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Ashok Kotwal
On demonetisation
Posted on: 23 Dec 2016
On the evening of 8 November, the Prime Minister announced on national television that Rs. ... read on »
Introduction to e-Symposium: The GDP conundrum
Posted on: 16 Nov 2016
Ever since India’s Central Statistical Organisation came out with the new GDP series with ... read on »
Introduction to e-Symposium: The idea of a universal basic income in the Indian context
Posted on: 26 Sep 2016
The idea of an unconditional basic income given to all citizens by the State, has caught o ... read on »
Introduction to e-Symposium: Ideas for reforms in education policy in India
Posted on: 18 Nov 2015
A New Education Policy is being formulated in India based on a time-bound grassroots consu ... read on »

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Sacrificing consumption to mitigate catastrophic risks
Timothy Besley , Avinash Dixit
Posted on: 26 May 2017
Topics:   Environment


Many scientists agree that the probability of a rare environmental disaster increases as the stock of greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere. This column asks how much consumption current generations should be willing to sacrifice to reduce the risk of such a future catastrophe. If there were a way of immediately eliminating the risk of all future catastrophes, society should be willing to sacrifice 16% of its consumption in perpetuity to achieve this. A sacrifice of 5.8% of annual consumption could bring about a 30% reduction in emissions, in line with the reductions contemplated in agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol.
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The dangers that lie beneath India’s IT layoffs
Maitreesh Ghatak
Posted on: 24 May 2017
Topics:   Jobs


The ongoing layoffs in India’s IT sector are at a scale that has not been seen since the global financial crisis of 2008. In this article, Maitreesh Ghatak, Professor of Economics at LSE, contends that while this is a major shock, the country’s demographic dividend, and global trends such as automation, demand an economic strategy that prioritises job creation more broadly.
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Hazards of farm loan waivers
Tanika Chakraborty , Aarti Gupta
Posted on: 23 May 2017

In theory, debt waivers are expected to induce the optimal level of effort from the debtor for loan repayment. However, repeated waivers may distort household expectations about credit contract enforcements in the future. This column analyses the effect of Uttar Pradesh’s state-level debt waiver programme – announced right after India’s nationwide Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme – on consumption and investment behaviour of households.
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A proposal for universal basic services
Himanshu
Posted on: 21 May 2017

In the context of the ongoing debate on the idea of a universal basic income for India, Prof. Himanshu of Jawaharlal Nehru University argues that we first need to ensure that all citizens have access to basic services such as health and education, provided by the government.

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The state of the economy and mass perception
Ashwini Kulkarni
Posted on: 19 May 2017

In this article, Ashwini Kulkarni of NGO Pragati Abhiyan contends that the media should tap into the knowledge of practitioners that are familiar with the ground realities of social sector schemes – rather than those outside the sector - with regard to budget-related and other discussions on the sector. This will help provide the masses with a real picture of the developmental problems plaguing the economy.
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Strategy for dealing with the banking crisis
Ajay Shah
Posted on: 17 May 2017
Topics:   Finance
Tags:   banking


To deal with India’s banking crisis, Prof. Ajay Shah of NIPFP recommends a two-pronged strategy – more financing for firms, and RBI reforms.
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Price risk and poverty
Lucie Gadenne , Sam Norris , Monica Singhal , Sandip Sukhtankar
Posted on: 15 May 2017

There is an ongoing policy debate in India on whether grain entitlements under PDS should be converted into cash transfers. This column shows that in the face of high price variability, in-kind transfers such as the PDS can be superior to cash transfers as they could significantly reduce the strength of the relationship between prices and caloric intake, hence, shielding households from price risk.
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Assam’s Brahmaputra Community Radio Station: Innovation in health communication
Anjali Mariam Paul
Posted on: 12 May 2017

River Brahmaputra which flows across the Northeast Indian state of Assam, carves out a network of nearly 2,300 islands, isolating them from the mainland and excluding their inhabitants from access to basic infrastructure and health facilities. Based on her fieldwork, Anjali Mariam Paul describes the working of an innovative intervention in health communication – a non-commercial grassroots community radio station for these river islands.
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The size of personal bank credit in India
Renuka Sane , Anjali Sharma
Posted on: 10 May 2017

In May 2016, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code law was passed by Indian Parliament and received presidential assent. The law consists of provisions for both corporate and personal insolvency. However, only the corporate insolvency provisions are being implemented. In this article, Sane and Sharma focus on personal credit extended by banks with a view to informing policy actions on personal insolvency provisions of the Code.
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When windmills tilt: The FRBM debate
Pronab Sen
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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Two views on fighting world poverty
Chris Blattman
Posted on: 05 May 2017

In the previous article, Lant Pritchett critiqued Chris Blattman’s proposal to compare interventions that provide chickens rather than cash, and the view that the answer is the best investment we could make to fight world poverty. In this article, Blattman contends that he agrees that we need to focus on the big picture and growth as a society, but that there is a strong argument for directly tackling the worst poverty now.
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Getting kinky with chickens
Lant Pritchett
Posted on: 04 May 2017

In the context of Bill Gates’ commitment to chickens as a high-impact poverty intervention, Chris Blattman recently proposed a study to compare interventions that provide chicken rather than cash, and said that the answer is the best investment we could make to fight world poverty. In this article, Lant Pritchett refutes this view.
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Moving towards a principles-based drug retail policy in India
Amey Sapre , Smriti Sharma
Posted on: 02 May 2017
Topics:   Health
Tags:   IT


The health ministry has proposed a new e-platform for tracking the country’s entire drug supply chain, including online sales. In this article, Smriti Sharma and Amey Sapre contend that the e-platform is a step in the right direction, but imposing the requirement of brick-and-mortar facilities on e-pharmacies is incorrect. Regulators should adopt an approach that promotes the principles of competition, innovation, and customer protection and responsibility in the drugs market.
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Leaving stunting behind: Evidence from ethnic Indians in England
Caterina Alacevich , Alessandro Tarozzi
Posted on: 27 Apr 2017
Topics:   Health


Despite impressive rates of economic growth in recent decades, India remains one of the worst-performing countries worldwide in terms of height, among children and adults. This column shows that height gaps exist, although decline substantially, among adult immigrants of Indian ethnicity in England, while virtually disappearing among their young children.
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Inequality and economics: Tony Atkinson’s enduring lessons
Andrea Brandolini
Posted on: 25 Apr 2017

Sir Tony Atkinson, the doyen of inequality economics, passed away in January. This article, by a longstanding friend and co-author, outlines his contributions to the analysis and measurement of inequality – and many other areas of economics, including taxation, social protection, and the welfare State. The ultimate goal of Atkinson’s research was to translate economic analysis into policy actions: economics is a tool for understanding the world and taking informed decisions on policies, but economists must strive to communicate their results beyond the narrow circles of decision-makers, making them accessible for public discussion.
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Land acquisition and corporate investment: Legacy of historical land ceiling legislations?
Sarmistha Pal , Tiago Pinheiro , Zoya Saher
Posted on: 23 Apr 2017
Topics:   Land


Firms in India often find it difficult to purchase land, resulting in projects being delayed, relocated, or cancelled. Analysing firm- and state-level data, this column explores the impact of post-independence land reforms – especially those related to land ceilings - on corporate investment in the country.
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A proposal for public funding of elections and political parties in India
M.V. Rajeev Gowda , Varun Santhosh
Posted on: 21 Apr 2017
Topics:   Political Economy


The Finance Minister of India recently introduced measures aimed at cleaning up political party funding in the country. In this article, Gowda and Santhosh highlight the limitations of these measures, and alternatively propose public funding of elections and political parties to improve electoral processes and outcomes.
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Consumption spikes and election days
Shabana Mitra , Anirban Mitra , Arnab Mukherji
Posted on: 20 Apr 2017
Topics:   Political Economy


There is ample anecdotal evidence on political parties bribing voters with cash or consumption goods prior to elections, in India and other developing countries. However, there is an expected lack of hard evidence on the extent and form of vote-buying. Using data from Indian states, this column analyses consumption patterns of households around elections, and finds a spike for some items just before elections.
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Smart policy for women’s economic empowerment in South Asia
Nalini Gulati , Jennifer Johnson
Posted on: 18 Apr 2017
Topics:   Gender , Jobs


In this article, Jennifer Johnson and Nalini Gulati highlight the different trajectories of women’s economic empowerment across South Asia, based on a recent policy dialogue hosted by Evidence for Policy Design.

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On Delhi’s mohalla clinics
Chandrakant Lahariya
Posted on: 16 Apr 2017
Topics:   Health


The Delhi government planned to set up 1,000 mohalla or community clinics in the state by end-2016, but only one-tenth of the target was met in the proposed timeline. In this article, public health expert Chandrakant Lahariya contends that in the success or failure of this initiative, at stake is the future of the efforts to reform the health system and strengthen primary healthcare in urban areas across Indian states.
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The puzzle of Indian urbanisation
Pronab Sen
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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Cash transfers to end child marriage: The Indian experience
Sajeda Amin , M Niaz Asadullah , Sara Hossain , Zaki Wahhaj
Posted on: 10 Apr 2017
Topics:   Gender


For over two decades, policymakers in India have been experimenting with conditional cash transfers to address the issue of child marriage. In this article, Amin et al. contend that financial incentives targeted at parents are unlikely to be sufficient; it is important to invest in girls’ education, and ensure steady growth of suitable jobs, and fair remuneration for them.
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Free speech and the rule of law
Maitreesh Ghatak
Posted on: 07 Apr 2017
Topics:   Political Economy
Tags:  


In this article, Maitreesh Ghatak, Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, argues that the fight over freedom of expression in India is a shadow fight; the real fight is about preserving the sanctity of our law-enforcement and judicial institutions to protect freedoms of any kind.
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