ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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High Returns from Higher Education

Education has been a key government policy to drive economic empowerment in rural India. However, evidence on returns to education has been mixed. Research has measured education as school enrolments while overlooking completed education. There has been hardly any attempt to see beyond schooling to look at returns to higher education. Here, we test returns to higher education in rural areas, correlating it with agricultural productivity. The results show a steep rise in returns to higher education after the higher secondary level.

Higher Education and the Scheduled Castes in Maharashtra

This article, based on a study conducted in fi ve Maharashtra districts, examines the factors that are signifi cant in Scheduled Caste students' access to higher education. It looks at the problems they face during the admission process and takes stock of the diffi culties they confront after securing admission. The article fi nds that SC students strongly feel the absence of guidance and support in academics and in making career choices.

New Assumptions, New Estimates

The report of the Ministry of Finance Committee, headed by the chief economic adviser, on revenue neutral rates for the goods and services tax provides a new set of estimates. Based on a different set of assumptions, the report suggests that moderate rates of tax are feasible. While this is an attractive conclusion, it is important to scrutinise the assumptions it rests on.

Wages and Non-wage Benefits in Organised Manufacturing

It is conventionally claimed that protected by “pro-worker” labour laws, organised sector workers receive a disproportionate share of the fruits of economic growth. And these “rigid” labour laws are believed to hinder output and employment. An evaluation of wages and earnings data (1981–82—2011–12) suggests that organised sector workers’ real wages have grown slower (0.82% per annum) than per capita income growth (3.6% pa) in India— despite high productivity growth— while their non-wage benefi ts have declined at (-)0.18% pa.

Strident Politics and Grey Economics

The politics over the neutrality principle revolves around issues of freedom of expression, right to equal access, innovation, and monopoly power exercised by some players in the internet market. Supporting net neutrality has become a matter of political correctness. Even actors who have been found trying to violate neutrality have vowed to protect the principle. Here, three areas in economics of the internet are explored: market structure sustainability of good networks, impact of neutrality on consumer, and investment in network infrastructure. A number of grey areas in economics are found, which show that the neutrality principle may not always be good, or effective, or may even be redundant.

Multi-ethnic Malaysia in the Era of Najib

Malaysia has long been regarded as an embodiment of tolerant Islam living in peaceful coexistence within a multicultural and multi-ethnic religious society. Tensions between the Malay majority and other religious groups have been rising especially in the last few years. This descriptive analysis provides explanations regarding the rise of ethnocentrism in Malaysia and the ability of the ruling regime to remain relevant in contemporary times. It also provides a timely analysis of the Najib administration and its chosen trajectories to gain legitimacy.

Deepening Regional Integration

In a major bid to facilitate cross-border transportation and trade, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal signed the landmark Motor Vehicle Agreement in June 2015. Is this agreement capable of unlocking the huge trade potential of these countries and deepening regional integration in a region known to be the least integrated in the world? This note attempts to address some of these questions, reviews the salient features of the agreement and discusses the challenges involved in its implementation.

Muslim Women's Views on Muslim Personal Law

A survey of Muslim women and their views on Muslim personal law reveals that the women feel the rights enshrined in the Quran have not reached them; an overwhelming number of the women want personal law to be reformed. As it exists today, Muslim family law is piecemeal and disjointed and neither the community nor the government has tried to make it comprehensive.

A Note on the Elementary Macroeconomics of Austerity

When austerity as a means for dealing with a recession is counterproductive, why is it recommended to deal with a defi ciency in aggregate demand? Or can it be justifi ed as a way to reduce the current account defi cit by lowering domestic absorption? A critical analysis of the macroeconomics underlying austerity policies.

Does Computerisation Reduce PDS Leakage?

The idea that end-to-end computerisation can reduce public distribution system leakage has been theorised, but not yet examined in practice. This note tries to fill the gap by conducting a case study of the information technology system for PDS in Karnataka, which includes back-end software as well as a front-end interface. It reveals three drawbacks: machines can be tampered, there is limited monitoring of the early stages of the supply chain, and policy shifts cannot be achieved by technology alone. It concludes by drawing lessons for other states computerising their PDS.

Changing One's Mind?

How do people reassess their beliefs in the light of new information? Do people follow the Bayesian rule of utility maximisation? Or are there other aspects that people take into account when updating their beliefs? In order to better understand this process, experiments were conducted amongst rural women in Uttar Pradesh. The results and questions this study throws up are discussed here.

China's One Belt One Road

The One Belt One Road initiative is the centrepiece of China's foreign policy and domestic economic strategy. It aims to rejuvenate ancient trade routes--Silk Routes--which will open up markets within and beyond the region. India has so far been suspicious of the strategic implications of this initiative. If India sheds its inhibitions and participates actively in its implementation, it stands to gain substantially in terms of trade.

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