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

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The Real Chowkidars of India

Looking at the profile of chowkidars (watchmen), using National Sample Survey Office unit-level data, it is evident that their work conditions are deplorable. A typical chowkidar is a middle-aged male with poor education and skills, working in urban areas on a low salary and without any written job contract or social security coverage. Instead of appropriating them as a metaphor for political gains, ensuring their job security should be a policy priority.

The Curious Case of Cocktails, Weedicides, and Tonics

This study uses primary survey data collected from Vidarbha, Maharashtra, to analyse pest attacks and pest management practices among cotton farmers who are at the risk of long-term exposure to toxic pesticides. We find that despite a reduction in bollworm infestations, secondary pest pressure is high. Farmers use pesticides indiscriminately and there is widespread practice of using “pesticide cocktails.” Farmers also mix pesticides with fertilisers. The use of weedicides and “tonics” is also widely prevalent. Farmers who perceive pesticides as yield-enhancing input spent more per acre on them. These findings raise concerns about the role of agricultural input dealers in filling up the agricultural information void for pest management.

Policies Need a Cautious Nudge

Recent developments suggest that policymakers in India are gearing up for the application of nudge theory in policymaking. However, there is a need for a scrutiny of the normative foundations and the social ethics underlying the nudge agenda for policymaking. Policymakers need to take these into cognisance while thinking about its application.

The Market for Cryptocurrencies

The growing market for cryptocurrencies, when viewed through the lens of Nobel Laureate F A Hayek’s radical idea of abolishing governmental monopoly over currency and introducing unregulated private currencies, reveals fascinating insights. Though over four decades apart, the resemblances and the dialectics of the two radical developments are uncanny.

Pesticide Usage by Cotton Farmers in India

With India emerging as a leading cotton producer in the world, and considering the large-scale adoption of Bt cotton cultivation, there is a need to understand the patterns of pesticide use by cotton farmers, especially as environmental, ecological, and health concerns surrounding pesticide use continue to be debated.

How Efficient Are India’s Cooperative Banks?

In spite of their distinct organisational structure and banking philosophy based on mutuality, there is scant evidence on efficiency of cooperative banks. The efficiency of district central cooperative banks in India is investigated by constructing a panel of 297 cooperative banks over the period 2002–14. Using parametric and non-parametric frontier analysis, it is found that efficiency estimates vary depending upon whether advances or investments of DCCBs are used as output. The efficiency of cooperative banking is mapped, and shows considerable variation in efficiency of DCCBs across states. The findings suggest the need for innovative strategies to improve cooperative banking efficiency in the country.

An Inquiry into the Composition of Farm Revenue Risk

In a liberalised economy, a fundamental understanding of the components of farm revenue risk through the relationship between yield and price risk is imperative. This study decomposes the changes in revenue risk over two decades of cotton cultivation in six districts of the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra into changes in price risk, yield risk, and the natural hedge. Examining data in two periods, 1991-2002 and 2003-11, it shows that though there has been a reduction in price variances, the increase in covariance between yield and price and the change in yield variance have caused increased riskiness in cotton revenues. It also indicates directions for future policies.
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