30 Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) 112 ‘Gender Equality and Development’ 42 ‘Gender Equity’ 81 Gender Focal Points 84 gender in civil service 33, 46, 80, 88–96, 103n14, 161, 162, 167, 237, 239 gender inequality 18n17, 244n1 gender justice 67 gender mainstreaming, national initiatives 1–3, 39–46; changing institutional culture 93–6; conclusions 100–2; facilitating external gender expertise 79–83; gender budgeting 83–8; gendered institutional norms 88–93; gender responsiveness 93–6; internal norm change, civil service 88–96; introduction 75–6; ‘national machinery’ development 76–9; overview 88; subject, objects, agents 96–100; see also disability mainstreaming; mainstreaming women Gender Planning Training Project (GPTP) 45–6, 93, 94 gender responsiveness 67–9, 93–6, 98 Ghosh, J. 116, 143n14, 178n4 Girl Child Protection Scheme 196, 202 girls’ education 69, 103n19 global discourses of development 46n3

GoAP see Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP) Goetz, A. M. 152 GOI see Department of Personnel and Training GoTN see Government of Tamil Nadu (GoTN) Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP) 177n3, 178n7 see also Andhra Pradesh governance feminism 7 Government of Tamil Nadu (GoTN) 127, 152, 161 see also Tamil Nadu Green Revolution 46n4 Grewal, I. 33 Gupta, A. 47n12 Hafner-Burton, E. 42 Halley, J. 7 Hameed, Syeda 82–3 Hanson, A. H. 29, 47n11 Harriss, J. 46n3 Heptullah, Najma 77 Hindu Code Bill 28–9 Hindu nationalism, rise of 38, 48n23 Hirway, I. 81 honour, notion of 132 honorariums 153 ‘hostile’ sexism 194 Hota Committee 92, 103n17 ‘Human and Social Development’ 65 human development 112 implementation, policy feedback 48n19 inclusion 81–2, 91 Indian Administrative Service (IAS): bureaucratic workers 217; debates and perspectives 32; gendered institutional norms 89–91, 93, 160–3, 167; institutionalised culture 95; lateral entry into 80; transfers 178n11 Indian Institute of Public Administration 143n6 Indira Kranthi Patham (IKP) scheme 171, 186, 203 Industrial Policy 187 inequality see equity and equality infanticide 127–8, 196 Institute of Development Studies (IDS) 94 institutions: changes in 3, 41; culture 93–6, 98; gender and development analysis 5–8, 29–34; gendered norms 89–93

252 Index Integrated Child Development Scheme/ Services (ICDS) 47n12, 78, 153, 176, 191 see also Nutritious Meal Programme Integrated Rural Development Programme 164 internal norm change, civil service: changing institutional culture 93–6; gendered institutional norms 88–93; gender responsiveness 93–6; overview 88 International Conference on Population and Development 31 International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD) 166, 168–70, 198–9, 218, 221 International Monetary Fund (IMF) 27, 29 International Women’s Day 77–8, 221 ‘intersectionality’ 8, 17n3, 73n8 ‘intersectoral convergence’ 78, 167, 168, 171, 176, 200, 204, 206, 214, 216, 218, 228, 237, 239 intersex persons 87 intra-household resource distribution 28 invisibility, in development policy70 Ish, Veena 160 Jahan, R. 39, 42 Jamuna, P. 174, 179n23, 219 Jandhyala, Kameswari 226 Janmabhoomi programme 193 Jayalalithaa, J. 131, 134, 136, 154, 157, 167, 189, 221, 237 Jebaraj, Valamarthi 167 Jeevan, Geetha 157 Jeffrey, P. 26 Jeffrey, R. 26 Jenkins, R. 35, 48n18 Jesudurai, Padmini 165 Jeyaranjan, J. 118 John, Mary 4 Joint Parliamentary Committee for the Empowerment of Women 77 Kabeer, N. 7, 33 kalanjiams 230n3 Kalpana, K. 216–17, 241 Kannabiran, K. 138 Karunanidhi, M. 131, 165, 221 Kapadia, K. 108 Karlekar, M. 37 Kaviraj, S. 28 Kennedy, L. 32, 35, 222

Kotiswaran, P. 7 Kumar, T. Vijaya 174, 219 Kushboo (actress) 135 Kuthuhalamma, Gummadi 157 Labour: laws 121, 139; rights 29 Lahiri, Ashok K. 83 Lakshmi, C. S. 132 Lalitha, K. 4 ‘laterals’ 36–7 laws vs. attitudes 197 LBS National Academy of Administration 13, 94, 218 Leela, K. Pushpa 157 left-wing activism 72n2, 136–7 legislative bodies, quotas for women 73n4 liberalisation: debates and perspectives 32, 37; national planning policy 62–4; reforms, failure of 48n20 liquor, movement against 139–41 literacy: graphics in literature 230n7; highest 144n23; male-female disparity 144n22; module 103n19; SC/ST groups 123 Lok Sabha elections 48n24, 77, 155, 189, 222 Lovenduski, J. 7 maanam 132 macroeconomic government policy 88 Madras Presidency 9 Mahalir Thittam 166–9, 176, 178n15, 198–9, 201, 206, 214, 218, 221 Mahapatra, Prasanta 178n12 Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (2005) 47n14 Mahila Lok Adalat 173 Mahila Mandal Samakhyas 173, 175, 215, 230n3, 230n10 Mahila Samakhya programme 4, 60, 98, 103n20, 179n17, 225–6, 244n1 Mahila Samatha Society 230n10 mainstreaming women 199, 201, 205, 206 main workers, defined 143n12 manufacturing employment 119 mapping national planning policy (1990): conclusions 71–2; contradictions, silences, and exclusions 69–70; Five-Year Plans 64–70; gender-responsive development 67–9; historical context 59–60; introduction 58; post-1990 period 60–4

Index  253 Marchand, M. H. 26 marginal workers 143n12 marriage 13, 89–90, 135, 161–2, 196 Marxist thought 24, 47n6 maternity leave 92, 161 MaThi pledge 169, 230n2 Mathur, K. 32 Matthew, Minnie 160, 178n12 Mazumdar, V. 33, 38, 59, 72n3, 73n4 men as gendered subjects 70 Menon, N. 43–4 MGNREGA 144n20 MGR see Ramachandran, M.R. (MGR) microfinance institutions (MFIs) 223 Mies, M. 25 Miller, C. 41 Ministry of Human Resource Development 44 Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) 44, 63, 75, 78, 81, 96–7, 100, 143n6 minority religious communities 18n8 Mishra, Vasudhra 160, 178n12 Mishra, Y. 88 modernisation theory 24 Mohanty, C. T. 17n3, 26 Mooij, J. 35, 171 Moore, M. 13 Moser, C. 41 mother icon 132 Mukhopadhyay, M. 43 Mukhopadhyay, S. 29 multilevel governance 3–5, 17, 46, 240, 243 Murthy, R. K. 46 Murty, K. R. 192 Mutram 213, 222 MYRADA 169, 230n2 Naidu, Chandrababu 18n13, 35, 138, 140–1, 157, 175, 190, 192–3, 220, 223, 226, 228, 230n9 Nair, Sathi 153, 160 National Academy of Administration 46, 95 National Alliance for Women’s Organisations (NAWO) 79, 99 National Centre for Gender Training, Planning and Research 94 National Commission for Women: debates and perspectives 40, 44; gendered institutional contexts 165, 171; historical developments

102n2; national initiatives in gender mainstreaming 73n11, 76–8, 99–100; National Commission for Women Act (1990) 164; national planning policy 63; resource limitations 77 National Commission for Women Act (1990) 164 National Commission on Self-Employed Women 79 National Democratic Alliance 64 National Development Council (NDC) 29, 47n10, 47n17 National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 120 National Food Security Act (2013) 47n14 National Human Rights Commission 166 National Institute for Public Policy and Finance (NIPEP) 83–4 National Institute for Transforming India 31 national machinery for women 76–9, 100, 163, 235, 239; women’s policy units’ 176 National Mission for the Empowerment of Women 75–6, 81, 100 National Perspective Plan for Woman 60 National Planning Commission 79 national planning policy: conclusions 71–2; contradictions, silences, and exclusions 69–70; Five-Year Plans 64–70; gender-responsive development 67–9; historical context 59–60; introduction 58; post-1990 period 60–4 National Plan of Action 59 National Policy for the Empowerment of Women (NPEW): gender budgeting 84; gender mainstreaming 76, 78, 81, 96; national planning policy 66, 68, 72n1 National Policy on Education 60 National Population Policy 31 National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) 17n2 National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA/NREGA) 118 National Rural Livelihoods Mission 179n17 National Sample Survey (NSS) Organisation 114 Nayar, B. R. 27, 36

254 Index NDC see National Development Council (NDC) Neduncheziyan, Visalakshi 165–6 Nedurumalli, Rajyalakshmi 157 ‘needy’ groups 73n10 Nehru, Jawaharlal 35 Nehruvian approach 27–8, 47n5, 61 neo-liberalism 24, 47n9, 62 NITI Aayog 47n10 Noon Meal Scheme 124 NREGA, economic survey 118, 144n20, 199 Nutritious Meal Programme 164–5, 176, 215, 221 see also Integrated Child Development Scheme/Services (ICDS) objects: of development 69–71; gender mainstreaming 96–100 Other Backward Class women 116 Overseas Development Administration 94 Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) 142n4 Pachouri, Suresh 92 Palanisamy, P. Vijaylakshmi 157 panchayat elections 38, 229n1 Panchayati Raj 103n19, 164, 167, 171; resistance 48n27 Pandian, S. P. Sarguna 157, 165 Pandianm M. S. S. 131 Parliamentary Committee for the Empowerment of Women 75–6, 78, 100 Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources Development 103n11 Parpart, J. L. 26 participants vs. beneficiaries 65–6 participatory approaches 46n2 ‘paternalist’ approach 130, 133–5 Patil, Pratibha 77 patriarchal attitude 201 patrilocality 13 Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) 135 Periyar 135 physically disabled people 178n10 PIU district 179n16 Planning Commission 47n10; data collection 13, 16; institutions of development 29–30; mapping national planning policy 58, 61; national initiatives in gender mainstreaming 79–82

pluralist class state 34 Pollack, M. A. 42 policy prescriptions vs. policy problems 205–6 political leadership 35, 36, 42, 96, 135, 219–24 Poongothai (Dr.) 157 poor women, depiction of 72 population policies 30–1, 47n13, 128; coercive 224; replacement fertility levels 128 populism: Andhra Pradesh 136–7; discourses 186–93; gender and sociopolitical histories, state politics 136–7; styles 133–4; subnational policy 136–7 Potter, D. 32–3 poverty-stricken population: development policy 61–2; education 121; exacerbation 88; gendered developmental discourses 198; headcounts 142n4; inter-regional problem 32; reduction 111–13; SC and ST households 111 practical vs. strategic gender interests 244n1 pradhan patis 38 Praja Rajyam Party 138 Pranesh, Lakshmi 153 premarital sex 135 producers, women as 58, 66 protective-paternalist discourse 5–8, 185, 194, 198, 201–2, 207, 207n2 Public Distribution System (PDS) 187 Pudhu Vazhvu 168 Rai, S. M. 44, 77 Rajadurai, S. V. 131 Rajakumari, Nannapaneni 172 Rajasthan’s Women’s Development Programme 145n37 Raju, K. 174 Raju, S. 44–5 Rajya Sabha 77 Ramachandran, Gayathri 178n12 Ramachandran, Janaki 131 Ramachandran, M. G. (MGR) 131–2, 221 Ramachandran, Vimala 98, 103n20 Ramathal, K. M. 165 Rangarajan committee 142n4–142n5 Rangaswamy, Saraswati 165 Rani, Brij 137 Rao, Ch. Rajeshwar 48n20, 136–7 Rao, N.T. Rama 137–8, 157, 201, 220

Index  255 rape 7, 34, 222, 224 see also violence against women and girls Ravindranath, Mary 172 Razavi, S. 41 Recognition for Forest Rights Act 47n14 Recruitment Rules, civil service 89 Reddy, A. Madhava 157 Reddy, Alimineti Uma Madhava 157 Reddy, Kiran Kumar 140 Reddy, Muthulakshmi 154 Reddy, Y.S. Jaganmohan 141 Reddy, Y.S. Rajasekhara 18n13, 138, 140 Reddys caste 145n36 ‘reformed-oriented’ states 12 reformist discourses 186–93 regional political parties 18n15 Report of the National Planning Committee on Women’s Role in the Planned Economy 59 reproductive health 125–30 reproductive technologies 47n13 reservations for women 38, 93, 139, 154, 178n9 Right to Education Act 47n14 Right to Information 47n14, 80 right-wing women 48n23 Riley, N. E. 31 Rosaiah, K. 140 Roy, T. 25 sameness 39 Saraswati, S. 157 Sarkar, Lotika 73n4 Saxena, R. 245n3 Scheduled Caste (SC) groups 9, 12, 17n6, 18n10, 70, 116, 122–3, 158 Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (2006) 47n14 Scheduled Tribes (STs) 12, 18n7, 18n11, 70, 116, 122–3, 158 Scott, Catherine V. 26 Scott., J. C. 30 Second Administrative Reforms Commission 91 segregation, gender71 self-employed women 59, 63 self-help groups (SHG) programmes 4–5, 42, 164, 167–8, 171, 173, 190, 198–200, 204–5 self-reliance 63, 192 Self-Respect Movement 131, 135, 141

Sen, Amartya 27, 41, 47n8 senior civil service 80, 88, 94–5, 100, 219, 237 sex-disaggregated data 18n17 sex-selective abortion 197 sexual harassment 34, 90, 161 sexuality 135 SGSY see Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana shadow subsidy (unpaid labour) 114 Shah Bano case 60 Sharma, Kalpana 33, 99 Shastri, Lal Bahadur 30, 36–7, 46n4, 94 Shastri, V. 36 Shiva, V. 25 Shramshakti report 59, 78–9 Singh, Manmohan 48n20 Sinha, N. 88 Social Welfare Department 164 Society for the Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP): comparisons and conclusions 176; data collection 14; gendered developmental discourses 186, 203–5; poverty alleviation strategy 173–5, 230n9 Solanki, G. 244n2 South Asia Poverty Alleviation Programme 173 Squires, J. 7, 39, 207, 229 Srinivasulu, K. 230n4 Standing, H. 41 state: co-optation 136–7; feminist bureaucratic spaces 163–73; as paternal figure 197; self-representation 15; state-as-facilitator 195; state-like, and state-affiliated power 7–8 State Commission for Women 165–6, 176, 179n23 State Human Development Report 16, 18n19, 144n19 State Level Bankers Committee 169 state-level machineries: Andhra Pradesh 170–5; comparative conclusions, women’s presence in government 159–60; comparisons 175–6; conclusions 177; gendered institutional norms of the state 160–3; introduction 151–2; state feminist bureaucratic spaces 163–73; strategies, increasing women’s presence in government 158–9; Tamil Nadu 164–70; women as elected representatives 154–8; women in governance structures 152–8

256 Index Stephen, F. 46, 48n27 sterilisation 128 strategic vs. practical gender interests 244n1 strategies, increasing women’s presence in government 158–9 streenidhi 223, 230n9 stridhanam 144n27 Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP) 24, 29, 62 structural-transformative discourse 5–8, 185, 195–6, 203 subjectivities 3, 16, 17, 65, 70, 72, 97, 170, 230 subnational policy: Andhra Pradesh 136–7; anti-arrack movement 139–41; child sex ratios 125–30; comparison of 141; conclusions 141–2; contemporary electoral politics 137–9; discourses, populism and cultural nationalism 131–6; education 120–5; employment 113–20; gendered inequalities, socioeconomic development 112–13; human development 112; introduction 108–9; left-wing agrarian movements 136–7; life chances 125–30; overview 109–11, 130–1; populism 136–7; poverty reduction 111–13; profile of gender and development 109–30, 112; reproduction health 125–30; socio-political histories, state politics 130–41; state co-optation 136–7; violence against women 125–30 Subrahmanian, R. 33, 43 Subramaniam, M. 134 Subramanian, N. 134, 220 Suri, K. C. 138 ‘sustainable development’ 46n1 swadeshi 192 Swaminathan, P. 124 Swamy, A. 133–4, 207n2 Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) 167–8, 170, 175, 179n20, 203, 216 symbolic self-representation, India state 15 Tamilarasi 157 Tamil Nadu: basic profile of 12; case selection 9–13; child sex ratios 125–30, 145n29; comparative sex ratios for 127;discourses, populism and cultura nationalism 131–6; district-wise

maps of 11; diversification 207n5; economic indicators for 110; economic survey 144n20; education 124, 120–5; employment 113–20; gender and development 109–30, 112; gender-based violence in 129; gendered life chances 125–30; gender mainstreaming approach 5; GoTN 16; HDI scores 112, 142n3; human development 112; inequalities, socioeconomic development 112–13; Left women’s activism 72n2; literacy rates for 122; multilevel governance 4–5; populism and cultural nationalism 131–6; poverty 111, 142n5; protectivepaternalist discourse 196; ranking decline 143n7; regional political parties 18n15; reproductive health 125–30; sex ratios for 126, 127; SHGs 230n3; socio-political histories 130–41; state feminist bureaucratic spaces 164–6; State Human Development Report 144n19; violence against women 125–30; women candidates in state elections 154, 155; work participation rates and status of workers 113 Tamil Nadu Corporation for the Development of Women (TNCDW) 164, 166–70, 176, 207n5, 230n2, 230n4 Tamil Nadu Empowerment and Poverty Reduction Report 168 Tamil Nadu Essential Services Maintenance Act (TESMA) 187 Tamil Nadu Human Development Report 142n1 Tamilttay 132 Tawa Lama-Rewal, S. 178n4 Telangana Assembly election 178n5 Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) 138 Telangana regions 18n9, 136–7 Telangana State Commission for Women 172 Telugu Desam Party (TDP) 35, 131, 137–8, 140–1, 155, 158 Telugu language 12, 18n12 Tendulkar method, poverty estimate 142n4 thai-kulam 132 Thakur, S. G. 33, 89–90, 160, 162, 241 Thampi, B. V. 34 Think Tank, members 79–83, 99 ‘Third World’ women 15, 17n3, 26

Index  257 Thittam, Mahalir 178n14 Thomas, Prabhakar D. 178n12 Towards Equality report 33, 44, 59–60, 72n3, 78 trade union organising 119 training programmes: civil service 93–6; debates and perspectives 45–6; malebiased 48n26 transgender persons 87 ‘triangles of empowerment’ 76 True, Jacqui 40 two-child family norm 30–1 ‘tyranny of development’ 46n2

Venkataratnam, Tripurana 172 Venkatesh, Nirmala 165 Verloo, Mieke 39–40 Village Organisations (VOs) 173 violence against women and girls 60; alcohol consumption 139; attitudes towards 128–9; Dalit movement 222; external gender expertise 80; gender budgeting 87; governance feminism 7; training module 103n19; state profiles 125–30; ‘wife-beating’ 145n33 ‘Vishaka guidelines’ 34 Vision 2020 186, 190–1, 201–3, 206

UN Decade for Women 41, 59 under-representation of women 160, 177 ‘Under Western Eyes’ (Mohanty) 26 UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM): data collection 14; external gender expertise 79–81; gender budgeting 84 UN Development Programme (UNDP): data collection 14; gender training 93; national initiatives in gender mainstreaming 79 UN Fourth World Conference on Women 62 UN Human Development Reports (UNHDRs) 46n1 Union Budget Speech 84 Union Government Minister of State for Human Resource Development 178n9 United Progresive Alliance 31, 64 unpaid labour: gender budgeting 86–7; gendered inequalities 43; national planning policy 66; subnational policy in context 113–14 UPA social policy 47n14 ‘usual status’ (worker): defined 143n13

‘weaker’ sections of society 61–2 Weedon, C. 163 Weiner, M. 91 women: as catalysts and producers 65–6; compartmentalisation of issues 71; control over their sexuality 132; de facto heads of family 200–1; depiction of 71–2; developmental needs categorisation 69; as elected representatives 154–8; in governance structures 152–8; homogeneous interests 38; increasing presence in government 158–9; movement issues 48n23, 60; ‘national machinery’ for 76–9; as objects of development 69–70, 211; reservations for 38, 93, 139, 178n9; underrepresentation 160, 177; undervaluing 18n17; working in informal sectors 59 Women and Development (WAD) 25–6, 43 Women in Development (WID) 25–6, 41, 43 ‘Women’s Component Plan’ (WCP) 68, 85, 87 women’s development phase 44 Women’s Indian Association 169 women-specific interventions 68–9 Women’s Reservation Bill 154–5, 157–8 Women’s Welfare Committee 158 Women’s Welfare Department 170 ‘work’ activities 18n17 Worker; NSSO classification 143n14 working conditions 59, 66, 113, 118–20 World Bank 189, 192, 203, 223 World Bank Structural Adjustment Policies 29 World Development Report 42

Valarmathi, B. 157 Van Hollen, C. 128 Varshney, A. 47n9 ‘varun vahini’ 139 Vazhndhu Kaattuvom 168 Velugu/IKP: AP Rural Poverty Reduction Project 179n19–179n20; background 171; elimination of rural poverty 173–5; federated organizations of 230n10; gendered developmental discourses 186, 204; MaThi pledge 230n2 Velugu programme 216 ‘velvet triangles’ 76

Yew, Lee Kuan 47n8