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

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Examining the Law and Economics Paradox of India

Law and the Economy in a Young Democracy: India 1947 and Beyond by Tirthankar Roy and Anand V Swamy, University of Chicago Press, 2022; pp 272, $51.75.

Under-reporting of Income by Wealthy Indians

The affluent Indians often complain about the “excessive” income taxation. Yet, very few of them figure among the top income taxpayers. This paradoxical situation results from the relatively low incomes reported by wealthy groups. On average, the wealthier a family is, the smaller the income it reports relative to its wealth.

‘Minimum Export Price’ Caps on Agricultural Exports

The policymakers in India have constantly endeavoured to promote agricultural exports; however, certain agricultural products have been subject to extensive use of export restrictions as well. In this context, the article attempts to appraise the various trade policy instruments with special reference to “minimum export price” and examine how it has become a redundant trade policy tool. The case of onions is used to elucidate the exorbitant misuse of MEP by unscrupulous business fi rms and suggests a road map for policy reforms. Agriculture has been an integral part of the Indian economy for centuries. Despite the rapid growth of other sectors, it continues to be the primary source of livelihood for a majority of the country’s population (Mathur et al 2006). India is the world’s second largest producer and 10th largest exporter of agricultural products. With available production surplus in key agricultural products, the Government of

The National Logistics Policy, 2022

The Government of India brought the National Logistics Policy, 2022 envisioning improvement in India’s logistics infrastructure and services. However, the policy has several incongruities, which, if addressed, can make a signifi cant improvement in India’s logistics functioning, including enhanced ease of doing business.

Development of Enterprises and Services Hub Bill, 2022

The draft Development of Enterprises and Services Hub Bill, 2022 refl ects signifi cant policy ambivalence and contributes to legal ambiguities for business fi rms. It is not only incoherent with other fl agship schemes of the Government of India but also is oblivious to the evolving global trade realities, thus exposing the potential risks of policy-induced distortion(s).

Container Crisis and High Freight Costs

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent worldwide lockdown(s) have adversely affected the functioning of global supply chains. The restrictions on navigation of vessels across the global supply chains resulted in acute shortages of the containers, subsequently escalating ocean freight rates. High freight rates have severely affected India’s exports competitiveness in the global markets. The crisis has exposed the lacklustre approach of the government in dealing with container shortages, leading to skyrocketing freight rates.


Burgeoning Edible Oil Imports and Price Shock(s)

The ever-increasing import bill of edible oil has become a chronic problem for India with edible oil being the third largest among imported goods in India, next only to crude oil and gold. There are structural issues in production, productivity, and trade of edible oils. These energy-rich crops are grown in energy-starved conditions where more than 70% of the area under cultivation is rain-fed and often cultivated with low-quality seeds in a fragmented landholding and outdated agri-management practices. It further studies the trade liberalisation measures of a liberal trade policy regime, lower import duties, duty-exemptions under free trade agreements, and changes that India has witnessed in consumption as well as retail of edible oil.


COVID-19 and Contractual Disputes in India

The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a catena of contractual disputes. The paper synthesises the Indian Contract Act and relevant case laws to present a legal position on force majeure, frustration of contract and contractual gaps, in the context of COVID-19. Using the economic analysis of law, it examines contractual disputes from various sectors, including power, construction and real estate, rental, event management and hospitality, and analyses these disputes from legal- and economic-efficiency points of view. Where contracts are not a good instrument for achieving equitable distribution of economic gains and losses, public policy is better suited to address equity and other related issues arising from long-term contracts.


Restricting Third Country Imports

The Government of India has rolled out new rules to restrict third country imports routed through free trade agreement partners for availing preferential tariff benefits. However, the regulatory and compliance-related burdens of the new rules will burden both import-dependent and value chain led export-oriented sectors, and make them uncompetitive in global markets.

The Many Interpretations of Law and Economics

The Republic of Beliefs: A New Approach to Law and Economics by Kaushik Basu, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018; pp 264, £30.

Inefficiency and Abuse of Compulsory Land Acquisition

This paper focuses on two aspects of the laws that govern the acquisition and transfer of agricultural land for other purposes: (a) litigation over compensation, and (b) the regulatory impediments obstructing voluntary land transactions. It shows that there is excessive litigation under the current land acquisition law. It is argued that any compulsory acquisition-based process is inherently prone to litigation, even if accompanied by presumably benevolent schemes such as land-for-land and the rehabilitation and resettlement packages. The paper offers suggestions on how to reform the regulatory framework that governs agricultural land and its use. It discusses the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill 2011 and reveals how the bill leaves open several back doors for states to favour companies, and how it fails to address the fundamental causes behind the rampant disputes and litigation over compensation.

Delays and Cost Overruns in Infrastructure Projects: Extent, Causes and Remedies

I am grateful to T C A Anant, Lee Benham, Neha Jain, J V Meenakshi, Partha Mukhopadhyay, Anusha Nath, Bharat Ramaswami and Rohini Somanathan for their comments and suggestions. Atika Gupta and Nitya Mittal provided excellent research support. Digvijay Negi, Nitin Madan and Pawan Gopalakrishnan provided crucial help in compilation of an extensive dataset. Finally, I thank the Centre for Development Economics for research and institutional support. Ram Singh ( is with the department of economics at the Delhi School of Economics. This study, based on a large dataset of 894 projects from 17 infrastructure sectors, attempts to answer certain important questions on time and cost overruns in publicly-funded infrastructure projects: How common and how large are the overruns? What are the essential causes? Are contractual and institutional failures among the significant causes? What are the policy implications for planning, development and implementation of infrastructure projects? Among other results of an econometric analysis, the study shows that the contractual and institutional failures are economically and statistically significant causes behind cost and time overruns.


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