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  • Author: Alan Gelb, Anit Mukherjee
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Reforming inefficient and inequitable energy subsidies continues to be an important priority for policymakers as does instituting “green taxes” to reduce carbon emissions. Simply increasing energy prices will have adverse impact on poorer consumers, who may spend substantial budget shares on energy and energy-intensive products even though the rich typically appropriate more of the price subsidy. Equitable pricing reforms therefore need to be accompanied by programs to transfer compensation: depending on the situation, this can be targeted or universal. Successful reforms require measures to raise awareness-of the subsidies and the problems they cause, effective dissemination of the reform to the population, and rapid feedback loops to facilitate mid-course corrections. Digital technology, including for unique identification and payments, as well as general communications, can help build government capacity to undertake such reforms and respond to changes in fuel markets. The paper outlines the use of digital technology, drawing on four country cases. The technology is only a mechanism; it does not, in itself, create the political drive and constituency to push reform forward. However, it can be employed in a number of ways to increase the prospects for successful and sustainable reform.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Science and Technology, Reform, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, India, Latin America
  • Author: Alan Gelb, Anit Mukherjee
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: India has emerged as a leader in building on its biometric digital ID (Aadhaar) to reform service and program delivery. It moved quickly to consolidate the rollout of Aadhaar, and then to embed the unique Aadhaar number into program databases. A range of applications, including digital signature and payments, was then constructed on top of the Aadhaar foundation (the India Stack). Together with partners, the Center for Global Development is analyzing the effects of Aadhaar-based reforms. India offers lessons for many other countries as their focus evolves from rolling out an ID system towards using it to improve the efficiency and inclusivity of service delivery. Some programs using Aadhaar are federally administered but others are implemented at state level. It is already clear that some states and sectors are reforming better than others, generally because of better design of the digital reforms or stronger capacity to implement them. The three programs we discuss below high- light achievements as well as challenges that need to be overcome for greater efficiency and inclusion.
  • Topic: Development, Governance, Identities, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: India, Asia