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Roots of change : front line workers and forest policy reform in West Bengal

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dc.contributor.advisor Bishwapriya Sanyal. en_US Joshi, Anuradha en_US
dc.contributor.other Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning. en_US 2005-08-23T12:00:00Z en_US 2005-08-23T12:00:00Z en_US 2000 en_US 2000 en_US
dc.description Thesis (Ph.D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2000. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references (leaves 311-321). en_US
dc.description.abstract This dissertation examines the case of forest policy reform in the Indian state of West Bengal. In 1989, the Government of West Bengal adopted a policy of involving local communities in the protection and management of state owned forest lands, generally called Joint Forest Management (JFM). Through JFM considerable progress has been made in (a) establishing joint management arrangements between communities and the Forest Department at the local level and (b) actual forest regeneration. The case is interesting from the point of view of policy reform because in contrast to prevailing stereotypes in the literature, JFM was a case of the forest bureaucracy acting in an innovative, non-self interested fashion, at some cost to its own power. Moreover, the initiative for involving people in forest management came from the Forest Department before organized demands for participation from forest communities. What is especially striking about the case is that the cooperation between the Forest Department and villagers that made JFM possible emerged and spread at a time when relations between the two had long been characterized by high levels of distrust and conflict. In the prevailing literature there are two conventional explanations for the policy change-one focuses on the leadership of a few progressive mid-level forest officers and the other on the formation of autonomous informal protection groups through community initiative. I examine these two explanations closely and find that they only partially explain the trajectory of JFM in West Bengal. The main factual omission in these explanations is the supportive role played by the Association of front-line workers of the Forest Department. I argue that because of the difficult work conditions faced by front-line forestry workers they took up the call for a forest policy that would involve local people in management and protection. These efforts were successful because their Association was closely linked to the political party in power. Support for the policy change from the grassroots, front-line workers, the political party and reformist senior foresters squeezed the opposition from reluctant foresters. This alternative explanation of front-line workers and their union helps fill the gaps in earlier accounts and illustrates how, contrary to received wisdom, public sector unions can play a progressive role in policy reform. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Anuradha Joshi. en_US
dc.format.extent 325 leaves en_US
dc.format.extent 28029211 bytes
dc.format.extent 28028969 bytes
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.subject Urban Studies and Planning. en_US
dc.title Roots of change : front line workers and forest policy reform in West Bengal en_US
dc.title.alternative Front line workers and forest policy reform in West Bengal en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US Ph.D. en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 45838710 en_US

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