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Ashok Kotwal
GST Explainer: Introduction
Posted on: 16 Oct 2017
Seventeen years after its framework was formed, India’s biggest tax reform – the goods and ... read on »
Introducing a new feature: ‘Explainers’
Posted on: 16 Oct 2017
Our day-to-day lives are tossed around due to economic changes, resulting sometimes from g ... read on »
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 »

Tag: Bihar

Food processing industries: Lessons from Bihar
Barna Ganguli , Debdatta Saha
Posted on: 29 Nov 2017
Topics:   Economic Growth


For an industrially backward state like Bihar, placing food processing as the lead sector for industrial development is a natural choice from the perspective of resource advantage and interlinked sectoral development. The state government has provided targeted front-loaded capital subsidies for new units in the sector. This column reports on a primary survey of industries that assesses the strengths and drawbacks of the present policy environment and institutions.
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Improving nutritional outcomes through conditional cash transfers
Alok Kumar , Sneha Palit
Posted on: 22 Nov 2017
Topics:   Health


The Indian government plans to universalise the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana – a conditional cash transfer programme for pregnant women and lactating mothers that aims to improve maternal and child health. In this context, this column presents findings from a pilot undertaken in Bihar to test the efficacy of conditional cash transfers to improve nutritional outcomes.
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Impact of community mobilisation on land rights governance
Sanjay Kumar , Andre Nickow
Posted on: 05 Oct 2017
Topics:   Land


Homestead land rights, that is, the security a household enjoys over the plot of land on which its dwelling is built, shape livelihoods and living standards for poor and marginalised populations in rural areas. This column reports initial findings from an impact evaluation of a programme that seeks to improve homestead rights in Bihar through the formation of village-level community-based organisations.
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Women empowerment in nutrition: Role of common pool resources
Nirali Bakhla
Posted on: 15 Sep 2017

Absence of effective public service delivery and well-functioning markets makes the rural poor highly dependent on common pool resources such as forests and water resources for their livelihoods. In this note, Nirali Bakhla discusses the importance of these resources for poor women in particular.

This is the fifth post of a five-part series.

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Women empowerment in nutrition: Role of seasonality in food security
Ankita Mondal
Posted on: 14 Sep 2017
Topics:   Gender , Health


In this note, Ankita Mondal provides an account of the impact of seasonality on nutrition and livelihoods of the rural poor, especially women.

This is the fourth post of a five-part series.

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Women empowerment in nutrition: Access to healthcare
Udayan Rathore
Posted on: 14 Sep 2017
Topics:   Gender , Health


Access to healthcare is constrained by three key factors – physical access to healthcare facilities, ability to pay, and quality of care. In this note, Udayan Rathore discusses how within poor households, women and children suffer disproportionately more on account of these constraints.

This is the third post of a five-part series.

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Women empowerment in nutrition: Do women really have a say in preparing and providing food?
Sweta Bhusan
Posted on: 13 Sep 2017
Topics:   Gender , Health


Decision-making capacity of women within the household and in the community is considered to be a reflection of their empowerment. In this note, Sweta Bhusan discusses one dimension of decision-making that revolves around procuring, preparing and serving food to household members.

This is the second post of a five-part series.

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Women empowerment in nutrition: Ideas of empowerment
Sudha Narayanan
Posted on: 13 Sep 2017
Topics:   Gender , Health


As part of the ‘Women’s Empowerment in Nutrition Index’ project, a group of researchers spoke with rural women and community workers from Araria in Bihar, and Ganjam, Rayagada, Kandhmal, and Nayagarh in Odisha, on a range of issues around women’s empowerment, agriculture, and nutrition. In this note, Sudha Narayanan discusses how women in resource-constrained rural settings perceive the idea of empowerment, and the gap between their perception and the wider conceptualisation of empowerment.

This is the first post of a five-part series.

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Political decentralisation, female leadership, and health in rural Bihar
Santosh Kumar , Nishith Prakash
Posted on: 23 Aug 2017

Political decentralisation and female representation in governance are known to improve social welfare by influencing policy decisions in favour of women and children. Analysing data from rural Bihar, this column finds that having a female leader at the village council level has a strong positive association with institutional births, and child survival rates for richer households.
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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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Solar micro-grids in India: A reality check
Anant Sudarshan
Posted on: 01 Nov 2016

Much of India’s strategy to reduce the use of fossil fuels relies on a transition to solar energy. Based on a survey of potential solar micro-grid customers in Bihar, this column highlights the challenges associated with solar electricity becoming a sustainable and scalable solution, and the need for a new approach.
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MNREGA: Vision and reality
Martin Ravallion
Posted on: 16 Mar 2016
Tags:   MNREGA , Bihar


In this article, Martin Ravallion, Professor of Economics at Georgetown University, contends that the main proximate reason for MNREGA’s disappointing performance is that many people in poor areas of rural India who want work under the scheme have not been able to get it. To match the reality of MNREGA with its grand vision, poor people need to be made more aware of their rights and entitlements under the scheme, and the supply side needs to be more responsive.

Tweet using #MNREGA10yrs

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Education reform and frontline administrators: A case study from Bihar – II
Yamini Aiyar , Vincy Davis , Ambrish Dongre
Posted on: 16 Oct 2015

The frontline administration in India is infamous for corruption and patronage, indifference towards citizens, low effort and high absenteeism. This column reports findings from a year-long qualitative study on frontline education administrators in Bihar. Part 1 captured perspectives of frontline administrators on their role in the education hierarchy and how organisational design and culture shapes everyday behaviour. This part offers insights into how the frontline responds to reform efforts, and how this impacts institutionalisation and scaling up of reforms.

This is the second of a two-part series.

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Education reform and frontline administrators: A case study from Bihar - I
Yamini Aiyar , Vincy Davis , Ambrish Dongre
Posted on: 15 Oct 2015

The frontline administration in India is infamous for corruption and patronage, indifference towards citizens, low effort and high absenteeism. This column reports findings from a year-long qualitative study on frontline education administrators in Bihar. It captures perspectives of frontline administrators on their role in the education hierarchy and how organisational design and culture shape everyday behaviour.

This is the first of a two-part series.

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Solar power for street vendors? Lessons from an experiment in Bihar
David Szakonyi , Johannes Urpelainen
Posted on: 06 Feb 2015

Rapid urbanisation in developing countries is aggravating the issue of insufficient access to energy for basic needs such as lighting. This column discusses lessons from an experiment in Bihar wherein street vendors were provided solar-powered lights, the batteries of which were charged at centralised stations installed in urban marketplaces. Based on problems encountered in terms of the mode and cost of operation, it suggests that the provision of electric grid connections, with stand-alone solar lights as backup, may be a better approach.
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Education for all: Fixing classroom processes
Amarjeet Sinha
Posted on: 11 Jun 2014
Topics:   Education


While India has achieved near universal enrolment in schools, the quality of education is far from satisfactory. There is an urgent need to change classroom processes to ensure that those who go to school actually learn. In this article, former Principal Secretary, Department of Education, Government of Bihar outlines various initiatives undertaken by the state to address this issue, and makes recommendations based on their experience.
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Delivering health services through schools in rural India
Anjini Kochar
Posted on: 04 Oct 2013
Topics:   Health


Given that India has better infrastructure for schooling relative to healthcare, and near universal primary school enrolment rates, many believe that providing basic health services through schools rather than clinics may be more cost effective. This column finds that coverage achieved by health programmes administered through schools is also low, even lower than the average school attendance rates. The key constraint on coverage is shortage of healthcare personnel.
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Bihar’s malnutrition crisis and potential solutions
Ronald Abraham , Andrew Fraker
Posted on: 24 May 2013
Topics:   Corruption , Health


The prevalence of underweight children in Bihar is higher than in any country in the world, and the provision of public services to address malnutrition is poor. Based on an assessment of the government’s nutritional support to mothers and children, this column sheds light on the grim public service delivery, likely causes, and ideas to address the problem.
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