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New Advisor of IPI
Please welcome Professor Anil Gupta of IIM, Ahmedabad as Advisor of IPI.
He has been very active on many fronts as can be seen from his home
I hope we will be able to get him to spare his valuable time at the time
of finalization of the manifesto which contains issues of great
relevance to the work he is doing, and on which he possesses special
In particular, he is keenly involved with working out appropriate
technologies for rural folk. An indication of the work he is doing can
be seen from the following workshop he is organizing in collaboration
with UNSECO on March 11-13, 1999.
I know that the Centre for Cooperative Development, LBSNAA, is fully
represented on this list as well as others who might wish to
participate in the workshop. Please fill out the appplication form which
is found at
For those who like summaries, let me cut and paste some of the key
functions of this workshop [note the search for the new paradigm on the
pattern of a civil society, innovation and entrepreneurship at the
grassroots level, etc.]
The persistence of poverty, deprivation and continued degradation of
natural resources and bio-diversity in most developing countries has
necessitated a fresh look at rural development strategies. The roles of
the state, the markets and civil society including voluntary and
community organizations in redefining the relationships between
resources, risks and skills need to be reappraised. The decline of
public investments due to structural adjustment programs has further
underlined the need for making a paradigmatic shift in rural development
policies, programs and institutional arrangements.
The challenge therefore is to develop capacity among development
planners to (a ) identify key criteria and indicators of sustainability
from socio-economic, environmental and gender perspectives, (b) use
various methodologies to identify stake holder perspectives and the
divergence in perceptions, (c ) to provide a platform for articulation
of and negotiation around divergent perspectives to generate creative
and innovative models, and (d) to empower local communities and creative
individuals to monitor and control the external interventions so that
these blend with local ecological ethics, values and communitarian
The conflict around natural resources has intensified with the increase
in scarcity of natural resources, decline of common property
institutions, indifference towards local knowledge and greater
appropriation of local spaces for articulation and negotiation by state
and market. The conventional literature on participatory resource
management and rural development has stressed the need for invoking
people's involvement in plans and programs designed by outsiders. It is
seldom that the reverse happens, that is, the outsiders participating in
the vision and perspectives evolved by people on their own through local
dialectics and historical dynamics.
Justification for the workshop: Turning the tide:
Ten challenges before rural development planners, managers and policy
makers. The challenges emerging from a knowledge intensive approach to
rural development rest on a basic premise. The poor people lack material
resources but not the knowledge resource. Development policies can be
successful in bringing about a paradigmatic shift only when they build
upon the resource in which poor people are rich, that is, their
1) How to ensure that people struggling with similar problems in
different parts of the world get to know the solutions developed by
creative and innovative individuals in other parts .
2) How to link excellence in formal and informal science so that
value can be added to the innovations leading to conservation of
resources and strengthening of livelihood support systems and options.
3) How to mould public policies for credit, infrastructure,
education and other areas so that the little innovations can be scaled
up and become self-sustaining enterprises.
4) How to make niche markets accessible for the decentralized
production and consumption by communities in different parts of the
world for organic products, craft and other farm and non-farm products.
How to provide support for market research, consumer surveys, database
development and brokerage function linking innovations, institutions,
enterprises and investments.
5) How to build upon and augment the concern and empathy that the
poor people have in larger measure for the non-human sentient beings
and other parts of nature.
6) How to generate or build upon self designed institutional
innovations which make it possible for people to take control of the
resources for sustainable livelihoods.
7) How to transform learning systems, strategies and processes in
public, private and voluntary institutions at national and
international level so that civil society initiatives and potential for
sustainable rural development is harnessed appropriately.
8) How to institutionalise multi level, multi media and multi node
knowledge networks so that criteria and indicators of sustainability are
exchanged, modified and blended through people to people learning. These
networks should also enable generation of countervailing power of
informal knowledge systems so that discourse among different knowledge
systems and actors is not dominated by stronger, more organized and
9) How to enable civil society in taking responsibility for shaping
values and generating accountability for a fair and equitable resource
management situation overcoming poverty and degradation.
10) How to mobilize and sensitize youth in or out of education
system to recognize the nature of embedded injustice in various existing
institutions so that non-violent Gandhian ways can emerge for correcting
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