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CPI to WPI Causation

The causal relationship between consumer price index and wholesale price index has been the focus of several econometric studies. The CPI could drive the WPI when producers follow mark-up pricing and when wages increase. These could be due to supply shocks that lead producers to hike prices, thereby also increasing consumer prices, which in turn could lead trade unions to demand higher wages--leading to higher WPI. Alternately if consumer expenditure rises in response to a positive income shock--increasing the demand for goods--it can lead to a rise in the derived demand for labour and subsequently wages. The present study attempts to (i) empirically test for the causal influence of CPI on WPI in the frequency domain, and (ii) test whether the observed CPI to WPI causation is demand-driven or driven by supply shocks.

Poverty across Social and Religious Groups in Uttar Pradesh

The article is an attempt at a comprehensive understanding of regional as well as disaggregated (district-wise) patterns of poverty prevailing among social and religious groups in Uttar Pradesh by using unit level records of the 61st (2004-05) and 68th (2011-12) rounds of NSSO's Consumption Expenditure Survey. It identifies the critical regions in UP, where poverty among social and religious groups is unfairly distributed. Estimates reveal that though poverty in the state reduced by 11.50% points between 2004-05 and 2011-12, it remained quite high among Scheduled Castes (40.87%) and Muslims (34.88%), particularly in the central, southern and eastern regions of the state. The study also attempts to gauge the causes for the unequal distribution of poverty among social and religious groups in the state and goes on to suggest that region specific and group specific development programmes may be more effective in alleviating poverty among social and religious groups.

What Is the Cost of Providing One Rupee of Support to the Poor?

The enduring equity-efficiency debate on India’s food policy revolves around two key issues—leakage of cereal grains from the system, and reduction in benefits at the extensive margin to reduce the fiscal burden. Using descriptive analysis and costing techniques, it is found that the public distribution system works well in regions with low market access, high cereal prices, and high poverty. It protects households from inflation through a price ceiling that automatically adjusts the value of the real implicit transfer. However, the biggest weakness is its one-size-fits-all approach. Even without leakages, some states will not benefit as much from such a costly cereal subsidy because of low market prices for cereals in those states. Overall, it is found that inclusivity and the possibility of leakage reduction, thereof, has the potential to deliver a net gain of $1 billion in social welfare from the status quo.

Narratives of Exclusion

Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork carried out in a "Muslim" neighbourhood in Kolkata, this paper attempts to understand the ways in which Muslim socio-spatial segregation gets constructed and maintained within the landscape of Indian cities. It argues that in the case of Kolkata, Muslim socio-spatial segregation can be viewed as an unfortunate consequence of the dual processes of bhadralok cultural prejudice against Muslims as well as the insecurity Muslims encounter on an everyday basis in the city. The restrictive and debilitating effects of exclusion based on spatial stigma, especially the ways in which they affect Muslims belonging to various socio-economic dispositions, are emphasised. Continued instances of exclusion can potentially engender a reverse assertion of identity by segregated groups who might eventually find it feasible to construct a monolithic and exclusive identity set apart from, and in opposition to, the city's mainstream.

Communal Riots in Gujarat

This paper analyses the exercise of state power in production of "truth" claims pertaining to the Godhra incident in 2002 in Gujarat and the riots that followed. This has been juxtaposed with an analysis of factual reportage produced by civil society actors, narratives from films, poems and an analysis of public opinion. There is much more in-depth analysis that has been done on each of these separately, but this study brings them together. It is in the coming together of insights from different sources that we can begin to see the historical event holistically. It is through this exercise that the interplay of state power and the production of marginality take place. Marginality of certain aspects of the truth as well as marginality of the Muslim community in the case need to be understood in this context.

Narratives of Health and Well-being

This paper deliberates upon the physical body of labourers as well as their health and well-being in order to reveal the contradictions in the state's discourse of national development and defence. Narratives of and interviews with the imported casual paid labour working on the Manali-Leh highway as for the Border Roads Organisation show us that illness, death and injury accompany the dangerous work of building roads in the high altitude of the upper Himalayas. The "unskilled" or "disposable" labourer is never able to accumulate additional utility or human capital even after many years of experience. His only capital--the body--is treated as a disposable and inanimate piece of machinery that loses its value in order to generate value for the nation.

Indian Insolvency Regime in Practice

While there is much anecdotal evidence on the abysmal track record of courts and tribunals in resolving insolvency proceedings, there have to date been few empirical studies of how the Indian insolvency regime functions in practice. This paper is based on an analysis of select high court and tribunal judgments with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the existing insolvency resolution process for companies and to identify where the delays and bottlenecks lie. Three themes that emerged from this exploratory study are: (i) the significant inefficiencies and conflicts that have resulted from having a number of different laws and legal forums to govern companies in distress, (ii) various judicial innovations and weak institutions that have contributed to enormous delays in insolvency proceedings, and (iii) misinterpretations of the law by debt recovery tribunals when considering cases of debt enforcement under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act. As India moves towards enacting a new insolvency and bankruptcy legislation, it is hoped that this study will be helpful in understanding the urgent need for reform and in providing initial insights on the direction the new law should take.

Diffusion of Broadband Internet in India

India has one of the lowest diffusion rates for broadband among the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa grouping, or BRICS. India has also been very slow in terms of the diffusion of mobile phone services. While it took only five years for mobile phone services to reach a diffusion rate of 75%, after 10 years the diffusion rate of broadband has not even reached 10%. In this context, this study attempts to measure the rate of diffusion of broadband in the country, identifies the factors that determine its adoption at the subscriber level, and discusses the policy challenges for hastening the diffusion rate.

Health Insurance, Health Access and Financial Risk Protection

Drawing from the 60th and 68th rounds of National Sample Survey Office, this study evaluates the impact of different (social, commercial and target-oriented) health insurance schemes on access to healthcare use, and cost of care and financing of medical expenses. The results show that though these schemes promote access to healthcare, they also increase the costs manifold. The commercial insurers have not been effective at pooling financial risks and seem to be indulging in maximising individual gain. Given the intrinsic market-failure and information asymmetry between the principal and the agents and difficulties in regulating the insurance-base system, this study advocates financing healthcare through a tax-based system which can be cost-effective for achieving universal healthcare access in India.

History of Eminent Domain in Colonial Thought and Legal Practice

This paper explores the prehistory of the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. By focusing on colonial Calcutta, it traces the emergence, development and various legal justifications of the principle of eminent domain under the East India Company rule. It describes the legal, bureaucratic and often extralegal methods employed to enact land acquisition law and documents the processes and narrative fictions that coalesced into our present understandings of the state's relation to land and law's relation to ethics. It also throws light upon the workings of the "reality" that law constructed and enacted in devising the principle of eminent domain.

Gender Responsive Budgeting in India

Gender responsive budgeting in India has been in practice for 10 years. An assessment reveals a mixed picture. There are number of positive developments, such as changes in select planning and budgeting processes and creation of gender budget cells. However, restricted reach of GRB and stagnant or even declining allocations for the gender agenda are stumbling blocks. Identifying critical issues that are limiting the potential of the strategy, the paper suggests key steps that the government needs to take to address them.

Imaginations of Self and Struggle

This paper aims to interpret construction of the self and struggles of nationhood of some Muslim women in Kashmir's resistance movement against Indian control , focusing on the phase of the armed struggle in the 1980s. It argues that they have been continually refashioning their notions of self and notions of just and free political community, and have cast themselves in religious -cultural terms to suit the needs of the movement. Muslim women with an active role in the armed struggle underwent a process of self-constitution in the processes of engagement with their immediate social and political context. There are women with a Muslim identity, who may or may not be practising Muslims when they intervene in political action. Yet, they were invariably cast in religious -cultural terms, forgetting that they have challenged both the Indian state and its patriarchy of militarism, alongside that within their own community.

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