ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Observing and Commenting on Society, Economy and Polity

Do Not Dilute NREGA

[An Open Letter to the Prime Minister on NREGA by economists based in India and elsewhere in the world.] We are writing to express our deep concern about the future of India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). The NREGA was enacted in 2005 with unanimous support from all political...

Rural Structural Transformation: The Case of the Services Sector in India

This paper examines whether any of India's high-productivity, high-income growth in the services sector is occurring in rural India, and if so, to what extent. It addresses three questions: (a) While India has experienced high economic growth led by the services sector over the last decade, to what extent has rural structural transformation taken place? (b) How has the Indian services sector performed in the context of the General Agreement on Trade in Services and how is this reflected in rural India? (c) To what extent has the rural workforce gained from the it revolution?

Gender Differentials in Education: Exploring the Capabilities Approach

Motivation and freedom of choice are mediated through the institutions of caste and religion, which restrict freedom, particularly of women. This paper discusses whether the capabilities approach provides any advantage in addressing questions of inequality that may be also mediated through such institutions. With the help of empirical data, the capabilities approach is used to identify "conversion factors" that are not typically addressed in the utility approach. A comparison is made between knowledge generated through the use of traditional data sources to measure access and returns to education with the knowledge about the dynamics of capabilities formation generated through the use of a mixture of data within the capabilities approach. This has the potential to help public policy decisions to improve education design and outcomes for girls from disadvantaged sections.

Homeworkers in Value Chains

Asian Informal Workers: Global Risks, Local Protection by Santosh Mehrotra and Mario Biggeri; Routledge, London, 2007; pp xxxii + 475, price not stated.

Growth of Employment (1993-94 to 2004-05): Illusion of Inclusiveness?

Viewed over the long-term, employment growth slowed slightly in 1993-2004, compared to 1983-1993; the slowdown is quite marked in rural India. Employment has grown in urban areas over the past decade, but the nature of this growth and the quality of employment generated need probing. There has been a substantial increase in self-employment, much of which is poorly remunerated and for the first time in decades, there has been a decline in the real wage rates of regular salaried workers and urban casual workers.

Are the Results of the Economic Census Robust?

While the buoyancy in the growth of employment in the economy since the year 2000 cannot be dismissed, this cannot be surmised from the results of the Economic Census 2005.

Decent Work Deficits in Informal Economy

This paper illustrates the challenges involved in achieving "decent work", as conceptualised by the International Labour Organisation, in the urban informal economy through measuring decent work deficits among male and female workers in Surat. It assesses and contributes to existing attempts to measure decent work and then examines the prevalence of deficits and inadequate earnings in Surat, disaggregating the analysis by structural insecurities shaping informal work opportunities in India, specifically gender and activity status. The results provide guidance regarding what types of policies are most needed, and for which groups, in order to achieve "decent work for all" in urban India.

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