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What lessons does India offer for other countries? What is the appropriate role for outsiders in addressing continued poverty and widening inequality in a country that has regularly clocked about 7 percent annual per capita GDP growth with foreign reserves close to $300 billion? And what can the world reasonably expect such a nation, with ample financial resources but a huge poor population of its own, to contribute to solving global problems? The Center for Global Development’s research explores these issues and more.
The paper critically reviews the arguments for and against both employment guarantees and income guarantees when viewed as rights-based policy instruments for poverty reduction in a developing economy, with special reference to India. Evidence on India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act does not suggest that the potential for either providing work when needed or reducing current poverty is being realized, despite pro-poor targeting. Instead, work is often rationed by local leaders in poor areas, and the poverty impact is small when all the costs are considered.
Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric ID program, is at a crossroads. After a remarkable effort to enroll almost the entire Indian population of 1.25 billion in just over half a decade, its impact on privacy and distribution public benefits are being called into question.
While I welcome criticism and comments on the Doing Business (DB) report—or any other data and research product of the World Bank, for that matter—I find Justin Sandefur’s and Divyanshi Wadhwa’s recent blog posts on DB in Chile and India neither enlightening nor useful.
While Modi has celebrated India’s rapid rise in the Doing Business rankings, the World Bank’s Chief Economist recently resigned amid controversy over methodological changes. Without those changes, India’s “jump” in the rankings looks much more modest.