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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 »

Topic: Jobs

Assessing the effectiveness of active labour market programmes in developing countries
David Mckenzie
Posted on: 14/08/2017 11:24:04
Topics:   Jobs


Job growth is a key policy concern across developing countries and there are been an increased interest in the role of active labour market programmes that provide vocational training to job-seekers, wage subsidies to employers, or search and matching assistance. In this article, David Mckenzie critically evaluates recent studies on these programmes, and finds that the effect on employment and wages is limited.
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Changes in the nature of female workforce participation in India
P.C. Mohanan
Posted on: 14/07/2017 10:22:50
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
Tags:  


Declining female workforce participation in India is a matter of grave concern, and a puzzle in the face of increased overall economic growth. This column shows that although the proportion of working women – based on estimates from the National Sample Survey - has fallen, there is improvement in terms of the number of days of work by women in the workforce, especially in rural areas.

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The demographic impact of extended paid maternity leave in Bangladesh
Salma Ahmed
Posted on: 14/06/2017 09:19:31
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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The development disconnect: MNREGA in Bihar’s Jamui district
Amrita Dhiman
Posted on: 02/06/2017 02:35:13
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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How the American dream led to India’s IT boom
Gaurav Khanna , Nicolas Morales
Posted on: 29/05/2017 09:27:57

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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The dangers that lie beneath India’s IT layoffs
Maitreesh Ghatak
Posted on: 24/05/2017 09:24:20
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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Smart policy for women’s economic empowerment in South Asia
Nalini Gulati , Jennifer Johnson
Posted on: 18/04/2017 10:02:54
Topics:   Gender , Jobs


In this article, Jennifer Johnson and Nalini Gulati highlight the different trajectories of women’s economic empowerment across South Asia, based on a recent policy dialogue hosted by Evidence for Policy Design.

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Getting India´s women into the workforce: Time for a smart approach
Rohini Pande
Posted on: 10/03/2017 09:56:26
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: 08/03/2017 09:41:15
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: 07/03/2017 09:33:37
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: 05/03/2017 09:57:47
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: 03/03/2017 10:33:23
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: 03/03/2017 09:20:40
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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Is the structure of Indian manufacturing geared towards job creation?
Sharmila Kantha
Posted on: 05/12/2016 01:27:00
Topics:   Jobs


Government of India has envisaged adding 100 million jobs in manufacturing by 2022. This column finds that the structure of the country’s manufacturing sector is misaligned with the objective of job creation. Subsectors that have low potential to generate jobs dominate the manufacturing profile. To generate jobs, more employment-intensive subsectors should be promoted.
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Minimum wage legislation for domestic workers: Does it work?
Rohan Gudibande , Arun Jacob
Posted on: 28/11/2016 12:35:21
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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Insights from long-term studies of Indian villages
Himanshu , Praveen K. Jha , Gerry Rodgers
Posted on: 23/09/2016 10:06:52

Much of our knowledge of change in rural areas depends on longitudinal village studies. Drawing upon a number of village studies carried out over the years in India, this column provides a broad picture of how the economic and social structures of villages are changing, and the consequences for production, employment, migration, inequality and other key issues.
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The missing men
Chinmay Tumbe
Posted on: 01/09/2016 09:39:17
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
Tags:   migration


Studies on skewed sex ratios in India typically focus on female deficits attributed to factors such as gender discrimination. This column finds that regions covering over 200 million people in India experience mass male out-migration with a marked impact on working-age group sex ratios. These regions are remittance economies with gendered labour markets that secure higher wages for men in the service economy but provide limited prospects for the upward mobility of women.
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How participatory is work planning under MNREGA?
Akshay Ahuja
Posted on: 26/08/2016 09:30:59

In 2014, the Ministry of Rural Development introduced the ‘Intensive Participatory Planning Exercise’ (IPPE) framework in 2,500 most backward blocks of the country, with the objective of making the work planning process under MNREGA more participatory. In this note, Akshay Ahuja, senior project officer at HCL Foundation, shares his experience of supporting the local administration of Hardoi district in Uttar Pradesh in implementing IPPE on the ground.
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Could emerging economies change the rules of the global labour standards game?
Kuntala Bandyopadhyay
Posted on: 24/08/2016 09:27:58
Topics:   Jobs , Trade


In an increasingly global marketplace, the ramping up of trade has drastically altered the way goods are manufactured and sold. In this article, Kuntala Bandyopadhyay, research associate at ICRIER, discusses four processes and vectors through which emerging economies can shape global labour standards in a way that protects both their workers and the environment.
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Analysing worker responses to a contract change
Rajshri Jayaraman , Debraj Ray
Posted on: 08/08/2016 08:20:01

Higher-powered incentives are generally believed to increase worker productivity. In the context of an Indian tea plantation, this column examines a contract change wherein baseline wages were increased and incentive piece rates were lowered or kept unchanged. It finds that output increased by 20-80% in the following month but fell to original levels thereafter. Possible explanations for the observed impact are explored.
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Why is labour mobility in India so low?
Kaivan Munshi , Mark Rosenzweig
Posted on: 04/07/2016 09:54:01
Topics:   Jobs


Rural-to-urban migration is surprisingly low in India, compared with other large developing countries, leaving higher paying job opportunities unexploited. This column shows that well-functioning rural insurance networks are partly responsible, as they incentivise adult males to remain in villages. Policies that provide private credit to wealthy households or government safety nets to poor households would encourage greater labour mobility, but could have unintended distributional consequences.
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Women and the Indian job market: Glass ceiling or sticky floor?
Ashwini Deshpande , Deepti Goel , Shantanu Khanna
Posted on: 10/06/2016 09:41:00
Topics:   Gender , Jobs


The gender wage gap among regular wage and salaried workers in India was 49% in 2009-10. This column finds the bulk of the gap is due to discrimination against women in the job market, rather than different wage earning potential of men and women. The gender wage gaps are higher among lower earning workers.
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Trade liberalisation and intergenerational occupational mobility in urban India
Reshad N. Ahsan , Arpita Chatterjee
Posted on: 18/04/2016 09:55:49
Topics:   Jobs , Trade


While the trade reforms of the 90s led to a rapid increase in trade in India, there are concerns regarding the likely impact of the reforms on inequality. This column shows that innovation induced by international trade led to an increase in the employment share of high-skill occupations, which in turn, allowed an increasing number of sons from underprivileged backgrounds to enter better occupations than their respective fathers.
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MNREGA: Vision and reality
Martin Ravallion
Posted on: 16/03/2016 09:39:11
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.

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How has MNREGA impacted the lives of women and children in India?
Subha Mani
Posted on: 15/03/2016 11:07:04

In this article, Subha Mani, Professor of Economics at Fordham University, summarises evidence that shows that MNREGA has mostly positively impacted the lives of women and children in India.

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Introduction to e-Symposium: 10 years of MNREGA and the way forward
Farzana Afridi
Posted on: 14/03/2016 09:42:44

India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme – the largest public works programme in the world – completed a decade in February 2016. As a contribution to the discussions, I4I Editor Farzana Afridi is hosting an e-symposium to summarise the existing evidence on various aspects of the programme, and to discuss the future of the programme.

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Bringing global evidence into the MNREGA discourse
Inayat Sabhikhi
Posted on: 12/02/2016 09:32:46
Tags:   MNREGA


MNREGA – the largest public works programme in the world – completed 10 years this month. In this article, Inayat Anaita Sabhikhi, Project Officer, United Nations Development Programme, at the Ministry of Rural Development, summarises evidence on MNREGA from four recent reports of international and national organisations. She contends that MNREGA’s high global rankings among social security programmes and the positive evidence on its impact should boost efforts to strengthen its implementation.
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How a corruption scam brought MNREGA to a standstill in Nanded
Sangita Jadhav , Ashwini Kulkarni , Aysha Shamsuddin
Posted on: 28/01/2016 09:34:46
Topics:   Corruption , Jobs


Nanded district in Maharashtra demonstrated exemplary performance in MNREGA until 2012-13, when the exposure of a corruption scam brought the programme to a virtual standstill. In this note, researchers from the NGO Pragati Abhiyan show how the manner in which the incident was dealt with discouraged local authorities from actively implementing MNREGA and hence, adversely affected villagers that had earlier benefitted from the programme.
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What explains the decline in female labour force participation in India?
Urmila Chatterjee , Rinku Murgai , Martin Rama
Posted on: 13/01/2016 09:22:01
Topics:   Gender , Jobs


It is often argued that female labour force participation is declining in India due to rising incomes that allow more women to stay at home, which is the preferred household choice in a predominantly patriarchal society. However, this column contends that the trend is mainly explained by a scarcity of suitable jobs opportunities outside of farming and close to place of residence.
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Is the MNREGA fund crunch making the programme clientelistic?
Upasak Das , Diego Maiorano
Posted on: 02/09/2015 09:23:52
Topics:   Jobs


Fund allocation for MNREGA has seen a steady decline in real terms over the last few years. Analysing official MNREGA data along with survey data from Rajasthan, this column shows that in the face of limited financial resources, local implementers are more likely to allocate MNREGA jobs based on discretion and political motives.
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Rise of informality in India’s tradable manufacturing sector
Ejaz Ghani , William Kerr , Alex Segura
Posted on: 13/07/2015 09:51:03
Topics:   Jobs


The vast informal sector in India affects everything from poverty to growth. This column presents new facts on how Indian job growth in manufacturing is concentrated in informal tradable industries, especially one-person establishments. These features are most closely linked to the urbanisation of informal Indian manufacturing, but subcontracting and rising female participation also appear to play noteworthy roles.
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Land acquisition, industrialisation, and displaced households
Saumik Paul , Vengadeshvaran J. Sarma
Posted on: 01/07/2015 09:44:35

Does industrialisation on acquired land benefit those displaced? Evaluating the long-term livelihood effects of the first Special Economic Zone in the state of West Bengal, this column finds that the impact on displaced households is mixed. While they are more likely to be employed in the industrial zone, their returns to education are lower than that of other households.
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The labour reforms debate: Broadening horizons
Radhicka Kapoor
Posted on: 01/06/2015 00:00:00
Topics:   Jobs


Even as the government has indicated that it plans to go slow on labour reforms and build consensus among all stakeholders, trade unions are protesting against “anti-labour” reforms. In this article, Radhicka Kapoor, an economist at ICRIER, emphasises the need to go beyond the narrow agenda of providing flexibility to firms to hire-and-fire and focus on decent work conditions and social security for workers in both organised and unorganised sectors.
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Maoist violence and MNREGA
Gaurav Khanna , Laura Zimmermann
Posted on: 15/04/2015 00:00:00
Topics:   Jobs , Conflict


The spate of Maoist attacks on security personnel in Chhattisgarh this week serves as a reminder that Moaist insurgency is the single biggest internal security threat faced by India. This column analyses the impact of MNREGA on Maoist violence and finds a spike in police-initiated attacks on Maoists following the implementation of the job guarantee scheme in 2006. This is possibly because MNREGA provides credibility to the government’s commitment to development, making the local population more willing to share information on Maoists.
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How serious are India’s manufacturing skill gaps?
Aashish Mehta
Posted on: 13/04/2015 00:00:00

It is widely believed that skill gaps are constraining Indian manufacturing, and closing these gaps has become a national priority. This column argues that the public debate on India’s skill gaps rests on weak conceptual foundations. While some industries do suffer from real skill gaps, others are constrained by commercial difficulties that may be better addressed through policies other than skill development programmes.
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Why do so few women in India work?
Piritta Sorsa
Posted on: 27/03/2015 00:00:00

Only about a third of working-age women in India have jobs. This column analyses the determinants of women’s participation in the labour market in India and finds that factors such as family income, cultural norms and gender wage gap play an important role. It suggests that raising female labour force participation could boost economic growth by up to 2 percentage points.
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Why India needs unemployment insurance
Priya Ranjan
Posted on: 11/03/2015 00:00:00
Topics:   Jobs


The central government is contemplating reform of labour laws, including those that restrict the ability of firms to fire workers. This column contends that social protection needs to be kept in mind while designing these reforms. It makes a case for publicly-provided unemployment insurance in India and argues that labour laws should protect workers, not jobs.
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Where will jobs in manufacturing come from?
Radhicka Kapoor
Posted on: 23/01/2015 00:00:00
Topics:   Jobs


Conventional wisdom suggests that labour-intensive, small industries are critical for generating employment. However, this column argues that policies favouring one type of industry over another - labour-intensive over capital-intensive, or SMEs over large enterprises - will not create the jobs the country needs. Rather, the key is to encourage new firms to enter manufacturing and to provide an enabling environment for businesses to expand.
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Does affirmative action reduce productivity? The case of Indian Railways
Ashwini Deshpande , Thomas Weisskopf
Posted on: 21/01/2015 00:00:00

Critics of job reservations argue that such policies have an adverse effect on work efficiency and productivity. This column analyses the effect of job reservations in the Indian Railways – the world’s largest employer subject to affirmative action. It finds that having a larger proportion of lower-caste employees is not associated with lower productivity; in top-tier jobs, in some cases, it is actually associated with higher productivity.
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India’s labour laws: Protecting to hurt
Devashish Mitra
Posted on: 14/01/2015 00:00:00
Topics:   Jobs


The state government of Rajasthan has begun making amendments to various labour laws in order to make labour markets more flexible. Summarising research on the impact of rigid labour laws on the growth of firms, Devashish Mitra argues that these steps are in the right direction. In his view, all outdated labour laws constraining India’s manufacturing need to be reformed.
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Transforming landholding agricultural workers into farmers
Ravi Kumar
Posted on: 07/01/2015 00:00:00

Some believe that MNREGA has negatively impacted agriculture by reducing the supply of labour available for farm work. This column refutes this view and argues that MNREGA has enabled agricultural workers with small and marginal landholdings to move up the social and occupational ladder – from wage workers to farmers - by complementing their farm income and providing for start-up investments in agriculture.
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Impact of MNREGA on labour markets
Clément Imbert , John Papp
Posted on: 22/12/2014 00:00:00

There is an active, ongoing debate on whether MNREGA should be retained in its current form. This column reports on research which suggests that MNREGA increased rural and urban wages and reduced seasonal rural-to-urban migration. It argues that the effect of MNREGA on labour markets should play a role in the discussion on whether and how to reform the scheme.
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Workfare as an effective way to fight poverty: The case of India´s MNREGA
Shamika Ravi
Posted on: 11/12/2014 00:00:00

The fundamental appeal of a workfare programme, vis-à-vis a welfare programme, is that it helps in targeting the beneficiaries. This column assesses the welfare impact of MNREGA on poor rural households. It finds that the programme had a significant effect on extreme poverty in the first few years of implementation by improving food security, financial inclusion and mental health.
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Do awareness programmes on TV help change prejudices?
Ritwik Banerjee , Nabanita Datta Gupta
Posted on: 24/11/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Caste , Jobs


Awareness-based TV programmes, such as Satya Mev Jayate hosted by Bollywood film personality Aamir Khan, aim to change deep-seated prejudices of the society. To what extent do such programmes influence behaviour? This column seeks to answer this question by examining results from an experiment relating to caste attitudes of students from private business schools in New Delhi.
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How gender inclusive is MNREGA in practice?
Upasak Das
Posted on: 21/11/2014 00:00:00

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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What explains the increasing use of contract workers in Indian manufacturing?
Bibhas Saha , Kunal Sen
Posted on: 29/10/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Jobs , Trade


Contract workers constituted about one-fourth of all workers in formal manufacturing in India in 2008. This column analyses the extent to which trade liberalisation and lack of labour reforms explain the increasing use of contract workers. It finds that in the presence of labour rigidities, increasing import penetration contributes to the ‘flexibilisation’ of the workforce.
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Saving people’s livelihoods
Sudha Narayanan
Posted on: 28/10/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Jobs , Agriculture


The new government is seeking to alter the essence of MNREGA based on the premise that it is not useful in its current form. In this article, Sudha Narayanan criticises the move and argues that despite its shortcomings, MNREGA is the best available institutional mechanism to preserve the resource base for food production and build resilience of Indian agriculture.
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Is the proposed restructuring of MNREGA desirable?
Ashwini Kulkarni
Posted on: 20/10/2014 00:00:00
Tags:   MNREGA


The rural development ministry plans to restrict MNREGA to the 200 most backward districts, and reduce the wage component of the total expenditure of the programme. In this article, Ashwini Kulkarni - a member of the National Consortium of Civil Society Organisations working on MNREGA - argues against the proposed changes.
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International trade, domestic labour laws and India’s manufacturing sector
Devashish Mitra
Posted on: 22/09/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Jobs , Trade


India has a multitude of restrictive labour laws and these have been found to adversely affect economic performance of manufacturing firms. This column illustrates how the impact of trade liberalisation on the domestic manufacturing sector depends on labour laws. It contends that more flexible labour laws will enable India to compete better in global markets.
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The labour reform myth
Pranab Bardhan
Posted on: 08/09/2014 00:00:00
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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What impedes SMEs from joining Asian supply chains?
Ganeshan Wignaraja
Posted on: 01/09/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Jobs , Trade


While Small and Medium Enterprises play a significant role in job creation at the country level in Asia, they are underrepresented in Asian supply chains. This column analyses data from 5,900 manufacturing enterprises from five Southeast Asian economies - Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam - to assess the extent of and constraints on SME participation in Asian supply chains.
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Can MNREGA buffer negative shocks in early childhood?
Aparajita Dasgupta
Posted on: 29/08/2014 00:00:00

Exposure to negative shocks such as drought during early childhood is known to have lasting, detrimental effects on human development outcomes. This column examines whether a household’s access to MNREGA, later in the life of the child, can offset the impact of early childhood shocks. It finds that programme access, although incapable of correcting for past deficiencies, does mitigate the impact of recent shocks.
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Andhra Pradesh’s youth training and employment scheme: Did it work?
Rajendra Kondepati
Posted on: 07/07/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Jobs


To promote youth employment, the state government of Andhra Pradesh launched an innovative public-private partnership programme for skill development, training and job placement for the youth. This note traces the beneficiaries of the programme and finds high drop-out rates among candidates placed in jobs under the programme. It suggests changes in the programme design to make candidates stay in their jobs for longer.
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Growing through cities in India
Ejaz Ghani , William Kerr , Ishani Tewari
Posted on: 20/06/2014 00:00:00

Do cities grow through specialisation or diversity? This column measures specialisation and diversity for the manufacturing and services sectors in India. It finds that Indian districts with a broader set of industries exhibit greater employment growth. This is particularly true for low population densities, rural areas and unorganised sector, reflecting knowledge flow and the inclusive nature of employment growth due to diversity.
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Reversing premature de-industrialisation in India
Amrit Amirapu , Arvind Subramanian
Posted on: 26/05/2014 00:00:00

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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The costs of employment protection
Sean Dougherty , Veronica Frisancho , Kala Krishna
Posted on: 30/04/2014 00:00:00

Restrictive labour laws govern the formal sector in India, whereas the informal sector is virtually unregulated. This column analyses the impact of reforms pertaining to employment protection legislation on firm performance. It finds that, on average, labour-intensive firms in states that have transited towards more flexible labour markets are 25% more productive than their counterparts in states with lower levels of reform.
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The puzzle of declining labour intensity in organised Indian manufacturing
Kunal Sen
Posted on: 25/04/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Jobs


It is surprising to note that labour intensity in the organised manufacturing sector in India, particularly in industries with greater labour requirements, has shown a sustained decline over the past three decades. This column finds that the key explanation is trade reforms that targeted capital goods and brought their prices down over time. This inadvertently incentivised firms to invest in machines and employ fewer workers
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Losing one half of India’s demographic dividend
Jayan Jose Thomas
Posted on: 21/04/2014 00:00:00

The working-age population in India is set to increase by more than 200 million over the next two decades. This column contends that India may fail to reap the benefits of this demographic dividend because of the extremely low rates of female participation in the workforce. There is a need for growth in job opportunities in high productivity sectors such as industry and services, particularly for women.
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Can MNREGA improve credit worthiness of participating households?
Subhasish Dey
Posted on: 11/04/2014 00:00:00

Based on household survey data from West Bengal, this column analyses the impact of MNREGA on economic outcomes of participating households. It finds that the ‘local’, ‘guaranteed’ and ‘government-related’ nature of MNREGA work helps improve credibility of workers with potential lenders such as grocery store owners, if they participate in the programme in a sustained manner. Access to informal credit helps improve consumption.
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Expanding productive employment in India
Mahendra Dev
Posted on: 20/01/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Economic Growth , Jobs


While India’s relatively high growth has not entirely been ‘jobless’, employment generation has been low, and mostly in the form of informal jobs. This column examines the employment experience of India, and says that the current thinking of Indian policymakers on employment is in line with the post-2015 global development agenda. The focus is on skill development, worker productivity and social protection.
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The crisis in Indian manufacturing
Jayan Jose Thomas
Posted on: 13/12/2013 00:00:00
Topics:   Economic Growth , Jobs


Manufacturing sector growth in India has fallen from over 9% to a dismal 1% in the past couple of years. This article discusses the factors that have caused a slowdown in organised and unorganised manufacturing. It contends that inadequate credit and infrastructure are key constraints, and the fate of the sector hinges on greater domestic investment and well-directed industrial policies.
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Short-term migration and child welfare
Diane Coffey
Posted on: 07/10/2013 00:00:00
Topics:   Education , Jobs


While much has been said about the poor working and living conditions of short-term migrants, relatively little is known of the impact of short-term migration on child welfare. This column finds that although short-term migration does not lead to child labour, children of migrants have poorer educational outcomes.
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What explains the stagnation of female labour force participation in urban India?
Stephan Klasen , Janneke Pieters
Posted on: 27/09/2013 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender , Jobs


Over the past two decades, urban India has experienced expansion in women’s education, fertility decline and growth in white-collared jobs. Then why is it that female labour force participation has stagnated at around 18% since the 1980s? This column seeks to answer this question by exploring demand and supply side factors that influence female labour force participation.
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Does it pay to speak English in India?
Mehtabul Azam , Aimee Chin , Nishith Prakash
Posted on: 20/09/2013 00:00:00
Topics:   Jobs
Tags:   wages


There is a widely held belief that there are sizeable economic returns to English-language skills in India. This column seeks to estimate the wage returns to English skills in India. It is found that being fluent in English increases the hourly wages of men by 34% and of women by 22%. But the effects vary. Returns are higher for older and more educated workers and lower for less educated, younger workers, suggesting that the complementarity between English skills and education appears to have strengthened over time.
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Choosing to be trained: Behavioural restrictions on participation decisions
Utteeyo Dasgupta , Lata Gangadharan , Pushkar Maitra , Subha Mani , Samyukta Subramanian
Posted on: 02/09/2013 00:00:00
Topics:   Jobs
Tags:   training


Widespread unemployment has prompted policymakers to consider introduction of various training programmes that can help workers accumulate additional skills to obtain new jobs and/ or retain current ones. However, these programmes can only help if targeted individuals take up such opportunities. This column argues that participation in short-term skill-building courses is not just limited by economic factors but is also influenced by intrinsic characteristics such as attitudes towards risk and competition.
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Who creates jobs?
Ejaz Ghani , William Kerr , Stephen D O'Connell
Posted on: 02/08/2013 00:00:00
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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Vocational education: A means to an end?
Pushkar Maitra , Subha Mani
Posted on: 15/07/2013 00:00:00
Topics:   Jobs
Tags:   training


Youth underemployment, especially among less educated populations perpetuates poverty. Despite the importance of youth unemployment, there is little knowledge on how to create smooth school-to-work transition and or how to improve the human capital of those who can no longer be sent back to school. This column presents evidence supporting positive returns from having access to and completing a vocational training course for women residing in low-income households in New Delhi.
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The push and pull of skilling
Madhav Chavan
Posted on: 22/03/2013 00:00:00
Tags:   training


Vocational training has been centre-stage in policy discussions in India over the past decade. This article discusses the perspectives of and dissatisfaction among the four groups of stakeholders in skill training – government, industry, trainers and potential trainees. It highlights the need for a strong “pull” or demand for training and suggests innovative ways to achieve this.
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Creating entrepreneurs: A big new idea in development
Oriana Bandiera , Robin Burgess , Imran Rasul
Posted on: 07/01/2013 00:00:00

Can the world’s poorest people become entrepreneurs? This column outlines results from an evaluation of the Ultra Poor programme in Bangladesh, a scheme that the NGO behind it claims is a staggering success.
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The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act: is it working?
Participants: Jean Drèze , Ashwini Kulkarni , Neelakshi Mann , Varad Pande , Martin Ravallion
Posted on: 29/11/2012 10:42:21

MNREGA is one of the government´s largest flagship schemes, and is the largest job creation programme of its kind in the world. Supporters believe that it is necessary to help rural workers smooth income in times of distress and increase labour market access for marginalised groups, whereas critics argue that it is taking labour from the troubled agricultural sector and doing more harm than good. What does the evidence really tell us - is MNREGA working or would resources be better spent elsewhere?
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Agricultural wages and MNREGA: Exploring the myth
Kanika Mahajan
Posted on: 05/11/2012 00:00:00
Topics:   Jobs , Agriculture
Tags:   MNREGA


The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, India’s flagship programme that guarantees 100 days of minimum wage employment to rural households, has come under attack for pushing up the wages demanded by hired hands in agriculture. This column argues that most of these attacks fail to account for changing productivity in agriculture and the consequences of this for agricultural wages.
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Himayat – A silent skills revolution in the making
Varad Pande
Posted on: 31/10/2012 00:00:00
Topics:   Jobs


In this Note from the Field, Varad Pande of the Ministry of Rural Development discusses the Himayat programme in Jammu and Kashmir which offers skills-training and a job to unemployed young people in the state. This column argues that the scheme provides a ray of hope to thousands of young people and should be a template for how the government can turn the idea of providing training and jobs to the youth into a workable reality.
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Cutting delays in MNREGA wages
Saloni Chopra , Reetika Khera
Posted on: 10/10/2012 00:00:00

Officials in charge of paying MNREGA wages in the state of Andhra Pradesh can now expect to receive fines if there are delays. This column shows how this move was made possible by a simple automated system, how effective it has been, and how the rest of India should follow suit.
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What explains gender disparities in economic participation in India?
Ejaz Ghani , William Kerr , Stephen D O'Connell
Posted on: 21/08/2012 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender , Jobs


The UN Global Gender Gap data shows that women’s economic participation and opportunity is worse in India than in 95% of all other countries studied. This column attempts to uncover what drives the gender balances of new enterprise in India and suggests measures for promoting women’s entrepreneurship and economic participation.
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Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme: Falling demand or funds crunch?
Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay
Posted on: 08/08/2012 00:00:00
Topics:   Jobs
Tags:   MNREGA


The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) – India’s flagship job guarantee scheme - provides every rural household in India with a guaranteed 100 days of work in a year at minimum wage on public projects. Yet many commentators argue that there is falling demand among rural workers for these jobs. This article challenges this view and calls on better data collection to avoid wrongly taking away the right to work.
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