Financial inclusion: Concepts, issues, and policies for India
Nalini Gulati , Nirvikar Singh
Posted on: 17 Aug 2017
Topics:   Finance

The International Growth Centre recently brought out a synthesis paper (Singh 2017) that lays out the basic concepts surrounding financial inclusion, and reviews a wide range of IGC and other studies on financial inclusion. At a workshop organised by the IGC in collaboration with Ideas for India and Indian Statistical Institute, Rohini Pande (Harvard Kennedy School), S. Krishnan (State government of Tamil Nadu), Ashok Bhattacharya (Business Standard), and R Gopalan (ex-Ministry of Finance) discussed the key lessons emerging from research, implications for policy, and areas where further work is needed.
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Post demonetisation: Is digital finance in India’s future?
Anit Mukherjee , Divyanshi Wadhwa
Posted on: 16 Aug 2017

Analysing RBI data from June 2017 – six months after demonetisation was announced on 9 November 2016 – Mukherjee and Wadhwa show that reliance on cash has reverted to pre-demonetisation levels, and the sharp increases in digital transactions did not sustain. While consumers don’t seem ready to give up cash just yet, the experience proves that the digital financial ecosystem of India is in good health.
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Assessing the effectiveness of active labour market programmes in developing countries
David Mckenzie
Posted on: 14 Aug 2017
Topics:   Jobs

Job growth is a key policy concern across developing countries and there are been an increased interest in the role of active labour market programmes that provide vocational training to job-seekers, wage subsidies to employers, or search and matching assistance. In this article, David Mckenzie critically evaluates recent studies on these programmes, and finds that the effect on employment and wages is limited.
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Straw men in the debate on basic income versus targeting
Martin Ravallion
Posted on: 11 Aug 2017

A universal basic income as a poverty-reduction policy is often contrasted unfavourably with targeted transfers. In this article, Martin Ravallion argues that five of the common arguments employed against basic income are really straw men that overstate the relative effectiveness of targeted transfers. While a universal basic income is not yet feasible in many countries, more universality and less fine targeting would create better social policies.
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Governance and public service delivery in India
Farzana Afridi , Nalini Gulati
Posted on: 07 Aug 2017

The International Growth Centre recently produced a synthesis paper (Afridi 2017) bringing together insights from its research on governance and public service delivery in India, over the past seven years. At a workshop organised by the IGC in collaboration with Ideas for India and Indian Statistical Institute, Amarjeet Sinha (Ministry of Rural Development), Rajesh Mahapatra (Hindustan Times), and Sandip Sukhtankar (University of Virginia) discussed the findings on key governance challenges and what can be done to address them.
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Demonetisation, cattle slaughter ban, and India’s cyclical agrarian crisis
Parag Waknis
Posted on: 04 Aug 2017

In this article, Parag Waknis discusses why India’s rural economy is always on the precipice of crisis, and how the recent shocks of demonetisation and cattle slaughter ban exacerbated the crisis by destroying rural incomes and choking off farmer’s main source of emergency funding, respectively.
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Health policy and economic growth in India
Nalini Gulati , Nidhiya Menon
Posted on: 27 Jul 2017

A new synthesis paper (Menon 2017) produced by the International Growth Centre brings together evidence from various health-related IGC studies on India undertaken over the past seven years, to draw implications for health policy. At a workshop organised by IGC in collaboration with Ideas for India and Indian Statistical Institute, Srinath Reddy (Public Health Foundation of India), Alok Kumar (NITI Aayog), and Karthik Muralidharan (University of California, San Diego) discussed key policy lessons emerging from research, and areas where further work is required.
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Star power: Rating industries in Maharashtra by emission levels
Michael Greenstone , Rohini Pande , Nicholas Ryan , Anant Sudarshan
Posted on: 25 Jul 2017
Topics:   Environment

Maharashtra Pollution Control Board recently launched a programme to rate industries based on their emission levels – the first such initiative by a government regulator. An easy and accessible way to inform residents about industry emissions around where they live and work, Greenstone, Pande, Ryan and Sudarshan contend that the programme can infuse transparency and accountability into the system, and instil healthy competition among industries.
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Towards financial prescription
Gurbachan Singh
Posted on: 24 Jul 2017

The Securities and Exchange Board of India has proposed that the distributors of mutual funds should only be allowed to sell financial products and not act as financial advisers for customers. Drawing analogies from the regulatory frameworks for driving on public roads and practising medicine, Gurbachan Singh contends that this is a step in the right direction but much more needs to be done to regulate financial advice.
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Why ‘free’ speech is not always ‘costless’
Maitreesh Ghatak
Posted on: 19 Jul 2017
Topics:   Political Economy
Tags:  

A recent CBI raid at the premises of the owners of NDTV has sparked off yet another round of debates about freedom of the media, the spectre of authoritarianism, and freedom of expression in India. In this article, Maitreesh Ghatak contends that confusion over what ‘free speech’ means stems from equating the two different senses in which it is used: free as in unconstrained, and free in the sense of not having a price or cost.
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