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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 »
A symposium on Piketty: Introduction
Posted on: 15 Jun 2015
Thomas Piketty’s book on ´Capital in the Twenty First Century’ has made waves. The f ... read on »
Emerging challenges: Economic and social
Posted on: 06 Aug 2014
To mark the second anniversary of I4I in July 2014, we invited two eminent scholars – Abhi ... read on »

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The North-South urban paradox
Chinmay Tumbe
Posted on: 22 Mar 2017
Topics:   Urbanisation


Why is northern India experiencing faster urban growth but slower urbanisation relative to the South? This column addresses this question by highlighting the interconnection between the demographic transition and urban processes in India.
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How India can reduce the size of its black economy
Parag Waknis
Posted on: 20 Mar 2017

In this article, Parag Waknis contends that if the Indian government is serious about addressing the black economy, fundamental changes in the structure and organisation of the economy and politics are required.
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Rural development programmes: Implementation challenges and solutions
Pushkar Pahwa
Posted on: 17 Mar 2017
Topics:   Political Economy


With a majority of the population living in rural areas in India, rural development is key to the development of the country. Based on his experience of working closely with the district administration in Purulia district in West Bengal, Pushkar Pahwa discusses the issues in the implementation of rural development programmes on the ground, and makes suggestions to improve their effectiveness.
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On India’s latest GDP numbers
Abhijit Banerjee
Posted on: 15 Mar 2017
Tags:   GDP


India’s latest GDP data shows that the economy grew at 7% in the previous quarter, despite demonetisation. In this article, Abhijit Banerjee discusses why the new numbers are likely to be an overestimation.
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Budget subsidies of the central government and 14 major Indian states: 1987-88 and 2011-12
Sudipto Mundle , Satadru Sikdar
Posted on: 14 Mar 2017

This column presents estimates of the flow of subsidies through the budgets of the central government and 14 major Indian states in 1987-88 and 2011-12. The estimates show that the overall level of subsidies relative to GDP has declined, as has the share of non-merit subsidies. This suggests some improvement in efficiency in this aspect of public expenditure.
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Getting India's women into the workforce: Time for a smart approach
Rohini Pande
Posted on: 10 Mar 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
Tags:  


In this article, Rohini Pande, the Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, contends that raising India’s stubbornly low rate of female labour force participation will require behavioural interventions that address social norms.

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Women and work in Asia: Insights for India’s low female labour force participation
Sher Singh Verick
Posted on: 08 Mar 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
Tags:  


In this article, Sher Singh Verick, Deputy Director, ILO’s Decent Work Team for South Asia and Country Office for India, shows how India compares with other countries in Asia as well as with other developing regions in the world, in terms of the level and trend of female labour force participation.

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Declining female labour force participation in rural India: The demand side
Sonalde Desai
Posted on: 07 Mar 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
Tags:  


National Sample Survey data shows a decline in rural women’s workforce participation between 2004-05 and 2011-12. Rising rural incomes and women’s education over the same period have been taken as evidence of supply-side factors for the decline in participation. Analysing data from the India Human Development Surveys, this column suggests that the explanation may instead be a lack of demand for female labour.

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Declining female labour force participation in rural India: The supply side
Farzana Afridi , Taryn Dinkelman , Kanika Mahajan
Posted on: 05 Mar 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
Tags:  


Analysis of National Sample Survey data shows that low rates of female labour force participation in India are concentrated among married women in rural areas. This column suggests that this is partly because women with medium levels of education choose to spend more time on child care and domestic work.

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What explains the low and stagnating female labour force participation in India?
Stephan Klasen
Posted on: 03 Mar 2017
Topics:   Jobs , Gender
Tags:  


In this article, Stephan Klasen gives an overview of the existing evidence on the supply- and demand-side drivers of female labour force participation in India.

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Introduction to e-Symposium: Women and work in India
Farzana Afridi
Posted on: 03 Mar 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
Tags:  


Female labour force participation in India has been low and stagnant over the past few decades. I4I Editor Farzana Afridi is hosting an e-symposium to examine research that explores the reasons for this alarming trend and to discuss policies and programmes that can be adopted to bring gender equity to the labour market.

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Kenneth Arrow, 1921-2017
Debraj Ray
Posted on: 02 Mar 2017
Topics:   Economic Thought
Tags:  


In a tribute to Kenneth Arrow, Debraj Ray, Professor of Economics at NYU, outlines the contributions of the late Nobel laureate to economic thought.
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Chasing one’s own tail: Dealing with tax non-compliance
Sangram Gaikwad , Kailash Pundlik Gaikwad
Posted on: 01 Mar 2017

A key, stated objective of the recent denotification of high-denomination currency notes was to eliminate black money arising from tax evasion, and to expand the tax net. In this article, Sangram Gaikwad and Kailash Gaikwad, officers of the Indian Revenue Service, outline the challenges faced by the tax administration in dealing with rampant evasion in direct taxation, and what can be done to address the issue.
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Common tongue? How mother tongue instruction influences education
Tarun Jain , Revathy Suryanarayana
Posted on: 27 Feb 2017
Topics:   Education


The recently released draft of the National Education Policy stresses the importance of education in the mother tongue, especially in the formative years at school. This column seeks to uncover the link between vernacular language use in schools and educational achievement using data from large-scale historical events in South India. It finds that mother-tongue instruction led to persistent increases in educational achievement in primary and secondary schooling.
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Clearing the air
Naini Jayaseelan
Posted on: 23 Feb 2017
Topics:   Environment
Tags:   pollution


In this article, Naini Jayaseelan, former Secretary, Environment, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, discusses the pitfalls of basing policies to curb air pollution on comparisons of air quality indices across countries or cities.
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The battle for backwardness
Rohini Somanathan
Posted on: 22 Feb 2017

Ahead of the assembly elections in Punjab, the state government granted ‘Other Backward Classes’ status to Rajput Sikhs. In this article, Rohini Somanathan contends that caste reservations first emerged to promote equal treatment in a society where untouchability was widely practised, but have now degenerated into a scramble for privilege and a catalyst for communal conflict.
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Demand for environmental quality information and household response to information: Evidence from Bihar
Prabhat Barnwal , Chander Kumar Singh , Alexander van Geen , Jan von der Goltz
Posted on: 20 Feb 2017
Topics:   Environment , Health


Groundwater contaminated with arsenic is a serious public health threat in rural India. This column presents results from a field experiment conducted in Bihar to assess the demand for fee-based testing of wells for arsenic, and to study the behavioural responses of households to well-specific arsenic information.
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Income inequality in a globalising world
Miguel Niño-Zarazúa , Laurence Roope , Finn Tarp
Posted on: 17 Feb 2017

Since the turn of the century, income inequality has risen to be among the most prominent policy issues of our time. This column looks at inequality trends in recent decades. While relative global inequality has fallen, insufficient economic convergence, together with substantial growth in per capita incomes, has resulted in increased absolute inequality since the mid-1970s. The inclusivity aspect of growth is now more imperative than ever.
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The tale and maths of universal basic income
Jean Drèze
Posted on: 15 Feb 2017

Commenting on the discussion on universal basic income in the recently released Economic Survey, Jean Drèze argues that UBI is an idea whose time will come, but that time is still quite distant as far as India is concerned.

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Reviving the informal sector from the throes of demonetisation
Kaushik Bhattacharya , Siddhartha Mitra , Sarmistha Pal , Bibhas Saha
Posted on: 13 Feb 2017

While recent measures announced by the government indicate some awareness of the hardships inflicted on the informal sector by the note ban, more needs to be done. In this article, Bhattacharya, Mitra, Pal and Saha summarise the emerging evidence on the significant adverse impact of demonetisation on the informal sector, and suggest policy measures to ensure a steady recovery.
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Inequality in the typical country in the last 25 years
Jose Cuesta , Christoph Lakner , Mario Negre , Ani Silwal
Posted on: 10 Feb 2017
Tags:  


While inequality has received a great deal of attention in the public debate in recent times, the poor quality of data available on this issue is a constraint. Based on a recently-compiled database of the World Bank, this column presents the trend for within-country inequality for the average country.
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Deconstructing the global wave of right-wing populism
Pranab Bardhan
Posted on: 08 Feb 2017

At present, there seems to be palpable reaction against ideas of tolerance, minority rights, freedom of expression, and respect for individual autonomy and dignity, in many parts of the world. In this article, Pranab Bardhan contends that global traits of the populist right suggest how liberals can take it on.
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Union Budget 2017-18: No amends for the sins of demonetisation
Siddharth Varadarajan
Posted on: 06 Feb 2017

Commenting on India’s Union Budget 2017-18, Siddharth Varadarajan, a Founding Editor of The Wire, contends that dealing with the aftereffects of demonetisation requires a fiscal and monetary boost, but the government appears to be in no mood to deliver it. In his view, this is because the fiscal cushion that demonetisation was supposed to provide never materialised.
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Has regulatory intervention been effective in maintaining stability of Indian banks?
Mostak Ahamed , Sushanta Mallick
Posted on: 06 Feb 2017
Topics:   Finance


To address the challenges that Indian corporates faced in the early 2000s in meeting their debt-servicing obligations to banks/financial institutions, RBI introduced a corporate debt restructuring programme in 2002. This column finds that in the absence of a strong legal system, this out-of-court regulatory mechanism has indeed helped Indian banks remain stable, as there has been no bank failure in India unlike in other countries.
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India’s Union Budget 2017-18: Status quo for the social sector
Yamini Aiyar
Posted on: 03 Feb 2017

On 1 February, The Finance Minister of India presented the Union Budget 2017-18. In this article, Yamini Aiyar, Director of Accountability Initiative, contends that for social policy, the Budget suggests more continuity than radical change in India’s welfare architecture. However, it lacks a coherent vision for health and education.
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How agricultural debt waiver impacts beneficiary households
Mrinal Mishra
Posted on: 02 Feb 2017
Topics:   Finance , Agriculture


How a large-scale and unanticipated debt-relief programme impacts beneficiary households is a question that has not been clearly answered by the existing literature. This column analyses the impact of India’s Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme of 2008. It finds that beneficiary households increase precautionary savings by increasing investment in jewellery as they anticipate higher credit constraints in the post-waiver period. Consumption levels remain unaffected.
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An economist’s view on recent domestic and world events
Dilip Mookherjee
Posted on: 31 Jan 2017

Dilip Mookherjee spoke to Hindu Business Line at length on a variety of issues including demonetisation, the upcoming Budget, and the Trump Presidency’s impact on the world economy.
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How to go about chasing black money
Indira Rajaraman
Posted on: 30 Jan 2017

In the context of demonetisation, Indira Rajaraman argues that the focus of any sustainable reform of the taxation structure must be on reducing flows of tax evasion, not going after existing caches of black money.
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Land acquisition: Need for a shift in discourse?
Dhanmanjiri Sathe
Posted on: 25 Jan 2017

Empirical evidence increasingly shows that farmers are willing to have their land acquired if the price-compensation package is acceptable. Given this trend, Dhanmanjiri Sathe argues that the discourse on land acquisition has been stagnant for a long time and needs to be changed.
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Do firms in India perceive themselves to be e-ready?
Bornali Bhandari , Ajaya Kumar Sahu
Posted on: 24 Jan 2017
Topics:   Infrastructure
Tags:   IT


Government of India’s ‘Digital India’ programme seeks to transform the country into a digitally-empowered society and knowledge economy. This column presents region-wise findings of a perception-based survey of the e-readiness of firms. While firms in west India seem to be more e-ready than those in other regions, there is tremendous scope across all firms to increase the use of information and communications technology in business activities to improve productivity.
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Decoding universal basic income for India
Jean Drèze
Posted on: 20 Jan 2017

In this article, Jean Drèze argues that while universal basic income is a good idea in principle, as far as India today is concerned, it sounds like premature articulation. It could also become a Trojan horse for the dismantling of hard-won entitlements of the underprivileged.

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Rural electrification in India: Focus on service quality
Karthik Ganesan , Abhishek Jain , Johannes Urpelainen
Posted on: 18 Jan 2017
Topics:   Infrastructure
Tags:   electricity


India has set an ambitious goal of achieving high-quality electricity supply for all households by 2019, and impressive progress has been made in increasing the number of household electricity connections. However, this column finds that the quality of electricity service to rural households is dismal and this is considered to be a major problem by rural households. There is a need for rationalising rural electricity tariffs to ensure cost recovery in exchange of improved service quality.
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