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

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Growth Boundaries of Bengaluru

Madalasa Venkataraman's article "Analysing Urban Growth Boundary Effects on the City of Bengaluru" (EPW, 29 November 2014) discusses the impacts of urban growth boundary (UGB) and its effect on land prices, taking the case of Bengaluru. It puts together an interesting data set of sparse land...

India's Urban Environment

This article focuses on air and water pollution in India's cities, provides empirical evidence to demonstrate the seriousness of the challenges, discusses the relevant policies of national and local governments that are used to address the challenges, and presents relevant political economy issues related to introducing pollution taxes or other policies aimed at building green cities.

Mumbai and Shanghai

The article ‘Chasing a Mirage: Water Harvesting and Artificial Recharge in Naturally Water-Scarce Regions’ by Dinesh Kumar et al (August 30) is a valuable contribution to research that questions the efficacy of localised water harvesting structures being promoted in the country. These structures,...

Reforming Delivery of Urban Services in Developing Countries

Given the importance of urban public services in attracting firm location, increasing employment and facilitating economic growth, this paper takes up Ludhiana as a case study as to whether there is a need for reforming public service delivery when judged against national benchmarks and if there is a relationship between the city's financial performance and its delivery of urban services. The paper finds that user charges do not adequately cover the production costs of supplying water or expenditure on sewerage. The bottlenecks to reforming public service delivery are financial and institutional, as they pertain to existing arrangements for water and sewerage. Possible reform actions to improve service delivery are changes in institutional arrangements for delivery, privatisation, and citizen participation.

Telecommunications and Growth

Given the digital divide between the developed and developing world, and recent findings that mobile phones can bridge this divide, we develop a causal model that analyses the effect of telecom penetration on economic development in developing economies. The paper addresses the following questions to understand the dynamics of this causal connection, i e, is it telecommunication services that accelerates economic growth or overall economic growth that creates the demand for more telecommunication services for their growth to occur? In the context of developing economies, what are the factors that determine demand for and supply of telecom services? Finally, given the importance of telecom infrastructure in growth, what determines changes in telecom penetration in these economies? We present select quantitative and qualitative evidence from a few developing countries to understand the nature of the impact telecommunications has on their economy and society.

Educational Outcomes: DPEP or `Catching Up`?

This paper evaluates the District Primary Education Programme interventions in two DPEP Phase I districts of Madhya Pradesh by using one of them as the control group. It aims to assess the progress made towards achieving the overall goals of DPEP, namely, providing access to primary education for out-of-school children and increasing the retention rate. It also assesses the extent to which gender disparities and differences between social groups such as scheduled castes and tribes and others have been reduced in respect of enrolment, dropout rates and learning achievement. In some instances, especially when outcomes across low and high literacy districts are studied, DPEP appears to have positively facilitated interventions in districts that started off with low female literacy rates. Also, interventions to facilitate access to schooling and to ensure social equity appear to have had an impact.

Firm Location Decisions and Impact on Local Economies

The growth centres programme was announced by the government in 1988 to promote the industrialisation of backward areas. The growth centres provide basic industrial infrastructure like power, water, telecom and banking to enable the states to attract industries. This paper attempts to assess qualitatively the performance of the growth centres on the basis of primary data collected from field visits to several centres, discussion with state governments and visits to several firms located in the growth centres. It is found that without the infrastructure provided by the growth centre, many firms (even some representing local entrepreneurship) would not have located where they are. The firms have a favourable impact on the local labour markets. A few of the firms export and some contribute socially to the local communities. The paper concludes with recommendations for policy at the firm-level and the growth centre-level.

Inexact Can Be Nobel

The decisions of successive Nobel committees seem to confirm that economics is an inexact science and it is best that we 'triangulate' our findings from a certain method with those from other techniques.

Government and Private Schools

This paper examines disparities across government and private schools in two cities of Uttar Pradesh - Firozabad and Deoria. The study considered varied parameters - enrolment rates, retention rates, gender differentials - in an attempt to estimate out-of-school children in these districts. While the proportion of students in private schools has been consistently rising, the study found that government schools still score over private ones in several aspects, for instance attendance rates and issues of gender sensitivity.
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