Infrastructure
 
Are India’s government-subsidised solar shops thriving or barely surviving?
Jennifer Richmond , Kartikeya Singh
Posted on: 10 Aug 2017

Government of India’s Akshay Urja programme sought to support the establishment of at least one shop per district for the sale of subsidised solar-powered technologies. Based on a survey of shop owners, this column finds that while the programme has been successful in establishing a network of solar shops across the country, many of the owners struggle to connect their products to large markets of consumers.
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Economic benefits of transportation infrastructure: Historical evidence from India and America
Dave Donaldson
Posted on: 21 Jun 2017
Topics:   Infrastructure
Tags:   transport , US

Significant public finance is devoted to transportation infrastructure, the economic benefits of which are often unclear. This column analyses two major railroad projects in India and US in the 19th century. It finds that the economic gains from transportation infrastructure can be substantial, and the true economic impact may not be known until years after a project is completed.
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Highway network designs and regional economic development
Simon Alder
Posted on: 03 Apr 2017
Topics:   Infrastructure

The Indian National Highway Development Project and its components such as the Golden Quadrilateral or the North-South and East-West corridors are planned to alleviate constraints due to insufficient transport infrastructure. This column compares the effects of the Golden Quadrilateral with a counterfactual highway network that is designed to approximately maximise national income while connecting all intermediate-sized cities.
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Rural electrification in India: Focus on service quality
Karthik Ganesan , Abhishek Jain , Johannes Urpelainen
Posted on: 18 Jan 2017
Topics:   Infrastructure
Tags:   electricity

India has set an ambitious goal of achieving high-quality electricity supply for all households by 2019, and impressive progress has been made in increasing the number of household electricity connections. However, this column finds that the quality of electricity service to rural households is dismal and this is considered to be a major problem by rural households. There is a need for rationalising rural electricity tariffs to ensure cost recovery in exchange of improved service quality.
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How do electricity shortages affect industry in India?
Hunt Allcott , Allan Collard-Wexler , Stephen D O'Connell
Posted on: 25 Nov 2016
Topics:   Infrastructure

Poor electricity supply is widely recognised as a key impediment to firm growth and productivity. This column finds that average reported level of electricity shortages in India reduces annual plant revenues and producer surplus of the average manufacturing plant by 5-10%. While productivity losses are smaller, shortages distort plant size distribution due to significant economies of scale in generator costs.
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Solar micro-grids in India: A reality check
Anant Sudarshan
Posted on: 01 Nov 2016

Much of India’s strategy to reduce the use of fossil fuels relies on a transition to solar energy. Based on a survey of potential solar micro-grid customers in Bihar, this column highlights the challenges associated with solar electricity becoming a sustainable and scalable solution, and the need for a new approach.
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Building connections: Political corruption and road construction in India
Jonathan Lehne , Jacob Shapiro , Oliver Vanden Eynde
Posted on: 13 Sep 2016
Tags:  

Rural infrastructure programmes of the government create new opportunities for growth but also for corruption. This column studies India’s flagship rural road construction programme and finds evidence that local politicians favour members of their caste or kinship networks in the allocation of contracts. This raises construction costs, adversely affects road quality, and increases the likelihood of ‘missing’ roads.
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MNREGA and its assets
Sudha Narayanan
Posted on: 15 Mar 2016

Critics of MNREGA believe that the programme is a dole to dig a hole and hence, a huge waste of resources and that it would be better to simply provide cash. In this article, Sudha Narayanan, Associate Professor at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, argues that evidence from various states on the quality of MNREGA assets suggests that this ‘dole-hole’ view of is largely unfounded.

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MNREGA’s impact on rural labour markets
Laura Zimmermann
Posted on: 14 Mar 2016
Tags:   MNREGA , wages

In this article, Laura Zimmermann, Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Georgia, provides an overview of the research on the impact of the initial phase of MNREGA on rural labour markets in India. The evidence suggests that the programme has served as an important short- and long-term safety net, and has had some employment generation effects during the agricultural off-season. However, the effect on rural casual wages is less clear.

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Cheaper, cleaner, more reliable: Why invest in cross-border power-trading
Deb Chattopadhyay , P. N. Fernando , Priyantha DC Wijayatunga
Posted on: 07 Mar 2016

Despite improvements to energy supply over the years, many Indian states still face frequent power shortages. Meanwhile, neighbouring countries such as Nepal and Bhutan have large reserves of untapped hydropower with the potential to meet unserved demand for energy in major load centres. Investing in interconnections could also contribute to significant reductions in carbon emissions. This column quantifies potential gains from an integrated South Asian power.
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