Rural Economy and Resource Mobilization

Most economists across the world generally agree that India can grow faster if only certain impediments to prosperity are removed. India’s growth at a reasonable 6-7% per annum, and being the world’s fourth largest economy in purchasing power parity terms testify Indian entrepreneurial energies and ambition of the ordinary citizens. True, China continues its scorching pace of growth, but there is every reason to believe that we have the potential to match China's growth in the coming years.

Power Sector – Casualty of Petty Power Games

There has been a lot of debate and commentary during the run-up to Maharashtra Assembly election and after the results, about the political fallout at the union level. But the important issue of free power has been largely neglected.

Public Hospitals – Choice and Competition

One of the challenges facing us today is providing reasonable quality healthcare to all people, irrespective of birth, caste, status and wealth. We are one of the most poorly served countries in terms of health care. And yet we have an impressive infrastructure of medical institutions.

Competing Strategies for Combating Poverty

The greatest challenge before India today is combating mass poverty and making lives of ordinary people bearable.  If dignity is denied to an Indian in 2004 AD, and people are forced to be hungry even as foodgrains are rotting in warehouses, then that is unacceptable.  If in 21st century poor Indians suffer in monsoon from torrents of rain for want of shelter over their heads, or shiver in cold, then that is a disgrace to our republic.

The Great Debate: Allocations Vs Delivery

The new UPA government has made commitments to enhance allocations for agriculture, employment guarantee, education, health-care and many other sectors. Given the precarious condition of our public finance, a great debate is raging about the wisdom of allocations vs focusing on better delivery of services.

People, Politics and Prosperity

One of the paradoxes of modern democracies is that people want freedom, and yet they cannot stand politicians.

The national election study, 2004 conducted by CSDS shows that 88 percent of Indians favour democracy. Contrary to elite perceptions, most people value their liberty. The challenge is how to make living conditions measurably better without curbing liberties.

Crisis in Education

“Today, more than ever before in human history, the wealth–or poverty–of nations depends on the quality of higher education.  Those with a larger repertoire of skills and greater capacity for learning can look forward to lifetimes of unprecedented economic fulfillment.  But in the coming decades the poorly educated face little better than the dreary prospects of lives of quiet desperation”.   These words of wisdom from Malcolm Gills, the President of Rice University in 1999 have great relevance to all nations today.  But nowhere in the world are they more apt than in India.

Challenges in Agriculture

The union government’s announcement of the Rs.17,000 crore rehabilitation package for farmers in the 31 suicide-prone districts of AP, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra focuses attention on the plight of agricultural sector in a fast-growing economy. Emphasis on irrigation, interest waiver, watershed development, seed replacement and dairy industry is welcome.

National Health Insurance – Will it Work?

The UPA government has made a commitment to introduce a national health insurance scheme for the benefit of poor families and promised to raise public spending on health to at least 2-3% of GDP over the next five years with focus on preventive and primary health-care.

Asian Highway – Window of Opportunity

align="left">One of the great topics of public discussion in recent decades among all economists, journalists, public policy enthusiasts and enlightened citizens is the rapid growth of China. India – China comparison is now the favourite pastime of economists. Both are emerging as major economic powers. China has been growing at 9 percent or more per annum, compared with India’s more modest 6 percent over the past two decades. This difference in growth means that Chinese economy doubles itself every 8 years, whereas it takes about 12 years for India!