Cities and Towns in India: Judging the Quality of Urbanisation by Arup Mitra and Jay Prakash Nagar, August 2017. (click here...)
Abstract: In this paper we examine the quality of urbanisation in terms of deprivation index developed at a highly disaggregated level of urban centres (city/town)on the basis of dwelling conditions, basic amenities and assets in possession. Further, the demographic and economic characteristics in relation to the deprivation index and city size are examined. Very large cities are endowed with better living conditions and infrastructural facilities, displaying lower magnitude of the index though this relationship is not very strong, suggesting the importance of other variables,impacting on the index value.Though large cities experience agglomeration economies they do not benefit all sections of the population equally, which in turn does not necessarily bring in proportionate decline in deprivation index with rise in city size. The group of “smart cities”selected by the present government for further investment and makingcities the key centres of growth comprises a number of million plus and other large cities,which have already benefitted from the past investment. However, a number of counter-intuitive results follow from the exercises carried out for the ‘smart cities’ - for example, the phenomenon of inclusive growth seems missing.
Growth, Inequality, Poverty and Urbanization by Arup Mitra, August 2017. (click here...)
Abstract: The focus in this paper is on growth, inequality and poverty, particularly in relation to urbanization. The analysis is pursued at three levels of disaggregation: states, districts and the million-plus cities. At the state level, urbanization does not show any significant impact on rural poverty though it tends to reduce poverty in the urban areas. Growth influences urbanization positively, while urbanization and expansion in non-agricultural activities both contribute to economic growth. An alternative technique again shows a strong association between urbanization and per capita net state domestic product. Although urban inequality is not strongly correlated with urbanization and growth, the relationship is distinct. While poverty tends to decline evidently, inequality rises in the process of growth and urbanization. Further, a positive relationship among migration, urbanization and growth index is noticeable. The district-level data confirms a positive association among urbanization, work participation rate, percentage of workforce engaged in non-household manufacturing and services, literacy, growth and inequality, though the degree of association is mild. Urbanization shows a strong beneficial effect on poverty at the district level. The regression analysis of urbanization at the district level suggests that both rural and urban growth contribute to urbanization. The rural male work participation rate and rural male literacy also add to urbanization as rural male workers and literates are more likely to migrate to cities in search of better jobs after acquiring work experience and skills. With rural diversification (expansion in nonagricultural activities), the urbanization level also tends to increase, as the rural-urban continuum in terms of activities, tends to improve. From the data at the city level (million-plus cities), there is evidence of poverty, declining in response to growth and city size, which favours the agglomeration effects. If the agglomeration benefits were to be reaped, the mega cities would require further investment.
Rural to Urban Migration and Urban Labour Market by Arup Mitra, August 2017. (click here...)
Abstract: Rural to urban migration in the Indian context is not exceptionally high if we consider the aggregate rates for all urban areas. However, when it comes to large cities, the rates tend to be higher. In relation to urbanization findings suggest that as the percentage of population residing in urban areas rises, the greater is the decline in the unemployment rate after migration in comparison to the rate that prevailed prior to migration. States with higher urbanization levels reveal a larger increase in regular wage employment after migration. The migration rate in urban areas and the urbanization level are positively associated – very moderately though. With an increase in city size, the migration rate rises mainly because employment prospects are better in large cities due to agglomeration effects. The share of regular wage employment is highest in the million-plus cities and the least in smaller cities, whereas casual employment and self-employment follow just the opposite pattern. Migration, urban informal sector employment, and the proportion of Scheduled Caste population in the urban and rural areas are all positively associated, suggesting that the socially backward groups are more likely to migrate from the rural areas and get absorbed in the urban informal sector. But this pattern is accompanied by a decline in the incidence of poverty in both rural and urban areas: even the urban informal sector activities are able to provide relatively better job opportunities and higher living standards. On the whole, urbanisation and migration show beneficial effects in terms of reduction in both rural and urban poverty as Labour market outcomes tend to improve. However, this process is not strongly evident and hence, more policy interventions are required in order to boost the beneficial effects of urbanisation.
The Fragmented Social Protection System in India: Five Key Rights but two missing. by Santosh Mehrotra, Neha Kumra and Ankita Gandhi, 2014. (click here...)
Abstract: In India, 22% of the population lives below the poverty line and 93% of the population is employed informally. India's welfare system, in this context, has increasingly moved towards a rights-based approach, as opposed to treating India's citizens as mere beneficiaries of state provided welfare. This paper discusses the key role of civil society mobilization and political support that led to the implementation of the Right to Work (albeit in rural areas), the Right to Education and the Right to Food in India. However, it argues that both social insurance system and the public health system remain limited in coverage and fragmented in character. This paper argues for universal health coverage in India and suggests areas for immediate policy intervention in the health sector.
Why a Jobs Turnaround Despite Slowing Growth? by Santosh Mehrotra, Sharmistha Sinha, Jajati K. Parida and Ankita Gandhi, 2014. (click here...)
Abstract: Employment in India increased by 14 million during the two year period 2010-2012, aftermath a period of joblessness. Structural change in employment in the economy has gathered momentum since 2004-05 – a shift away from agriculture to non-agricultural employment, which is growing fast. The paper examines the reasons behind the trends focusing on the demographic dividend, tracking the manufacturing sector and other macro-economic factors. The paper observes that with increasing education, fall in child labour, mechanization in agriculture, increase in household income, women withdrew from the labour force which is a major contributor to employment trends. Huge increase in employment in the construction sector acted as a pull factor absorbing labour from the agriculture sector. In the manufacturing sector, with falling demand for manufacturing exports, rising import-intensity of manufacturing output and rising wages, there had been a rise in capital intensity. The paper also highlights the inbuilt disincentive system facing the micro and small enterprises to invest in capital and expand – which is entrenching the missing middle between micro and large firms. In its policy prescriptions, the paper highlights the need to improve employability of the potential labour force, improving competitiveness of the manufacturing sector, minimizing the disincentives for growth of firms – thus addressing the missing middle, easing the labour laws that hinders the growth of firms and thus support transition of smaller enterprises to medium ones with government support or tax incentives.
Addressing the world's worst sanitation problem: a programme re-design to use not just build toilets by Santosh Mehrotra and Deboshree Ghosh, 2013. (click here...)
Abstract: Sixty per cent of the world's populations that defecates in the open is in India. Despite decades of government programmes Census 2011 found that only 31% of all Indian households have access to a toilet, and the situation is much worse in rural areas. Government programmes are focused on subsidising the building of toilets, but research shows that the toilets are not used. Without a mind-set change and the concomitant behaviour change, a focus on providing household subsidies to build toilets has been far from successful in ensuring behaviour change. This paper addresses all these issues and offers a way forward for the 12th Plan strategy, based on the revised guidelines for the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan.
Estimating the Skill Gap on a Realistic Basic for 2022, by Santosh Mehrotra, Ankita Gandhi, Bimal K Sahoo, 2013. (click here...)
Abstract: The window of opportunity called the Demographic Dividend is available to India only till 2040. Realizing the demographic dividend brings to the fore the very serious challenge of skilling our labour force. But before devising the skill development strategy for these coming years, a task of greater importance is to estimate the magnitude of the challenge and to assess the skill gap. The paper tries to estimate the skilling requirements, sector-wise, in different scenarios to arrive at a realistic and desirable target. No matter which scenario one ends up realizing, the challenge of skill development –both in quantitative and qualitative terms –is enormous and requires a careful policy stance.
Management Information Systems (MIS) of Indian Government’s Flagship Programmes: Are they an adequate monitoring tool?, by Santosh Mehrotra, D. Indrakumar and Vijay K. Saxena, 2012. (click here...)
Abstract: MIS is a means to monitor progress and assess and revise targets, i.e., a tool for evidence-based programme management. The present paper examines the MIS in thirteen flagship programmes of the Central Government involving significant public expenditure using Plan funds. Despite the fact that some of these schemes and programmes have been in operation for over decades, their MIS are not yet at par with the needs of effective monitoring. This paper evaluates the MIS (and any other mechanism thereof for programme management) of the 13 flagship schemes on the basis of the basic principles required for an efficient MIS. The paper begins by outlining of criteria for assessing an MIS. It then goes on to each of the 13 programmes against those criteria. The analysis in this paper is based on investigation of the official websites of each flagship programme coupled with discussions with government officials as well as professionals responsible for managing the MIS. Based on our assessment of these flagship programmes, we conclude that there is a long way to go for the Central Government schemes to be effectively monitored using their MIS.
Organised and Unorganised Employment in the Non-Agricultural Sectors in the 2000s, by Santosh Mehrotra, Ankita Gandhi, Bimal Kishore Sahoo, 2012. (click here...)
Abstract: Conventional growth theory suggests a simple positive relationship between output and employment growth. However, an empirical analysis of the last decade suggests that employment growth may or may not be accompanied by output growth, depending upon the growth in productivity. Accordingly, this paper classifies the organised and unorganised non-agricultural sectors and identifies the sub-sectors that have been employment-generating (both productive as well as productivity declining), jobless and job-losing, depending upon their rates of growth of employment and gross value added. The use of varying definitions of organised and unorganised sectors, especially in the case of the services sector, by different data sources is a serious issue that plagues such kind of analysis. This paper highlights all these issues along with the jobless growth phenomenon experienced during the past decade in order to assess their policy implications.
Joblessness & Informalization: Challenges to Inclusive Growth in India, by Santosh Mehrotra, Ankita Gandhi, Partha Saha, Bimal Kishore Sahoo, 2012. (click here...)
Abstract: Creation of decent jobs outside of agriculture is one of the biggest challenges that confront the policymakers trying to achieve ‘faster, sustainable and more inclusive growth’. The Indian economy has been growing at unprecedented rates but it has been characterized by jobless growth and informalization of job opportunities in the organized sector. The paper tries to assess the employment intensity of output growth through an examination of employment elasticity, and potential for employment generation and decent work during the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17).
Creating Employment in the 12th Five Year Plan, by Santosh Mehrotra, Ankita Gandhi, Bimal Kishore Sahoo, Partha Saha, 2012.(click here...)
Abstract: This paper analyses employment trends and addresses the problem of creating decent and productive employment in the non-agricultural sector during the first decade of the new millennium. Its primary interest is to examine the transition in employment from informal employment in unorganized sector towards formal employment in non-agricultural organized sector. There has been a slight structural shift in employment away from agriculture towards non-manufacturing sector. An interesting dimension about this transformation is the rising employment in enterprises employing 20 or more workers and a decline in employment in enterprises employing less than 6 workers. The second half of the decade (characterised by high growth rate) witnessed a decline in employment in the manufacturing sector, despite the economy achieving an unprecedently high growth rate, while there was stagnation in service sector employment. With the rise in participation in education (in particular female education), it is most likely that larger number of educated youth, especially women, will be joining the labour force in future years, and given the fact that the highest open unemployment rate is among educated youth, this calls for more pro-active policies (going beyond “National Manufacturing Policy”) towards employment creation in organized manufacturing and service sectors.
A Proposed National Qualifications Framework for Vocational Education for India, by Santosh Mehrotra, Basab Banerji, Vinay Mehrotra, 2012. (click here...)
Abstract: International experience on NVEQF is very recent. Until 2004 almost no country in the world had an NVEQF. Even now just a dozen countries have an NVEQF, although more than 100 countries have initiated the process. This paper presents arguments for why we need an NVEQF and what are the problems that (a) the employers; and (b) the potential employees (i.e. students) are facing – which the NVEQF will supposedly address. It also presents its design and identifies the key actors. Further, it examines issues of how to recognize informally acquired prior learning and the development of competency based curriculum.
India's Human Development in the 2000s: Towards Social Inclusion, by Santosh Mehrotra, Ankita Gandhi, 2012.(click here...)
Abstract: The India Human Development Report 2011 undertakes a disaggregated analysis of a large set of indicators and is unhesitating in its criticism of our failures in human development outcomes even while recognizing that there is empirical evidence of achievement in many dimensions. The main findings of the report point out that the states are converging on important indicators of human functioning and that the indicators among the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and Muslims are converging with the national average. But low absolute values of various social indicators among these groups continue and the pace of convergence can improve only if these low levels are addressed.
Understanding Inflation and Controlling It, Kaushik Basu, 2011. (click here...)
Abstract: Inflation management is one of the hardest tasks an economic policymaker has to undertake. It appears, at first sight, that one can rely entirely on commonsense to carry out this task. But that will be a cardinal mistake. While inflation policy does require judgment and intuition, it is essential that these be backed up with statistical information and an understanding of economic theory. This paper tries to bring together the formal analytics that underlie inflation policy. It surveys some of the standard ideas and also questions some of these and, in the process, tries to push further outwards the frontiers of our understanding.
Introducing Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) In India: A Proposal For Five CCTs, by Santosh Mehrotra, 2011. (click here...)
Abstract:This paper makes the case for converting some of the massive subsidies and significant expenditures on directly targeted poverty reduction programmes into conditional cash transfers (CCTs). All the five CCTs it proposes would be primarily targeted at the below poverty line (BPL) population. It also addresses the minimum requirements to ensure that CCTs succeed, and actually reach the poor instead of meeting the fate of usualdirectly targeted poverty reduction programmes. It also notes the fact that while the identification of the poor has so far proved beset with errors of exclusion and inclusion , those can be mostly resolved through a revised methodology that has already been finalized, and being implemented in 2012.
Challenges facing Skill Development in India: An Issue Paper, Authors: M.R. Prasad, Mridula Sharma, Rashmi Agrawal, Shachi Joshi, S.K. Saha and Ankita Gandhi, 2010. (click here...)
Abstract: India has among the lowest proportion of trained youth in the world. The quantitative dimension of India's skill development challenge is that 80 percent of new entrants to the workforce have no opportunity for skill training. The paper focuses on four theme areas of skill development in India, i.e.(1) Vocational Education, (2) Vocational Training in the Unorganized Sector,(3) Vocational Training in the Organized Sector, and (4) Financing of Vocational Training.
Learning from Contrast: Social Protection in Asia and Latin America in Time of Economic Crisis, Santosh Mehrotra, Year of Publishing, 2010 (click here...)
Abstract: Social Protection (SP) systems are highly conditioned by the macro-economic and macro-social environment in which they evolve. In this short paper, we attempt to learn some lessons relevant to policy-makers by contrasting the way in which SP systems have evolved in Asia and Latin America. The paper spells out briefly the features of SP systems as they stand currently in Latin America and examines the differences in the macro-economic and macro-social context for Asia and Latin America, and suggest how that has impacted the current state of the SP regime in each region
The International Market for Public Policies on Skill Development: The Special Case of India, by Santosh Mehrotra, 2010 (click here...)
Abstract: The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2003) focused the attention of both developing and developed countries on the need to ensure coherence between international partners in regard to policies in general. The implication of coherence in the area of skill development is that developing countries must first develop their own strategies and policy in this area, which would drive the agenda of the donor community. This would, to some extent, mitigate the adverse effects of an unequal partnership in the contemporary world. Historically, when learning across borders would take place, it was mostly between countries in Europe that were at relatively similar levels of development; this is not any longer happening in the case of developed and developing countries. This paper takes into account this difficulty in the contemporary partnership, and addresses the case of India, which is a large developing economy, but rapidly growing and is also seen as an emerging market economy.
India and the Global Economic Crisis, by Santosh Mehrotra, 2010
Abstract: The global economic crisis hit the Indian economy at a time when it was riding a wave of unprecedentedly high growth. This paper argues that while the global crisis has particularly impacted exports, and hence growth, and worsened the fiscal balance, India is already returning to a 8 per cent p.a. growth. This limited impact, the paper argues, has been driven by the fact that both savings and investments have risen sharply in the first decade of the millennium, and are likely to remain high. It is domestic savings/investment as well as domestic markets that are driving the growth. However, the paper also highlights a series of long-term challenges that policy-makers must address if rapid growth is to be sustained, and poverty to be reduced sharply.
The Cost and Financing of the Right to Education in India: Can we fill the financing gap?, Santosh Mehrotra, 2010. (click here...)
Abstract: India’s Parliament passed the Right to Education Act in 2009, which entitles all children 6-14 years old to at least eight years of schooling. This paper examines the cost of achieving this report to education, and asks whether India can fill the financing gap that must be filled if the right is to be realized. The paper notes the very considerable increase in central and state government allocation implied by the Act, and finds that there will be difficulties in finding the resources, given the large fiscal deficit occasioned by the global economic crisis. However, the paper goes on to suggest a series of measures that can be taken so that the right to schooling is no more denied or delayed