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Ashok Kotwal
On demonetisation
Posted on: 23 Dec 2016
On the evening of 8 November, the Prime Minister announced on national television that Rs. ... read on »
Introduction to e-Symposium: The GDP conundrum
Posted on: 16 Nov 2016
Ever since India’s Central Statistical Organisation came out with the new GDP series with ... read on »
Introduction to e-Symposium: The idea of a universal basic income in the Indian context
Posted on: 26 Sep 2016
The idea of an unconditional basic income given to all citizens by the State, has caught o ... read on »
Debate: The Aadhaar Bill
Posted on: 02 May 2016
In a debate on the Aadhaar Bill, commentators from academia and civil society will ... read on »

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Are farm loan waivers really so bad?
Pronab Sen
Posted on: 23 Jun 2017

Recent announcements by various state governments of their intent to waive farm loans to varying extents have been strongly criticised by the media and other commentators. In this article, Dr Pronab Sen examines the validity of the claims on which this opposition is based.
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Economic benefits of transportation infrastructure: Historical evidence from India and America
Dave Donaldson
Posted on: 21 Jun 2017
Tags:   transport , US


Significant public finance is devoted to transportation infrastructure, the economic benefits of which are often unclear. This column analyses two major railroad projects in India and US in the 19th century. It finds that the economic gains from transportation infrastructure can be substantial, and the true economic impact may not be known until years after a project is completed.
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Using drones for social sector research
Outline India
Posted on: 19 Jun 2017

While drones have historically been used in military operations, their application for peaceful purposes has risen steeply in recent years. In this note, representatives from Outline India - a research and development consultancy firm - discuss their efforts to integrate drones in social sector research to make data analysis more evidence-based, visualise policy performance, and produce actionable research materials to aid public policy making and monitoring.
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Understanding livelihood resilience in Bihar
Surya Bhushan , K. V. Raju
Posted on: 16 Jun 2017
Topics:   Finance
Tags:   Bihar


This column develops a livelihood resilience index including three key components – bio-physical, economic, and social resources – and estimates the index for districts in the state of Bihar.
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The demographic impact of extended paid maternity leave in Bangladesh
Salma Ahmed
Posted on: 14 Jun 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs


In March 2017, Indian Parliament passed the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 extending paid maternity leave to 26 weeks. This column analyses the impact of extension of paid maternity leave in Bangladesh in 2006 and 2010, on infant mortality, female labour force participation, and fertility rates.
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Impact of disinvestment policy on public sector enterprises in India
Lata Gangadharan , Tarun Jain , Pushkar Maitra , Joseph Vecci
Posted on: 12 Jun 2017
Topics:   Political Economy


To address operational inefficiencies in PSEs without comprising on their social objectives, disinvestment policy is often used. However, there are concerns regarding the extent of impact on firm performance since disinvestment may involve transfer of ownership but not control. Analysing data from 1991-2010 on all manufacturing PSEs owned by the central government, this column shows that the average annual efficiency score of disinvested enterprises rose by almost 20%.
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Zika virus: Is it a potential threat to India?
Kaushik Bharati
Posted on: 09 Jun 2017
Topics:   Health


The WHO recently reported the first three laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika virus disease in India – all in the state of Gujarat. In this article, public health consultant Kaushik Bharati discusses the potential threat of the vector-borne disease to the country, and what needs to be done.
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Bank financing of stressed firms
Rajeswari Sengupta , Anjali Sharma
Posted on: 07 Jun 2017
Topics:   Finance


There is anecdotal evidence that banks in India have been extending credit to highly distressed firms. By delaying recognition of bad loans, banks may improve their own profitability in the short run, but in the long run, this has only exacerbated the non-performing asset crisis in the banking sector. This column provides preliminary empirical evidence that banks have indeed been throwing good money after bad.
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Juvenile delinquency and income disparity across Indian states
Nabamita Dutta , Dipparna Jana , Saibal Kar
Posted on: 05 Jun 2017
Topics:   Crime


The gravity and frequency of juvenile crime incidents in recent years point towards the urgent need for rigorous analysis of the issue. Based on data from Indian states, this column shows that juvenile crime tends to rise with rise in per-capita income – but at a diminishing rate. Further, higher levels of adult crime enhance the positive impact of per capita income on juvenile crime rates.
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The development disconnect: MNREGA in Bihar’s Jamui district
Amrita Dhiman
Posted on: 02 Jun 2017
Topics:   Corruption , Jobs


In this note, Amrita Dhiman describes her team’s visit to Jamui district in Bihar – the district that is supposed to have generated the highest number of person-days under MNREGA in its division in 2015-16. While almost all villagers they met had MNREGA cards, there was no MNREGA work to be seen, which was paradoxical given the obvious scope of work in the area.
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Aadhaar: It’s not black and white
Outline India
Posted on: 31 May 2017
Topics:   Infrastructure


Amidst the emerging privacy concerns surrounding the success of Aadhaar and its integration in our day-to-day lives, Outline India conducted a survey in Delhi to understand people's reception of Aadhaar card, its perceived impact on their lives, and their thoughts on making the scheme mandatory to access government services and schemes.
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How the American dream led to India’s IT boom
Gaurav Khanna , Nicolas Morales
Posted on: 29 May 2017

In the context of the ongoing global debate on migration policies, this column shows that the H-1B visa programme of the US had a powerful impact on the US IT sector, and played a prominent role in spreading the boom to India.
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Sacrificing consumption to mitigate catastrophic risks
Timothy Besley , Avinash Dixit
Posted on: 26 May 2017
Topics:   Environment


Many scientists agree that the probability of a rare environmental disaster increases as the stock of greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere. This column asks how much consumption current generations should be willing to sacrifice to reduce the risk of such a future catastrophe. If there were a way of immediately eliminating the risk of all future catastrophes, society should be willing to sacrifice 16% of its consumption in perpetuity to achieve this. A sacrifice of 5.8% of annual consumption could bring about a 30% reduction in emissions, in line with the reductions contemplated in agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol.
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The dangers that lie beneath India’s IT layoffs
Maitreesh Ghatak
Posted on: 24 May 2017
Topics:   Jobs


The ongoing layoffs in India’s IT sector are at a scale that has not been seen since the global financial crisis of 2008. In this article, Maitreesh Ghatak, Professor of Economics at LSE, contends that while this is a major shock, the country’s demographic dividend, and global trends such as automation, demand an economic strategy that prioritises job creation more broadly.
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Hazards of farm loan waivers
Tanika Chakraborty , Aarti Gupta
Posted on: 23 May 2017

In theory, debt waivers are expected to induce the optimal level of effort from the debtor for loan repayment. However, repeated waivers may distort household expectations about credit contract enforcements in the future. This column analyses the effect of Uttar Pradesh’s state-level debt waiver programme – announced right after India’s nationwide Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme – on consumption and investment behaviour of households.
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A proposal for universal basic services
Himanshu
Posted on: 21 May 2017

In the context of the ongoing debate on the idea of a universal basic income for India, Prof. Himanshu of Jawaharlal Nehru University argues that we first need to ensure that all citizens have access to basic services such as health and education, provided by the government.

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The state of the economy and mass perception
Ashwini Kulkarni
Posted on: 19 May 2017

In this article, Ashwini Kulkarni of NGO Pragati Abhiyan contends that the media should tap into the knowledge of practitioners that are familiar with the ground realities of social sector schemes – rather than those outside the sector - with regard to budget-related and other discussions on the sector. This will help provide the masses with a real picture of the developmental problems plaguing the economy.
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Strategy for dealing with the banking crisis
Ajay Shah
Posted on: 17 May 2017
Topics:   Finance
Tags:   banking


To deal with India’s banking crisis, Prof. Ajay Shah of NIPFP recommends a two-pronged strategy – more financing for firms, and RBI reforms.
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Price risk and poverty
Lucie Gadenne , Sam Norris , Monica Singhal , Sandip Sukhtankar
Posted on: 15 May 2017

There is an ongoing policy debate in India on whether grain entitlements under PDS should be converted into cash transfers. This column shows that in the face of high price variability, in-kind transfers such as the PDS can be superior to cash transfers as they could significantly reduce the strength of the relationship between prices and caloric intake, hence, shielding households from price risk.
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