Corruption
 
Midday meals scheme: Are corruption claims exaggerated?
Monika Yadav
Posted on: 31 Jul 2017

Soon after Aadhaar was made compulsory for availing midday meals in schools, the government claimed that the move had helped expose several instances of schools siphoning off funds under the scheme by reporting inflated student enrolment. Comparing official data with that from the Indian Human Development Survey, this column shows that corruption in the scheme is less than what is being alleged - and not of the nature that Aadhaar can check.
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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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Food Security Act: How are India’s poorest states faring?
Jean Drèze , Prankur Gupta , Reetika Khera , Isabel Pimenta
Posted on: 29 Jun 2016

The National Food Security Act was passed in 2013. This column reports findings from a recent survey on the status of the Act in six of India’s poorest states. Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal are doing quite well - the PDS is in good shape and most people are covered; however, Bihar and Jharkhand are yet to complete essential PDS reforms.
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Local political elite capture and BPL card allocation
Sitakanta Panda
Posted on: 08 Apr 2016
Tags:   PDS

There is significant anecdotal evidence for the fact that local political connections at the grassroots level is an important channel through which leakages take place in welfare schemes in India such as the PDS. Analysing data from a nationally representative household survey, this column finds that politically-connected households are more likely to be allocated a BPL card - a gateway to obtaining various benefits from the government.
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What do we know about corruption in India?
Sandip Sukhtankar , Milan Vaishnav
Posted on: 16 Sep 2015
Topics:   Corruption

Despite ample media coverage of corruption, there remains a gap between headline-making scandals, policy options under discussion, and the actual evidence base drawn from empirical research on corruption. Based on an extensive review of the literature on corruption in India, this column highlights the underlying factors driving corruption, establishes a classification of corrupt activities, and distills five general principles that should guide future reform efforts.
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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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Building state capacity for better programme implementation: Lessons from the Andhra Pradesh Smartcard Programme
Karthik Muralidharan , Paul Niehaus , Sandip Sukhtankar
Posted on: 03 Dec 2014

Biometric payment systems are posited to reduce leakages in public welfare programmes but there is limited evidence on their effectiveness. This column presents evidence on the impact of the Andhra Pradesh Smartcard Programme on MNREGS and Social Security Pension beneficiaries, based on a large-scale randomised controlled trial. It finds substantial economic benefits, and concludes that using biometric payment infrastructure to deliver welfare payments can be a game changer for governance in India.
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Politics and MNREGA: A limited Link in Andhra Pradesh
Christopher B. Barrett , Yanyan Liu , Sudha Narayanan , Megan Sheahan
Posted on: 19 Nov 2014

The Ministry of Rural Development claims that MNREGA needs to be changed in order to reduce politics and corruption in the scheme. One of the studies cited by the Ministry is an analysis of the extent of political manipulation of MNREGA funds in Andhra Pradesh. In this column, the authors of the study assert that while politics may influence programme expenditure in some places and to a small extent, this is not universally true and does not undermine the effective targeting and good work of the scheme at large.
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Can social media and internet help reduce corruption?
Chandan Jha
Posted on: 07 Oct 2014
Topics:   Corruption
Tags:   bribes

The extensive use of social media was a key factor in the success of the anti-corruption movement in India in 2011. This column uses cross-country data to explore the role of social media and internet in reducing corruption and promoting transparency in government. It finds that the use of social media and internet is associated with lower levels of corruption across countries.
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Estimating kerosene leakages from the Public Distribution System
Prankur Gupta
Posted on: 24 Sep 2014
Topics:   Corruption
Tags:   PDS

Kerosene – the primary fuel used by the poor in India for cooking and lighting – is made available at subsidised rates by the government through the Public Distribution System. This column seeks to estimate the extent of leakage of kerosene in the PDS. It is found that, on average, 45% of kerosene that is taken up by state governments does not reach intended beneficiaries.
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