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India's New Economic Policy of 1991 and its Impact on Women's Poverty and AIDS

Ushma Upadhyay

Feminist Economics, 2000, vol. 6, issue 3, pages 105-122

Abstract: This paper examines the effects of current policies intended to liberalize the Indian economy and facilitate globalization on women close to poverty. The New Economic Policy of 1991 included standard structural adjustment measures including the devaluation of the rupee, increase in interest rates, reduction in public investment and expenditure, reduction in public sector food and fertilizer subsidies, increase in imports and foreign investment in capital-intensive and high-tech activities, and abolition of the cash compensatory support for exports. These policies have resulted in increased urbanization, and fewer job opportunities for women in the formal sector. Such conditions increase poverty for women in particular. As a result, many women flow into cities looking for work in the informal sector. This may have increased numbers of women in sex work, for lack of better economic opportunity. Sufficient data are not available to confirm whether HIV infection rates have risen as a result; however, the evidence suggests there may be a relationship between macroeconomic policies and health outcomes.

Keywords: Globalization; Structural Adjustment; Commercial Sex Work; Aids Women; India (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2000
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