Pronab Sen | Ideas for India

Pronab Sen
IGC India Central
Pronab Sen is the Country Director for the India Central Programme of the International Growth Centre (IGC). Pronab received his Ph.D. in Economics from the Johns Hopkins University specialising in open-economy macroeconomic systems, international economics and public finance.
Most recently the Chairman of the National Statistical Commission, he has also had positions as the Principal Adviser, Power and Energy, at the Government of India's Planning Commission, the first Chief Statistician of India, acting as the functional and technical Head of the national statistical system in India, as well as Secretary, Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation, Government of India (2007-2010). As a representative of the Planning Commission he was principal author and coordinator of (a) the Mid-term Appraisal of the Eighth Five Year Plan, (b) the Ninth Five Year Plan, (c) the Mid-term Appraisal of the Ninth Five Year Plan, (d) the Tenth Five Year Plan, and the Mid-term Appraisal of the Tenth Five Year Plan.

Articles By Pronab Sen
I4I Panel Discussion: The challenge of job creation
Posted On: 30 Jan 2018

In a recent I4I editorial, Ashok Kotwal described the challenge of job creation that is facing the Indian economy today. In December 2017, Prof. Kotwal moderated a panel discussion on the topic between Kaushik Basu (Cornell University), Renana Jhabvala (SEWA), and Pronab Sen (IGC India). The panellists presented their views on issues including raising productivity of the unorganised sector; role of manufacturing and services in job creation; impact of automation and artificial intelligence; and binding constraints on growth of the organised sector.

Video and summary of the discussion are available here.

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The lad(y) doth protest too much, methinks
Posted On: 13 Oct 2017

Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha has trashed the present government’s track record on economic management. In a recent article, economist Surjit Bhalla refuted Mr. Sinha’s claims with a point-by-point take-down. In this article, Dr. Pronab Sen responds to Dr. Bhalla’s critique.
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How much public debt is too little?
Posted On: 16 Jul 2017

Virtually the entire literature on public debt is focussed on determining how much is too much, beyond which it becomes a systemic threat to the economy. In this article, Pronab Sen outlines some of the considerations which should be taken into account while determining the minimum stock of public debt and its flow counterpart, the fiscal deficit.
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Are farm loan waivers really so bad?
Posted On: 23 Jun 2017

Recent announcements by various state governments of their intent to waive farm loans to varying extents have been strongly criticised by the media and other commentators. In this article, Dr Pronab Sen examines the validity of the claims on which this opposition is based.
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When windmills tilt: The FRBM debate
Posted On: 08 May 2017

In this article, Dr Pronab Sen presents his views on the ongoing debate on the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act.
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The puzzle of Indian urbanisation
Posted On: 12 Apr 2017

Topics:   Urbanisation
Tags:   migration

The global experience has been that as countries develop, rural-to-urban migration accelerates, and decelerates only when the urbanisation level is very high – usually well over 50%. In contrast, migration in India began decelerating when urbanisation was below 25%. In the article, Pronab Sen deconstructs this puzzle.
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Picking up the pieces
Posted On: 18 Nov 2016

In an earlier article , Pronab Sen, Country Director, IGC India Central, examined some of the economic consequences of the recent demonetisation of Rs. 1,000 and 500 notes in India, and concluded that the potential damage could be substantial, both in terms of growth and equity.

In this article, focussing on solutions, he contends that the government now needs to realise that credit for production purposes is at least as, if not more, important than providing liquidity for consumption.

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Shock and oh damn
Posted On: 14 Nov 2016

In this article, Pronab Sen, Country Director for the India Central Programme of the International Growth Centre, argues that India’s recent demonetisation has penalised virtually the entire informal sector, and perhaps damaged it permanently.
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Should the rupee trade with Russia be revived?
Posted On: 20 Jun 2016

Topics:   Trade
Tags:   Russia

The issue of revival of the bilateral rupee-denominated trade between India and Russia is back on the table after a break of over 20 years. This column contends that while there is justification for India’s hesitancy in reviving this trade, the prevailing conditions are such that it makes eminent sense for both sides - provided appropriate precautions are taken.
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Monetary dimensions of the recent Indian inflationary experience
Posted On: 12 Oct 2015

Inflation in India remained at or near double-digit levels between 2009-10 and 2014-15. In this article, Pronab Sen, Country Director, IGC India Central, argues that while the initiation of the inflationary process may have been rooted in structural factors, there is a monetary story to be told about its propagation across commodities and perpetuation over time. This understanding explains RBI’s helplessness and may help in designing appropriate policy interventions for similar inflationary episodes in the future.
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Towards integrating sample surveys in India
Posted On: 19 Jan 2015

Tags:   data

Large-scale household surveys in India are mainly undertaken by the NSSO and the NCAER. In this article, Pronab Sen, Chairman of the National Statistical Commission, highlights the need for systematic convergence between the two organisations, as well as other smaller ones, in the conduct of surveys. He discusses the requirements and challenges of such an integration process, including issues of data sharing and dissemination.
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In lieu of the Planning Commission: Part IV
Posted On: 30 Sep 2014

In this post, Pronab Sen – former Principal Adviser, Planning Commission of India – provides his perspective on some of the issues involved in replacing the Planning Commission. In his view, none of the functions that were performed by the Planning Commission are entirely dispensable for any central government in a federal democratic system; the issue is the manner in which they are performed and who performs them.
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The future of economic planning in India
Posted On: 09 Sep 2014

Economic planning has been a central tenet of India’s development strategy since independence. In this article, Pronab Sen – former Principal Adviser to the Planning Commission of India – presents his views on the criticisms leveled against Indian planning from time to time, and reflects upon the continuing utility of planning in the future.
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Can SMEs drive India’s growth?
Posted On: 12 Feb 2014

Topics:   Economic Growth

Investment, particularly by the corporate sector in India, drove high growth rates during 2003-2009. Given the expected slow and weak recovery of the global economy, Indian corporates are unlikely to be able to lead the process of growth revival. This column argues that under the right circumstances and with proper policies, the dynamism of the Small and Medium Enterprises sector can ensure growth rates of 7% and above.
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What explains the steep poverty decline in India from 2004 to 2011?
Posted On: 29 Jul 2013

Ashok Kotwal, Editor-in-Chief, Ideas for India, interviews Pronab Sen on the recent poverty figures that show a steep decline in poverty in India between 2004 and 2011. According to him, the shift in terms of trade in favour of agriculture and higher rural wages accelerated the trickle down of the fast economic growth to the poor.
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