Conflicts Leave a Trail of Poverty and Malnutrition: Evidences from Assam
It is immensely important to read and review the processes and conditions those govern the courses of human development in the environment human being live (Bronfenbrenner in The ecology of human development: experiments by nature and design. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1979). Along with the family, society and school environment, instability and unpredictability caused to the family by catastrophes in livelihood avenues are the most destructive force to children’s development. This chapter tries to capture the environment of children in three relatively backward and conflict prone districts of Assam—Darrang, Udalguri and Baska. Children in a country like India are affected by certain indirect factors such as poor governance, corruption and poor implementation of rule of law (prime determinants of conflicts!). On the other hand, there are direct impacts from—ethnic conflicts, violent crimes and sexual assault on women and children—all cause unpredictability and uncertainties at home and in the local economy even leading to loss of livelihood. The final outcomes are dehumanisation of people trapped in unemployment and poverty, lack of schools (reasons for dropouts are mostly economic) and lack of access to health care services (poor public provisioning). All are significant determinants, which affect well-being in the families. Assessments reveal that in the study areas more than 50% of the children are chronically malnourished (height for age SD score), much higher than state (21%) and country average (24%, NFHS-3 data). In this context, in addition to assessment of the social and economic environment, need is also to construct indicators of insecurities. Considering that conflicts induce setback to the day to day life and development initiatives, it is important to read, assess, rectify and replace the inherent or existing regulatory factors by the society and polity (Aglietta in Economy and Society 19(2): 153–216, 1975). The issue is that to what extent these are possible to break the vicious cycle.
KeywordsPoverty Malnutrition Livelihood Regulation
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