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

Shantayanan DevaranjanSubscribe to Shantayanan Devaranjan

Economic Growth in South Asia

Despite obstacles such as conflict, corruption and high fiscal deficits, south Asia has achieved impressive economic growth and poverty reduction in the past decade, thanks mainly to economic reforms in the 1990s. If this growth accelerates to 10 per cent a year, the region could see single-digit poverty rates by 2015. A closer look at the evidence suggests that much remains to be done to achieve these accelerated growth rates. First, economic growth in the past decade has resulted in growing income inequality, which may act as a constraint to higher growth. Second, while conflict and high fiscal deficits may not have constrained growth in the past, their persistence may become binding in the future. Third, a comparison with east Asia shows that south Asia's export-orientation, inflows of foreign direct investment, workers' skill levels, infrastructure and ease of doing business are also substantially less advanced than east Asia's.

South Asian Surprises

Factors such as weak governance, civil conflict, fiscal deficits and a fixed exchange rate are deemed largely responsible for impeding growth in low income countries. One or more of these factors are present in each of the south Asian countries. Surprisingly, the economies in the region have been showing rapid growth. For each of these apparent surprises there is an explanation or interpretation, but one that goes beyond conventional macroeconomics.

Making Services Work for India's Poor

This paper builds an analytical and practical framework for using resources more effectively by making services work for poor people. It focuses on services that have the most direct link with human development - education, health, water, sanitation and electricity - and uses examples of service delivery from India, elsewhere in south Asia and the world to illustrate the framework.
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