Holy wars? Temple desecrations in medieval India
Sriya Iyer , Anand Shrivastava , Rohit Ticku
Posted on: 27 Mar 2017
Topics:   Conflict
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The rise of extremist groups such as the Taliban and the Islamic State, and their destruction of religious relics, have led some to magnify the presence of religious bigotry in Islamic societies. Using a unique, geocoded dataset this column tests two predominant narratives of Hindu temple desecrations in medieval India. It finds that whether a temple was located in a Muslim State had no bearing on the likelihood of its desecration; rather, desecrations were primarily determined by Hindu-Muslim battle outcomes.
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The North-South urban paradox
Chinmay Tumbe
Posted on: 22 Mar 2017
Topics:   Urbanisation

Why is northern India experiencing faster urban growth but slower urbanisation relative to the South? This column addresses this question by highlighting the interconnection between the demographic transition and urban processes in India.
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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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Declining female labour force participation in rural India: The demand side
Sonalde Desai
Posted on: 07 Mar 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
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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 Mar 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs
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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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Common tongue? How mother tongue instruction influences education
Tarun Jain , Revathy Suryanarayana
Posted on: 27 Feb 2017
Topics:   Education

The recently released draft of the National Education Policy stresses the importance of education in the mother tongue, especially in the formative years at school. This column seeks to uncover the link between vernacular language use in schools and educational achievement using data from large-scale historical events in South India. It finds that mother-tongue instruction led to persistent increases in educational achievement in primary and secondary schooling.
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Demand for environmental quality information and household response to information: Evidence from Bihar
Prabhat Barnwal , Chander Kumar Singh , Alexander van Geen , Jan von der Goltz
Posted on: 20 Feb 2017
Topics:   Environment , Health

Groundwater contaminated with arsenic is a serious public health threat in rural India. This column presents results from a field experiment conducted in Bihar to assess the demand for fee-based testing of wells for arsenic, and to study the behavioural responses of households to well-specific arsenic information.
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Income inequality in a globalising world
Miguel Niño-Zarazúa , Laurence Roope , Finn Tarp
Posted on: 17 Feb 2017

Since the turn of the century, income inequality has risen to be among the most prominent policy issues of our time. This column looks at inequality trends in recent decades. While relative global inequality has fallen, insufficient economic convergence, together with substantial growth in per capita incomes, has resulted in increased absolute inequality since the mid-1970s. The inclusivity aspect of growth is now more imperative than ever.
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Inequality in the typical country in the last 25 years
Jose Cuesta , Christoph Lakner , Mario Negre , Ani Silwal
Posted on: 10 Feb 2017
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While inequality has received a great deal of attention in the public debate in recent times, the poor quality of data available on this issue is a constraint. Based on a recently-compiled database of the World Bank, this column presents the trend for within-country inequality for the average country.
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Has regulatory intervention been effective in maintaining stability of Indian banks?
Mostak Ahamed , Sushanta Mallick
Posted on: 06 Feb 2017
Topics:   Finance

To address the challenges that Indian corporates faced in the early 2000s in meeting their debt-servicing obligations to banks/financial institutions, RBI introduced a corporate debt restructuring programme in 2002. This column finds that in the absence of a strong legal system, this out-of-court regulatory mechanism has indeed helped Indian banks remain stable, as there has been no bank failure in India unlike in other countries.
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