Vijayeta Singh, a PhD candidate in the Law and Public Policy Program, has been awarded the Junior Research Fellowship by the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) to conduct field research for her dissertation on coal mining induced displacement in Jharkhand, India.
Every year AIIS awards fellowships through a very competitive process to doctoral candidates in the U.S. who are pursuing their dissertation research in India. AIIS fellows are provided formal affiliation with Indian universities and supervisors during their field work in India, as well as a monthly stipend to help them cover field expenses.
Singh’s research aims to explain the impacts of local opposition on the viability of large-scale energy projects in India, particularly those that are accompanied by coal mining and large-scale displacement of local people. She is using a multi-method case study approach to provide useful insights on the relationships between national and state governments, project developers, and project affected people in the design and implementation of large-scale energy projects.
The state of the art aspect of her topic of research provides useful insight into various forms of local resistance and policy gaps that might be contributing to the slowing down of large projects. However, according to Singh, studies do not provide enough information about how local context and persisting patterns of caste and class shape the nature of struggles around land acquisitions in India.
“My research will fill this gap by providing the data needed to develop a theoretical framework that can help understand barriers to implementing energy megaprojects, by emphasizing the character of local resistance from the affected populations; planning and execution shortcomings and limitations of the government; and implementation challenges of the developers,” said Singh, who joined the PhD in Law and Public Policy Program in 2013.