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Does being local matter? Administrative decentralisation and human development

In this post, Chaudhary and Iyer discuss the administrative decentralisation reforms brought about by the Panchayati Raj Act, and measure the effect of decentralisation on the provision of public serv...

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The panchayat asset register: An instrument to conserve India’s commons

With common lands making up nearly a quarter of Indian territory, the State has taken steps to protect them from encroachment. The Indian Constitution grants panchayats custodial rights to protect vil...

  • Perspectives

DUET: Decentralise employment generation to urban local bodies

Dilip Mookherjee supports Drèze’s suggestion to decentralise employment generation to urban local bodies, and contends that the moribund nature of urban local government is a key reason for the neg...

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Do value-added taxes benefit firms? Evidence from the adoption of state-specific value-added taxes

Value-added tax (VAT) systems have grown popular in the last 30 years, especially among developing countries looking for ways to raise tax revenue efficiently. Using 2000-2012 data on product, state-s...

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Private returns to bureaucratic appointments: Evidence from financial disclosures in India

Bureaucrats often face rigid salary structures, and face low-powered incentives that have less wage differentiation based on performance. Using bureaucrats’ self-reported asset declarations from the...

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Fixing incentives for power plants to reduce outages

Consumers in India face frequent power outages despite relatively high-quality infrastructure and ample supply of power plants. This article identifies a novel explanation for India’s blackouts: whe...

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Does going cashless make you tax-rich? Evidence from India’s demonetisation

During 2014-2017, the share of adults using electronic payments in the developing world increased by over a third, and policymakers have expressed optimism regarding the role of this trend in promotin...

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How colonial is Indian law?

Critiques of the colonial rule in India and its legacy have been extended to law – with many allusions to the need to shake off the yoke of the colonial legacy. In this post, Roy and Swamy unpack th...

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Budget and politics in pandemic times

Applying a political economy lens to the recently announced Budget 2022-23, Yamini Aiyar contends that the emphasis on capital expenditure over welfare in the two Budgets announced during the pandemic...

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Improving public service delivery by fixing payment systems

Fixing how funds flow through the government systems grabs far fewer headlines than malnutrition, problems in the education sector, or crumbling infrastructure. In this post, Charity Troyer Moore cont...

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India’s new National Water Policy: A paradigm shift

In 2019, the Ministry of Jal Shakti set up a committee of independent experts – led by Dr Mihir Shah – to draft a new National Water Policy. To examine the recommendations made by the Committee, A...

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India’s new National Water Policy: A paradigm shift

In 2019, the Ministry of Jal Shakti set up a committee of independent experts – led by Dr Mihir Shah – to draft a new National Water Policy. To examine the recommendations made by the Committee, A...

  • Podcasts

She wins: Electing women in ethnically divided societies

The Indian Constitution reserves a minimum of 33% of village council head positions for women, and Bihar is among the nine states that have opted for 50% reservation. This note investigates how gender...

  • Notes from the Field

Escaping the subsidy-quality trap in India’s retail electricity market

Cross-subsidies in retail electricity tariffs leave distribution utilities with neither the incentive nor the capital to improve reliability, particularly for their most subsidised consumers. Using bi...

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2021 West Bengal Assembly election: Did the Covid-19 surge matter?

In the recent Assembly elections in the state of West Bengal, the ruling Trinamool Congress bucked an anti-incumbency headwind to secure victory. Using electoral data from 2016, 2019, and 2021, Ghata...

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Most Popular Governance Posts

Unique Health Identification and Aadhaar: A case for mandatory linkage

As part of the Digital India initiative, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) issues a Unique Health Identification (UHID) number to each patient, which documents their entire journey in th...

  • Perspectives

Caste dominance in rural India: Cause and effect

Rural India remains a caste-based society. This column explores why caste continues to play such an important role and what the effects are. It argues that trade and agricultural productivity suffer, ...

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Why did the Indian economy stagnate under the colonial rule?

How did the Indian economy fare under the colonial rule? Is the average Indian significantly better off after Independence? This column examines trends in GDP per capita in order to determine the stan...

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