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Converting Urban Cooperative Banks into Commercial Banks

The debate around the conversion of Scheduled Urban Cooperative Banks into commercial banks warrants an investigation into their performance. The larger objective is to examine whether SUCBs are able to compete with their peer group and remain viable when subjected to stringent regulatory requirements, in the event of their conversion. The performance of SUCBs as a group is comparable with that of their peer group, that is, old private sector banks, with the exception of non-performing assets. Performance rankings reveal that the smaller SUCBs are better performers than larger ones, calling for a relook at the threshold for conversion. In the event of conversion of SUCBs into commercial banks, some of the converted entities will be as good as some of the existing OPSBs, or may even be a shade better.

Determinants of Recovery of Stressed Assets in India

There have been signs of stress in the balance sheets of banks in an environment of increasing uncertainties and a fragile global economy. Weakening loan recovery rates not only forces banks to face the burden of higher provisions and limits their lending capacity, it also diminishes their profitability and solvency. Examining the determinants of recovery of defaulted loans by banks in India, the need for a stronger and effective insolvency regime is felt so as to improve the debtor-creditor relationship and credit environment. The importance of the presence of collateral, the type of collateral used, and a conducive macroeconomic environment towards recovery of bad loans are highlighted. There is a need for strengthening banks' credit appraisal system. Access to alternative resources facilitates loan recovery, highlighting the need for further development of capital market as a source for adequate resources for borrowers.

'Only What Does Not Fit In Can Be True'

This paper explores de-professionalisation--interpreted here as the experience of finding that the work one does, does not fit into the demands of the profession-- in the context of Theodor Adorno and Rabindranath Tagore. While both were writers, they were also part of the academic world and it is their grappling with the demands of academia that this paper looks into and elucidates.

Politics of the Guarded Agenda of National Education Policy 2015-16

The overall framework of the new national education policy has been pitiable in addressing the aspects of structural and infrastructural discrepancy, economic inequality, social injustice, and cultural homogeneity. The extremely constrained scope and guarded nature of the framework of the new NEP is a strategy for subverting the possibility to voice fundamental issues, to legitimise and bulldoze predetermined agenda of the dominant classes and to reproduce the iniquitous social order. The consultative framework of the current official drive is problematic being imbedded within the ideas of "minimalist expansionalism" and "tapered inclusionalism."

Beech ka Raasta

This field study from Sirohi district, Rajasthan, reveals that, faced with staff shortages, resource constraints and mountains of paperwork, officials and teachers of the primary education department employ a variety of innovations that they term beech ka raasta to deal with challenges and meet targets. This article examines the strategies employed by the lower-level bureaucracy to get the job done in the jugaad framework, suggesting that these tactics are not employed to subvert policy but rather to implement it in the spirit of seva.

Fiscal Transfers and Urban Policy

Urban fiscal policy in India remains poorly understood compared to many rapidly urbanising countries. Using underutilised data from the 2001 Census Town Directory and state legislative records, this study examines the level of fiscal transfers from states to urban centres across India to assess the factors which influence urban dependency. The study finds that urban centres depend on state grants for more than two-fifths of revenue, yet dependency levels vary greatly by the state. It presents the first national, empirical evidence of the determinants of city-level dependence on state government in India. The study also contributes to the very sparse literature on public finance for infrastructure in small- and medium-sized towns across developing countries.

Diasporas Transforming Homelands

This study of a village in North Gujarat is not based on why people migrate nor on why they develop emotional and material stakes in the homeland but rather on the effects and meanings that migration and collective remittances would hold for individuals or groups in places of origin. This search for meanings would entail an understanding of the values, structures and expectations that inhere in acts of giving.

Thinking Clearly about Suicide in India — II

Relative to men, women in India are much more likely to take their own lives than women living in industrialised societies. They do so at higher rates and at younger ages than many of those in the West. Marriage does not confer any relative protection from suicide risk for young Indian men; this too is a notable contrast with the evidence from developed economies. There are many potential stressors on Indian women which might explain the pattern of suicide risk. Changes in expectations about marriage relationships appear to be one potent factor in explaining the patterns.

Ambient Air Pollution from Urban Transport in India

High levels of air pollution from transport systems in urban India pose a severe threat to public health. While long-term challenges remain to curtail pollution sources, immediate measures must be taken to minimise risks to exposed populations.

Does Contract Farming Improve Farmers' Income and Efficiency?

This study compares the economics of contract versus non-contract farming of potato and basmati paddy in Punjab, and finds that on average, contract farmers have better farm returns and resource use efficiency than non-contract farmers. However, the efficiency differentials between these two categories of farmers are less significant in the case of basmati paddy. What then is the sustainability of contract farming in basmati paddy, and should contract farming be promoted only for high-value, non-cereal and horticultural crops in agricultural crisis-stricken Punjab?

Oil Price, Exchange Rate and the Indian Macroeconomy

General discussions on the Indian macroeconomy have centred on two things in the recent past: the impact of depreciation of rupee and the effects of falling world oil prices. Using the structural vector autoregressive approach, the dynamic relationship between movements in oil prices and exchange rates with macroeconomic variables like price, output, interest rate and money are investigated. Additionally, a comparative analysis is conducted to show how each of these structural shocks has historically affected price, output and exchange rate. The results show strong link among these variables. Three results have important policy implications: (i) the world price of oil has a great potential to affect India's output, (ii) targeting depreciation of rupee to expand output may not be an effective policy tool for the RBI, and (iii) variation in rupee's value can have medium- to long-term impact on world price of oil.

Damage to Democracy

The judgment of the Supreme Court in Rajbala v State of Haryana has to be seen as a debatable one, wherein it rejected the challenge to the constitutionality of the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act 2015. The act disbars a large electorate in Haryana from the right to contest panchayat elections on the basis of certain restrictions like educational qualifications, arrears clause, etc. This article attempts to show how the Supreme Court has failed to protect basic civil and political rights of citizens with this ruling.


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