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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 »

Tag: Indian states

Health policy and economic growth in India
Nalini Gulati , Nidhiya Menon
Posted on: 27 Jul 2017

A new synthesis paper (Menon 2017) produced by the International Growth Centre brings together evidence from various health-related IGC studies on India undertaken over the past seven years, to draw implications for health policy. At a workshop organised by IGC in collaboration with Ideas for India and Indian Statistical Institute, Srinath Reddy (Public Health Foundation of India), Alok Kumar (NITI Aayog), and Karthik Muralidharan (University of California, San Diego) discussed key policy lessons emerging from research, and areas where further work is required.
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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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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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Governance performance of Indian states: 2001-02 and 2011-12
Samik Chowdhury , Sudipto Mundle , Satadru Sikdar
Posted on: 13 Dec 2016
Topics:   Political Economy


Defining governance as service delivery, this column develops a measure of the quality of governance – also adjusting for the impact of the level of development - and provides a ranking of major Indian states. The analysis suggests that there are two distinct paths of development in the less- and more-developed states.
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Land acquisition law: The buck stops with the states
Dhanmanjiri Sathe
Posted on: 07 Dec 2016

Some believe that by encouraging states to enact their own versions of the land acquisition law, the central government is diluting the law. In this article, Dhanmanjiri Sathe, Professor of Economics at Savitribai Phule Pune University, argues that states have much more experience and expertise in land acquisition. Given the diversity in development across states, it is only prudent that the law be customised to suit local requirements.
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Minimum wage legislation for domestic workers: Does it work?
Rohan Gudibande , Arun Jacob
Posted on: 28 Nov 2016
Topics:   Jobs


Between 2005 and 2009, for the first time, seven Indian states notified minimum wages for domestic workers. This column evaluates the impact of the legislation in terms of real wages and employment opportunities for domestic workers in four of these states. It finds that notifying minimum wages by itself has limited impact; there is a need for strong and transparent monitoring mechanisms.
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Does good governance reduce foodgrain diversion in PDS?
Sohini Paul
Posted on: 24 Jul 2016

In 2011-12, various states undertook measures to curb leakages of foodgrains from the Public Distribution System. Some of the pioneer states also implemented the National Food Security Act - a rights-based approach to food security - in 2013. Against the backdrop of these reforms, this column analyses whether there is any marked difference in the leakage pattern of foodgrains across states.
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Food Security Act: How are India’s poorest states faring?
Jean Drèze , Prankur Gupta , Reetika Khera , Isabel Pimenta
Posted on: 29 Jun 2016

The National Food Security Act was passed in 2013. This column reports findings from a recent survey on the status of the Act in six of India’s poorest states. Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal are doing quite well - the PDS is in good shape and most people are covered; however, Bihar and Jharkhand are yet to complete essential PDS reforms.
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Quality of governance and welfare outcomes
Salma Ahmed , Ranjan Ray
Posted on: 27 Apr 2016
Topics:   Political Economy


As the MDGs gave way to the SDGs, considerable attention has been focussed on movements in key welfare indicators for women and children in the past decade. In this context, this column compares India with Bangladesh, and also looks at the relative performance of Indian states. Further, it provides evidence on the strength of association between the quality of governance and welfare outcomes in India.
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MNREGA and its assets
Sudha Narayanan
Posted on: 15 Mar 2016

Critics of MNREGA believe that the programme is a dole to dig a hole and hence, a huge waste of resources and that it would be better to simply provide cash. In this article, Sudha Narayanan, Associate Professor at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, argues that evidence from various states on the quality of MNREGA assets suggests that this ‘dole-hole’ view of is largely unfounded.

Tweet using #MNREGA10yrs

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Access to energy in rural India: A survey of six states
Chao-yo Cheng , Abhishek Jain , Johannes Urpelainen
Posted on: 18 Jan 2016
Topics:   Infrastructure


While access to energy is crucial for socioeconomic development, statistically representative surveys on the issue are missing in India. Based on a survey on energy access in six energy-poor states in north India, this column finds that although domestic electricity connections in rural areas have increased rapidly, quality of supply remains poor. In terms of clean cooking fuels, people strongly prefer LPG but poor availability and high upfront costs of connections limit access.
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Criminally accused politicians and economic outcomes
Tasneem Ahmed , Nishith Prakash , Marc Rockmore , Yogesh Uppal
Posted on: 15 Jan 2016

Despite a history of widely contested and transparent elections, and presence of vibrant and open media, an increasing number of criminally accused politicians are being elected in India. Based on an analysis of elections to State Legislative Assemblies during 2004-2008 in 20 states, this column finds that electing a politician accused of a serious or financial crime adversely affects economic growth and public service delivery in the constituency.
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Child development: How are Indian states faring?
Jean Drèze , Reetika Khera
Posted on: 10 Dec 2015
Topics:   Education , Health


The recent release of the ‘Rapid Survey On Children’ report presents an opportunity to take a fresh look at the state of Indian children. Based on a simple Child Development Index constructed for 2005-06 and 2013-14, this column finds that Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh are at the top. Other states – even Bihar – can catch up, but only if they learn the right lessons from the leading states.
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PDS computerisation: What other states can learn from Kerala
Silvia Masiero
Posted on: 06 Jul 2015
Topics:   Political Economy


Given the leakage in the Public Distribution System, Indian states are being encouraged to computerise their PDS. This column analyses Kerala’s experience with PDS computerisation and highlights mechanisms through which technology combats leakage in the state’s PDS. However, it argues that computerisation needs to be coupled with deeper interventions to remove incentives for corruption.
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Do ruling coalition-affiliated MLAs bring more development to their constituencies?
Samuel Asher , Paul Novosad
Posted on: 22 Jun 2015

Despite the dismantling of the License Raj in the 1990s, interaction with government officials remains an important impediment to doing business in India. This column analyses the role of politics in determining which regions succeed and fail, and finds that MLAs from ruling parties make it easier for firms to do business in their constituencies. They do so not by providing public goods, but by helping firms clear bureaucratic hurdles that would otherwise hinder their operations.
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Private investment and income disparity across Indian states
Jagannath Mallick
Posted on: 03 Jun 2015

Liberalisation reforms in India in the 1990s offered private investors the freedom to choose their investment location in the country. This column finds that income disparity across low-income states in India increased in the post-reform period, while it reduced across middle-income states. This is largely explained by private investment, which in turn depends on human capital and infrastructure of states.
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How development affects climate sensitivity of electricity demand in India
Eshita Gupta
Posted on: 20 May 2015

The annual average temperature in India in 2009 was about 0.91°C above the average temperature recorded during the 1961-1990 period. This column analyses the impact of daily weather as well as long-term climate change on electricity demand in India, and how income growth influences this relationship. It shows that the marginal effect of hotter climate on electricity demand is greater when incomes are higher.
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Incentivising states to conserve forests
Jonah Busch
Posted on: 11 May 2015
Topics:   Environment


Central tax revenues will now be shared among states not just on the basis of population, area, and income, but also forest cover. In this article, Jonah Busch, an environmental economist at the Center for Global Development, contends that the fiscal reform has the potential to become quite a potent climate instrument. It can serve as an example for other countries with similar tax revenue distribution systems and high rates of deforestation.
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14th Finance Commission: A trust-based approach towards local governments
Meera Mehta , Dinesh Mehta
Posted on: 27 Apr 2015

The 14th Finance Commission has been hailed as ‘path-breaking’ for recommending larger fund allocations to state governments and giving them more autonomy in spending these funds. In this article, Meera Mehta and Dinesh Mehta highlight that the Commission has also recognised the need to trust and respect local government bodies, and has allocated much larger funds to them. Will this approach work and will state governments cooperate?
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Getting centre-state relations right for health in India
Amanda Glassman , Anit Mukherjee
Posted on: 01 Apr 2015

The 14th Finance Commission has recommended devolving a greater share of revenues to states in order to give them more control over spending. In this article, Amanda Glassman and Anit Mukherjee examine the current centre-state relationships in the context of the health sector in India. They recommend that centre-to-state transfers should be performance-related, and should seek to, at least partly, level the playing field across states.
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Women’s economic empowerment and domestic violence
Aparna Mathur
Posted on: 13 Mar 2015
Topics:   Gender , Crime


The safety of women in India – both inside and outside homes – is a major concern. This column explores the link between women’s economic empowerment, in the form of stronger inheritance rights and working status, and the incidence of domestic violence. It suggests that empowering women through income and wealth reduces the likelihood of them becoming victims of domestic violence.
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Impact of the two-child limit for local politicians
S. Anukriti , Abhishek Chakravarty
Posted on: 02 Mar 2015

Some Indian states debar individuals with more than two children from contesting local elections. This column finds that while the law has significantly reduced fertility among the general population in those states, it has worsened the sex ratio at birth among upper-caste families. It suggests that Indians have strong local leadership aspirations, and that policies altering access to political power can effect social change.
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Modi’s economic reforms: Foundation laid but time running out
Eswar Prasad
Posted on: 27 Feb 2015

Anticipation is running high that the Modi government will announce sweeping economic reforms in their first full-year budget, especially since their tenure so far has been bereft of any dramatic changes. In this article, Eswar Prasad, Senior Professor of Trade Policy, Cornell University, contends that Modi has laid a good foundation for reforms in his first nine months in office. But the hard work still lies ahead and time is running out.
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The labour reform myth
Pranab Bardhan
Posted on: 08 Sep 2014
Topics:   Jobs


A few Indian states have taken steps to relax the labour law pertaining to worker retrenchment. This article argues that while this is a step in the right direction, it may be unrealistic to expect big improvements in output and job creation simply as a result of such reform as there is no evidence to show that this law is the only, or even the main, constraint on growth
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Reversing premature de-industrialisation in India
Amrit Amirapu , Arvind Subramanian
Posted on: 26 May 2014

In countries across the world, de-industrialisation is taking place earlier in the development process. This column analyses how India fares in this regard. It finds that for most Indian states, the share of manufacturing in GDP peaked in the 90s, at levels far lower than comparable Asian countries, and began declining thereafter. Reversing this process is not going to be easy.
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Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the most dynamic state of them all?
Maitreesh Ghatak , Sanchari Roy
Posted on: 23 Mar 2014

This column analyses the economic performance of 16 major Indian states over the last three decades. It finds that Bihar has improved the most during the 2000s, Kerala has always been a star performer in terms of HDI, Rajasthan has achieved the maximum decline in inequality, Tamil Nadu tops in poverty reduction, and the levels and growth rates of per capita income of Maharashtra and Gujarat have consistently been the highest. However, no one state can be singled out as the top performer in the 2000s. Moreover, while Gujarat’s overall record is undoubtedly very good all through the last three decades, its performance in the 2000s does not seem to justify the wild euphoria and exuberant optimism about Modi’s economic leadership. In particular, there is no evidence of any significant growth acceleration in Gujarat in the 2000s.
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Growth, structural change, and poverty reduction: Evidence from India
Rana Hasan , Abhijit Sen Gupta
Posted on: 21 Mar 2014

Poverty reduction in India has been relatively slow even in years of high economic growth. A possible explanation is that growth has mainly been driven by sectors that generate fewer jobs for the poor. This column analyses this explanation and finds that structural change or the reallocation of jobs from low productivity to high productivity sectors, plays a key role in reducing poverty.
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Why taxing property is essential for local government accountability
Devesh Kapur , Arvind Subramanian
Posted on: 03 Mar 2014

With rapid decentralisation and urbanisation, wealth is increasingly vested and locked up in land and property in India. In their previous article, Kapur and Subramanian emphasised the importance of direct taxes in ensuring citizen participation in holding the government accountable. In this part, they recommend that the 14th Finance Commission should promote tax decentralisation by incentivising state and local government to increase the property tax net.
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Service sector growth and convergence across Indian states
Anirudh Shingal
Posted on: 17 Feb 2014
Topics:   Economic Growth


India’s success story in the services sector is well documented at the national level. However, similar literature does not exist for India’s states. This column seeks to bridge this gap by looking at India’s services growth at the sub-national level over 1980-2006. Contrary to existing literature, it suggests that services growth in India may be able to reduce income disparities across states in the long run.
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Understanding India’s unbalanced growth
Chetan Ghate , Peter Robertson
Posted on: 03 Feb 2014
Topics:   Economic Growth


Growing regional disparities in India are a cause for concern. But little is known about the relative importance of possible reasons for the varied growth experiences across the country. This column explores growth imbalances among Indian districts. Proximity to cities, infrastructure, degree of urbanisation and state government policies are found to be key determinants.
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Why so few women in politics in India?
Mudit Kapoor , Shamika Ravi
Posted on: 02 Jan 2014

Women are severely under-represented in political positions across the world. This column analyses constituency-level election data from Indian states to explore why this is so. It finds that while women are more likely to contest elections in backward states where there are more male electors than female electors, they are less likely to win elections in such states.
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Why is Maharashtra´s average income five times that of Bihar?
Areendam Chanda
Posted on: 09 Dec 2013

Income gaps among Indian states are large, persistent and increasing over time. Differences in technology and efficiency in production processes have been found to be the primary explanation for income gaps across countries. Does the same apply to Indian states? This column attempts to answer this question, with a particular focus on Bihar – the state with the lowest average income in the country.
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The new land law: Are the states up to the challenge?
Ram Singh
Posted on: 25 Oct 2013
Topics:   Land


In the third part of the land law debate, Ram Singh asserts that the Act is biased against projects of state governments, and emphasises the need for states to undertake long overdue land reforms. He suggests amending the Act such that Public Private Partnerships and private companies are clearly distinguished, and there is no scope for strategic manipulations during the acquisition process.
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Who creates jobs?
Ejaz Ghani , William Kerr , Stephen D O'Connell
Posted on: 02 Aug 2013
Topics:   Jobs


With millions of young people entering the labour market each year, the big question is whether there will be enough jobs for them. But who actually creates these jobs? This column looks at data from India suggesting that young and small firms play a vital role. Policymakers just need to support them.
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A case for including migrants’ remittances in inter-state comparisons
Chinmay Tumbe
Posted on: 21 Jun 2013
Topics:   Economic Growth


Gross State Domestic Product, a widely used measure to compare incomes across states in India, does not include migrants’ remittances. This column argues that remittances have a bearing on drawing valid inter-state comparisons, especially for high-remittance receiving states like Kerala, Punjab and Goa, and on deliberations on fiscal federalism.
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India’s missing women by age and state
Siwan Anderson , Debraj Ray
Posted on: 11 Jan 2013
Topics:   Gender , Crime


This column presents results of a study that breaks down “missing women” by age across the Indian states. It illustrates that Indian women face the risk of excess mortality at every stage of their lives, and attempts to explain excess female deaths in India after birth.
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Is economic growth always the best policy?
Arvind Subramanian
Posted on: 05 Oct 2012

Is economic growth the best way to reduce poverty, raise life expectancy, and improve people’s health? This column looks at different Indian states over the last 20 years. It argues that governments that pursue economic growth cannot be accused of neglecting their social aims.
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