The Great Budget “Cash for Votes” Scam – and Other Cash Transfer Schemes Jayati Ghosh

The big-ticket item in the “Interim Budget 2019-20” was the announcement of a cash transfer to farmers holding less than 2 hectares, of Rs 6,000 per household to be paid in three instalments of Rs 2,000 each. Estimated to cover around 120 million households, it is projected to cost Rs 75,000 crore over a year. Amazingly, the government also declared that it is providing this amount with retrospective effect from 1 December 2018, so that the first instalment would reach farmers’ bank accounts by end March of the current financial year. Finance Minister Piyush Goyal stated that he has put…

The Motivated Murder of India’s Statistical System Jayati Ghosh

The attacks by the Modi government on many of India's institutions have been noted, but the destruction of India’s statistical system was not adequately recognised or condemned. That is, not until the latest revelations on how the Government is refusing to release the NSSO’s employment survey for 2017-18 led to the resignation of the last two remaining independent Members of the National Statistical Commission. This attack on official statistics is obviously important, because it denies citizens access to reliable data on what is going on in the economy and assess the government’s performance. It is sad, because India had managed…

Changes in the Structure of Employment in India Yoshifumi Usami and Vikas Rawal

Slow growth of employment has been a remarkable feature of economic change in India during the post-liberalisation period. Economic growth over this period has been highly uneven across different sectors and regions. The rate of growth of agriculture and manufacturing sectors has been sluggish for most part of the postliberalisation period. Growth, even in periods during which it increased, was driven primarily by the service sector. It has been primarily located in urban, particularly metropolitan, areas. Trade and foreign investment have played only a marginal role as drivers of economic expansion. Benefits of economic growth have accrued differently across classes,…

Indian IT hits a Speed Dump C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

A sharp deceleration in growth and restricted employment expansion in the IT sector, India’s post-liberalisation showpiece, has implications beyond the industry’s boundaries. Indian_IT_Speedbump (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally posted in the Business Line on November 20, 2017.)

Moody’s Upgrade Prabhat Patnaik

Credit-rating agencies, discredited by the collapse of the housing bubble in the United States when they had blithely endorsed all so-called “sub-prime lending”, are now crawling out of the woodwork, and the Indian establishment is predictably impressed by the sight. Moody’s have just upgraded India’s credit rating marginally and the BJP is beside itself with joy. Surprisingly, much of the media too have flashed the story of the upgrade as if India’s status being raised from Baa3 to Baa2 is a matter that calls for great jubilation. Now, the criteria used by finance capital for judging the performance of a…

China’s Labour Market Conundrum C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

Has China's labour market reached a point where long years of high growth have led to demand outstripping supply, resulting in a sharp rise in wages? China_Labour (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line on July 4, 2017.)

Budget 2017 must Support those Worst Hit by Demonetisation Jayati Ghosh

How to mitigate and reverse the adverse impact of the demonetisation ought to be at the top of the Finance Minister’s agenda for the coming Budget. The effects of the ill-considered and even more poorly implemented scheme are still being felt across the country, in the form of reduced economic activity, job losses and reductions in income and consumption. Since remonetisation is still incomplete – and the government has already threatened not to replace the full value of the demonetised currency in a coercive push to digitisation – the impact on economic activity from that one source alone will continue…

Wage and Fiscal Policies for Economic Recovery Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury

The new US census data released in late September show that 3.5 million people in the US climbed out of poverty, as the tepid economic recovery continues. Employers are finally creating more jobs and paying higher wages than seven years after the Great Recession started following the 2008 financial crisis. This progress, while modest, debunks the claims of those who predicted a dire outcome following the increase in the legislated US minimum wage, especially without a robust recovery. The data show large employment and wage gains, particularly for the lower end of the jobs spectrum. Raising the legal minimum-wage and…

Care Work as the Work of the Future C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

As technological change threatens many different kinds of jobs, the significance of direct face-to-face interaction required in much care work means that it is unlikely to be as adversely affected. What does this mean for the future requirements of care workers? Future_Care_Work (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article was originally published in the Business Line on August 15, 2016.)

Globalization and the World’s Working People Prabhat Patnaik

Globalization was advertised as being beneficial for all, as constituting a bold step towards universal economic betterment. This was clearly wrong; and it was not just Left economists, but even “mainstream” economists like Paul Samuelson who had said so at the very outset. The reason for their saying so was simple: if the economic regime of the world allowed free imports of Chinese or Indian goods into the U.S.A, then this must necessarily hurt the real wages of the American workers, because the American workers enjoying much higher wages would then be competing, to their own detriment, against the low-wage…