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

S ChandrasekharSubscribe to S Chandrasekhar

On the Importance of Triangulating Data Sets to Examine Indians on the Move

A chapter dedicated to migration in the Economic Survey 2016–17 signals the willingness on the part of Indian policymakers to address the linkages between migration, labour markets, and economic development. This paper attempts to take forward this discussion. We comment on the salient mobility trends in India gleaned from existing data sets, and then compare and critique estimates of the Economic Survey with traditional data sets. After highlighting the data and resultant knowledge gaps, the article comments on the possibility of using innovative data sources and methods to understand migration and human mobility. It also offers ideas on how an enhanced understanding of mobility is important for policy interventions for those individuals who change locations permanently and those who move seasonally.

Doubling Farmers' Incomes by 2022

How realistic is the objective of the Government of India to double the income of farmers by 2022? Is there a precedent? From estimates of change in income of agricultural households over the period 2003-13, this article suggests what needs to be done to achieve a doubling of real incomes. A focus on income from cultivation alone will be inadequate. Policy aimed at increasing net income from animal farming will be key.

Food Sufficiency in India

The National Sample Survey Office's survey of consumption expenditure is woefully inadequate for estimating the number of food-insecure households in India. Future surveys of NSSO need to collect information on the four pillars of food security: availability, access, nutritional adequacy/utilisation and stability. The Comprehensive Nutrition Survey in Maharashtra is an example of such a survey and appears to do a decent job of capturing the different elements of food security.

On the Spatial Concentration of Employment in India

What kinds of economic activities are concentrated in which regions? What is the extent of inequality in distribution of jobs in a specifi c section of industry at the sub-national level? Using National Sample Survey data on employment, this article explores these two questions.

Reading the Tea Leaves on Financial Inclusion

Understanding the extent of financial inclusion of rural labour households is important since in the intercensal period 2001-11, the proportion of agricultural labourers in the workforce increased by 3.5 percentage points. This paper examines progress in financial inclusion using information on indebtedness of rural labour households collected by the National Sample Survey Office as part of the surveys of employment and unemployment conducted in 2004-05 and 2009-10. It is estimated that 22.3 million out of the nearly 66 million rural labour households report being in debt in 2009-10. The share of formal institutions in the outstanding debt of rural labour households increased from 29% to 37% while the share of moneylenders decreased from 44% to 33% during this period. What is promising is that the reliance on institutional sources among rural labour households without cultivable land increased from 20.6% to 26%. The aggregate picture however masks large variations across the states and one does not observe any structural change in geographical distribution of flow of credit and share of outstanding advances to the landless.

Workers Commuting between the Rural and Urban: Estimates from NSSO Data

How large is the workforce that resides in rural areas and commutes to urban areas and vice versa? This note examines this unnoticed issue and compares different aspects of the share of commuting workers in rural and urban workforce based on two National Sample Survey rounds in 2004-05 and 2009-10.

Primary Education as a Fundamental Right

In an attempt to attain the goal of universal primary education, many developing country governments, including India, have abolished official fees in primary education. The 86th amendment to the Indian Constitution made free and compulsory education a fundamental right for all children in the age group 6-14 years. There are other direct and indirect costs that can deter children from going to school. In this paper, using a rich nationwide data set, the authors construct the incompressible direct costs of attending primary school in India. After controlling for the opportunity cost of going to school (as proxied by the ratio of children's wages to adult's wages), it is found that the direct costs of education adversely affect the probability of children going to school, more so for children from poorer households. The results show that relative to boys, girls are more likely to be affected by the direct costs of schooling. The authors show that making primary education completely free will not increase the attendance rates to 100 per cent. They find that the government will have to incur an additional minimum expenditure of over Rs 2,900 crore every year in order to defray the basic or incompressible cost of attending school.

How Contemporary Are IIMs?

A unique benchmarking methodology is used to examine how the core curriculum at the Indian Institutes of Management (Ahmedabad, Bangalore, and Calcutta) compares with the business curricula of the world's best business schools. The evidence presented here indicates that the IIMs are facing difficulty in adjusting to the new paradigm that requires specialisation and close cooperation with the innovating enterprises aiming to world-class performance rather than with planners and administrators. Curriculum change in the IIMs seems to be based on feasible incremental change rather than on new knowledge, the needs of the students or the demands of an increasingly globalised and interconnected business world. With a greater focus on integration and knowledge creation along with changes in internal systems and processes, the IIMs can match the best business schools in the world.

Errors in Cotton Forecasts and Their Economic Implications

Inaccurate and biased information on acreage and production of cotton has often in the past led to misleading assessments of value addition of cotton leading to artificial shortages and production losses. New technology such as remote sensing based systems of estimating acreage and production which have been under development for some years, may well provide the necessary tools for more accurate assessments and so to better planning for cotton.

Technological Innovation and Economic Development

This paper examines the trends in R and D expenditure in different areas between 1994-95 and 1999-2000 linking this expenditure with the economic importance of the areas. Based on this assessment some suggestions are made for fostering and supporting technological innovation that can lead to accelerated economic growth. A clear policy imperative is that proper measures must be taken to make Indian firms and industries more competitive in a global context. The analysis indicates that agriculture and mainstream industries are the major current drivers of the Indian economy. These are the areas where technology inputs can make India globally more competitive. Bridging the gaps between needs and technology and creating the right conditions for large-scale diffusion of such technologies is one of the great challenges facing Indian R and D.

The SCATT Report

S Chandrasekhar Russell L Ackoff (et al): Designing a National Scientific and Technological Communication System, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1976, pp 173, $ 12.00, THE book provides a foreword by Lee G Burchinal, Head, Office of Science Information Service, National Science Foundation. The foreword points out that this book, whichis supported by the National Science Foundation, is an effort to provide an ideal system for the scientific and technical information enterprise in the United States. Russell Ackoff has pioneered in Studies aimed at developing ideal systems for a number of problems. The development of the ideal system in this regard requires a successive revision of a conceptual framework for organising the flow of information from points of origin to all possible points of application. The approach adopted in the book is that all affected parties

Tax Element in Urban and Rural Expenditures

S Chandrasekhar Per capita rural consumer expenditures have been generally lower than corresponding urban expenditures. The burden of indirect taxes is thus lower in the more agricultural States. Also, since land revenue is the basic tax in the rural sector and its burden is small, the majority of agricultural States are considerably under-taxed.
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