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  • Author: Savita Shankar
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: Despite being the focus of numerous policy initiatives, the credit gap of the MSME sector in India has been persistent. An investment in tapping the data being generated by lenders to build a database to inform future lending is likely to improve the quality of lending decisions over time. This, in turn, has the potential to further expand MSME loan access and reduce MSME borrowing costs. To realize this objective, a credit risk database (CRD) has been found to play a useful role in catalyzing collateral and guarantee free loans for SMEs in Japan. The availability of the OCEN network and the account aggregator framework offers an opportunity to create a CRD involving banks and NBFCs at relatively low incremental cost. The CRD’s role will be distinct from that of credit bureaus and rating agencies as it is based on financial and default data for the sector as a whole, rather than for individual entities. The main benefits of CRD include the development of credit scoring models based on nationwide data and the availability of benchmarks for different segments of the MSME sector. Additional benefits are that the credit scores from the models could be used to develop a more sophisticated pricing mechanism for guarantees and for potentially aiding MSME loan securitizations
  • Topic: Microcredit, Risk, Credit, Resource-Backed Loans
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: George Perkovich
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: For decades, policy debates in nuclear-armed states and alliances have centered on the question, “How much is enough?” What size and type of arsenal, and what doctrine, are enough to credibly deter given adversaries? This paper argues that the more urgent question today is, “How much is too much?” What size and type of arsenal, and what doctrine, are too likely to produce humanitarian and environmental catastrophe that would be strategically and legally indefensible? Two international initiatives could help answer this question. One would involve nuclear-armed states, perhaps with others, commissioning suitable scientific experts to conduct new studies on the probable climatic and environmental consequences of nuclear war. Such studies would benefit from recent advances in modeling, data, and computing power. They should explore what changes in numbers, yields, and targets of nuclear weapons would significantly reduce the probability of nuclear winter. If some nuclear arsenals and operational plans are especially likely to threaten the global environment and food supply, nuclear-armed states as well as non-nuclear-weapon states would benefit from actions to physically reduce such risks. The paper suggests possible modalities for international debate on these issues. The second initiative would query all nuclear-armed states whether they plan to adhere to international humanitarian law in deciding if and when to detonate nuclear weapons, and if so, how their arsenals and operational plans affirm their intentions (or not). The United Kingdom and the United States have committed, in the words of the 2018 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, to “adhere to the law of armed conflict” in any “initiation and conduct of nuclear operations.” But other nuclear-armed states have been more reticent, and the practical meaning of such declarations needs to be clarified through international discussion. The two proposed initiatives would help states and civil society experts to better reconcile the (perceived) need for nuclear deterrence with the strategic, legal, and physical imperatives of reducing the probability that a war escalates to catastrophic proportions. The concern is not only for the well-being of belligerent populations, but also for those in nations not involved in the posited conflict. Traditional security studies and the policies of some nuclear-armed states have ignored these imperatives. Accountable deterrents—in terms of international law and human survival—would be those that met the security and moral needs of all nations, not just one or two. These purposes may be too modest for states and activists that prefer the immediate prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons. Conversely, advocates of escalation dominance in the United States and Russia—and perhaps in Pakistan and India—will find the force reductions and doctrinal changes implied by them too demanding. Yet, the positions of both of these polarized groups are unrealistic and/or unacceptable to a plurality of attentive states and experts. To blunt efforts to stifle further analysis and debate of these issues, the appendix of this paper heuristically rebuts leading arguments against accountable deterrents. Middle powers and civil society have successfully put new issues on the global agenda and created political pressure on major powers to change policies. Yet, cooperation from at least one major nuclear power is necessary to achieve the changes in nuclear deterrent postures and policies explored here. In today’s circumstances, China may be the pivotal player. The conclusion suggests ways in which China could extend the traditional restraint in its nuclear force posture and doctrine into a new approach to nuclear arms control and disarmament with the United States and Russia that could win the support of middle powers and international civil society. If the looming breakdown in the global nuclear order is to be averted, and the dangers of nuclear war to be lessened, new ideas and political coalitions need to gain ascendance. The initiatives proposed here intended to stimulate the sort of analysis and debate from which such ideas and coalitions can emerge.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Environment, Nuclear Power, Weapons , Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Russia, China, India, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Anirudh Burman
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: How should a legal framework for data protection balance the imperatives of protecting privacy and ensuring innovation and productivity growth? This paper examines the proposed data protection legislation in India from the perspective of whether it maintains this balance. In December 2019, the government introduced the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, in parliament, which would create the first cross-sectoral legal framework for data protection in India.1 This paper argues that the bill does not correctly address privacy-related harms in the data economy in India. Instead, the bill proposes a preventive framework that oversupplies government intervention and strengthens the state. This could lead to a significant increase in compliance costs for businesses across the economy and to a troubling dilution of privacy vis-à-vis the state. The paper argues that while the protection of privacy is an important objective, privacy also serves as a means to protecting other ends, such as free speech and sexual autonomy. A framework for protecting personal data has to be designed on a more precise understanding of the role of privacy in society and of the harms that emanate from violations of individual privacy.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Law, Privacy, Data
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Abdurrahman Utku Hacioglu
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: India is a country rarely discussed in any of NA- TO’s operational activities, regional dialogues, or global partnerships. This rarity, however, is likely to change because of shifting political and economic trends, emerging threats from outside NATO’s tradi- tional Euro-Atlantic area, and the necessity to adapt to changing circumstances. Taking account of the emerging multi-polarity in the Asia-Pacific and the US resistance to change, India will become a key country to counter-balance China’s and Russia’s growing influ- ence, to project stability and strengthen security in the Asia-Pacific region in the near future. NATO should take advantage of the opportunity, consider India as a key strategic partner, and include India within NA- TO’s growing strategic partnership framework as a “Partner Across the Globe”.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Collective Defense
  • Political Geography: Russia, North Atlantic, India, Asia, North America
  • Author: Arzan Tarapore
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: he method of major/minor trends developed in this report suggests that the roots of apparently surprising future behavior can be found in a close reading of a target state’s history. Using this method, the report outlines three unlikely but plausible alternative futures of India as a strategic actor. The first scenario envisions India as a Hindu-nationalist revisionist power hostile to Pakistan but accommodating of China; in the second, it is a militarily risk-acceptant state that provokes dangerous crises with China; and in the third scenario, India is a staunch competitor to China that achieves some success through partnerships with other U.S. rivals like Russia and Iran. These scenarios are designed not to predict the future but to sensitize U.S. policymakers to possible strategic disruptions. They also serve to highlight risks and tensions in current policy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Conflict, Strategic Interests
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, India, Asia, North America
  • Author: Roshan Kishore
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: India’s economic pain due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be more painful because it has come on the back of a prolonged economic slowdown. The pre-COVID-19 slowdown is rooted in India’s inability to find a sustainable demand side stimulus in the post-2008 period. However, the current regime has failed to grasp this macroeconomic reality and pursued policies which have only made matters worse. Because the economic pain has not translated into political pain for the ruling party, intellectual criticism of its policies is increasingly losing its influence. Persisting with such policy and politics will significantly add to the already existing economic pain and worsen social fissures. Unless the opposition reinvents its politics, things will not change on the policy front
  • Topic: Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Economic Recovery
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Sumitra Badrinathan
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for the Advanced Study of India
  • Abstract: Misinformation makes democratic governance harder, especially in developing countries. Despite its real-world import, little is known about how to combat misinformation outside of the U.S., particularly in places with low education, accelerating Internet access, and encrypted information sharing. This study uses a field experiment in India to test the efficacy of a pedagogical intervention on respondents’ ability to identify misinformation during the 2019 elections (N=1224). Treated respondents received in-person media literacy training in which enumerators demonstrated tools and tips to identify misinformation in a coherent learning module. Receiving this hour-long media literacy intervention did not significantly increase respondents’ ability to identify misinformation on average. However, treated respondents who support the ruling party became significantly less able to identify pro- attitudinal stories. These findings point to the resilience of misinformation in India and the presence of motivated reasoning in a traditionally non-ideological party system
  • Topic: Governance, Elections, Social Media, Misinformation
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Riaz A. Khokhar
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Within the Indo-Pacific region, the United States and Pakistan have sharply divergent strategic objectives. While American objectives have changed over time, focusing in recent years on rivalry with China, Pakistan’s strategic objective has remained constant—to maintain a balance of power with India. Yet Pakistan retains close strategic and economic ties with China, and the United States considers India an important strategic partner. Nevertheless, the two countries have worked together for nearly two decades toward two tactical goals—achieving a political settlement in Afghanistan and eliminating terrorism in South Asia. There is potential for them to cooperate more broadly, for example, increasing direct foreign investment to Pakistan and helping Islamabad balance its relations with the United States and China. Washington’s willingness to expand such cooperation will depend on Pakistan’s cooperation in fighting terrorism in the region.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Terrorism, Power Politics, Foreign Direct Investment, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, South Asia, India, North America, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: David Scott
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Traditionally, New Zealand’s strategic focus has been on Australia and the South Pacific. As recently as 18 October, 2018, Ben King, New Zealand’s Deputy Secretary for Americas and Asia said that “the term Indo‑Pacific may not resonate in New Zealand yet.” And this despite a July 2018 Strategic Defence Policy Statement that already pinpointed New Zealand’s “Indo-Pacific partners reinforcing the rules based order” as being Australia, India, Japan and the United States. It is worth noting that the Strategic Defence Policy Statement gave lengthy details on the threat posed by China; in its Maritime Silk Road push into the Indian Ocean, its militarization of the South China Sea, and its push into the Pacific islands. Events from August 2019 to February 2020 reinforce that New Zealand is seeking out “Indo-Pacific” cooperation with these four particular “partners” (Japan, United States, India, Australia) over shared concerns about China.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Economy
  • Political Geography: Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Jagannath P. Panda
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The concepts of ‘strategic autonomy’ and ‘inclusiveness’ have been core to India’s Indo-Pacific policies. Without taking a defined position on the contested power politics in the Indo-Pacific, India has largely maintained cordial relations with most countries and stakeholders in the region. As a corollary to this, the rubric of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) advances India’s maritime diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific, reflecting India’s desire to manage maritime security and governance in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposition to establish the Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI) at the 14th East Asia Summit (EAS) on November 4, 2019, primarily draws on this assertion.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economy, Narendra Modi
  • Political Geography: India, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Alicia Campi
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Dr Alicia Campi, President of the Mongolia Society, explains that “The [“Third Neighbor”] policy was reinterpreted in content and meaning to include cultural and economic partners as diverse as India, Brazil, Kuwait, Turkey, Vietnam, and Iran. With increased superpower rivalry in its region, Mongolia has expanded this basic policy.”
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Partnerships, Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Turkey, India, Mongolia, Asia, Kuwait, Brazil, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Gaurav Sharma, Marc Finaud
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: Due to the importance India attaches to potential threats to its maritime security, its diplomacy has increasingly focused on the Indian Ocean region (IOR) and it has increased cooperation with Indian Ocean states. In the last five years, India has also established security partnerships with major IOR strategic stakeholders such as France and the United States. India has increasingly invested in providing military training, weapons support and disaster relief assistance to “like-minded” states in the IOR. Due to the potential risks of escalation to nuclear-weapons use should conflict occur with other countries in the region such as China and Pakistan, it would be in India’s interests to promote more confidence and
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Affairs, Missile Defense
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, China, South Asia, India, Indian Ocean
  • Author: Tony Cavoli, Ilke Onur, Patricia Sourdin
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Using the World Bank’s Global Findex data, this research first shows that the efforts by the Indian Government and the Reserve Bank have been successful in providing access to formal banking services, especially in the rural areas of the country. Similarly, financial account ownership gap has been eliminated in terms of gender and income. Further analysis, using the Financial Inclusion Insights dataset, shows that financial inclusion has a positive and significant effect on reducing poverty in India. A closer look at the utilisation of the financial accounts shows that active usage of these accounts would lead to further reductions in poverty levels in India. Therefore, targeted programmes, such as offering financial education both in and outside schools, with the aim of improving financial literacy, could lead to further poverty reduction in India.
  • Topic: Education, Poverty, Finance, Banks
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Pavel Chakraborthy, Prachi Gupta
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
  • Abstract: Do incentives to innovate create demand for skilled workers more than proportionately? We study the question using the implementation of the Patent (Amendment) Act in India in 2002 to comply with the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights agreement. We find, first, stronger intellectual property protection has a sharper impact on demand for skilled workers for high patentable industries. Demand for skilled workers increased by 0.5%–2.9% for industries that are more patentable. The average compensation for skilled workers went up by 10% in high patentable industries but decreased for unskilled workers by about 2%. Second, the increase in wage inequality can partly be attributed to the increase in wages rather than incentives. Third, the increase in demand for skilled workers is due to both the increase in intensive margin (or price) and extensive margin (number). Fourth, the aggregate effect is completely driven by industries producing intermediate goods and big plants. Finally, the reforms led to a significant reallocation of resources between industries. The high patentable industries invested more in technology adoption, started to produce more product varieties at higher quality, and filed for more product patent claims. Broadly, we demonstrate that stronger intellectual property protection leads to higher wage inequality between industries.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Intellectual Property/Copyright, Skilled Labor
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Amrut Godbole
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: The Indian Navy needs to develop and assimilate new Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies that are being used by the Indian military and industry. The Navy's goals of transforming into a 200-ship force and maintaining optimal combat capability, are being put to test by diminishing capital and manpower shortages. It needs to leverage the benefits of AI and Machine Learning (ML) to improve organisational efficiencies at various levels. This paper focuses on four Use Cases, viz., Inventory Management, Training, Prescriptive Maintenance, and Security & Surveillance, for implementation in the Indian Navy.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Navy, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Ambika Khanna
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: India must consider new strategies that can be put in place to manage Pakistan's ongoing military aggression and security threat. One policy tool that has been used effectively by many countries but remains unexplored by India is the imposition of sanctions. This paper analyses the feasibility of imposing sanctions on Pakistan and the strategies India should consider to execute this effectively. It makes recommendations on how to establish a legal framework, amend existing laws, include Indian stakeholders with business interests in Pakistan, get government departments to collaborate on implementation, and considers diplomatic measures India can undertake.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India
  • Author: Chaitanya Giri
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: On 16 May, the government introduced a huge reform that liberalised India's space sector, leveling the field and propelling the space ambitions of private players. Corporations such as L&T and Godrej Aerospace, can now compete and collaborate with the Indian Space Research Organisation, to build an indigenous Boeing or Lockheed Martin, and be part of global, private, space industry syndicates. The timing is significant, as the space race has accelerated with the U.S. and China marking their space territories through Accords and SEZs. India now is much better equipped to launch its space agenda. This paper analyses India's future potential.
  • Topic: Space, Private Sector, Industry
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Akshay Mathur, Purvaja Modak
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: The shift in the global trend from trade in goods to trade in services, especially digital services has focused attention on the necessity of a modern and robust regulatory framework for it. The bilateral steps by India and Canada outlined in this paper can feed into current efforts by multilateral institutions to develop a universal framework for capturing services trade data.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Regulation, Institutions, Services, Trade
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Canada, India, North America
  • Author: Don Stephenson
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: The shifting trends in trade, especially given the growth in communications capacity and reduced cost of computing have altered traditional economic development. India and Canada have a shared commercial interest in E-trade. Both countries need to align their resources to frame trade rules of the new digital economy, to mutual benefit.
  • Topic: Communications, Economic Growth, Trade, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Canada, India, North America
  • Author: Amit Bhandari
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: Canada has been one of the biggest success stories in oil over the past few years. India should consider financial investments in Canadian energy assets as a means to secure its energy supplies. This paper studies the feasibility and prospects for Indian investment in Canada's petroleum sector.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Oil, Investment
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Canada, India, North America
  • Author: Olaf Weber, Vasundhara Saravade
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: India’s energy future needs to be low-carbon, climate-resilient and protected against price fluctuation. It can meet these needs by investing in Canadian oil companies, given the country’s political stability and rule of law. India can also attract greater foreign direct investment at home through the issuance of green bonds, a climate finance debt instrument that addresses environmental and climate-related challenges. This paper explores the regulatory perspective of the green bond market.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Foreign Direct Investment, Rule of Law, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Canada, India, North America
  • Author: Sameer Patil
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: The delivery of five Rafale fighter jets this week demonstrates the continued upgrading of India’s military capabilities. A key part of this process has been the building of a domestic defence-industrial base by promoting participation of the private sector. Bringing certainty to defence procurement, monitoring emerging technologies and joining hands with like-minded countries, will play a critical role in taking this forward.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Defense Industry
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Rajiv Bhatia, Sifra Lentin, Ambika Khanna
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: The 20th meeting of the Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Heads of States was held virtually on 10th November, 2020. The meeting precedes the SCO Summit to be hosted by India at the end of this month, and for which preparations have been on through the year. In this compendium of three essays, Gateway House assesses the potential for deepening economic cooperation between India & SCO, asks whether the SCO Charter needs dynamism and revision, and traces the roots of the regions's Buddhist presence, back to India.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Investment, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Sruthi V.S.
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: The ambitious $400 billion deal between China and Iran has garnered worldwide attention. The 18-page draft proposal says that China will facilitate the infusion of about $280 billion to Iran. This major economic and security partnership between China and Iran has raised India’s concerns against the backdrop of its ongoing border conflict with China. According to the New York Times report, the proposed China-Iran deal talks about expanding China’s presence in Iran’s “banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects”, and in return China will receive a steady supply of oil from Iran for the next 25 years at a discounted price. There are more than 100 projects listed in the draft that will see Chinese investments; these include building Free Trade Zones and several very significant ports. The Chinese will also help Iran build infrastructure for 5G networks and come up with an internet filter like the Great Firewall in China. The stronghold of China in Iran could also result in undermining US policy in the Middle East.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Iran, Middle East, India, Asia
  • Author: Niranjan Jose
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: This year’s border stand-off in the Galwan Valley between China and India following China’s encroachment into Indian territory, is a reminder of India’s perennial problems with Beijing. The latest violation is an example of the staunch stance China has adopted against India. Neither nation is interested in a full-fledged confrontation. In this scenario, New Delhi has no option but to engage with Beijing to resolve the dispute through dialogue; however discussion and confidence-building initiatives by itself will not lead India towards problem-solving. China’s confrontational approach towards India and the border disagreement set the right background as to why it could not be a better opportunity for India to meaningfully engage with Taiwan. India and Taiwan both are Asian democracies pursuing an effective resolution of dynamic social and ethnic problems, and both face aggressive Chinese security policies aimed at establishing regional hegemony. From a strategic security perspective, both India and Taiwan are deeply concerned about the rising assertiveness of Beijing in the region. The China element can become a tool for moving closer to the strategic communities in New Delhi and Taipei. India and Taiwan have a variety of mutual concerns, ranging from controlling China’s growth to a political and economic partnership. For Taiwan, China’s current trade war with the US has made several Taiwanese firms keen to reduce their vulnerability on China. Indian government initiatives such as Smart Cities, Make in India, Digital India, and Start-up India were launched to increase India’s viability for foreign investors, making it an attractive destination for Taiwanese corporations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, India, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Choong Yong Ahn
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: India and South Korea, Asia’s third- and fourth-largest economies, respectively, established a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in 2010 and upgraded their relationship to a special strategic partnership in 2015. South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s “New Southern” policy and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Act East” policy share important objectives and values through which Korea and India can maximize their potential to pursue high tech-oriented, win-win growth. Both countries face the great challenge of diversifying their economic partners in their respective geo-economic domains amid newly emerging international geo-economic dynamics as well as rapidly changing Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies. Given the two countries’ excessive dependence on the Chinese market and potential risks and uncertainties involved in the U.S.-China trade war and related security conflicts, South Korea and India need to deepen bilateral linkages in trade, investment, and cultural contacts. South Korea-India cooperation is crucial in promoting plurilateralism, prosperity, and harmony in East Asia. This paper suggests a specific action agenda to fulfill mutual commitments as entailed in the “Special Strategic Partnership” between these two like-minded countries of South Korea and India.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Science and Technology, Bilateral Relations, Industry
  • Political Geography: United States, China, South Asia, India, Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: Jagannath P. Panda
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: Both India’s and South Korea’s strategic choices are deeply influenced by the rapidly evolving Indo-Pacific construct, particularly amid a mounting U.S.-China rivalry. With India’s “Look/Act East” policy and South Korea’s “New Southern Policy” offering a perfect stage for deepened mutual cooperation, both nations need to further their relations to build Asia’s future while advancing their respective national interests. With both countries following stringent foreign policies as a result of the actions of their immediate neighbors, they present a geopolitically strategic complementarity for their relationship to prosper and emerge as one of the most important relationships in the region. Seoul’s hesitation to overtly embrace the “Indo-Pacific” concept is not really a barrier; rather a geo-political overture to discard the balance of power politics and pursue an autonomous foreign policy. India’s preference for the “Indo-Pacific” is equally based on strategic autonomy, imbibing universal values and an inclusive regional order. Both countries emphasize a free and rules-based Indo-Pacific and have immense potential to establish security and connectivity partnerships as the keystone of their bilateral ties. With India and South Korea understanding the economic importance versus security ramifications of China, and with Japan’s reemergence as a key regional, if not global actor, both countries need to bring serious strategic intent to their relationship. Making use of the ASEAN platform and bilateral dialogues, South Korea and India have the potential to become one of the strongest Indo-Pacific partners of the 21st century
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Partnerships, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia, South Korea, Korea, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Shamindra Nath Roy, Partha Mukhopadhyay
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: India is one of the lowest globally in terms of female labour force participation (FLFP), ranking only better than Pakistan in South Asia. While the decline in FLFP in rural areas is starkly visible, the urban FLFP has been consistently low since the 1980s despite higher economic growth and increasing level of education among females. The economic cost of such low FLFP (16.8%) is huge and if, for instance, it could be raised to the level of FLFP in China (61.5%), it has the potential to raise India’s GDP up to 27%. This paper attempts to investigate the structural deficiencies behind this consistently low urban FLFP through a variety of perspectives, ranging from measuring the complexity of women’s work to the implications of caste, location and family structure. It finds factors like presence of female-friendly industries, provision of regular salaried jobs and policies that cater to women’s needs to work near home like availability of part-time work, can improve the situation, though prejudices arising from patriarchy require to be addressed to make these measures truly transformative and not palliative.
  • Topic: Education, Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Women, Inequality, Economy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Anindita Mukherjee, Shubhagato Dasgupta, Aparna Das
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: “Housing for All”, an often-stated vision for housing policies in India, has come to mean ownership houses for all residents. This singular focus has been part of programs from the early 1970s and has failed to recognize the range of housing tenures that may enable a viable, sustainable market. This paper reviews the evolution of housing policies since independence and shows that the emphasis on rental housing has not been a central part of housing programs to date. It then broadly characterizes the rental housing market in India, based on national statistics, to show how rental housing for the urban poor, is half of the rental housing market and is the least understood. Thereafter based on primary survey findings, it identifies the main issues that may inform a comprehensive rental housing program was to be developed in India.
  • Topic: Poverty, Inequality, Urban, Housing
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Aparna Das, Anindita Mukherjee, Baisakhi Sarkar Dhar
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The spatial morphology of Indian cities mirrors a disconnect between the urban statutory spatial plans and Revenue records. The Revenue Department instituted during the colonial times had an overarching mandate to collect land taxes and, till today, is referred to as the "custodian of the land." This was a key institution that prepared robust cadastre maps to support the revenue collection. Post-independence, these spatial records are not updated. The institutional disconnect between the Revenue and Registration departments and Urban Land Administration Institutions in the urban and peri-urban areas coupled with poor land records affect the overall confidence in the land administration system. This further limit the nurturing of a robust land market. Taking two land titling programmes: JAGA mission, Odisha, and LIFE mission, Kerala, this paper argues that to achieve the full potential of such land titling programmes, the role of the Revenue and Registration Departments need to be reimagined.
  • Topic: Governance, Urban, Resilience, Revenue Management
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Avani Kapur, Sharad Pandey, U Ranjan, Vastav Irava
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The ‘Study of State Finances 2020-21’ Working Paper delves into the revenue and expenditure performance of 17 States. As the COVID-19 pandemic tightens its grip, this timely analysis offers a unique window into the fiscal space available with States prior to the lockdown. This information is critical at a time when they are expected to craft adequate social protection responses and restart their economies.
  • Topic: Economics, Governance, Finance, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Ashwini K. Swain, Parth Bhatia, Ira Sharma, Prasanna Sarada Das, Navroz K. Dubash
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020, released on April 17, 2020, is an improvement from its predecessors. It has dropped some significant proposals that were resisted and has added new provisions. Are these reform proposals adequate and appropriate to address India’s long-standing electricity challenges? Are these prescriptions based on a proper diagnosis of current trends and future challenges? How will these reforms proposals affect India’s ongoing transition to 21st century electricity? While we appreciate the endeavours and intent, in our comments we focus on some serious concerns the draft raises, vital gaps and issues that need serious consideration.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Governance, Legislation, Electricity, Public Service, Utilities
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Shibani Ghosh
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has proposed a new notification to supersede the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2006 that is currently in force. The Ministry has sought comments from the public on this draft EIA Notification 2020. Shibani Ghosh, Fellow, CPR, in her comments to the Ministry has highlighted that there is a crying need to overhaul the EIA Notification 2006 and the regulatory framework built around it – not only to address its various inherent weaknesses that have been identified over the years, but also to put in place systems and processes that respond to the steadily degrading environmental quality in the country. However, the draft EIA Notification 2020 fails to do so. According to Ghosh, in its current form, the draft Notification is legally untenable as it does not conform to its parent Act – the Environment (Protection) Act 1986, and is in the teeth of various judgments of the Supreme Court, High Courts and the National Green Tribunal. It dilutes the already weak processes of environmental impact assessment, expert scrutiny and public consultation, and wrongly condones violations and illegalities. The comments are divided into two sections. Section I discusses four specific reasons why the draft notification is legally untenable and Section II highlights five major concerns that arise from the proposed regulatory design.
  • Topic: Environment, Governance, Judiciary
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Arkaja Singh
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: COVID-19 produced an acute and widespread crisis of hunger across India, which was felt most acutely by migrant workers and those who were outside the reach of India’s highly organised but rigid Public Distribution System (PDS). The hunger was incidental to the actual disease itself, but severe enough to be considered a crisis of governance on its own as it brought the Indian state face-t0-face with one of its oldest and most enduring challenges: how to ensure that essential supplies of food reach those in need of it? Could the Indian government simply have ‘universalised’ the PDS, and made it accessible to all? It was pointed out that the Indian state had adequate buffer stocks of food grain to make this feasible. However, for reasons that were never articulated, this option was never seriously considered by the government of India. Instead, governments tried to extend the reach of the PDS delivery mechanism, and to devise ways to deliver relief outside of the PDS framework. These strategies were however quite challenging for the risk-averse, (nominally) rule-bound Indian state that is disinclined to allow for discretion in spending of government funds, making purchases and allocation of largesse. Typically, the Indian state is all the more reluctant to delegate power to exercise discretion to lower levels of government. For this reason, the Indian state governments (who were at the frontline of this response) seemed to need to devise a framework of rules for the identification of beneficiaries, even in the middle of a humanitarian crisis. As a related problem, the states also did not necessarily have the organisational wherewithal to take up rapid, decentralised and locally grounded interventions. The organisational wherewithal, so to speak, could come in various forms. Some examples of this, which we saw at play, were decentralised government, the capacity to make non-state collaborations and institutionalised systems for the ‘continuous updating’ of beneficiary lists. More fundamentally, however, what is needed is the capacity for high levels of government to be able to formulate responsive policy and to be able to trust in the ability of their subordinate ranks to carry out new interventions, often in case-specific and individualised ways. Arkaja Singh’s working paper explores these issues in the context of state response to the COVID hunger crisis in the states of Delhi, Kerala, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana,
  • Topic: Governance, Food Security, Hunger, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Deepak Sanan, Sanjay Mitra
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Reforms designed to address core issues and their sequencing and timing would be critical to ensure the eventual success of the latest initiatives in the power sector. Lessons from the experience of earlier sectoral reform programmes and recommendations regarding the general architecture of central interventions, would need to be taken on board. Through a simple scenario building exercise, this paper concludes that the parlous financial position of the distribution utilities after lockdown requires that “reforms” follow “recovery”. The concurrent roll out of stringent reform measures on several fronts during a period of severe financial stress could seriously impair the prospects of a viable power sector in the near future. This, in turn, will not only hamper our planned promotion of renewables-based electricity but act as a brake on the entire process of economic recovery.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Namita Wahi
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This paper, the first in a series of three papers, constitutes the first systematic legal attempt since the late nineteenth century to describe the changing configuration of property rights of zamindars (landlords) and ryots or raiyats (peasants) relative to the English East India Company in colonial India over a period of two hundred years from 1600 to 1800. This period begins with the Company’s first arrival in India to the court of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir in 1600 as merely a trading company. It ends with the introduction of the Permanent Settlement in Bengal by Lord Cornwallis, the Governor General of Bengal in 1793, pursuant to the Company’s exercise of sovereign authority over the provinces of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa. As described in the paper, during this period of great political upheaval, scandal, and intrigue, as the East India Company gradually transitioned from a monopoly trading company to a conquering and then an administering power, Company officials, including the Governor General, and later the Supreme Council of Bengal, created, destroyed, and resurrected property rights of landlords and tenant cultivators. Following a series of experiments with land revenue administration and the lives of zamindars and raiyats, with the sole objective of maximising revenue for the East India Company, Lord Cornwallis introduced the Permanent Settlement of Land Revenue in 1793, which completely destroyed the rights of peasant cultivators in favour of zamindars, and wreaked great injustice and misery upon the people of Bengal. It would take nearly seventy years for British government to begin to reverse this injustice through tenancy protection legislation enacted in 1859, and this reversal in law would only be completed following land reforms introduced by provincial governments post India’s independence in 1947. These later developments will be the subject of the next two papers in this series.
  • Topic: Sovereignty, History, Governance, Property
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, South Asia, India
  • Author: Surbhi Kesar, Rosa Abraham, Rahul Lahoti, Paaritosh Nath, Amit Basole
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University
  • Abstract: We analyze findings from a large-scale survey of around 5000 respondents across 12 states of India to study the impact of COVID-19 pandemic containment measures (lockdown) on employment, livelihoods, food security and access to relief measures. We find a massive increase in unemployment, an equally dramatic fall in earnings among informal workers, large increases in food insecurity, depletion of savings and patchy coverage of relief measures. Two-thirds of our respondents lost work. The few informal workers who were still employed during the lockdown experienced more than a fifty percent drop in their earnings. Even among regular wage workers, half received either no salary or reduced salary during the lockdown. Almost eighty percent of surveyed households experienced a reduction in their food intake and a similar percentage of urban households did not have enough money to pay next month's rent. We also use a set of logistic regressions to identify how employment loss and food intake varies with individual and householdlevel characteristics. We find that migrants and urban Muslims are significantly worse off with respect to employment and food security. Among employment categories, self-employed workers were more food secure. The Public Distribution System (PDS) system was seen to have the widest reach among social security measures. However, even under PDS, 16 percent of vulnerable urban households did not have access to government rations. Further, half of the respondents reported not receiving any cash transfers (state or central). We conclude that much more is needed in the way of direct fiscal support that has been announced thus far by state and central governments in India.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Employment, Unemployment, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: Santiago Cueto, Claudia Felipe, Juan Leon
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Group for the Analysis of Development (GRADE)
  • Abstract: In this paper the authors utilize the five rounds of Young Lives household surveys across four countries (Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam) to study the characteristics of children who had dropped out of school by 22 years of age. While most children in the longitudinal sample go to primary school, they tend to drop out more often and earlier in Ethiopia. In India most children complete the early grades of school but drop out later, particularly in grades 11 and 13. Researchers find that in all countries, except Vietnam, there is a considerable number of children who drop out of school but at some point return to it, either to complete secondary or drop out again. The reasons provided by children for dropping out across the countries are oftentimes related to poverty: for example, the need to work, or care or provide for family. The multivariate analysis shows that indeed in many cases the wealth level of the family at an early age predicts later dropout, as does maternal education level, students’ early skills and residence in certain regions of each country. There are also some variations across countries; for example, boys are more likely to drop out of school in Ethiopia and Vietnam, and children who have repeated a grade are more likely to drop out of school in Peru. However, having high educational aspirations at early ages seems to be a protective factor against dropping out. This suggests that the value that children place on education may be an important preventative factor against dropping out. Overall, these results suggest the need to act early through education and social protection interventions to target young children who are at risk of dropping out, and the follow their trajectories, providing support as needed to specific groups and even individuals, so that all children may fulfill their right to complete at least secondary education.
  • Topic: Education, Children
  • Political Geography: Africa, India, Asia, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Peru
  • Author: Milan Vaishnav
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: With the BJP’s return to power following May 2019 general election, India appears to have ushered in a new dominant party system—one premised on a unique set of political principles, showing a clear break with what came before. In the wake of the 2019 general election results, which come on the back of significant political changes at the level of India’s states, there is empirical support for more unequivocal judgments. Indeed, the available evidence points in one direction: 2014 was not an aberration; it was instead a harbinger of a new era.10 India does appear to have ushered in a new, fourth party system—one that is premised on a unique set of political principles and that shows a clear break with what came before. In the 2019 general election, the BJP did the unthinkable: the party clinched a second consecutive majority in the Lok Sabha, a feat that was last accomplished by the Congress Party in 1980 and 1984.
  • Topic: Government, Elections, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Venkatraman Anantha ("Van") Nageswaran, Gulzar Natarajan
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Proven to be the best engines for job creation, new and smaller enterprises are India's answer to rising unemployment and a burgeoning youth population. Research findings related to entrepreneurship, business growth, and job creation—as well as a comparison of India’s private sector with those of other countries—reveal an alternative path forward for generating productive jobs in India. Seven findings are particularly relevant: 1. Although micro businesses dominate most countries’ economies, India’s economy has an excessive proportion of less productive, informal micro businesses. 2. Employment in India is concentrated in the micro businesses, whereas in developed countries, it is concentrated in formal small and medium-sized firms. 3. Productive jobs are created by firms that start out as formal. 4. New and young firms create more jobs than older, established firms. 5. Growing and efficient firms are founded and run by educated entrepreneurs. 6. Older firms in India exhibit lower productivity than firms of similar ages in developed countries. 7. India has a deficit of productive, job-creating entrepreneurs and an excess of informal entrepreneurs focused on surviving. Based on the findings, it is clear that policies aimed at creating jobs should support, first and foremost, the establishment and growth of new and young formal firms. These policies should make it easier and less costly for entrepreneurs to start and grow a firm.
  • Topic: Employment, Youth, Labor Policies, Unemployment
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Nicole Davis, Christa Twyford Gibson, Jonathan Gonzalez-Smith
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Many international institutions—universities, foundations, companies, NGOs, and governments—would like to engage more deeply with the government of India to improve health outcomes. However, a lack of transparency, changing state-level priorities, and the absence of a single venue to learn about engagement opportunities holds back many potential partnerships. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies and Duke University’s Innovations in Healthcare have launched the “Indian States Health Innovation Partnership” to address this information gap and encourage subnational health care cooperation between Indian government entities and external partners. The primary goal of this project is to strengthen health outcomes in India by methodically identifying which Indian states are ripe for innovative partnerships with international institutions and broadcasting these opportunities publicly to spur future partnerships. In the first phase of this project, the team developed a clearer picture of India’s state-level health care reform priorities and identified specific areas for potential partnership across four categories: capacity building, organizational delivery, financing, and specific health conditions.
  • Topic: Health, Governance, Health Care Policy, Innovation, Public Health
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Stephen Naimoli, Kartikeya Singh
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In 2019, India completed its program to provide electricity connections to every village and every home in the country. However, even though millions more are now connected, problems remain, including unreliable supply of power and a lack of workforce capacity for utilities to serve an expanded customer base. While India’s central government sets national policy, India’s powerful states have jurisdiction over the power sector and are responsible for implementation of central government programs and policies. For foreign stakeholders interested in supporting India’s electrification agenda, this presents an opportunity for them to engage with states to help meet their energy access priorities. To identify key areas for international engagement, CSIS conducted a survey of government, civil society groups, and energy access practitioners in the Indian states of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthan on their energy access priorities. Opportunities for collaboration include metering and bill collection, operations and maintenance, quality and reliability of supply, and off-grid technologies, including solar-powered pumps and other appliances.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Infrastructure, Electricity, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Nicole Davis, Christa Twyford Gibson, Jonathan Gonzalez-Smith
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Indian states control most facets of healthcare delivery. Every state has a different set of healthcare delivery gaps and priorities. Understanding these gaps can help foreign institutions target cooperation more effectively- going to the right place with the right type of cooperation. But having a base for cooperation must be paired with an effective strategy to engage India's states. Issues such as states' political timelines, shifts in key bureaucrats, and other issues can have a major impact on potential projects. In this report, Innovations in Healthcare and CSIS lay out strategies employed by a range of international institutions with current subnational partnerships in India.
  • Topic: Health, Governance, Health Care Policy, Innovation
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Stephen Naimoli, Kartikeya Singh
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Assam is the most populous and economically active of the northeastern states and thus acts as the nexus between the mainland and the northeast. Due to insurgencies and armed conflict spanning several decades, Assam struggled to deliver many basic services to its citizens, including electricity, and failed to attract major industries. Coupled with the state’s unique topography of Himalayan foothills, forests, and a massive floodplain dominated by the mighty Brahmaputra River, infrastructure development in the state has not been easy. However, with the settling of several conflicts, the state is poised to be the economic engine of India’s northeast and take its place as India’s gateway to southeast Asia. To do so, it is focusing on agriculture, led by a thriving tea industry and energy resources—the state accounts for 15 percent of India’s total crude oil and 50 percent of onshore natural gas output. On the power sector side, Assam has increased the share of its population with electricity access from 44.57 percent in 2015 to 100 percent in 2019. An important measure of the health of the state’s electric power sector is aggregate technical and commercial losses (AT&C), which measure line losses from transmission and distribution equipment, power theft, billing and collection inefficiencies, and customers’ inability to pay. Assam’s AT&C losses in 2015 were 24.2 percent. Under the state’s Power for All plan formed with the central government, the state’s utility Assam Power Distribution Corporation Limited (APDCL) would target AT&C losses of 18.15 percent in 2019. As of August 2019, this goal has virtually been met—APDCL’s AT&C losses are currently 18.2 percent. Under the central government’s Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme, which aims to improve the financial health of the country’s utilities, Assam has a target of 150,000 smart meters for customers with monthly consumption between 200-500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) by December 2019. As of August 2019, the state has deployed 15,567 smart meters for these customers, 10 percent of its goal. The state also had a target to deploy 31,000 smart meters for customers with monthly consumption of over 500 kWh per month by December 2017, but to date has only deployed 11,881 smart meters, 38 percent of its goal. Assam has a target to install 663 megawatts (MW) of solar power in the state to contribute to the central government’s target of 100 gigawatts by 2022. As of May 2019, data from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy indicate it has installed 22.4 MW, 3.38 percent of its goal.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Electricity
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Stephen Naimoli, Kartikeya Singh
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Chhattisgarh is a mineral-rich state with abundant coal and iron ore resources and whose coal production gives it an energy surplus, but it is also one of India’s poorest states, with a poverty rate of 40 percent and low human development indicators. Long plagued by left-wing violence, with which it still struggles, Chhattisgarh’s government is trying to diversify the state’s economy by making it an attractive destination for non-extractive industries. Dense forests which house scattered communities coupled with the conflicts have made setting up infrastructure to support household electrification through a centralized grid a challenge for the state government. Absent such infrastructure, the state has been a ripe market for decentralized renewable electrification efforts. Chhattisgarh has increased the amount of its population with electricity access from 84.5 percent in 2015 to 99.67 percent in 2019. An important measure of the health of the state’s electric power sector is aggregate technical and commercial losses (AT&C), which measure line losses from transmission and distribution equipment, power theft, billing and collection inefficiencies, and customers’ inability to pay. Chhattisgarh’s AT&C losses in 2015 were 20.5 percent. Under the state’s 24x7 Power for All plan formed with the central government, Chhattisgarh’s utility Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Corporation Limited (CSPDCL) would target AT&C losses of 16 percent in 2019. Unfortunately, losses have grown—as of August 2019, they are at 23.28 percent. Under the central government’s Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme, which aims to improve the financial health of the country’s utilities, Chhattisgarh has a target of 652,146 smart meters for customers with monthly consumption between 200-500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) by December 2019. As of August 2019, the state has not deployed any smart meters for these customers. The state also had a target to deploy 488,307 smart meters for customers with monthly consumption of over 500 kWh by December 2017 but has not deployed any smart meters for those customers either.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Infrastructure, Electricity, Safe Energy
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Stephen Naimoli, Kartikeya Singh
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Odisha struggles with significant challenges, including having some of the poorest and most isolated districts in India. Endowed with rich mineral resources and a long coastline, all the key topographical ingredients are in place to catapult the state’s economic development. To address some of the deep-seeded challenges faced by the state’s population, the state government, led by the Biju Janata Dal, has responded with populist measures that have won it unusual stability in office. Odisha’s governments have in the past shown that they are willing to play risk taker as the state, though shaky in its eventual execution, was an early adopter of power sector reforms. Paired with relative political stability, Odisha’s stature as an investment destination is rising. Those wanting to power it’s economic development will find that the key to success is supporting skills development and entrepreneurship in the power sector while supporting renewable energy integration efforts that pair well with the state’s broader development and service delivery initiatives. Odisha has increased the share of the population with electricity access from 82 percent in 2015 to 100 percent in 2019. An important measure of the health of the state’s electric power sector is aggregate technical and commercial losses (AT&C), which measure line losses from transmission and distribution equipment, power theft, billing and collection inefficiencies, and customers’ inability to pay. Odisha’s AT&C losses in 2015 were 38 percent. Under the state’s “24x7 Power for All” plan formed with the central government, the state’s utilities would target AT&C losses of 20 percent in 2019. As of 2018, the state’s utilities have decreased losses to 28 percent. Unlike the other states in this series, Odisha is not participating in the central government’s Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme to improve the financial health of the country’s utilities, so it does not have targets for smart meter deployment. While smart meters have not yet been deployed in the state, government officials indicated in interviews that they were working with the central government’s Power Finance Corporation to do so. The city of Bhubaneswar has a target of deploying one million smart meters as part of its “Smart City” plan implementation. Odisha has a target to install 2,377 megawatts (MW) of solar power in the state to contribute to the central government’s target of 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2022. As of July 2019, data from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy indicate it has installed 397.28 MW, 17 percent of its goal.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Electricity, Safe Energy, Power
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Joachim Betz
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Despite being a consolidated democracy with free and fair elections and having a political system with intense party competition, a relatively vibrant civil society, and a functioning federal set-up, India still ranks poorly in terms of the coverage, generosity, efficiency, and quality of its social protection. This is difficult to explain based on the factors usually advanced for the implementation of generous social policies. A second puzzle is the predominantly protective nature of welfare policies in India in the current era of globalisation, which should necessitate policies enabling workers to participate successfully in a more demanding economic environment. These puzzles may be explained partly by (a) the long-term insulation of the Indian economy from international competition, (b) the low share of industry and modern services in GDP until recently, (c) the precedence of identity policies, (d) the fragmentation of the political sphere, and (e) the meagre empowerment of women in India. We should, however, acknowledge that change is underway and that the picture is not bleak across India as a whole – being supported by economic reforms and growth, a greater degree of decentralisation and party competition within the country, increasingly discerning voters, and progress on female education and employment opportunities.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Reform, Democracy, Social Policy, Welfare
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Arvind Subramanian, Josh Felman
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: We examine the pattern of growth in the 2010s. Standard explanations cannot account for the long slowdown, followed by a sharp collapse. Our explanation stresses both structural and cyclical factors, with finance as the distinctive, common element. In the immediate aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), two key drivers of growth decelerated. Export growth slowed sharply as world trade stagnated, while investment fell victim to a homegrown Balance Sheet crisis, which came in two waves. The first wave—the Twin Balance Sheet crisis, encompassing banks and infrastructure companies—arrived when the infrastructure projects started during India’s investment boom of the mid-2000s began to go sour. The economy nonetheless continued to grow, despite temporary, adverse demonetization and GST shocks, propelled first by income gains from the large fall in international oil prices, then by government spending and a non-bank financial company (NBFC)-led credit boom. This credit boom financed unsustainable real estate inventory accumulation, inflating a bubble that finally burst in 2019. Consequently, consumption too has now sputtered, causing growth to collapse. As a result, India is now facing a Four Balance Sheet challenge—the original two sectors, plus NBFCs and real estate companies—and is trapped in an adverse interest-growth dynamic, in which risk aversion is leading to high interest rates, depressing growth, and generating more risk aversion. Standard remedies are unavailable: monetary policy is stymied by a broken transmission mechanism; large fiscal stimulus will only push up already-high interest rates, worsening the growth dynamic. The traditional structural reform agenda—land and labour market measures—are important for the medium run but will not address the current problems. Addressing the Four Balance Sheet problem decisively will be critical to durably reviving growth. Raising agricultural productivity is also high priority. And even before that, a Data Big Bang is needed to restore trust and enable better policy design.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Economy, Global Political Economy, Economic Growth, Global Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Arvind Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: My recent research paper “India's GDP Mis-estimation: Likelihood, Magnitudes, Mechanisms, and Implications,” (hereafter “GDP paper”) and the associated op-ed in the Indian Express on June 11, 2019 have generated considerable debate. This is encouraging because serious argument and counter-argument are the basis for good policy-making. Since the issue itself is of great importance, the counter-arguments to my analysis warrant a considered response. That is the aim of this note, which is a complement to the original paper, addressing both the larger issues and some of the specific points that have been raised. The note is structured as follows. Section II describes my engagement with India’s GDP estimation when I was Chief Economic Adviser. Section III elaborates on the framework/approach underlying the GDP paper. Section IV makes explicit the key puzzle surrounding India’s growth estimates, and addresses the possible explanations for it. Section V explores the puzzle in greater detail. Section VI provides additional cross-country evidence on growth and price deflators, which support the findings of the original paper, namely that growth during 2011-16 was likely overestimated by a significant margin. Section VII addresses two broad objections to the main findings. Section VIII discusses some of the methodological critiques of the paper. Section IX offers some thoughts on the way forward.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, International Development, Economic Growth
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Arvind Subramanian
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: India changed its data sources and methodology for estimating real gross domestic product (GDP) for the period since 2011-12. This paper shows that this change has led to a significant overestimation of growth. Official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at about 7 percent. We estimate that actual growth may have been about 4.5 percent with a 95 percent confidence interval of 3.5 - 5.5 percent. The evidence, based on disaggregated data from India and cross-sectional/panel regressions, is robust. Lending further credence to the evidence, part of the overestimation can be related to a key methodological change, which affected the measurement of the formal manufacturing sector. These findings alter our understanding of India’s growth performance after the Global Financial Crisis, from spectacular to solid. Two important policy implications follow: the entire national income accounts estimation should be revisited, harnessing new opportunities created by the Goods and Services Tax to significantly improve it; and restoring growth should be the urgent priority for the new government.
  • Topic: GDP, Global Political Economy, Economic Growth, Global Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India