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The Gig Economy in the Pandemic

Outsourcing Risk, Privatising Gain?

Issue Articles

States’ Loss of Fiscal Autonomy in a Centralised Federal System

The states bear the larger responsibility in dealing with Covid-19 but they have few resources to do so. The ongoing process of centralisation has weakened the states. We need an institutional mechanism to oversee bargaining between the centre and the states.

Hunger Grows as India’s Lockdown Kills Jobs

Results of a Survey from 12 States
The lockdown has devastated livelihoods at unprecedented levels, causing widespread job losses and hunger. The measures so far will not solve the crisis. India should universalise the PDS, expand cash transfers, and create a national job guarantee scheme.

How many casual workers in the cities have sought to go home?

There has been no count of the number of workers returning to their home states. An analysis of NSS data tells us that the first wave of returnees is likely to be mainly urban casual workers who lost their livelihoods and lived in insecure accommodation.

Seven Lessons for the Future

For the World After Covid-19
The pandemic has already taught us that for a better world we cannot have the market as the backbone of the economy; we need a more inclusive politics; decentralised governance is essential; and we obviously need a more harmonious relationship with nature.

Debt and Welfare In A World of Pandemics

Drastic times call for radical measures. Falling tax revenues call for an increase in borrowings by the central government to help states. A failure to do so now could have a negative impact on the revival of economic growth in the future.

Making Markets Work for Farmers During and After the Lockdown

The lockdown disrupted agricultural markets just when the rabi crop was harvested. To support farmers the states & the centre need to devise policies to expand procurement to cover more crops & small farmers. Support is needed for rabi & the kharif seasons.

The Twin Crises of Covid-19 and How to Resolve Them

The inter-dependence between public health & the economy in the Covid-19 crisis calls for solutions that address both together in the short & medium term. The long run demands a greater ecological balance in human activity if we are to prevent such pandemics.

Train 18 and Before

Indigenous High Technology Research in India
Train 18 is India’s first indigenously developed semi-high speed train set that was rolled out very quickly and at low cost. Yet, like many public R&D projects, Train 18 too has had to face obstacles that may yet prevent it from realising its full potential.

Locking out the Working Poor

India's Inadequate Response to Covid-19's Economic Crisis
With more than three-quarters of India’s workforce either self-employed or in casual work, and earning low incomes, the lockdown was bound to devastate their livelihoods. Conditions were poor before the lockdown because of the slowdown. They have now worsened.

India’s Tryst With Covid-19

The lockdown will not eliminate the coronavirus. Instead it could harm the livelihood & health of many. We must repair broken lives with economic measures, use evidence-based strategies to slow the virus & strengthen hospital capacity to care for the very ill.

India's Lockdown

If the first option of dealing with Covid-19 by imposing a complete lockdown but accompanied by comprehensive State support is not possible, then we must think of alternatives. Here is an implementable option for India that would open a lifeline for the poor.

Knowns and Unknowns in the Covid-triggered Global Economic Crisis

The traditional toolbox of fiscal and monetary measures will not help deal with the exogenous shock given by Covid-19 to the global economy. In these unknown waters for now the state can at best ramp up medical services and devise proper relief for the poor.

In Search of a New Theology

Fiscal Fundamentalism and Illusion in the Union Budget, 2020-21
The Coronavirus outbreak calls for a major stimulus by the Government to rescue an already sagging economy. But the 2021 Budget was itself premised on fiscal conservatism and had made unrealistic revenue projections, whose weak basis now stands exposed

The Continuing Relevance of MGNREGA

For more than five years the Government has been lukewarm towards the MGNREGA. Yet, in the midst of the ongoing slowdown this very programme is a potentially effective instrument that it can and should use to address the economic emergency in rural areas.

What Makes for Economic Growth Persistence?

‘India needs to build quality institutions of the kind that have been associated with the dynamics of growth in the high productivity countries. This also means that India needs to focus on creating constituencies and coalitions for institutional reform.’

What do Workers Hope for?

Let’s create a way of work that affirms life
The world’s production capacity is immense, so why then should workers toil so much for two meals a day? We should aspire for a way of work that does not degrade but affirms life. A worker in a textile factory talks of his life, work and hopes.

Understanding India’s Economic Slowdown

Need for Concerted Action
The bust of the 2010s after the boom of the 2000s can be repaired only by an investment revival that is led in good part by the public sector. But one must first have a clear idea of what lies behind the slump and acknowledge the depth of the crisis.

The Computer Infection of Kudankulam and its Implications

The October 2019 cyberattack on a computer system at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant points to new pathways to severe accidents that can result in widespread radioactive fallout. Attempts to lower this risk would further increase the cost of nuclear power.

India 2019

A curated set of 25 articles published in "The India Forum" during the past year that described, discussed and critiqued the many important events that took place in India in 2019, a momentous year when a project to reshape the country was begun.

For A Bahujan Economics

A Personal Statement
Bahujan students face hostility in universities but they cannot give up. They must fight to assert their identity, reject being called “non-meritorious” and master their subjects. One scholar recounts her struggle and demands a more compassionate Economics.

What is Happening to Rural Welfare, Poverty, and Inequality in India?

An analysis of the draft NSO report that the Government has decided not to put out shows a deterioration in 2017-18 in consumption and poverty levels in rural India. The reasons may be the demonetisation of 2016 and the shoddy introduction of GST in 2017.

After the Flood

Indian dairy and the legacy of the White Revolution
Fifty years after the launch of Operation Flood, small producers still drive Indian dairy.As private organised players now jostle for space with large cooperatives, the ability of smallholders to share the gains from growth requires close government attention.

Skilling the Last First

"Our skill ecosystem has to be flexible and inclusive as this can be crucial to overturn the social constructions of worth in a society that is ridden with inequalities."
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