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

Articles by Raghav GaihaSubscribe to Raghav Gaiha

Food Consumption Expenditures and the COVID-19 Pandemic in India

The COVID-19 pandemic led to lockdowns and disruptions in food supply chains and emerged as both a demand- and a supply-side shock. Based on the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy– Consumer Pyramids Household Survey monthly expenditure data for the period from January 2019 to August 2021, changes in food expenditure shares in India as a result of the pandemic across income and socio-economic and demographic groups are examined. The pandemic-induced lockdowns resulted in a sharp increase in the share of food in the total expenditure across rural and urban India for all income groups and castes and religions, but the intensity of shifts varied.

Wholesale and Retail Food Prices in Maharashtra during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The analysis builds on the extant literature in three ways: it covers the longest period of the lockdown; offers robust comparisons of means and variances of food commodities’ prices and the price wedge between them in different cities/market centres in Maharashtra during the lockdown relative to the pre-pandemic period; and finally gives a distillation of time-series analysis of co-movements of wholesale and retail prices between pairs of centre/wholesale and retail prices, mutual dependence of wholesale and retail prices, taking their lags into account, and their time-varying volatility.

Subjective Well-being in India

Subjective well-being is now an important area of research. We carried out the first all-India analysis of swb focused on economic well-being based on the only all-India panel survey that covers 2005 and 2012. While economic factors such as affluence and employment are important covariates, age, gender, health, caste, and schooling are other important covariates. Existing policies fail to provide adequate protection to old people living with non-communicable diseases and disabilities. An important challenge going forward is strengthening policies that will enable healthy ageing.


Non-communicable Diseases, Affluence, and Gender

Whether the burden of non-communicable diseases has shifted to older men and women, and whether it varies by marital status and affluence of the household has been examined. The analysis is based on the 60th and 71st rounds of the National Sample Survey for 2004 and 2014. Even though comparisons of prevalence and shares between men and women are relied on in the analysis, some glaring disparities emerge. The growing menace of NCDs in the context of a rapidly increasing older population calls for bold policy initiatives, which are currently either underfunded or limited in coverage and uncoordinated. A drastic overhaul of the health system and behavioural changes are thus emphasised.

Has Disability Risen among the Elderly in India?

An analysis of disability among the elderly and its covariates during the period 2005–12 is provided using data from the two rounds of the nationally representative India Human Development Survey, conducted in 2005 and 2012. The increase in life expectancy has not translated into a healthier life, as prevalence of disabilities, their severity, and their association with non-communicable diseases have risen. Given the lack of access to assistive devices, specialised medical services, rehabilitation, and stigma attached to disability, the temptation to offer simplistic but largely medical solutions must be resisted. Instead, a multidimensional strategy is needed that helps the elderly overcome physical and socio-economic barriers as well as address the issues related to prevention and treatment of their underlying health conditions.


NREGS: Interpreting the Official Statistics

The performance of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, even as revealed by government statistics, has been disappointing and, if anything, has deteriorated over time. Using offi cial data, this article evaluates the NREGS according to the average number of days of employment per household, the percentage of households completing 100 days of employment, the percentage of expenditure against total available funds, and the percentage of work completed. The performance across the fi rst two criteria has been disappointing and the average number of days of employment per household has declined over time. The percentage of expenditure against total available funds has risen sharply, particularly since 2010-11, and has been consistently higher than the work completed as a percentage of the work planned.

Reviewing the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme

This article presents results on the participation of rural workers in the National Rural Employment Guarantee programme based on a pilot survey of three villages in Udaipur district in Rajasthan. Its focus is on participation in the nreg programme of different socio-economic groups and the determinants of the participation of these groups. It is found that the mean participation was 59 days and that targeting was satisfactory. The performance of the programme has been far from dismal.

Use of Local Knowledge in Impact Assessment

While local knowledge matters in impact assessment, it is also important to identify issues and concerns, which given budgetary and time constraints, could be addressed more meaningfully through such knowledge. This paper, through a review of certain development projects, illustrates the specific advantages of drawing on local knowledge for design and implementation of projects. The examples cited point to a substantial gain in terms of richness of analysis and cost reduction. However, local knowledge from different sources needs to be tapped more efficiently.

Does the Right to Food Matter?

Contrary to assertions that the right to food is both 'undefinable' and 'undeliverable', an attempt is made here to clarify its nature and content, and the obligations it entails. The right to food is a right to policies (or, is a right to a right) that enable individuals to produce or acquire minimum food entitlements. From this perspective, it is evolving into an enforceable right. Its potential for channelling food aid from donors more effectively, enabling governments to do what they should, and sharpening the focus of NGOs in a strategy to eliminate hunger, malnutrition and famines is likely to be substantial. While the realisation of this right is slow and difficult, it would be a mistake to discard it on the ground that too many rights make it harder to enforce them.

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