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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 »
Debate: The Aadhaar Bill
Posted on: 02 May 2016
In a debate on the Aadhaar Bill, commentators from academia and civil society will ... read on »

Tag: water

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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Making India open-defecation free by 2019
Bhaskar Pant
Posted on: 06 Sep 2016

Swachh Bharat Mission – the flagship sanitation programme of the Indian government – aims to make India open-defecation free by 2019. However, this has only been achieved in 17 of 686 districts so far. In this article, Bhaskar Pant outlines the key reasons due to which the government’s efforts are not being reflected in the results, and makes suggestions to increase the effectiveness of the programme.
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Panel Discussion: Two years of Modi government
Pranab Bardhan , Parikshit Ghosh , Pratap Bhanu Mehta , Mihir Sharma
Posted on: 29 Aug 2016
Topics:   Political Economy


In  a panel discussion organised to mark the 4th anniversary of Ideas for India, I4I Editor Parikshit Ghosh (Delhi School of Economics) moderates a discussion on ‘Two years of Modi government’ among Pranab Bardhan (University of California, Berkeley), Mihir Sharma (Bloomberg View) and Pratap Bhanu Mehta (Centre for Policy Research), encompassing issues related to policy and governance; corruption; manufacturing; social sector; and social and cultural issues.
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Using geospatial methods in estimating exposure to open defecation
Prashant Arya , Nikhil George , Amandeep Singh
Posted on: 03 Aug 2016
Topics:   Health


Eliminating open defecation is an important policy priority in India. In this article, Arya, George and Singh from the Centre for Policy Research, illustrate how using readily available geospatial data to estimate exposure to open defecation can help focus public investment and efforts in areas where it is needed the most.
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Water quality awareness and behaviour change
Gauri Kartini Shastry , Pinar Keskin , Hannah Ruebeck
Posted on: 28 Jul 2016
Topics:   Health


Universal access to clean water is far from a reality in many developing countries. This column examines a nationwide information campaign that attempted to minimise the use of arsenic-contaminated tubewells in Bangladesh. It finds that mothers in arsenic-contaminated areas are more likely to exclusively breastfeed their children, and breastfeed for longer after the campaign - likely out of concern for child well-being. It also finds that infant health improves.
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The first two years of Modi government
Pranab Bardhan
Posted on: 11 May 2016
Topics:   Political Economy


In this article, Pranab Bardhan, Professor of Graduate School at the Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley, provides his perspective on the performance of the Modi government in its first two years in office.
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No toilet, no bride: Toilet ownership and marriage prospects of men in India
Britta Augsburg , Paul Andrés Rodríguez Lesmes
Posted on: 30 Sep 2015
Topics:   Health


A growing body of research shows that costs are a key barrier to sanitation investments by households. Based on a survey in Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, this column finds that apart from financial and health considerations, the decision of households to acquire toilets is influenced by the belief that toilet ownership improves prospects of finding good marriage matches for sons.
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Beyond toilets: Improving the sanitation value chain
Sujaya Rathi
Posted on: 21 Jul 2015

Besides access to toilets, proper treatment and disposal of waste is essential for effective sanitation. In this article, Sujaya Rathi - Principal Research Scientist at CSTEP who is currently involved with developing decision-support tool for sanitation - discusses alternate sanitation systems and the importance of adopting a system that is well-suited to the context and needs of particular cities.
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Encouraging household investment in sanitation
Raymond Guiteras , James Levinsohn , Mushfiq Mobarak
Posted on: 13 May 2015
Topics:   Health


While the detrimental effects of poor sanitation are widely known, there is disagreement about the key barriers to expanding improved sanitation coverage. This column presents results from a field experiment in Bangladesh that designs, implements and tests a range of sanitation marketing strategies. It finds that cost is the primary barrier to adoption, and that investment decisions are interlinked across neighbours.
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Making the best out of waste
Sourabh Bhattacharjee , Ujjwal Kumar Sinha
Posted on: 24 Apr 2015

Given rapid urbanisation and the increasing amounts of solid waste generated in India cities, there is a pressing need for effective waste management processes. In this article, Sourabh Bhattacharjee and Ujjwal Sinha, who have been associated with a successful waste management project in Saharanpur, provide an outline of the project and highlight lessons for other Indian cities.
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How serious is the government about Swachh Bharat Mission?
Sangita Vyas
Posted on: 20 Mar 2015

The recently announced Union budget 2015-16 has reduced the central government allocation for Swachh Bharat Mission – the flagship sanitation programme of the government. In this article, Sangita Vyas, Managing Director for Sanitation at r.i.c.e., questions the commitment of the government to eliminating open defecation in India by 2019.
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Modi’s economic reforms: Foundation laid but time running out
Eswar Prasad
Posted on: 27 Feb 2015

Anticipation is running high that the Modi government will announce sweeping economic reforms in their first full-year budget, especially since their tenure so far has been bereft of any dramatic changes. In this article, Eswar Prasad, Senior Professor of Trade Policy, Cornell University, contends that Modi has laid a good foundation for reforms in his first nine months in office. But the hard work still lies ahead and time is running out.
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Enhancing women’s participation in water governance
Priyam Das
Posted on: 25 Feb 2015
Topics:   Gender , Urbanisation


Women’s participation has become a key theme in water and sanitation projects. However, projects that have made provisions for women’s participation have yielded mixed results in terms of the quality of their participation. This column analyses community-managed urban water supply projects in Madhya Pradesh to understand the gap between women’s motivation to participate and their ability to do so, and what can be done to close the gap.
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An economist’s view on the new government’s initiatives
Pranab Bardhan
Posted on: 19 Dec 2014
Topics:   Finance


In this article, Pranab Bardhan, Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley, provides his perspective on some of the initiatives of the new Indian government at the centre in their first six months in office – Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jan Dhan Yojana, ‘Make in India’ campaign, and the proposed changes to MNREGA. In his view, inefficient subsidies must give way to a basic monthly income for all citizens.
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Financing sanitation
Meera Mehta , Dinesh Mehta
Posted on: 11 Nov 2014
Topics:   Health


The Government of India has set a rather ambitious goal of eliminating open defecation by 2019. For urban areas, this implies providing toilets to about 22 million households. This column contends that it is possible to achieve this goal if the limited public funds are leveraged to facilitate innovative financing mechanisms, through a demand-led scheme for toilets.
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Swachh Bharat Mission: The long walk from rhetoric to implementation
Varad Pande
Posted on: 01 Oct 2014
Topics:   Health


Swachh Bharat Mission – the flagship sanitation programme of the Indian government – aims to realise the dream of a ‘clean India’ by 2 October 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. In this article, Varad Pande contends that while the renewed rhetoric on sanitation is welcome, the devil will be in the detail. We must learn from past experience and global and Indian best practice, and not repeat the same mistakes.
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Left, right, and toilets
Dean Spears
Posted on: 19 Aug 2014
Topics:   Health


Eliminating open defecation in India is a policy priority. This column contends that successful strategies for reducing open defecation may not fit policy stereotypes of the left or the right. While rural sanitation policy in states where this practice is most concentrated has been focused on latrine construction, promotion of latrine use is what will make a difference.
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What the Muslim mortality paradox reveals about importance of sanitation for all children in India
Michael Geruso
Posted on: 18 Aug 2014
Topics:   Health


It has long been noted that in India, Hindu children face substantially higher mortality rates than Muslim children, despite being relatively richer on average. This column shows that differences in latrine use by religion can fully explain this pattern. This phenomenon sheds new light on how the open defecation practices of a household can influence the health of its neighbours.
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Culture, religion and open defecation in rural north India
Diane Coffey
Posted on: 14 Aug 2014
Topics:   Health


Open defecation in rural India is a human development emergency that is causing infant deaths, child stunting, and widespread infectious diseases. This column presents surprising qualitative and quantitative research about why so many people in rural India defecate in the open, even when latrines are available.
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Open defecation in cities: A faltering India story
Meera Mehta , Dinesh Mehta
Posted on: 23 Apr 2014
Topics:   Health , Urbanisation


Despite significant public investment in urban sanitation, over 37 million people in Indian cities resort to open defecation. This column examines the existing information on open defecation in urban India, and finds that the most important determinant is access to on-premise toilets. Local government leadership, targeted and smart subsidies, stakeholder collaboration and innovative financing options can help increase such access and accelerate elimination of the problem.
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Sanitation in India: First things first
Jeffrey Hammer
Posted on: 27 Jan 2014
Topics:   Health


Recent research points towards the role of poor sanitation in ill health and stunting. This column demonstrates the negative impact of open defecation habits and poor nutritional status on the height of children in India. It recommends that the government should prioritise sanitation by building infrastructure and spreading awareness, before focusing on providing publicly funded medical care.
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JNNURM and environmental sustainability
Kavita Wankhade
Posted on: 30 Sep 2013

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission was launched in 2005 as India’s urban flagship programme to close investment gaps in urban infrastructure, and to implement reforms for better urban management. This column assesses the extent to which sustainability concerns are addressed by the programme, and makes recommendations in this regard.
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The unintended child health consequences of the Green Revolution in India
Nidhiya Menon
Posted on: 09 Sep 2013
Topics:   Health , Agriculture


While the Green Revolution in India greatly enhanced agricultural production, the enhanced use of fertilisers led to the contamination of surface and ground water. This column analyses the impact of fertiliser agrichemicals in water on infant and child health. It is found that exposure of mothers to these contaminants in the month after conception increases the chances of infant death within a month of birth, and also has long-lasting negative effects on child health.
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Why are children in India so short?
Sangita Vyas
Posted on: 19 Aug 2013
Topics:   Health


Several scholars across disciplines provide converging evidence of the key role of open defecation in explaining child stunting in India. This column summarises the key themes of a recent conference at the Delhi School of Economics on child height in India.
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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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Child stunting and open defecation: How much of the South Asian height “enigma” is a toilet gap?
Dean Spears
Posted on: 18 Feb 2013
Topics:   Health


Children in India are shorter on average than children in Sub-Saharan Africa, even though Indians are richer on average. What explains this paradox? This column suggests open defecation as a possible explanation, and recommends that policymakers in India should work towards achieving widespread latrine use.
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