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

Articles by Ambrish DongreSubscribe to Ambrish Dongre

Too Much Care

In the context of India where public expenditure on healthcare is low, the private sector plays an important role in delivering healthcare during childbirth. An analysis of the latest round of National Family Health Survey data to estimate the differential probability of caesarean sections in private medical facilities relative to government facilities, and focusing on unplanned C-sections, reveals that the probability of an unplanned C-section is 13.5–14 percentage points higher in the private sector. These results call for a critical assessment of the role of private sector in healthcare in the context of inadequate public provision, expanding private provision and weak governance structures.

Implementation of Section 12(1)(c) of the Right to Education Act

Section 12(1)(c) of the Right to Education Act mandates non-minority private unaided schools to keep aside at least 25% of their entry-level seats for children belonging to disadvantaged sections to create a more integrated and inclusive schooling system. But its implementation experience has been far from satisfactory. More than half of the states and union territories have not implemented this provision (as of March 2016). Further, experiences of the states that implement this provision display considerable gaps. The Implementation of Section 12(1)(c) has also faced a plethora of litigations. The issues are discussed in-depth and recommendations for improving implementation have been provided.

Trends in Public Expenditure on Elementary Education in India

Trends over the last 25 years suggest that nearly 80% of the social sector spending has come from state budgets. Taken together with other economic happenings in the country, the centre's role in financing social welfare, including elementary education, is likely to decline further. Analysing broad trends in total and per student spending on elementary education across major states in two financial years, this comment indicates how the centre could best incentivise states to spend differently on elementary education.

Impact of Private Tutoring on Learning Levels

Despite widespread and substantial household expenditure on private tutoring in many developing countries, not much is known about their effects on learning outcomes. The main challenge in estimating such an effect is that the decision to send the child for private tutoring is endogenous. This paper utilises a large household survey conducted in rural India, and employs fixed effect estimation to control for the effect of unobserved variables. It finds a positive and significant effect of private tutoring on learning outcomes for students in Classes 1 to 8. The effect is stronger for disadvantaged students--those who are less wealthy, and those whose parents are relatively less educated.

How Is Janani Suraksha Yojana Performing in Backward Districts of India?

With a view to reduce high levels of maternal and neonatal mortality, the National Rural Health Mission launched the Janani Suraksha Yojana in 2005. This is an innovative conditional cash transfer programme to provide monetary incentives to women to deliver in medical facilities. This study evaluates its functioning by using a unique data set covering eight districts spread across seven "low performing states" in the country. It shows that JSY is working reasonably well, judging by the proportion of women receiving incentives after delivering in a government facility, location of receiving incentives, mode of payments and payment of bribes. But the accredited social health activists, an important component of JSY, play a limited role in facilitating delivery in a medical facility. Importantly, even though the proportion of women delivering in a medical facility has improved considerably, a significant fraction of women continues to deliver at home. These women are more disadvantaged than those who deliver in government facilities.

Structural Breaks in India's Growth

How significant was the shift in the economic growth performance that occurred in the 1950s, relative to the shift that is supposed to have occurred in the 1980s? If one were to identify the single most significant break date in India?s growth performance, does it turn out to be 1951-52 or 1980-81 or some such year in the post-1980s? The hypothesis in this paper is that the single most important trend break in GDP growth is to be found not in the 1980s, as the existing literature claims, but in the early 1950s. This is not because the performance of the post-1950s period was exceptional in any way, but because the performance before the 1950s was exceptionally poor. Nehruvian socialism looks dismal if seen only in the context of opportunities that were missed. If seen in the context of the actual economic performance preceding the years 1950-1980, the achievements do not seem so bleak.

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