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.

 

Aadhaar-Based Cash Transfers: Promising Reform, but More Data Needed

India’s shift towards direct benefit transfers (DBTs) is on the fast track. According to official statements, in the 2015-16 fiscal year the central government deposited nearly $5 billion of subsidy and welfare payments directly into the bank accounts of 300 million beneficiaries. It has also set an ambitious target to transfer all payments to the Aadhaar-based biometric DBT platform by the end of 2017. This will surely be the greatest subsidy reform in the world, but we need more data to accurately evaluate its impact.

New Initiative in India Is Mobilizing Communities to Improve Children’s Learning, but Will It Work?

Every year, hundreds of thousands of volunteers in South Asia and East Africa walk many miles crossing rivers, mountains, deserts and farmlands to do something amazing: reach remote rural communities to assess whether children can read or do simple maths. Collectively known as Citizen-led Assessments (CLA), every year they show that most children are going to school but less than half of them can read or write at grade level. However, in spite of these universally damning reports, policy change to improve children’s learning has been painfully slow. So the NGO Pratham that started this movement is turning its army of volunteer data collectors into change agents to mobilize entire communities and raise awareness about the learning crisis across India.  

India’s Big Climate Move

India just did something big for the climate: it announced that it will allocate $6 billion a year in tax revenue in a way that will encourage forest conservation. That’s more results-based finance for forest conservation than any other country in the world, including the current biggest spender Norway. 

Congratulations, Arvind Subramanian

This morning (Thursday) came the news that Arvind Subramanian, a joint fellow at CGD and at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, is being appointed Chief Economic Advisor to the government of India. This appointment (for our American readers), is more or less equivalent to being the head of the US President’s Council of Economic Advisors. The current Chief Economist of the World Bank, Kaushik Basu, is a former CEA in India, and the current head of India’s Reserve Bank, Raghuram Rajan is a former CEA. (In Arvind’s case, I dearly hope he will be back at CGD—and yes PIIE—here in Washington within a few years.)

India’s Puzzling New PPP

Last week saw the release of the new 2011 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) rates for GDP produced by the International Comparison Program (ICP). The ICP is a major global statistical operation. The Global Office is housed in the World Bank but the ICP is implemented separately in each region by designated regional counterparts.

Pages

Tags