Ashok Kotwal
Emerging challenges: Economic and social
Posted on: 06 Aug 2014
The recent parliamentary election may well turn out to be a significant event in Indi ... read on »
The challenge of fulfilling aspirations
Posted on: 15 Jul 2014
The recent parliamentary election may turn out to be a watershed moment in Indian his ... read on »
I4I turns 1!
Posted on: 06 Aug 2013
It has been a year since the voice of ‘Ideas for India’ was first heard. Our mission was t ... read on »


How gender inclusive is MNREGA in practice?
Upasak Das
Posted on: 21 Nov 2014

MNREGA mandates that a third of all workers under the programme should be women. But how gender inclusive has the implementation of the Act been? This column uses nationally representative data to analyse participation of women in MNREGA. It finds that while the programme has performed well overall in terms of providing opportunities to women, there is significant variation across states and sub-populations.
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The Planning Commission and federal transfers
Antra Bhatt Hakhu
Posted on: 20 Nov 2014

A key function of the Planning Commission was to allocate financial assistance from the centre to the states in support of the five-year plan. In view of the impending replacement of the Planning Commission, Antra Bhatt Hakhu analyses the nature of federal transfers – both by the Planning Commission and the Finance Commission – during 1990-2010 to derive lessons for the body that will be allocating plan transfers going forward.
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Politics and MNREGA: A limited Link in Andhra Pradesh
Christopher B. Barrett , Yanyan Liu , Sudha Narayanan , Megan Sheahan
Posted on: 19 Nov 2014

The Ministry of Rural Development claims that MNREGA needs to be changed in order to reduce politics and corruption in the scheme. One of the studies cited by the Ministry is an analysis of the extent of political manipulation of MNREGA funds in Andhra Pradesh. In this column, the authors of the study assert that while politics may influence programme expenditure in some places and to a small extent, this is not universally true and does not undermine the effective targeting and good work of the scheme at large.
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Challenges and priorities for financial sector reform in India
K.P. Krishnan , Nirvikar Singh
Posted on: 16 Nov 2014

I4I Editor Nirvikar Singh (Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz) interviews K.P. Krishnan (Former Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance) on the central government’s plans and priorities for financial sector reform, and associated challenges. Dr Krishnan provides his perspective on issues including the regulatory architecture, financial inclusion initiatives, strengthening the banking system, and infrastructure financing.
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MNREGA's swan song: Not everyone's idea of 'achche din'
Amitava Gupta
Posted on: 14 Nov 2014
Tags:   MNREGA

Over the last few months, the central government announced a set of measures to restrict MNREGA. The rationale essentially revolves around corruption in the scheme and lack of economic viability. In this article, Amitava Gupta refutes this justification and argues that the attack on MNREGA is a attack on the rights of the poor to a fair share in the nation’s prosperity.
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(Mis)Leading attack on MNREGA
Dilip Abreu , Pranab Bardhan , Maitreesh Ghatak , Ashok Kotwal , Dilip Mookherjee , Debraj Ray
Posted on: 12 Nov 2014
Tags:   MNREGA

Bhagwati and Panagariya have argued for phasing out MNREGA in favour of cash transfers. In this article, Abreu et al. contend that the argument is based on inflating the costs of the programme and deflating the benefits. While they do not claim that all is well with MNREGA, they believe it needs better governance, not slow suffocation.
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Financing sanitation
Dinesh Mehta , Meera Mehta
Posted on: 11 Nov 2014
Topics:   Health

The Government of India has set a rather ambitious goal of eliminating open defecation by 2019. For urban areas, this implies providing toilets to about 22 million households. This column contends that it is possible to achieve this goal if the limited public funds are leveraged to facilitate innovative financing mechanisms, through a demand-led scheme for toilets.
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Slow and steady: Lessons from MNREGA
Anindita Adhikari , Inayat Sabhikhi
Posted on: 10 Nov 2014
Topics:   Political Economy

As the new government in India is considering changes to MNREGA, it is timely to reflect on its implementation trajectory so far. In this note, Adhikari and Sabhikhi discuss five aspects of programme delivery under MNREGA pertaining to management information systems, financial inclusion, fund management, state capacity and participatory planning. In their view, the programme has made massive strides in strengthening public service delivery.
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Mega-trading blocs: Where does India stand?
Sharmila Kantha
Posted on: 07 Nov 2014
Topics:   Trade
Tags:   WTO

Emerging multilateral trading agreements, resulting in mega-trading blocs, seem to be replacing global negotiations through the WTO. In this article, Sharmila Kantha assesses the potential impact of these trading agreements on India, and contends that Indian policymakers and businesses would need to factor them into their future plans.
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Building a new house, returning to an original foundation
Jessica Seddon , T. N. Srinivasan
Posted on: 05 Nov 2014

Most commentators in the Planning Commission debate believe that the new body should be some form of national think-tank focusing on the technical function of formulating an economy-wide strategic vision. In this article, Seddon and Srinivasan argue that the choice of strategic vision is political as well as technical, and make a case for a strengthened Inter-State Council to succeed the Commission and perform both roles.
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