Upasak Das | Ideas for India

Upasak Das
University of Pennsylvania
Upasak Das is a Post doctoral fellow (based in New Delhi), University of Pennsylvania.  Prior to this he was an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum. He submitted his Ph.D. thesis from Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR), Mumbai. His primary research interests are in labour economics, empirical political economy and public policy. His current work includes evaluation of different aspects of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) in West Bengal and other parts of the country. He received a B.Sc. in Physics from Hansraj College, Delhi University and an M.Sc. in Economics from IGIDR. Prior to joining the Ph.D. programme, he worked as a Business Analyst at Genpact India Pvt. Ltd.

Articles By Upasak Das
Is the MNREGA fund crunch making the programme clientelistic?
Posted On: 02 Sep 2015

Topics:   Jobs

Fund allocation for MNREGA has seen a steady decline in real terms over the last few years. Analysing official MNREGA data along with survey data from Rajasthan, this column shows that in the face of limited financial resources, local implementers are more likely to allocate MNREGA jobs based on discretion and political motives.
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Assessing the quality and usefulness of MNREGA assets in Maharashtra
Posted On: 05 Dec 2014

Questions have been raised regarding the quality and usefulness of assets created under MNREGA. To examine the validity of the scepticism, this column reports results from a study of MNREGA assets in Maharashtra. While the assets are largely found to be useful and durable, the study suggests that greater attention to design and maintenance, and local participation in the decision-making process can lead to further improvement.
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How gender inclusive is MNREGA in practice?
Posted On: 21 Nov 2014

MNREGA mandates that a third of all workers under the programme should be women. But how gender inclusive has the implementation of the Act been? This column uses nationally representative data to analyse participation of women in MNREGA. It finds that while the programme has performed well overall in terms of providing opportunities to women, there is significant variation across states and sub-populations.
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Political clientelism in MNREGA: Evidence from West Bengal
Posted On: 25 Jun 2014

Topics:   Gender

The problem of political clientelism becomes imminent in decentralised systems where certain individuals or groups associated with the political party locally in power, get preferential access to scarce public resources. This column investigates the link between political affiliation and/ or activity with the likelihood of receiving benefits under MNREGA, in the state of West Bengal.
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