Economy

Economy

Issue Articles

How (Not) to Fight Monopolies

Lessons from India’s Licence Raj
RK Hazari's landmark work on corporates in 1960s India holds lessons for contemporary questions on promoting small and medium firms and ensuring effective corporate governance. These questions are all the more crucial in times of rising income inequality.

Problems with the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor

Is it time to abandon the programme?
The story of India’s Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor for close to two decades is one of rising costs, delays and the Department of Atomic Energy making never-ending promises of commissioning. Shouldn’t India then stop pursuing the breeder programme?

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.

India’s Privatisation Drive

Be careful what you wish for
The case for privatisation is based on the belief that the private sector is more efficient, and that public sector units do better when in private hands. But what does the evidence tell us? These are issues to ponder as India embarks on a major sell-off.

Indian Banking Reforms

Talking Tokyo, Looking London?
With most of India’s attempts to reform its financial sector rolled back post demonetisation, the country could soon be facing a possible solvency crisis amongst state-run banks. The government must quickly return to its early reforming zeal.

India and the Pandemic

The First Year
A collection of 24 essays on how India dealt with Covid-19 in 2020, published by Orient BlackSwan. The essays, with a detailed Introduction, cover the history of pandemics, the early stages, the lockdown, the law, impact on economy & society, and the future.

Learning from Crises

The Evolution of Indian Banking Regulation
India's banking regulation has come this far through a process of learning from a series of bank failures in the last century. But it might not be adequate to meet present and future threats.

‘Mere Paas Sarkaar Hai’

State Intervention in Indian Agriculture: Why it is needed and how it must change
The uniqueness of agriculture calls for continued & not less government intervention. Reform of Indian agriculture is needed, but this must be to enhance state capacities and strengthen regulatory oversight. What would be a “better government that is better”?

What Did You Do in the Last 24 Hours?

Some reflections on India’s first Time Use Survey in historical perspective
The first nation-wide survey of the time spent by men and women on various activities during all 24 hours of the day brings out the gender inequalities in the work that each of them do.

The Time Is Right for an Urban Employment Guarantee Programme

Urban workers have been the most badly hit by Covid-19. An employment guarantee would provide income support & also improve urban public services. Criticisms that it is unaffordable & that it will have a negative impact on the private sector are not valid.

The Three Farm Bills

Is This the Market Reform Indian Agriculture Needs?
The rules of the game in markets have changed dramatically. But there are problems with the fundamental premise of the approach, there are doubts about the future of state intervention & there are major lacunae in the bills, all making the outcome uncertain.

The Silent Takeover of Labour Rights

The three new labour codes passed by Parliament without discussion make sweeping changes to labour laws; they reduce the regulatory powers of the government; they hand over some oversight functions to third parties, and, all in all, disempower labour.

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.

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.

Comorbidities of the Indian Economic Recovery

The comorbidities of falling investment, exports, and consumption will make recovery look like the Nike swoosh logo: a flat and protracted recovery. A series of measures, including a rebuilding of trust, are required for sustained economic growth.

Confronting Precarious Work

Beyond social security for platform workers
The precarisation of labour is written into the very logic of platform business models. Ignoring this, and focusing only on social security measures to protect workers, normalises exploitative labour conditions as the 'future of work'.

Idea of Social Stock Exchanges for India

Social enterprises have the potential to make a significant impact on India's society and economy, but they struggle to find sustained funding. Social stock exchanges can help bridge the funding gap and create an investment ecosystem for such enterprises.

Can Conventional Metrics of Employment be Accurate During a Lockdown?

Labour force surveys that yield estimates on job numbers are designed to capture work inputs in 'normal' situations. The concepts and methodology used can lead to errors in estimates during a lockdown when production has been completely or partially halted.

How can more women take up paid employment?

The abysmally low participation of women in paid work in India even today is very worrying. Policy interventions should look at how to encourage higher work participation, through offers of higher wages and better social security.

What Would Make India’s Growth Sustainable?

Supply-side measures to revive the economy run the risk of ending up in short growth bursts that are also not inclusive. A policy that pushes domestic demand, especially in rural India, is a better strategy for sustained growth.

Toxic Ecologies

Assam, Oil, and a Crude Future
The ecological destruction from the Baghjan gas well blowout is part of the story of Assam’s economic development. Resource extraction has been foundational to the logic of politics in Assam but has marginalised local communities.

Surely, We Could Trade This for Something Else…

Myths about Trade in Economic Theory
Mainstream trade theory suppresses the variations and complexities of real life to produce an unsustainable myth of ‘Trade is Good’. Such theories have produced global inequalities and tensions, apart from ecological damage.

The Unequal Effects of the Covid-19 Crisis on the Labour Market

The unequal labour market in India would have seen a widening of disparities after Covid-19 struck. Those at the bottom, with few skills, limited education & without security, would have been affected the most; they are the ones in immediate need of support.
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