Areas of Interest & Expertise
- Rural Livelihoods
- Land Question
- Local Democracy
- Civil Society
- Alternative Development
Ashok Sircar leads the Centre for Local Democracy.
He has been with Azim Premji University from 2011, and for the last five years, had headed the School of Development.
He teaches a course on Political Economy of Land and Development in India, and Local Democracy and Development in India. He also earlier taught a course on Women and Work in India. Ashok has worked in the Electronics industry for 15 years producing very sophisticated electronic components for space and military applications, followed by a stint in the NGO sector working for another 12 years, in grassroot to international organisations, and the last 10 years in academia.
Despite efforts by some state governments and civil society organisations (CSO), the practice of local democracy in India has not been impressive. The Union government and the State governments, despite the promise of the Constitution, have more often than not treated the Panchayati Raj Institutions as their agencies rather than as local governments. Much remains to be done before the promise of the Constitution is fulfilled.
The Civil Society Organizations of India, as some outstanding examples have shown in the past, can play a crucial role to develop a vibrant local democracy in the country. Fortunately, there are many CSOs which are willing to devote themselves to the cause, but do not have the domain knowledge to work on local democracy issues. The course has been designed to equip them with knowledge and understanding of the key issues related to local democracy.
Connecting technical competencies in the development sector with a vision of a desired future.
The 6 day course titled ‘Rethinking Development’ provides a landscape view of the various new ways of development thinking and practice are gaining ground in India.
Publications and Writings
Chapter on Policies and Programmes on Livelihoods in State of India’s Livelihoods Report in 2020, 2018, 2016, 2015, 2014 published by Sage and Oxford.
Policy Brief on Women’s Land Rights, Oxfam India, 2015 Reflections on Livelihoods Policies: A chapter in SOIL Report in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 (forthcoming) published by Sage (2011, 2012, 2013) and Oxford (2014)
What is preventing Indian women from getting their land rights: A study of implementation of Hindu Succession Act amendment 2005: published in Proceedings of the World Bank Land & Poverty Conference 2014.
Right to Public Services Laws: EPW, May 5th, 2012.
Women transforming Indian Agriculture: A collection of case studies from Kudumboshree-Kerala and IKP-Andhra Pradesh-2013: Published by Landesa India.