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The Crisis in Agriculture
24 October, 2017, C.P. Chandrasekhar & Jayati Ghosh
The dilution of government intervention in the form of minimum support prices, procurement and public distribution is undermining the medium-term viability of agricultural production in India.
Before UBI, We must First Get Social Spending Basics Right
13 February, 2017, Anjana Thampi & Ishan Anand
Providing a UBI in place of existing schemes will not change the fundamentally unequal income distribution in the country. The way to resolve the crisis is a redistribution from the rich to the poor.
The Beleaguered Indian Farmer
24 June, 2015, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The forecast of a poor monsoon is a real bad news for the Indian farmers as it would not only reduce crop production leading to shortages but also encourage speculative holding.
Corporate Karza Maafi at Rs. 36.5 Trillion
21 July, 2014, P. Sainath
Since 2005-06 a cumulative amount of Rs. 36.5 trillion has been given away to corporate sector in terms of various sops in corporate income tax, excise duty and customs duty.
Of False Premises, Faulty Reportage and Declining Hunger: Unraveling the enigma
30 January, 2013, M Kumaran & Biraj Swain
The official assessment about India making progress in addressing hunger, nutrition and poverty over last two decades, do not match the ground realities.
The Cost of Food Security
22 January, 2013, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The argument of inadequate food supplies and burden on the government’s budget that is advanced against universal food security programme is shocking and without much basis.
Mad about Cash Transfers
01 January, 2013, Jayati Ghosh
Cash transfer is seen by the Congress Party as the vehicle that will lead it to electoral victory. But, in no case should it be seen as substitute for public service delivery.
Report on the State of Food Insecurity in Urban India
28 February, 2012,
This report is an update of Food Insecurity Atlas of Urban India that was developed by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) in October 2002 and a companion exercise to the Report on the State of Food Insecurity in Rural India of 2001. Reviewing the relative position of the major states with respect to food security, the Report reveals an alarming situation of a permanent food and nutrition emergency in urban India. Hence in order to promote food and nutrition security for all, the Report offers certain policy recommendations emphasizing that urban food security is impacted by the macroeconomic policies and therefore, economic reforms needs to be re-formed to provide inclusive urban development.
Poverty Lines and Poor Minds
03 October, 2011, Himanshu
There is much academic debate on the appropriate estimates of poverty line. Poverty lines are benchmarks for policy makers to measure progress over time. The use of such measures for targeting social assistance is arbitrary. The Planning Commission's use of narrowly defined poverty line estimates restricts access of the poor to basic entitlements such as food and health. What is required is universal provisioning of these entitlements without recourse to any targeting.
Plea to delink food entitlements from faulty poverty measures
27 September, 2011,
We the undersigned economists do not consider the official national poverty lines set by the Planning Commission, at Rs. 32 and Rs. 26 per capita per day for urban and rural areas respectively, to be acceptable benchmarks to measure the extent of poverty in India. In any case, irrespective of the methodology we adopt to measure poverty, the number of poor and hungry people in the country remains unacceptably large.
Food Prices, Health and Nutrition: Red-flag indicators for the 12th Plan
17 August, 2011, Rahul Goswami
The long-term impacts of food inflation on the rural and urban poor are yielding worrying indicators in India's nutrition and health sectors. Analysing new data from the NSSO's 66th Round and recent trends in retail food prices, the author establishes that households in the lower deciles of consumption in both rural and urban areas have been hurt the most by the steep rise in the real retail prices of cereals during 2003 to 2009-10.
Diluting the Right to Food
02 February, 2011, C.P. Chandrasekhar
In its task of formulating the Food Security Bill, the National Advisory Council has ended up recognizing the supply constraints that could hinder implementation of the bill which guarantees universal access to food through a public distribution system.
From Field to Fork: Obama's agri recipe for India
03 December, 2010, Rahul Goswami
The signing of the ‘India-US Agriculture Dialogue’ is not about food security and fair trade but about support to the USA's National Export Initiative. US President Obama's farm mission has been a very important part of his India visit. The implications for India's food sovereignty and food flows must be fully known.
Food Security sans PDS: Universalization through targeting?
08 November, 2010, Smita Gupta
The obvious strategy to tackle hunger and malnutrition is to universalize and strengthen the Public Distribution System (PDS) by making adequate food available at affordable prices. The argument is more compelling for India where endemic hunger continues to badly affect a large section of people. It is therefore time that the NAC and the Government stop putting forward specious arguments against a universal bill, and instead use the current food stocks and the forthcoming rabi crop as an opportunity for full-fledged food security.
Making a Mess of the Food Security Bill
09 September, 2010, Jayati Ghosh
The NAC draft bill has come as an unwelcome surprise as instead of altering the divisive and unfair division of people into BPL beneficiaries and others who would be excluded from public distribution, it reinforces the division. In fact, in pushing for a greatly truncated and extremely exclusionary PDS system, the draft effectively undermines the PDS itself.
Managing the Food Economy
07 August, 2010, C.P. Chandrasekhar
The National Advisory Council’s proposal for a system of targeted universalisation will simply limit the impact of the PDS. The proposal is based on the grounds of constrained supply whereas in reality there seems to be excess stockholding by the government which can be utilised to ensure access to food as well as widen and deepen the productive base in the agricultural sector.
Engineered Inflation
02 August, 2010, C.P. Chandrasekhar
With prices of essentials already on the rise, the move to hike petroleum product prices threatens to make inflation the country’s principal economic problem. This will have serious future implications with an aggravation of inflationary trends that currently burden the common person, and the success of the July 5 bandh was a reflection of a strong public expression of anger and opposition to the move. But why the government is adopting such policies that transfer most of the burden onto the aam aadmi and aggravate inflation need to be assessed.
The Political Economy of the Enabling State
10 March, 2010, Jayati Ghosh
While this year’s Economic Survey identifies the basic goal of economic policy as inclusive growth, this is to be delivered by a change in focus to an enabling government from an actively interventionist one. This vision excludes the possibility that the process of market-driven economic growth itself generates greater material insecurity and impoverishment for a significant section of the population.
The Tendulkar Report: A Small Step Forward
23 December, 2009, R. Ramakumar
The report of the expert group on the estimation of poverty led by Professor Suresh Tendulkar has been submitted to the Planning Commission. Apart from issues of comparability of data across NSS rounds, the most important ToR for the committee was to ''review alternative conceptualizations of poverty, and the associated technical aspects of procedures of measurement and database for empirical estimation'' of poverty in India.
Addressing Social Concerns
10 March, 2008, Jayati Ghosh
The main issues in this year's economic strategy of the government, especially the intentions as signalled in this year's Budget proposals remain the same as that of 2004. These are employment, the agrarian crisis, nutrition and food security, education, health and social security. In each of these areas, the UPA government promised much. However, the delivery has not only been far below the promises, but in some cases even worse than the previous government.

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