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Ashok Kotwal
Emerging challenges: Economic and social
Posted on: 06 Aug 2014
The recent parliamentary election may well turn out to be a significant event in Indi ... read on »
The challenge of fulfilling aspirations
Posted on: 15 Jul 2014
The recent parliamentary election may turn out to be a watershed moment in Indian his ... read on »
I4I turns 1!
Posted on: 06 Aug 2013
It has been a year since the voice of ‘Ideas for India’ was first heard. Our mission was t ... read on »

Latest

Women leaders and deceptive behaviour
Lata Gangadharan , Tarun Jain , Pushkar Maitra , Joseph Vecci
Posted on: 29 Jan 2015

Are women in leadership positions more dishonest than men? Based on an artefactual field experiment in rural Bihar, this column finds that women in leadership positions deceive more than men, especially in villages that have previously experienced a female village chief. It suggests that simply reserving seats in village councils for women may not necessarily lead to better outcomes for villagers or women.
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Droughts and child health
Santosh Kumar , Ramona Molitor , Sebastian Vollmer
Posted on: 27 Jan 2015
Topics:   Health

Research has pointed towards the importance of foetal health in child development. Assessing the impact of rainfall variability on child health, this column finds that exposure to drought in the womb increases the child’s likelihood of being underweight. It suggests that policies aimed at reducing child malnutrition need to start at the beginning of human life, that is, in the womb.
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Where will jobs in manufacturing come from?
Radhicka Kapoor
Posted on: 23 Jan 2015
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 Jan 2015

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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Towards integrating sample surveys in India
Pronab Sen
Posted on: 19 Jan 2015
Topics:  
Tags:   data

Large-scale household surveys in India are mainly undertaken by the NSSO and the NCAER. In this article, Pronab Sen, Chairman of the National Statistical Commission, highlights the need for systematic convergence between the two organisations, as well as other smaller ones, in the conduct of surveys. He discusses the requirements and challenges of such an integration process, including issues of data sharing and dissemination.
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Teacher accountability and assessment of student learning levels
Anjini Kochar
Posted on: 15 Jan 2015
Topics:   Education

Research has found that holding teachers accountable to the local community has scant impact on student learning. Based on a survey of government schools in Karnataka, this column suggests that this need not signal a failure of local accountability. Rather, the issue is that schools are held accountable for student performance on tests that teachers themselves design and administer, and which do not adequately capture learning.
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India’s labour laws: Protecting to hurt
Devashish Mitra
Posted on: 14 Jan 2015
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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Financing India’s infrastructure growth
Samik Metia
Posted on: 12 Jan 2015

Interest rates in the developed economies are still at very low levels, while investors are looking for high and stable returns for their money. This article outlines an innovative proposal for financing India’s infrastructure needs via government bonds targeted at foreign investors, with returns linked to the growth rates in the country.
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Targeting nominal GDP
Pranjul Bhandari , Jeffrey Frankel
Posted on: 08 Jan 2015

Central banks, especially in developing countries, still seek transparent and credible communication. Yet signalling intentions in the conduct of monetary policy sometimes creates undesirable constraints. This column argues that it may be better to phrase central bank pronouncements in terms of nominal GDP, rather than in terms of inflation. If it is worth communicating a plan, it is worth choosing a plan that one can live with.
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Transforming landholding agricultural workers into farmers
Ravi Kumar
Posted on: 07 Jan 2015

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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