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

COVID-19Subscribe to COVID-19

Nature of Health Insurance Demand in India

In this paper, an attempt is made to explore the elasticity of health insurance demand in India. Keeping in view the central and state government efforts as well as rural–urban disparities in the country, we evaluate whether people have appropriate information about these governmental schemes and the influence of other socio-economic factors on individual household choices.

What Does the COVID-19 Experience Tell Us about Indian Growth Drivers?

Parts of this paper were presented at SSS-AIU, Study Group and EGROW Foundation webinars, O P Jindal Finance Global Finance Conclave and Rajagiri Conference on Economics and Finance. Enthusiastic feedback helped improve it. In particular, the author thanks Charan Singh for the invitation to develop one of her op-eds, Arvind Virmani, Amartya Lahiri and an EPW referee for comments. The author would also like to thank Krishnandu Ghosh and Sandipan Saha for research assistance and Shreeja Joy Velu for secretarial assistance. This paper is an updated and abbreviated version of IGIDR WP-2021–025.
 

Needles, Blood, and Data

That COVID-19 has been difficult on gender minorities has been well-documented. Through a combination of abandonment by the state, reluctance towards women’s health beyond their reproductive capacity, and an epistemological gap at the heart of modern medicine, it is ensured that the effects of vaccines on women’s menstrual cycles remain ignored.

COVID-19 and Bank Behaviour

The article analyses the impact of the pandemic on the banking sector in India. Utilising data on Indian banks, it addresses two questions: fi rst, what was the magnitude of the impact on bank lending across ownership? Second, what was the impact on their costs and returns? This article is one of the early exercises to examine the impact on banks’ balance sheets in the Indian context.

COVID-19 as an Opportunity to Engage with Urban Malnutrition Challenge: Preliminary Insights from India

As the world is urbanising fast, a growing body of literature highlights malnutrition as an imminent urban challenge, further compounded by the outbreak of COVID-19. The nutrition policy discourse, however, is yet to accommodate this shift. In fact, it continues to exhibit a rural bias. This itself has partly been reinforced by the absence of authoritative evidence on urban malnutrition. Based on preliminary analysis of Indian data, this paper examines whether there is urbanisation of child malnutrition. The paper finds that urban India is witnessing a decline in nutrition advantage. While for less urbanised states, urban child stunting is relatively higher, in more urbanised states, urban child wasting is a challenge. Given that wasting is an indicator of acute malnutrition, it is partly attributable to lack of adequate food. Though it might be early to connect this to a looming hunger crisis, growing child wasting questions the claims of food security in urban India. Seeing this further in context of implications of COVID-19 provides a potential basis for broadening of the nutrition policy agenda.

Assessing the Recent Indian Economic Growth

Although the headline growth in 2021–22 and the projections for 2022–23 following the disastrous COVID-19 pandemic are impressive, indeed the highest among major economies, this is not the hoped-for V-shaped recovery as the output loss is far from being recouped. India’s output loss is among the highest in major G20 economies. It may be difficult for the Indian economy to sustain an average growth above 5% in a business-as-usual scenario because its potential growth has declined through hysteresis, and it faces several headwinds going forward.

Epidemic and Infectious Disease Surveillance

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen some Asian countries employ sophisticated mass-surveillance technologies—normally employed to gather intelligence for domestic security purposes—to contain the spread of infection in their populations. There has also been an intrusion of military and allied national security actors into the traditionally civilian domain of public health, in the form of disease surveillance. These emerging developments in the pandemic response provide a pretext for a limited historical review, beginning from World War II to the present, centred on the intersection between infectious disease surveillance and control, national security, and military in the Western world.

Food Consumption Expenditures and the COVID-19 Pandemic in India

The COVID-19 pandemic led to lockdowns and disruptions in food supply chains and emerged as both a demand- and a supply-side shock. Based on the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy– Consumer Pyramids Household Survey monthly expenditure data for the period from January 2019 to August 2021, changes in food expenditure shares in India as a result of the pandemic across income and socio-economic and demographic groups are examined. The pandemic-induced lockdowns resulted in a sharp increase in the share of food in the total expenditure across rural and urban India for all income groups and castes and religions, but the intensity of shifts varied.

Novel Health Approaches Emerging from the Covid-19 Crisis

Novel public health experiments from Maharashtra in the pandemic times, involving co-production of healthcare, interventionist regulation of private hospital rates and popular initiatives to ensure social accountability of private hospitals, demonstrate significant potentials to advance people-centred health system changes.

The ‘Relevance’ Question

The Social Sciences in a Global Age: Decoding Knowledge Politics by Dipankar Sinha, Oxon and New York: Routledge, 2022; pp xxiv + 173, `695.

Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Rural Non-farm Self-employed in India

This paper examines the importance of skills, especially through vocational training, for the rural non-farm sector in overcoming the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The difference-in-differences technique has been used to assess the differential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the earnings of skilled and unskilled self-employed activities. The primary data have been collected from 880 rural non-farm self-employed individuals who hailed from different regions of Karnataka. Although every section of the rural non-farm activities has been adversely affected due to the pandemic, the impact is more severe on unskilled individuals as compared to skilled individuals. Therefore, policymakers need to pay attention to enhancing the provision of formal vocational training for RNFS individuals on a grander scale.

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