Posts Tagged ‘India’

universal age pensions for India

Monday, October 8th, 2018

This is one of the best, concise essays I have seen in defence of universal age pensions. The author, Prabhat Patnaik, is an Indian economist known to be a Marxist, but I see nothing Marxist in this essay. Since the newspaper link may not last long, I have taken the liberty of sharing with TdJ readers an edited version that is about half as long as the original. To download and read the full essay, click on the link below. (more…)

universal pensions in India?

Friday, September 28th, 2018

Assam, a state in Northeast India with a population of more than 31 million, on October 2nd will launch universal pensions for residents 60 years of age or older. (more…)

call for universal healthcare and pensions for India’s elderly

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

We should start looking at universal health insurance for the elderly, not restricting it to merely BPL [below poverty line] patients, but extending it to the middle-class as well. We need helplines, the establishment of a national trust for the aged and a national commission for senior citizens. Sadly, as a society, we do not care for our elderly and hence the lack of will.

The government needs [also] … to help future generations benefit and live longer … with some sort of a universal pension plan.

Poonam Muttreja, “Too little done to provide elderly with social, financial security“, Deccan Chronicle, 17 January 2018.

Ms. Poonam Muttreja heads the Population Foundation of India (PFI), a New Delhi-based NGO. The Deccan Chronicle is published in Hyderabad (Telangana) and other Deccan regions, including Kerala. The newspaper has more than a million subscribers.

The BPL is supposed to identify families living in extreme poverty, but its application is very uneven, inefficient and corrupt. Many families who are poor enough to qualify are excluded, while non-poor families are often counted as poor.

Only 18% of India’s population over 60 years of age have access to a monthly social pension of 200 Rupees (3 US$), and the beneficiaries are not India’s poorest.


social pensions in India

Sunday, December 3rd, 2017

India, in theory if not in practice, provides social (non-contributory) pensions for all residents older than 60 years who live in families poor enough to be listed as BPL (below poverty line). The social pension, known as the “Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme” (IGNOAPS) provides beneficiaries aged 60

call for universal pensions in India

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

India’s trade unions are calling for a general strike on September 2nd, demanding a minimum pension of about 45 US dollars a month for all workers, formal and informal. The proposed pension is not fully universal, however, as it excludes unpaid workers, such as mothers, housewives and the self-employed.

Demanding universal pension of Rs 3000 [USD 45] per month to every worker, including those engaged in unorganised sector and proper application of labour laws for safe guarding interests of the working class, various trade unions will observe general strike in the country on September 2. In a bid to garner support for the stir, CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury has posted a series of tweets on his official page last night … stressing for Rs 3000 pension to all workers, organised and unorganised.

Unions to go on strike on Sept 2 demanding Rs 3000 pension to every worker“, webindia, 25 August 2016.

India Pension



“digital colonialists” in India

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

FT journalist Hannah Kuchler explains the challenges that Facebook and Google face in the Indian market. Here is a small sample of her long, informative column.

Silicon Valley companies, led by Google and Facebook, are arriving with the key to a vital resource of the 21st century: connectivity. Wary of some of their tactics and rhetoric, Indian critics have dubbed the US companies

private vs government schools in India

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Researchers find further evidence that private schools in India produce equal or better results at vastly lower costs compared to government schools.

We present experimental evidence on the impact of a school choice program in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh (AP) that featured a unique two-stage lottery-based allocation of school vouchers that created both a student-level and a market-level experiment. This design allows us to study both the individual and the aggregate effects of school choice (including spillovers). We find that private-school teachers have lower levels of formal education and training than public-school teachers, and are paid much lower salaries. On the other hand, private schools have a longer school day, a longer school year, smaller class sizes, lower teacher absence, higher teaching activity, and better school hygiene. After two and four years of the program, we find no difference between the test scores of lottery winners and losers on math and Telugu (native language). However, private schools spend significantly less instructional time on these subjects, and use the extra time to teach more English, Science, Social Studies, and Hindi. Averaged across all subjects, lottery winners score 0.13s higher, and students who attend private schools score 0.23s higher. We find no evidence of spillovers on public-school students who do not apply for the voucher, or on students who start out in private schools to begin with, suggesting that the program had no adverse effects on these groups. Finally, the mean cost per student in the private schools in our sample is less than a third of the cost in public schools. Our results suggest that private schools in this setting deliver (slightly) better test score gains than their public counterparts, and do so at substantially lower costs per student. [Emphasis added.]

Karthik Muralidharan and Venkatesh Sundararaman, “The Aggregate Effect of School Choice: Evidence from a two-stage experiment in India“, NBER Working Paper No. 19441 (October 2013).

That is from the abstract. An ungated copy of the full paper can be downloaded here.

Indian economist Karthik Muralidharan (PhD Harvard, 2007) teaches at the University of California-San Diego. Venkatesh Sundararaman is a Senior Economist with the World Bank.

cultural preferences and malnutrition

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Malnutrition continues to be a serious problem in India. Yale economist David Atkin shows that internal migration contributes to this because migrants have strong cultural preferences for foods of their place of origin, foods that are typically more expensive than local foods in their new place of residence.

This paper sets out to answer a simple question: do food cultures matter in an economic sense, and in particular, can culture constrain caloric intake and contribute to malnutrition? I address this question by exploiting the fact that migrants and non-migrants face the same relative prices, yet possess very different preferences. Drawing on detailed household survey data from India, I find that inter-state migrants consume fewer calories per Rupee of food expenditure compared to their non-migrant neighbors. This caloric tax on migrants corresponds to 1.6 percent of caloric intake and is evident even for households on the edge of malnutrition. I then provide a chain of evidence in support of an explanation based on culture: that migrants make nutritionally-suboptimal food choices due to strong preferences for the favored foods of their origin states. First, I document that migrants bring their origin-state food preferences with them when they migrate and that these preferences are stronger when there are more migrants in the household. Second, I show that the heterogeneity in the size of the migrant caloric tax is related to the suitability and intensity of these origin-state food preferences. The most adversely affected migrants (households in which both husband and wife migrated to a village where their origin-state preferences are unsuited to the local price vector) would consume 7 percent more calories if they possessed the same preferences as their neighbors

David Atkin, “The Caloric Costs of Culture: Evidence from Indian Migrants“, Economic Growth Center Discussion Paper No. 1028, Yale University, June 2013.


wider coverage of social pensions in India

Monday, November 19th, 2012

The government of India is moving toward universal age pensions, by extending coverage of social pensions to all who are not specifically excluded through pre-determined criteria, but much remains to be done. And the pension is tiny, even by the standards of India.

The Government is all set to take its first step towards universalisation of pension for aged, widows and disabled as it would remove the distinction of BPL [below poverty line] and APL [above poverty line] for selection of beneficiaries in the 12th Five Year Plan.

The proposal which has huge financial implications has been pushed by activists Aruna Roy and Baba Adhav alongwith many grassroot organisations.

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh today said that pensions would now be given on the basis of some exclusion critieria in the Socio Economic Census that is going on. ….

It may include now people who may be having single storeyed concrete houses, or a vehicle and so on. The schemes under the Rural Development Ministry now provide a pension of just Rs 200 [US$3.63] a month while the states complement this with more funds.

Sreelatha Menon, “Govt takes first step to universal pension“, Business Standard, 18 October 2012.

elder abuse in India

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

A large percentage of India