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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 »
A symposium on Piketty: Introduction
Posted on: 15 Jun 2015
Thomas Piketty’s book on ´Capital in the Twenty First Century’ has made waves. The f ... read on »
Emerging challenges: Economic and social
Posted on: 06 Aug 2014
To mark the second anniversary of I4I in July 2014, we invited two eminent scholars – Abhi ... read on »

Tag: Bihar

Demand for environmental quality information and household response to information: Evidence from Bihar
Prabhat Barnwal , Chander Kumar Singh , Alexander van Geen , Jan von der Goltz
Posted on: 20 Feb 2017
Topics:   Environment , Health


Groundwater contaminated with arsenic is a serious public health threat in rural India. This column presents results from a field experiment conducted in Bihar to assess the demand for fee-based testing of wells for arsenic, and to study the behavioural responses of households to well-specific arsenic information.
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Solar micro-grids in India: A reality check
Anant Sudarshan
Posted on: 01 Nov 2016

Much of India’s strategy to reduce the use of fossil fuels relies on a transition to solar energy. Based on a survey of potential solar micro-grid customers in Bihar, this column highlights the challenges associated with solar electricity becoming a sustainable and scalable solution, and the need for a new approach.
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MNREGA: Vision and reality
Martin Ravallion
Posted on: 16 Mar 2016
Tags:   MNREGA , Bihar


In this article, Martin Ravallion, Professor of Economics at Georgetown University, contends that the main proximate reason for MNREGA’s disappointing performance is that many people in poor areas of rural India who want work under the scheme have not been able to get it. To match the reality of MNREGA with its grand vision, poor people need to be made more aware of their rights and entitlements under the scheme, and the supply side needs to be more responsive.

Tweet using #MNREGA10yrs

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How are India’s new states faring?
Amrita Dhillon , Pramila Krishnan , Manasa Patnam , Carlo Perroni
Posted on: 02 Mar 2016
Topics:   Political Economy


In the year 2000, three new states – Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand – were carved out of the large states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh respectively. This column analyses the performance of the new entities before and after breakup, and in relation to their respective rump states.
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Bihar’s alcohol ban: Prudent policy or tail-chasing?
Sanjeev Kumar , Nishith Prakash
Posted on: 21 Dec 2015

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to implement prohibition in the state from 1 April 2016 is based on the rationale that alcohol consumption is the primary reason for violence against women. In this article, Kumar and Prakash argue that a blanket ban on alcohol won’t stem violence against women – but making alcohol costlier may help.
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Education reform and frontline administrators: A case study from Bihar – II
Yamini Aiyar , Vincy Davis , Ambrish Dongre
Posted on: 16 Oct 2015

The frontline administration in India is infamous for corruption and patronage, indifference towards citizens, low effort and high absenteeism. This column reports findings from a year-long qualitative study on frontline education administrators in Bihar. Part 1 captured perspectives of frontline administrators on their role in the education hierarchy and how organisational design and culture shapes everyday behaviour. This part offers insights into how the frontline responds to reform efforts, and how this impacts institutionalisation and scaling up of reforms.

This is the second of a two-part series.

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Education reform and frontline administrators: A case study from Bihar - I
Yamini Aiyar , Vincy Davis , Ambrish Dongre
Posted on: 15 Oct 2015

The frontline administration in India is infamous for corruption and patronage, indifference towards citizens, low effort and high absenteeism. This column reports findings from a year-long qualitative study on frontline education administrators in Bihar. It captures perspectives of frontline administrators on their role in the education hierarchy and how organisational design and culture shape everyday behaviour.

This is the first of a two-part series.

read on »

Are self-help groups helpful?
Upamanyu Datta
Posted on: 11 Sep 2015

While a lot of funding goes towards community-driven development projects, rigorous evidence on their socioeconomic impact is limited. This column evaluates the impact of JEEViKA – a rural livelihoods project in Bihar that seeks to empower marginalised women by organising them into self-help groups. It also highlights the importance of understanding how these initiatives work, and the challenges involved in evaluating their impact.
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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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A campaign to end malnutrition in Bihar
Hena Naqvi
Posted on: 08 May 2015
Topics:   Health


About 55% of 0-3 year old children in the state of Bihar are malnourished. In this article, Hena Naqvi, State Programme Officer at the Department of Social Welfare, Government of Bihar, describes an ambitious campaign launched by the government in October 2014 to reduce child malnutrition in the state to 30% by 2017.
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Solar power for street vendors? Lessons from an experiment in Bihar
David Szakonyi , Johannes Urpelainen
Posted on: 06 Feb 2015

Rapid urbanisation in developing countries is aggravating the issue of insufficient access to energy for basic needs such as lighting. This column discusses lessons from an experiment in Bihar wherein street vendors were provided solar-powered lights, the batteries of which were charged at centralised stations installed in urban marketplaces. Based on problems encountered in terms of the mode and cost of operation, it suggests that the provision of electric grid connections, with stand-alone solar lights as backup, may be a better approach.
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Women leaders and deceptive behaviour
Lata Gangadharan , Tarun Jain , Pushkar Maitra , Joseph Vecci
Posted on: 29 Jan 2015

Are women in leadership positions more dishonest than men? Based on an artefactual field experiment in rural Bihar, this column finds that women in leadership positions deceive more than men, especially in villages that have previously experienced a female village chief. It suggests that simply reserving seats in village councils for women may not necessarily lead to better outcomes for villagers or women.
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The Bihar story: Resurrection of the state
Jitan Ram Manjhi
Posted on: 26 Nov 2014
Tags:   Bihar


In the not so distant past, the Indian state of Bihar was a byword for corruption, lawlessness, poverty, and absence of governance. Over the last decade or so, the state has demonstrated a remarkable turnaround and has consistently been amongst the fastest growing regions in the country. At IGC Growth Week, Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi outlined the key initiatives that made this possible.
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A conversation on Bihar
Karthik Muralidharan , Anjani Kumar Singh
Posted on: 03 Nov 2014
Topics:   Economic Growth


I4I Guest Editor Karthik Muralidharan (Associate Professor of Economics, University of California, San Diego) speaks with Anjani Kumar Singh (Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar) during the IGC Growth Week in London, on issues ranging from the successes and challenges of Bihar in the past five years, constraints on industrialisation, skilling, spatial distribution of development, to frequent transfer of bureaucrats and role of research inputs in policymaking.
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Education for all: Fixing classroom processes
Amarjeet Sinha
Posted on: 11 Jun 2014
Topics:   Education


While India has achieved near universal enrolment in schools, the quality of education is far from satisfactory. There is an urgent need to change classroom processes to ensure that those who go to school actually learn. In this article, former Principal Secretary, Department of Education, Government of Bihar outlines various initiatives undertaken by the state to address this issue, and makes recommendations based on their experience.
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Why is Maharashtra´s average income five times that of Bihar?
Areendam Chanda
Posted on: 09 Dec 2013

Income gaps among Indian states are large, persistent and increasing over time. Differences in technology and efficiency in production processes have been found to be the primary explanation for income gaps across countries. Does the same apply to Indian states? This column attempts to answer this question, with a particular focus on Bihar – the state with the lowest average income in the country.
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Delivering health services through schools in rural India
Anjini Kochar
Posted on: 04 Oct 2013
Topics:   Health


Given that India has better infrastructure for schooling relative to healthcare, and near universal primary school enrolment rates, many believe that providing basic health services through schools rather than clinics may be more cost effective. This column finds that coverage achieved by health programmes administered through schools is also low, even lower than the average school attendance rates. The key constraint on coverage is shortage of healthcare personnel.
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Bihar’s malnutrition crisis and potential solutions
Ronald Abraham , Andrew Fraker
Posted on: 24 May 2013
Topics:   Corruption , Health


The prevalence of underweight children in Bihar is higher than in any country in the world, and the provision of public services to address malnutrition is poor. Based on an assessment of the government’s nutritional support to mothers and children, this column sheds light on the grim public service delivery, likely causes, and ideas to address the problem.
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Reducing poisoning by arsenic in tubewell water
Chander Kumar Singh , Alexander van Geen
Posted on: 11 Mar 2013
Topics:   Health , Environment


Millions of tubewells across the Indo-Gangetic plain supply drinking water that is relatively free of microbial contaminants. However, many of these tubewells tap groundwater that is high in arsenic and should be used only for washing. This column explores a new approach to field testing in order to distinguish safe from unsafe wells, and suggests that people are willing to pay for tubewell testing.
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Education in Bihar: Still a long road ahead
Nishith Prakash
Posted on: 07 Sep 2012
Topics:   Education


In the north Indian state of Bihar, education has been improving faster than in the rest of the country. But as this column reminds us, Bihar is starting from the bottom. For education to continue to improve, Bihar needs to universally provide drinking water facilities, separate toilets for girls in schools, and more teachers and classrooms per student.
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