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

Articles by Ram SinghSubscribe to Ram Singh

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.

A High-handed Approach to National Highways

The B K Chaturvedi Committee, set up to recommend ways to expedite the National Highways Development Project, seems to have been guided by the misconception that infrastructure can be built by simply doling out additional concessions to the investors. The new rules make inadequate capacity highly rewarding for investors, and offer the entire viability gap-funding grant during the construction phase itself. The question, however, is whether these concessions are necessary and justifiable, given the huge costs they impose on the road user and the taxpayer at large.

Economics of Judicial Decision-Making in Indian Tort Law

Indian courts have applied those rules that have been shown to be efficient in the economic analysis of liability rules. But, as a matter of practice, these rules as applied by Indian courts lead to various kinds of uncertainties regarding the compensation awards. Such uncertainties not only defeat the stated objective of the law of torts, but also cause economic inefficiency. Uncertainties, among other things, result in avoidable wastage of resources, since they induce more litigation by reducing the chances of out-of-court settlement. Many of these uncertainties can be reduced significantly, if courts make use of the relevant tools and techniques developed in the field of economics and statistics.


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