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

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Measuring Catastrophic Healthcare Expenditure

Catastrophic household healthcare expenditure is a prominent policy concern. The National Health Policy 2017 takes explicit cognisance of this issue and presents an empirical formulation to examine its incidence and patterns. However, the policy needs to account for household size variations to counter an implicit bias that tilts the estimates to reflect a higher concentration of catastrophic expenditure among the rich. This concern is illustrated using health data from the 71st round of the National Sample Survey. Further, a minor modification to unravel the socio-economic gradient in catastrophic healthcare expenditure has also been discussed.

Social Choice and Political Economy of Health

The National Health Policy, 2017 can be credited for an alternative vision towards the development of the health sector in India, but it falls short of expectations on certain counts. The core idea of strategic purchasing from the private sector is relevant, but can be incompatible with the existence of a robust public sector, particularly when reforms for enhancing the competitiveness of the public sector are undermined. Thus, the NHP essentially reopens the fundamental debate regarding the role of social choice mechanisms while deciding upon policy instruments and desirable outcomes. This has profound implications for the political economy of the health sector and can unintentionally catapult health as a salient feature in electoral politics.

On the Convergence Puzzle

While there is no disagreement that widening regional disparities is an empirical fact and a major developmental concern, the inference drawn in Prerna Sanga and Abdul Shaban (“Regional Divergence and Inequalities in India,”EPW, 7 January 2017) on convergence is misleading, and disregards conceptual underpinnings.

Health Inequality in India: Evidence from NFHS 3

This article utilises the National Family Health Survey-3 data and presents an empirical assessment of income-related health inequality in India. It undertakes a state-level analysis of inequities in child health by employing the widely accepted measures of concentration curves and concentration indices. It finds that the poorer sections of the population are beleaguered with ill health whether in the quest for child survival or due to anxieties pertaining to child nutrition. Further, an attempt is made to comprehend the relationship between income inequality and health status in the Indian context. The analysis reveals that the degree of health inequalities escalates when the rising average income levels of the population are accompanied by rising income inequalities. The income-poor sections have different needs and therefore, planning and intervention necessitates an understanding of the sources of inequality and recognition of the vulnerable groups to arrive at efficient resource allocation and policy decisions.

Strategy of Zoning in Marine Fisheries: Evidence from Kerala

During the 1970s and the 1980s Kerala's marine fisheries witnessed several distributional conflicts between the traditional and the modern fishing units. As a remedial measure, zoning was introduced which prohibited mechanised fishing in the inshore waters and proscribed mechanised fishing during monsoons. This study presents a theoretical analysis of the measure and analyses the available data to comprehend its impact upon fisheries. It finds that zoning has had a positive impact upon the resource distribution patterns, but that it would offer only a short-term solution if the larger problems are left unaddressed.

Community Participation in Monitoring Coal Production

This note critiques the article on illegal coal mining (EPW, December 8, 2007) on what causes and constitutes illegality when a large number of people's livelihoods depend on it.

Goa : Fractured Mandate

Goa, with only two parliamentary constituencies, divided its favours equally between the two main alliances in the 2004 elections. Though, and as previous trends also bear out, voting in Goa has generally been along community lines, this time other factors were at play too. Both constituencies showed widely varying patterns as regards campaign practices adopted by the contesting parties and also in terms of voter preferences. In North Goa, the anti-incumbency factor did not work against the sitting BJP MP, whereas in South Goa, the Congress was assisted to power by a united NCP-Congress campaign and by the church's appeals to the electorate.
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