Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

7 Questions About Low-Cost Private Schools in India That We Can Finally Answer

Low-cost private schools are popping up rapidly in many parts of the developing world, especially India where even in rural areas 28% of students attend private schools.  Should governments be supporting these schools as a cheap way to boost learning for the poor?  Or is privatization reducing equity and undermining public institutions?   A year ago I participated in a somewhat heated online debate on this topic, see here and here.

The Economic Consequences of Professor Amartya Sen

This post originally appeared in the Business Standard.

This United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is heading into the tenth and possibly last year of office, a tenure whose crowning achievement might well be the Food Security Bill. One may fault this government for incompetence, corruption, and delayed action but it cannot be faulted for lacking a vision. There has been an overarching idea that underlies many of its economic policies: namely, that the poor and underprivileged in society must be empowered by conferring them with new rights - to work, education, food, and presumably, all basic needs.

Evaluate India’s Direct Benefits Transfers

Earlier this year, Nancy Birdsall and I laid out why India’s new cash transfer program is superior to current in-kind subsidy programs on which the government spends $26 billion a year with no discernible impact on poverty. While not a panacea, the new program has a lot going for it – cash transfers have been shown to work for poverty reduction in many settings, the program uses a biometrics-based system to identify beneficiaries and process payments, and the country has experience in implementing similar programs like the JSY – a cash transfer conditional on a facility birth.

India’s Disputed Ruling on Pharmaceuticals and Patents

This post originally appeared on the Peterson Institute for International Economics blog.

On April 1, the Indian Supreme Court rejected the attempt by Novartis, the Swiss pharmaceutical company, to patent a new version of the leukemia drug Glivec. The latest verdict follows previous rulings that granted compulsory licenses to an Indian generic drug manufacturer for a kidney cancer drug (Nexavar) patented by Bayer. Five important questions are raised by these rulings.

India Leading the Way on Biometric ID—and Now Replacing Subsidies with Cash

The Washington Post reported yesterday that India will, starting Jan 1st in 51 districts, pay cash directly into the accounts of poor families as it begins unraveling its convoluted web of food, fuel and other subsidies. India’s been toying with this idea for a while, so it’s good news that it’ll finally kick-off in the New Year. Many others will be watching.

Is India’s Middle Class Big Enough For. . . ?

This is a joint post with Christian Meyer.

For global producers of consumer products, the rise of a middle class in India is great news. Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, and IKEA have all recently announced they will move into the Indian market. The Swedish furniture maker plans to invest up to €1.5 billion over the next 15 to 20 years. A growing and more economically secure middle class in a country that, for all its troubles, is expected to continue to grow at a healthy if not torrid pace, ensures a healthy consumer market for years to come.

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