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

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Unpacking the Black Box of Urban Governance in India

Governing Locally: Institutions, Policies and Implementation in Indian Cities by Babu Jacob and Suraj Jacob , Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, New Delhi and Singapore: Cambridge University Press, 2021; pp xxv + 293, $110 (hardback) .

Reflections on the NITI Aayog Multidimensional Poverty Index

The availability of information from the pan-India household survey, the National Family Health Survey, facilitates the adoption of the global multidimensional poverty framework and helps in generating results for the Indian states and districts, but it fails to capture the true level of multiple deprivations in better-off states and urban areas. The explicit limitation of the fresh endeavour by the NITI Aayog is its lack of comparability across the spectrum of human development within the country.

Political Reservation for OBCs

The reluctance of the ruling state government of Maharashtra to conduct an empirical inquiry into the backwardness and refusal of the union government to share the Socio Economic and Caste Census data of 2011 has resulted in a conundrum over the Other Backward Class es reservation in the local self-governance bodies. The responses of the ruling state government and the opposition to the retention of the OBC reservation are explored. The impact of this decision on the OBC politics is also analysed.

Evaluation of Land Pooling Policy in Delhi

Institutional innovations in land development and planning like public–private partnerships, negotiable developer obligations, and flexible zoning regulations have taken centre stage in policy discussions. Given this, an unprecedented large-scale land pooling policy has been enacted in Delhi to facilitate planning and development by making landowners partners in development. The policy is proposed to be implemented in land pooling zones by sector-based planning. Although the policy proposes a paradigm shift in its approach by empowering private sector and landowners, rigidity in land use distribution and development control regulations at the sector level make implementation difficult. The development of city-level commercial and public/semi-public facilities is difficult in the sector sizes proposed by the Delhi Development Authority. Alternatives would be the optimisation of “developable area” in sectors and making land use regulations and development control norms open to negotiations with private developers or landowners.

Is Covid-19 an Exogenous Shock?

This note argues that COVID-19 is not an exogenous shock, but an endogenous shock, resulting from the interaction or exchange of human society with the animal world. Recognising the endogeneity of the COVID-19 shock is important to devise and adopt methods of mitigating future virus shocks, such as ensuring biosafety in livestock production or reducing the interaction of humans and domestic animals with wildlife. Dealing with the endogeneity of virus transmission is also important for developing an economic theory that recognises the co-creation and co-evolution of human systems within and with the natural universe.

COVID-19 and Fiscal–Monetary Policy Coordination

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic stimulus packages announced by the national government are analysed and an attempt is made to identify the plausible fiscal and monetary policy coordination. When credit-linked economic stimulus packages are partial in its impact on growth recovery, an accommodative fiscal policy stance in the forthcoming Union Budget 2022–23 is crucial for the economy.

Are We Reforesting Adequately?

Reforestation or afforestation should aim at providing carbon sink and a much-needed biodiversity.

The National Disaster Management Plan, 2019

This article reflects on the disaster resilience responsibility framework within the National Disaster Management Plan, 2019. It argues that the DRRF lacks clarity as a guidance document for the central ministries identified as nodal agencies for addressing individual hazards. The nodal ministries and agencies require guidance for understanding how their existing epistemologies can evolve to speak to the social conceptualisation of disasters in order to carry out tasks assigned to them under the DRRF. It goes on to suggest that the plan can provide this guidance and facilitate this epistemological transition by creating new knowledge spaces for these nodal ministries/institutions.

The Second Wave of COVID-19 and Beyond

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with long-standing systemic, functional, and health inequities put the rural communities at an increased risk. Sustainable long- and short-term measures are suggested to efficiently develop strategies to control the pandemic and strengthen the health system in rural India.

Portability in the Public Distribution System

The public distribution system in India is a major instrument for achieving the goal of “Zero Hunger.” Despite the vast amounts of resources spent, the PDS suffers from several inefficiencies largely attributable to the monopoly of agents involved in the last-mile delivery of grains. To address this issue, several state governments in India have started implementing a novel intervention called portability. This intervention offers beneficiaries the choice of when and where they can avail of their food entitlements while the government controls what and how much. We use detailed and large-scale programme data from Andhra Pradesh to analyse the uptake of portability among the beneficiaries and identify its underlying drivers.

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