Ashok Kotwal
A symposium on Piketty: Introduction
Posted on: 15 Jun 2015
First, I would like to direct readers to a piece by Robert Solow – a Nobel Laureate a ... read on »
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 »


Has the recession which began in 2012 ended?
Ajay Shah
Posted on: 04 Sep 2015
Topics:   Economic Growth

The high growth rates visible in the new GDP data suggest that the recession which began in the first quarter of 2012 has now ended. Based on analysis of data on firms, investment and Balance of Payments, this column argues that the new GDP data does not square with other data which indicates slow growth and a continuation of the 2012 recession.
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Is the MNREGA fund crunch making the programme clientelistic?
Upasak Das , Diego Maiorano
Posted on: 02 Sep 2015
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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Income inequality in India: Trends from the World Top Incomes Database
Amit Basole
Posted on: 31 Aug 2015

Given the lack of reliable wage or asset data, tax returns-based World Top Incomes Database is important for measuring income and wealth inequalities. Analysing the India series of the database, this column find that starting in the 1980s average incomes grew faster than ever before, but that most of the gains went to the super rich. The trends mirror massive shifts in Indian political economy during that period.
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Emergence of Bandhan as a bank: A new era in the Indian banking industry
Somdutta Basu , Souvik Dutta , Abhirup Sarkar
Posted on: 27 Aug 2015
Topics:   Finance

At a time when the Indian banking industry is experiencing a steep rise in bad loans, Bandhan – an MFI with a near 100% loan recovery rate – has converted into a bank. Based on a survey of 112 Bandhan clients in West Bengal, this column highlights the features of Bandhan’s lending model that have enabled it to keep its bad loans at negligible levels.
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India’s monetary policy in unusual times, uncharted waters
Arvind Subramanian
Posted on: 26 Aug 2015

There is a lot of discussion of the right course of monetary policy for India. In this article, India’s Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian argues that the country’s real policy interest rates have diverged significantly for consumers and producers, and are unusually high for the latter. There is a clear need for more consideration of the appropriate measure of restrictiveness in these unusual times.
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Is the policy focus shifting from school education to higher education in India?
Ashish Bhardwaj , Anamika Srivastava
Posted on: 25 Aug 2015
Topics:   Education
Tags:   schooling

The overall allocation for education has been reduced in the 2015-16 union budget, with an increase in allocation for higher education and decrease in allocation for school education. In this article, Bharadwaj and Srivastava explore whether the policy focus is really shifting from school education to higher education. They argue that while it is important to focus on higher education and skill development to plug the gap created by poor quality school education, this can only be a transitory arrangement.
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The political economy of data
Florian Blum , Rohini Pande
Posted on: 21 Aug 2015
Topics:   Political Economy
Tags:   data

Recent experiences, especially from Scandinavian countries, show that opening administrative data sources can substantially improve public policymaking. In this article, Pande and Blum contend that while investment in data infrastructure is needed to produce and use statistics, the decision to collect and open data also depends on political economy considerations. Such forces are particularly strong in India and pose a major constraint on effective policy reform.
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Road to riches? An evaluation of India’s rural road programme
Shilpa Aggarwal
Posted on: 19 Aug 2015
Topics:   Infrastructure
Tags:   transport

Access to roads is believed to be essential for economic growth and poverty alleviation. This column evaluates the short-term impact of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana – India’s flagship rural road programme. It finds positive effects on trade between villages and cities, primary school enrolment, and use of productivity-enhancing agriculture inputs. However, school dropout rates among teenagers increased owing to better access to jobs.
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The significance of local power structures in Bihar’s coupon-based PDS
Chetan Choithani , Bill Pritchard
Posted on: 17 Aug 2015
Topics:   Corruption
Tags:   Bihar , PDS

In 2007, Bihar introduced the coupon system in PDS to curb leakages at fair price shops. This column argues that even though the administrative logic of the coupon system is fundamentally sound, such reform can be effective only when accompanied by institutional transformations that broker change in the existing local politics of inclusion and exclusion.
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Moving beyond the growth-versus-redistribution debate
Maitreesh Ghatak
Posted on: 14 Aug 2015

The two dominant narratives on the state of the Indian economy – one centred on growth and the other on poverty – are in a constant state of conflict. In this article, Maitreesh Ghatak, Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, argues that we need to move beyond the stale growth-versus-redistribution debate and focus on economic mobility through investments in human capital.
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