ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Achin ChakrabortySubscribe to Achin Chakraborty

The Politics of Child Undernutrition Data in India

“Hunger” is indeed a sensational term. It causes a stir among politicians, policymakers, journalists and all concerned. Unsurprisingly, India’s poor rank in terms of the Global Hunger Index (GHI) becomes a major talking point with the release of the country report cards every year.

A Critique of the Fifteenth Finance Commission

This article analyses the conditions imposed by the central finance commissions on the release of grants to local bodies in the past and assesses the difficulties that they will face to draw the entire grants recommended to them during the Fifteenth Finance Commission period.

Changing Wealth Inequalities in Child Nutrition in Indian States

How have wealth inequalities in child nutrition changed in the major states of India between the last two rounds of the National Family Health Survey? The temporal change in the likelihood of child stunting in the poorest quintile of households vis-à-vis the richer quintiles is examined. Alternative measures of wealth inequality in child nutrition, based on the ranking of the households’ wealth scores (namely the concentration index and the extended concentration index), are also used to see how the magnitudes have changed. The poorly performing states have not only retained the last ranks in terms of average stunting, but have also faltered in the reduction of stunting during the decade under study. In three of these states, the improvement in child stunting has disfavoured the poor by all measures. Comparing the concentration index and the extended concentration index for the two rounds, it is found that inequality in stunting has increased in all the states excluding Uttarakhand. This calls for immediate policy attention, since children from the poorest households in the backward states seem to suffer from the dual burden of the state effect and the class effect.

In Search of Non-tangential Premises

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 marks a significant shift in the discourse on commercialisation of surrogacy. This article explores issues of altruism, repugnance, paternalism, marketability, exploitation, and assumptions of the moral inviolability of motherhood, with respect to surrogacy in India. It offers close perspectives on the ramifications of altruism in assisted reproduction based on field research and interviews conducted in the cities of Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Anand, and Howrah.

Reforming Labour Markets in States

Presenting a critical review of the issues in labour market reforms in India, this article places them against the backdrop of trends in labour force participation and formal/informal employment in the organised/unorganised sectors. Critically assessing the theoretical literature on labour market flexibility in the advanced economies, discussions in the Government of India's Economic Survey and the evidence in India, it asks if the reforms aimed at making the labour market more flexible will succeed in raising the economic growth rate and generating more employment, as advocates of labour market reform would have us believe.

Intellectual Tour de Force

Selected Papers of Partha Dasgupta, Volumes 1 &2 (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 2010; pp xiv + 521 and pp xiv + 527, £ 144 .

Revealed Allocation Priorities in the Budget

Looking at some aspects of the Union Budget for 2013-14 that have implications for the social sector, this article points out that there is a disturbingly large gap between budget estimates and actual expenditure on social services and rural development in several years. The trends in expenditure on these two sectors also imply that rural development has had to compete directly with social services to raise its share in allocation. In addition, the projected public expenditure on health indicates that there is a disconnect between the wishes of the Planning Commission and what is refl ected in the budget.

A Rejoinder

 Multiple Dimensions of Human Development and Interpretations of Change: A Response Santosh Mehrotra, Ankita Gandhi In

Human Development: How Not to Interpret Change

The India Human Development Report 2011 makes a number of mistakes in its analysis of the relative performance of states and also offers conceptually wrong perspectives in its comparison of the sectoral performance in health and education.

Of Measures and Mismeasures

Poverty, Inequality and Population by D Jayaraj and S Subramanian (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2010; pp 298 + xvi, Rs 775.

Some Normatively Relevant Aspects of Inter-State and Intra-State Disparities

While inequality in per capita state domestic product in India tends to increase, state-level indicators of human development show decreasing dispersion for the obvious reason that the standard outcome indicators of health or education have natural upper limits. Does it mean that instead of worrying about disparity in social indicators we should rather focus on disparity in per capita income? This paper argues that there are certain relevant aspects of disparity in non-income dimensions across and within states. In the context of resource allocation by a federal government among sub-national entities, the paper examines the ethical implications of two well-known allocation rules, population-weighted utilitarianism and leximin, and argues that the implications are not the same across evaluative spaces. It then examines if the actual resource allocation for human development in India conforms to some normative criteria.


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