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

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Public Expenditure and Economic Development

Using univariate and multivariate time series analysis, like panel unit root test and panel co-integration, and the Toda–Yamamoto causality test, the causal relationship between economic development and public expenditure is examined in 28 states of India at different stages of development from 2003 to 2015. In relatively developed and less developed states, a causal flow exists from real sector growth to increase in public expenditure, in line with Wagner’s hypothesis. In least developed states, however, bidirectional causality exists between both capital and revenue expenditure to growth, and from growth to capital and revenue expenditure.

What Do Citizens Value in E-governance?

While e-governance projects are invoked as critical in realising development outcomes, their conception and design are constrained by a focus on short-term efficiency gains. An analysis of the implementation of the Karnataka Valuation and e-Registration project reveals that while it has facilitated convenience and accessibility by reducing the turnaround time of the registration process, it has not reduced information asymmetries or provided assurance of the legal validity of property transactions. This is due to a narrow conception of e-governance which does not seek to alter the incongruities that exist in prevailing state–citizen relationships, in general, and the role of the state, in particular.

Kailas–Manasarovar Sacred Landscape

Tracing the journeys of three old travellers—Rahul Sankrityayan, Pranavanand, and Nain Singh Rawat—three study tours to the Kailas region as well as to the adjoining Indian, Tibetan and Nepal Himalayas were undertaken along different routes in the last 30 years. These study tours help in the understanding of the larger Tibetan and Indian frontier history relating to Kailas.

Challenges to Indian Fiscal Federalism

The state of cooperative federalism in India is analysed by focusing on the trends in vertical fiscal imbalances between the centre and the states, the impact of Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management acts on the fiscal space of the states, the implications of the Terms of Reference of the Fifteenth Finance Commission, and the need for empowering local governments in the context of centre–state relations.

Disaggregate Food Inflation in India

Inflation may vary across space and commodities due to differences in region-specific or idiosyncratic factors such as climate, local culture, and the existing institutional set-up. These factors cause disaggregate, or regional, inflation, which in turn coalesces into aggregate inflation. Food inflation is a typical example. Spatial factors and rainfall are the most important determinants of disaggregate food inflation. Local inflation differs from aggregate inflation; the rate of inflation varies by city and commodity; and the determinants of rural and urban inflation are different. In addition to demand management policies, aggressive supply-side policies are the need of the hour.

Trends and Patterns of Household Indebtedness

Based on the data from the All-India Debt and Investment Surveys, a re-emergence of non-institutional credit agencies in the incidence of household indebtedness is found since the 1990s, especially in the rural areas, reflecting the inadequate social commitments of the institutional agencies due to their contemporary organisational deficiencies. The data, however, do not seem to capture the extent of urban distress in totality. Yet, given the general dearth of evidence on the status of household indebtedness over time, institutions like the Reserve Bank of India and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development should revisit this information to resurrect their roles in strengthening credit delivery to the general population.

Employment Terms of Casual Teachers in Higher Education

Contractual and part-time lecturers form a substantial chunk of the workforce in India’s higher education sector. An in-depth study of the employment terms and conditions of various categories of casual teachers in the higher education sector of West Bengal reveals that discrimination of casual teachers is deeply entrenched within the academic environment. This affects the self-esteem and well-being of the teachers and, in turn, leads to a deterioration in the quality of education imparted. Ensuring decent and equitable working conditions for casual and part-time teachers is essential for strengthening the higher education sector, which is necessary for nurturing a well-trained workforce.

Utilisation, Fund Flows and Public Financial Management under the National Health Mission

Since April 2014, funds for various centrally sponsored schemes, including the National Health Mission, are being transferred to implementing agencies through state treasuries. This has added an additional layer in the institutional structure for nhm fund flows. We analyse the utilisation of nhm funds in 29 states in two recent years, and the time taken for release of these funds from state treasuries to implementing agencies in three selected states: Bihar, Maharashtra, and Odisha. On average, only about 55% of funds allocated for nhm were utilised in 2015–16 and 2016–17. In Bihar and Maharashtra, this was partly due to significant delays in release of funds from state treasuries to implementing agencies. The delays were a result of complex administrative procedures associated with the release of nhm funds from state treasuries.

Robot Apocalypse

Anxiety about the prospect of technology displacing jobs on a large scale is currently dominating academic and public debate. A number of different occupations are likely to see an increased rate of automation in the near future. However, while studies have shown that this is likely to have an adverse effect on employment, they have all used the occupation-based approach to arrive at their conclusions. A task-based approach is used to arrive at a more accurate estimate of the effect of automation on manufacturing employment in India. Employing a comprehensive data set from the International Federation of Robotics, the nature and extent of diffusion of industrial robots into the manufacturing industry in India is also analysed.

Over-indebtedness and Its Drivers among Microfinance Borrowers in India

In microfinance markets worldwide, over-indebtedness among borrowers and households has emerged as an important concern. Over-indebtedness, measured in terms of sacrifices made by households, is high in both rural and urban India. Factors statistically significant in explaining over-indebtedness are the borrower’s age and financial literacy; the household’s entrepreneurial activity, income level, and spatial location; and the proportion of dependent members in a household.

Caste as Social Power

Intermediate caste groups like the Marathas in Maharashtra, Patidars in Gujarat, Kapus in Andhra Pradesh, and Jats in Haryana have been up in arms against the state for not being inclusive enough and demanding Other Backward Class status, reservations in jobs, education, and politics, adequate financial allocations to respective caste corporations, and other economic incentives. It is important to understand the dynamics of intermediate castes in its specific context to explain the current moment of its mobilisation, militancy, and political positioning. The intricacies of an intermediate caste called Kapus in Andhra Pradesh are analysed based on several years of field research and doctoral work.

The Political Economy of the Jat Agitation for Other Backward Class Status

The changing caste realities in Haryana and their links with economic processes became visible in the protests of the Jats for Other Backward Class status. The concerns of the Jats are embedded in twin processes initiated in 1991: the “Market” and the “Mandal.” Led by economic liberalisation, the job market demands certain attributes and levels of education and social skills to profit from its growth process. The implementation of the Mandal Commission’s report has facilitated the relative mobility of lower castes such as OBCs and Dalits through reservations in government jobs and education. The Jats have responded to this crisis by changing the discourse from one of domination to one that highlights their deprivation to bolster their demands for OBC status.

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