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

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My Thoughts on a Unique Institution

Let me congratulate this remarkable journal on the occasion of its 50 th anniversary. The first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of EPW is the undeniable impact it has had on informing and shaping discussions across the social sciences. It caters to various sections of the population within...

Enabling Financial Inclusion

Financial Inclusion Growth and Governance by Deepali Pant Joshi; New Delhi: Gyan Publishers, pp 266,₹750.

Water Management and Resilience in Agriculture

Water management requires multiple levels of policy action. The problem is not a shortage of water, but the absence of proper mechanisms for its augmentation, conservation, distribution, and efficient use. Water management should be given number one priority in agricultural policy, particularly to prevent drought, minimise the risks due to drought and build a climate-resilient agriculture.

Improved Terms of Trade for Agriculture

Using a more comprehensive method to assess the terms of trade between agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, a key indicator for the government's agricultural price policies, this article finds that the ToT for farmers and the agricultural sector improved rapidly between 2004-05 and 2010-11, after which they stagnated till 2013-14.

Counting the Poor

Since the submission of the report of the 2012 expert group on poverty measurement, there have been a few comments on it. The purpose of this note is to clarify some of the issues raised by researchers and others on this report. The clarifi cations discussed here are (1) what is new in the approach defining the poverty line; (2) the use of calories; (3) multidimensional poverty; (4) high urban poverty in many states; (5) NAS-NSS consumption differences; (6) poverty measures in other countries; (7) public expenditure and poverty; and (8) poverty ratio eligibility for access to programmes. As most of the researchers have commented on multidimensional poverty, this note also elaborates on the reasons for not considering this measure in the report.

Do Not Dilute NREGA

[An Open Letter to the Prime Minister on NREGA by economists based in India and elsewhere in the world.] We are writing to express our deep concern about the future of India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). The NREGA was enacted in 2005 with unanimous support from all political...

The Challenge of Employment in Globalising India

India Labour and Employment Report 2014, principal author and editor, Alakh N Sharma (Institute for Human Development and Academic Foundation, New Delhi), 2014; pp 248, Rs 995.

A Nutrition Secure India

India continues to suffer from under-nutrition among large sections of its population. The country is unlikely to realise the first millennium development goal by 2015. How can agriculture be used to improve nutritional status?

A Mentor beyond D-School

 talk about market failure and so forth. He answered all my questions patiently, but we remained on opposite sides of the divide. However, he had a deep commitment to empirical rigour and to a careful, minute scrutiny of data, and thus, would not accept an argument simply because of its laissez-faire stance. I noticed this on several occasions, but recall a recent incident vividly. Early this year, there was a conference in Delhi with extremely high-profile participants. Tendulkar was the discussant for a paper on India

Agricultural Price Policy, Farm Profitability and Food Security

Agricultural price policy has come under serious attack recently for recommending support prices higher than what the costs of production warrant, supposedly leading to a distortion of the market, and, therefore, to food deprivation. With an in-depth analysis of costs and returns in rice and wheat, which are the most state-protected crops and underlie the livelihoods of millions of farmers, this paper examines the effectiveness of agricultural price policy in enabling farmers to obtain sufficient profits to promote investment, technology and productivity and thereby to food security. The rising cost of production due to the overemphasis on getting input prices right is a major factor that has led to higher support prices. Another factor is the percolation of volatility in global prices through trade liberalisation. Because of this, wheat support prices had to be hiked steeply in recent years so that sufficient quantities are procured. This has distorted parity between the prices of rice and wheat.

Biotechnology and Pro-Poor Agricultural Development

Until now the debate on agricultural biotechnology mainly focused on the environmental impact, biosafety issues and intellectual property rights. This paper looks at the nature of commercialised biotech products, the changing locus of agricultural research, the emerging market failures in biotech product development, and the likely impact on poverty and employment. The evidence shows that Bt cotton is scale neutral and profitable to all groups of farmers. But research in biotechnology is mainly in the hands of a few large multinational companies which focus on crops and traits that are significant to the developed countries and not the resource-poor farmers. The public sector, therefore, must step in to pursue basic research that will benefit the poorer farmers.

Economics of Handloom Weaving: A Field Study in Andhra Pradesh

Based on fieldwork, this paper examines the problems and prospects of the handloom sector in Andhra Pradesh. One major finding is that the growth performance of cooperatives determines the growth of other institutions - the master weavers, middle men and independent weavers. Well-performing cooperatives are the best safeguard for the handloom sector, as they protect the weaver and also provide a counterbalance to the master weaver. Competition from powerlooms is an obvious threat, but this can be countered if the sector produces high value, unique (brand value) products or medium value products which can be marketed locally or abroad, as distinct from powerloom products.

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