Livelihood & Environment

Three important and interrelated fields of study viz. Resource Mobilization, Livelihood and Environment has been one of the major thrust areas of research at the Institute. Over the years, the Institute strove to understand the constraints of resource based livelihoods particularly in the context of changing ecological concerns and concomitant changes in the policy regime. Addressing and analysing social security issues of myriad livelihood sectors have remained a priority for Institute.

The study Life, Livelihood and Exclusion: The Char Dwellers in the Brahmaputra Valley of Assam is an important intervention by the Institute to study the much neglected riverine areas of Assam. In terms of demography, Assam has the second largest concentration of Muslim population in India. But in this generalised statement the diversities, schism and contradiction within this minority population group in the state is often missed. As a result, the economic and social issues confronting certain sections within the Muslims in the State are glossed aside which not only hampers their socio-economic development but also limits the development discourse in the state in particular and the Northeast region in general. This project seeks to deal with one such population group within the minorities, i.e. the char dwellers of Assam. The history of migration and settlement of this ‘people’ are over a century old. But what has transpired in the lives and livelihood of this people is seldom an agenda of research in the region. The project wants to discuss about the life and livelihood, struggle and adaptation, exclusion and nationality formation of Char dwellers in the Brahmaputra valley of Assam. Chars or the river islands of the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries have been under large scale anthropogenic intervention since the beginning of 20th century during the British rule. These people hailing from densely populated districts of erstwhile East Bengal (presently Bangladesh) were encouraged and facilitated by the British administration to migrate, settle and put under the plough the abundantly available ‘ wastelands’ of Assam. Since then it has been over a hundred years now but there is a lack of any comprehensive study on the economic and social issues the lives of these people except for a few and piece meal ones. This study proposes to fill this research gap with field level and secondary interventions.

  • Recent Studies

    Valuing Damages of Flood Induced Sand Deposition This study measures the value of damages caused by flood induced sand deposition in paddy fields of Jiadhal basin in Dhemaji district, Assam. The changing texture of soil has created a climate change like situation, with poor water retaining capacity of the soil to sustain crops even in this high rainfall area. The damage value is estimated at INR 926,000/ per village per year, large enough to ruin economy of small villages of about 70 households. Overall strategy now requires rethinking on the embankments, regulation of anthropogenic activities in the upstream and strengthening of social security provisions of the state.

    Valuing Life in a Regulated Labour Market The study makes a case that there is need of compensating the tea garden workers since there is a presence of occupational hazards emanating from pesticide applications in the tea plantations. The study is one of the very few trying to arrive at a statistical valuation of life. The study reveals that adoption of measures to minimize the health risks at work would reduce the perceived value of statistical injuries and deaths.