Prevalence of Undernourishment in Indian States: Explorations Based on NSS 68th Round Data Vikas Rawal, Vaishali Bansal, Prachi Bansal

Prevalence of undernourishment, a measure developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization, is a key indicator for global hunger and food insecurity targets. The FAO has developed a sound conceptual model for estimating the prevalence of dietary energy deficiency. However, the estimation methodology of the prevalence of undernourishment has been a subject of much debate. Important modifications are suggested in the estimation of the distribution of average calorie intake and average minimum dietary energy requirements. Using the latest available data and the revised methodology, it is shown that about 472 million people in India, a staggering 39% of the population,…

Vanishing Green Shoots C.P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

When the third estimate of US growth in the last quarter of 2018 was released the euphoria exuded by forecasters of global growth even a few months earlier waned. The annualised quarter on quarter growth rate that had risen to a more than comfortable 4.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2018, had fallen to 3.4 and 2.2 per cent in the subsequent two quarters (Chart 1). The quarterly rates measuring growth relative to the corresponding quarter in the previous year after having risen consistently have stagnated (Chart 2). Once again it appears that growth in the US is…

The NYAY Scheme of the Congress Prabhat Patnaik

My attitude to the NYAY scheme of the Congress is similar to my attitude to a benevolent monarchy. While a benevolent monarchy is better than a tyrannical one, any monarchy is repugnant compared to a republic. Likewise compared to the current neo-liberal regime any scheme of transfers to the poor is welcome. But NYAY amounts to a largesse by the government, an act of charity towards the bottom quintile, not the institution of a universal economic right to decent living. I find targeted transfer schemes like NYAY repugnant compared to a regime of universal rights. Poverty and unemployment in society…

The Modi Years Prabhat Patnaik

In its attack on civil liberties, its restructuring of the State to effect an acute centralization of power, and its pervasive purveyance of fear, the Modi years resemble Indira Gandhi’s Emergency. But the resemblance stops there. In fact the two differ fundamentally in several ways. First, there were no lynch mobs, and street thugs, terrorizing people and giving them lessons in “nationalism” during the Emergency. It was only the State that repressed people then; but now we also have gangs of Hindutva hoodlums, who force critics of the government to apologize for their “misdemeanor”, with the additional threat of arrests…

The Political Economy of the Modi Regime C. P. Chandrasekhar

At the end of its five-year term, the NDA government’s claim that the Indian economy has experienced rapid growth during its tenure sounds shallow. The GDP numbers many observers argue are wrong and possibly fabricated. The GDP figures have since 2011-12 been computed using some new data sources and a changed methodology, showing the economy in much better light when compared with the series with 2004-05 as base. But the change was so drastic that for the official statistical agency could not for long put out a “back series” that allowed comparison of performance across time. Scepticism about the GDP…

The Abysmal State of Economic Decision Making Prabhat Patnaik

The minutes of the Board meeting of the Reserve Bank of India just prior to the announcement that currency notes of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 denomination were being demonetized are now available in the public domain, thanks to an RTI query. And what they reveal is the abysmal state of decision-making on economic policy that prevails under the Modi government. To be sure, economic decision-making has always been informed by class bias; but that is not what I am referring to here. Even when a decision is taken on the basis of the interests of the ruling classes, the argument for…

Promoting Privatization Jomo Kwame Sundaram

Privatization has been central to the ‘neo-liberal’ counter-revolution from the 1970s against government economic interventions associated with Roosevelt and Keynes as well as post-colonial state-led economic development. Many developing countries were forced to accept privatization policies as a condition for credit or loan support from the World Bank and other international financial institutions, especially after the fiscal and debt crises of the early 1980s. Other countries voluntarily embraced privatization, often on the pretext of fiscal and debt constraints, in their efforts to mimic new Anglo-American criteria of economic progress. Demonizing SOEs Globally, inflation was attributed to excessive government intervention, public…

Housing Market Mayhem C. P. Chandrasekhar

Late in February 2019, the GST Council, prodded by the Centre, decided to modify Goods and Services Tax rates applicable to the housing sector. The declared intention was to reduce prices that home buyers would have to pay for their property. The modification, which takes effect as of 1 April 2019, involves doing away with input tax credit for residential property construction for sale and significantly reducing the GST rate applicable at the final stage of sale of housing. At present the GST rates stand at 12 per cent for normal residential housing and at 8 per cent for “affordable…

A Brave New World, or the Same Old Story with New Characters? Jayati Ghosh

Capitalism has always been a global system, but not in fixed ways. Different national powers have emerged and become dominant over the centuries, but the fundamental processes underlying the uneven development of global capitalism have not altered; they continue to be driven by imperialism the struggle of large capital over economic territory of various kinds. Since the late 1960s, only the East Asian region has shown notable increases in its share of global GDP, and for the last two decades this has been dominated by the rise of China. This is directly related to the ability of the Chinese state…

Migration and Remittances: The gender angle C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh

The gender distribution of migrant workers has a macroeconomic impact – it affects both the level and the volatility of remittance inflows, as the Asian experience shows. The gender distribution of cross-border migration obviously matters because women migrating for work face very different conditions from those of men migrants, whether in the source country, or in the process of travel or in the destination country. These are crucially affected by the gender construction as well as the nature of labour markets in both societies of origin and destination. This is well accepted and now quite widely studied. However, the macroeconomic…