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

Articles by Raghbendra JhaSubscribe to Raghbendra Jha

Jati, Local Public Goods and Village Governance

Whether voting along narrow parochial lines in socially and ethnically fragmented societies has measurable gains is explored. Using data from rural India, it is established that identity-based voting, driven by membership in social and informal networks, will lead to enhanced participation in welfare programmes, which in turn leads to increased consumption growth. Further, reducing agency costs does not necessarily remove the need for identity-based voting, and such voting behaviour is a means for engaging in the capture of public and private benefits by these groups.

Restricted and Unrestricted Fiscal Grants and Tax Effort of Panchayats in India

The impact of restricted and unrestricted fiscal grants on tax effort of panchayats is examined using nationally representative panel data on finances. Three pathways are proposed through which these impacts accrue: wages, profits, and incentives. In order to deal with the simultaneities of grants received and taxation, a system of equations is estimated simultaneously, where the first stage equations predict the grants. The results show that a wage impact on taxation exists, but is very small and the productivity impact of grants on taxes is negligible. This means that incentive effects associated with the specifics of the intergovernmental fiscal system in the states are the main determinant of village taxation. Several policy conclusions are advanced.

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.

Vulnerability of Consumption Growth in Rural India

The fragility of livelihoods and hence the vulnerability of consumption growth due to aggregate shocks in the Indian rural sector have been highlighted recently. However, as yet there exist no estimates of the vulnerability of consumption growth in rural India. This paper attempts to fill this lacuna by providing "certainty equivalent growth of consumption" in 14 major states of India over the period 1958-97, corresponding to NSS rounds 13th to 53rd. It is shown that certainty equivalent growth of consumption in rural India has been much lower than average real per capita consumption growth - indeed, in some cases, it has been negative. This points to the poor performance of consumer-perceived average welfare in India's rural sector and should be a matter of urgent policy concern.

IMF Quota Increase: Indefensible Decision

The IMF's quota structure has been long overdue for a major overhaul, but the decision on a selective quota increase that was taken at the 2006 annual meetings was hardly a step in that direction.

Fragmentation of Wholesale Rice Markets in India

This paper tests for market integration in 55 wholesale rice markets in India using monthly data over the period January 1970 â?? December 1999. The technique of Gonzalez-Rivera and Helfand (2001) is used to identify common factors across various markets. It is found that wholesale rice markets are considerably fragmented. A major reason for this is the excessive interference in rice markets by government agencies and barriers to internal trade. As a result it is hard for scarcity conditions in isolated markets to be picked up by markets with abundance in supply. A number of policy implications are also considered.

Budgetary Subsidies and Fiscal Deficit

This paper focuses on the fundamental question of whether the government's budgetary subsidies, estimated as unrecovered costs, can exceed the gross fiscal deficit. It explores the reasons for the wide gaps in the measure of fiscal deficit and the estimate of aggregate subsidy, and suggests an improvement in methodology for the latter, using the example of Maharashtra to tally the aggregate unrecovered costs. The paper shows that the subsidy estimated as unrecovered costs of the present consumption programme should not exceed the budgetary fiscal deficit.

Optimistic Assumptions

The macroeconomic situation is likely to remain challenging in the coming months. Some of the assumptions behind the budget may turn out to be overly optimistic and require adjustments in plans.

Reforms and Growth

Reforms and Growth Accelerating Growth and Poverty Reduction by Arvind Virmani; Academic Foundation, New Delhi, January 2004; pp 327, Rs 695 (in India), $39 (abroad).

Spatial Distribution of Rural Poverty

The spatial distribution of poverty in India has emerged as a matter of urgent concern in recent times. This paper presents evidence on the poverty experiences of 75 NSS regions for the quinquennial rounds of 1987-88, 1993-94 and 1999-2000. The results presented here facilitate easy identification of lagging areas on which anti-poverty policy must concentrate. The economic reforms programme has been unable to make any significant dent on the spatial distribution of expenditure poverty.


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