Problem analysis/contextual background
In the project applications for the second phases of the Extension Programmes and the DLDP and the third phase of CEP the wider situation in which the projects exist, is described. Based on the changes in the Indian economy and the rise in fundamentalism you foresee for the rural poor a.o. extra economic coercion, a reduction in basic services, a severe credit squeeze, and a degradation of NGDO interventions to new, sectoral forms of charity. The necessary answers would be the promotion of entrepreneurship, skill training for youth, the creation of a safety net, as well as changes in lifestyles and in concepts like leadership, strength and power, as to create real autonomy and democracy based on “better persons”. Although we realise that with this brief summary we don’t do justice to the complex analysis and resulting strategy for your work, we wonder whether the consequences for the rural poor will be that drastic and fast. Has the situation of the rural poor since 1991 really changed that dramatically — compared to the trends in the 70’s and 80’s — that the concept of ‘time’ has got a different meaning and even the most basic amenities will no longer be citizen rights? Is the newly emerging political economy not ‘another step’ in a process which was already going on for a longer period, and does it legitimate radical changes as completely betting on entrepreneurship, attacking the joint family, and training many youth, without full awareness of the implications of these measures? Do you really consider the New Economic Policy as a watershed, or is it primarily useful as a didactical concept which gives a new impetus to educating the coolies. In other words, are the dimensions of the emerging new order sufficiently clear to justify such radical changes in approach?