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

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Changes in Planning Methodology

The trends in the utilisation of plan funds by the local self-government institutions in Kerala from 2012–13 to 2020–21 are analysed. Changes in the participatory planning methodology in 2016 have resulted in better utilisation of the funds after 2017–18.

RBI’s Efforts towards ‘Pandexit’ Go beyond Policy Measures

In a proactive move, the Reserve Bank of India rescued the economy with its innovative—blended conventional and unconventional—monetary policy measures. Low-interest rates, aligning targeted liquidity, and granting moratorium coupled with forbearance to enable banks to restructure loans, mandated the Kamath panel to work out modalities to restructure corporate sector loans. After affirming stability and orderliness of the financial sector throughout the crisis period, it rightly signalled descent towards normalisation paving for pandexit manoeuvring the tool of variable reverse repo rate.

Export-induced Loss in Employment and Earnings during the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented exogenous shock in the world economy unlike the global financial crisis in 2008, which was endogenously determined in the structure of capitalist financial market. Given the fact that Indian export sector significantly contributes to the Indian economy in general and employment in particular, it is worth examining how the Indian gross domestic product and exports changed in comparison with the world GDP and world exports respectively, in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020–21 vis-à-vis the GFC in 2008. Which industries are affected the most, in terms of export loss, during this COVID-19 crisis? What have been the consequences of these falling export on employment and earnings in the Indian export sector? This study estimates that in the COVID-19 year 2020–21, Indian exports have fallen by `3.74 lakh crore, with a plausible loss of direct employment by 5.06 lakh and an estimated loss of earnings around `12.4 thousand crore across 85 commodities.

The Pandemic and Its Discontents in India

India and the Pandemic: The First Year, Essays from The India Forum by The India Forum, 2021; Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan; pp xvii + 335, ` 695.

Wholesale and Retail Food Prices in Maharashtra during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The analysis builds on the extant literature in three ways: it covers the longest period of the lockdown; offers robust comparisons of means and variances of food commodities’ prices and the price wedge between them in different cities/market centres in Maharashtra during the lockdown relative to the pre-pandemic period; and finally gives a distillation of time-series analysis of co-movements of wholesale and retail prices between pairs of centre/wholesale and retail prices, mutual dependence of wholesale and retail prices, taking their lags into account, and their time-varying volatility.

Ways to Tackle Hunger during COVID-19

COVID-19 has not only caused deaths but has also exacerbated hunger and starvation due to nationwide lockdowns in the country that have led to a massive breakdown in the supply chain networks. These tough times are no less than a “wake-up call” for India to devise a permanent supply chain solution that ensures an uninterrupted supply of food and nutrition as well as timely healthcare and employment for its population.

Serving Quarantine

(After Serving Time by Charles Simic)

National Lockdown and COVID-19 Containment in India

What impact the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown has had on the spread of the virus in Class 1 cities of India is discussed using an interrupted time series model. Four variants of the susceptible–infected–recovered models are used to develop a counterfactual, which are compared with actual data. The analysis reveals that the lockdown has reduced the number of COVID-19 cases by 23.65 million–33.77 million and averted approximately 0.001 million–0.010 million deaths. At the regional level, it has prevented a major health crisis as existing intensive care unit and ventilator facilities for critically ill patients would have been inadequate.

COVID-19 Lockdown and Human Development

Maharashtra has emerged as the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the trade-off between lockdowns to flatten the infection curve and saving an already slow economy, there is a significant human cost, thus exposing and deepening the existing structural inequalities. The article maps and analyses the impact of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown based on the three dimensions of human development—health and nutrition, education, and livelihood. Given the acute shortage of food supplies for certain groups during the period, the article examines the government response by analysing the implementation of food programmes.

District-level Estimates of Unemployment Rates in Odisha

This article describes the possibilities of using an alternative method, such as small area estimation, for generating district-level unemployment estimates with higher precision. The SAE method is applied to generate the unemployment rate of different districts of Odisha combining the Periodic Labour Force Survey 2018–19 data of the National Sample Survey Office and the auxiliary variables from other secondary data sources.

Using Public Procurement Strategically

The article examines policy decisions and practices in public procurement in India during the pandemic, and finds that bureaucracy could not use public procurement strategically and relied upon archaic and centralised management of procurement to (mis)handle the pandemic. The article also offers some lessons from China’s procurement designs and calls for a major reform in this sector in India.

Engineering Flexibility without Accountability

Changing chief ministers reflects a deep damage to substantive accountability in a democracy.

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