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

Raghbendra JhaSubscribe to Raghbendra Jha

NREGS: Interpreting the Official Statistics

The performance of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, even as revealed by government statistics, has been disappointing and, if anything, has deteriorated over time. Using offi cial data, this article evaluates the NREGS according to the average number of days of employment per household, the percentage of households completing 100 days of employment, the percentage of expenditure against total available funds, and the percentage of work completed. The performance across the fi rst two criteria has been disappointing and the average number of days of employment per household has declined over time. The percentage of expenditure against total available funds has risen sharply, particularly since 2010-11, and has been consistently higher than the work completed as a percentage of the work planned.

Reviewing the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme

This article presents results on the participation of rural workers in the National Rural Employment Guarantee programme based on a pilot survey of three villages in Udaipur district in Rajasthan. Its focus is on participation in the nreg programme of different socio-economic groups and the determinants of the participation of these groups. It is found that the mean participation was 59 days and that targeting was satisfactory. The performance of the programme has been far from dismal.

Vulnerability of Consumption Growth in Rural India

The fragility of livelihoods and hence the vulnerability of consumption growth due to aggregate shocks in the Indian rural sector have been highlighted recently. However, as yet there exist no estimates of the vulnerability of consumption growth in rural India. This paper attempts to fill this lacuna by providing "certainty equivalent growth of consumption" in 14 major states of India over the period 1958-97, corresponding to NSS rounds 13th to 53rd. It is shown that certainty equivalent growth of consumption in rural India has been much lower than average real per capita consumption growth - indeed, in some cases, it has been negative. This points to the poor performance of consumer-perceived average welfare in India's rural sector and should be a matter of urgent policy concern.

IMF Quota Increase: Indefensible Decision

The IMF's quota structure has been long overdue for a major overhaul, but the decision on a selective quota increase that was taken at the 2006 annual meetings was hardly a step in that direction.

Eschew Capital Account Convertibility

Lattars Eschew Capital Account Convertibility A t this juncture, Capital Account Convertibility (CAC) seems inadvisable. The fiscal situation, for instance, is still not strong enough to permit it. There has been only a small drop in the central government’s fiscal deficit whereas the deficits of...

Fragmentation of Wholesale Rice Markets in India

This paper tests for market integration in 55 wholesale rice markets in India using monthly data over the period January 1970 â?? December 1999. The technique of Gonzalez-Rivera and Helfand (2001) is used to identify common factors across various markets. It is found that wholesale rice markets are considerably fragmented. A major reason for this is the excessive interference in rice markets by government agencies and barriers to internal trade. As a result it is hard for scarcity conditions in isolated markets to be picked up by markets with abundance in supply. A number of policy implications are also considered.

Budgetary Subsidies and Fiscal Deficit

This paper focuses on the fundamental question of whether the government's budgetary subsidies, estimated as unrecovered costs, can exceed the gross fiscal deficit. It explores the reasons for the wide gaps in the measure of fiscal deficit and the estimate of aggregate subsidy, and suggests an improvement in methodology for the latter, using the example of Maharashtra to tally the aggregate unrecovered costs. The paper shows that the subsidy estimated as unrecovered costs of the present consumption programme should not exceed the budgetary fiscal deficit.

Optimistic Assumptions

The macroeconomic situation is likely to remain challenging in the coming months. Some of the assumptions behind the budget may turn out to be overly optimistic and require adjustments in plans.

Reforms and Growth

Reforms and Growth Accelerating Growth and Poverty Reduction by Arvind Virmani; Academic Foundation, New Delhi, January 2004; pp 327, Rs 695 (in India), $39 (abroad).

Spatial Distribution of Rural Poverty

The spatial distribution of poverty in India has emerged as a matter of urgent concern in recent times. This paper presents evidence on the poverty experiences of 75 NSS regions for the quinquennial rounds of 1987-88, 1993-94 and 1999-2000. The results presented here facilitate easy identification of lagging areas on which anti-poverty policy must concentrate. The economic reforms programme has been unable to make any significant dent on the spatial distribution of expenditure poverty.

Fiscal Consolidation

Fiscal consolidation is a desirable goal in itself and would also facilitate the attainment of the other four objectives of the 2003-04 Budget. Such consolidation would require, primarily, a substantial increase in tax/GDP ratio. However, the current budget has not made any significant effort in this direction. On the other hand, the effects of changes in existing tax rates and exemptions and changes in the debt policy make the attainment of the revenue targets even more difficult.

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