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Does FDI Contribute to Growth?

This paper investigates if foreign direct investment contributes to the growth of industry by examining the spillover gains in the capital goods sector. It compares the performance of foreign and domestic firms in the sector between 1994-95 and 2009-10 by using the asset turnover ratio (ATO) and the return on capital employed (ROCE). The results indicate that except during the high growth period 2004-08, there is no significant difference between the ATOs of domestic and foreign firms and the ROCE of foreign firms is significantly higher than that of domestic firms. However, during this high growth period, the ATO of domestic firms is significantly higher than that of foreign firms and ROCE of foreign and domestic firms are same. Thus, the spillover effects are very slow to be realised and higher benefits from FDI have accrued to foreign firms. We do not find support for FDI as one of the key drivers for industrial growth in capital goods sector as claimed by the industry captains.

Equity in Climate Change

The Rio Declaration of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change emphasises that human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development and are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature. This principle affirms that considerations of human well-being should guide policymaking for sustainable development and that conservation of natural entities must be reckoned as part of such well-being. This paper suggests an equity approach for all candidate ethical principles to be subject to identical tests of invalidation, either by means of the present methodology or some other agreed methodology. Those that survive may then form the bases of climate change policymaking. The point of this paper is to start a debate.

Ancient Small-Tank Irrigation in Sri Lanka

This paper shows that winds of change are blowing in the dry zones of north-central Sri Lanka, the original hydraulic civilisation of the world. The social organisation of tank irrigation - which for centuries had combined a stylised land-use pattern, a system of highly differentiated property rights, and elaborate rules of community management of tank irrigation - has now been morphing in response to demographic pressures, market signals, technical change and modernisation. What are the lessons for south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa?

Can the Female Sarpanch Deliver?

This study examines the impact of mandated reservations for female sarpanch (elected heads of gram panchayats) on perceptions of service delivery and women's democratic participation. Using survey data from Sangli district in Maharashtra, it finds that the availability of basic public services is significantly higher in female sarpanch villages compared to the male sarpanch villages when the former have been in the job for three to three-and-a-half years. Indeed, reservations have had a significant positive impact on the democratic participation of women in female sarpanch villages though the positive effects in terms of service delivery and democratic participation will take some more time to materialise.

The High Cost of Dying

The cost of the inpatient care of decedents is much higher than that of survivors at all stages of life. The differential is significantly higher for those residing in rural areas, staying longer in hospitals, utilising private health facilities and suffering from chronic diseases. The difference is due to physicians in private hospitals prescribing more expensive drugs, subjecting patients to more clinical tests and higher charges on utilisation of amenities and facilities. The findings support the absolute income hypothesis that the economically better-off spend more on healthcare and the end-of-life care hypothesis that healthcare expenditure on efforts to save life is high.

On the Inter-Group Inclusiveness of India's Consumption Expenditure Growth

This paper complements an earlier one by the same authors ("On the Interpersonal Inclusiveness of India's Consumption Expenditure Growth", EPW, 10 November 2012) on the interpersonal inclusiveness of consumption expenditure growth in India. Covering six data points in the 27-year period from 1983 to 2009-10 (respectively, five data points in the 22-year period from 1987-88 to 2009-10), the present essay reviews evidence on the inter-caste (respectively, inter-occupation) inclusiveness of consumption expenditure growth in the country. The population groupings considered are simple binary classifications on the basis of caste and of occupation. "Inclusiveness" is assessed in terms of the conformity (or its absence) of the actual group-wise distributions of the fruits of growth with normatively specified "egalitarian" allocations across groups. As with interpersonal inclusiveness, the record of inter-group inclusiveness also turns out to be disappointingly deficient.

Migration and Gender in India

This paper presents a sketch of the key findings of a research project on Gender and Migration at the Centre for Women's Development Studies. The results of a series of primary surveys conducted between 2009 and 2011 across 20 states have been consolidated to present a summary meso-level view of types of migration, patterns of female labour migration, conditions of work and civic life of women migrant workers. The sectoral composition of paid migrant workers based on the latest available migration survey by the National Sample Survey Office is presented for contextual background, alongside a critical interrogation of the official data's gender insensitive concepts. Rising rates of marriage migration juxtaposed against falling female work participation rates and the spread of dowry are also touched upon.

Heterogeneous Pro-Poor Targeting in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme

Using 2009-10 National Sample Survey data, this paper describes patterns of job-seeking, rationing, and participation in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. At the national level, it finds that the self-targeting design of MGNREGS leads to greater rates of self-selection into the programme by poorer and scheduled tribe or scheduled caste households. However, the administrative rationing of MGNREGS jobs is not pro-poor but exhibits a sort of middle-class bias. At the state level, roughly half of 27 states exhibit rationing and participation profiles that signal effective pro-poor targeting; the other half struggle to avoid high rates and regressive patterns of administrative rationing of jobs to which the poor have a legal right.

Expansion of Social Assistance: Does Politics Matter?

This paper examines the significance of politics in the rise of social assistance programmes in developing countries in the last decade on the basis of case studies of India, Brazil and South Africa. Most of the literature on social assistance is focused on design and outcomes, but ignores the politics of it. Politics influences social assistance programmes in a two-way process. Politics is crucial to the adoption, design and implementation of social assistance programmes, but the latter also have a feedback effect on local and national politics. A comparative perspective helps identify some key parameters in the politics of social ssistance.

New Institutional Economics

Corruption is a major political and economic issue in India. The stakes, value, frequency, and costs of corruption have become exceptionally high in modern India. This is partly because some of the tenets of the free-market mechanism are implemented without the necessary underlying institutional conditions for an efficient and fair functioning of the market mechanism. This paper brings forth the relevance of the insights of new institutional economics to the functioning of the Indian economy.

How Autonomous Are the Branches?

How are political parties organised in multilevel political systems? What are the links between the national party (or the central leadership) and its regional branches (or state units)? How much autonomy do the branches have? These classical questions of the study of political parties in federal states have found a new resonance after the recent development within the Bharatiya Janata Party. Some commentators have even considered that the party is now not more than a collection of separate state units. Along this line and focusing on Gujarat, the author argues and shows how over the last 10 years the Gujarat branch of the BJP has become an autonomous regional party.

Doing Different Things or Doing It Differently?

Can the System of Rice Intensification be the answer to meet the country's future rice demand? A macro-level study covering 13 major rice-growing states indicates that fields with SRI have a higher average yield compared to non-SRI fields. Out of the four core SRI components typically recommended, 41% adopted one component, 39% adopted two to three components, and only 20% adopted all the components. Full adopters recorded the highest yield increase (31%), but all adopters had yields higher than those that used conventional practices. They also had higher gross margins and lower production costs compared to non-SRI fields. Though the rice yield of the country can significantly increase under SRI and modified SRI practices, there are major constraints that have to be tackled before this can be achieved.

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