Bibek Debroy

  • Laws dealing with undertrials in India are flawed

    Laws dealing with undertrials in India are flawed

    For the country as a whole, the number of undertrials detained for more than five years is lower than 2,000. With a cut-off of three years, the figure is lower than 8,000.

  • Bibek Debroy

    Be careful juggling those GDP figures

    On January 30, the ministry of statistics and programme implementation issued a press note, titled ‘New Series Estimates of National Income, Consumption Expenditure, Saving and Capital Formation (Base Year 2011-12)’. Most commentators missed the core...

    Bibek Debroy

    Labour market reforms: Don’t continue to reinvent the wheel

    In the budget session, the government will have two new bills – the Small Factories (Regulation of Employment and Other Conditions of Service) Act and the National Workers Vocational Institute Act. The former unifies records...

    Bibek Debroy

    Make them immune to death

    Every year, around 26 million babies are born in India. Roughly, 1.6 million children die before they are five. Data are from 2011, so there’s a slight time-lag. The under-5 mortality rate is 55. For...

    Bibek Debroy

    Teach quality Sanskrit, make child a richer Indian

    I hardly studied Sanskrit in school. At that time, under the system I studied under, there was one year of compulsory Sanskrit in Standard VII. After that, if you opted for what was called the...

    Bibek Debroy

    More damned than damning

    We have now entered the period of the second Plan. The first Plan built up our food resources; the second Plan will lay the foundations for rapid creation of heavy industry.… We are going to...

    Bibek Debroy

    Revenue neutral rates: GST waters muddied further

    The GST waters have been muddied further. Reports have appeared about a NIPFP panel’s suggestion of 16 possible revenue neutral GST rates, ranging between 14% and 27% (perhaps even 28.5%). This is in a dual...

    Bibek Debroy

    Camel farming, anyone?

    We have had livestock censuses since 1919. The 19th such census was in 2012. Unlike human censuses, we don’t pay enough attention to livestock censuses. But they have stories to tell. For example, if we...

    Bibek Debroy

    How can GST take off without a GST Network?

    What’s the status of GST?  This is a question that’s invariably asked.  To state the obvious, this is not a GST in the sense of abolition of all local body taxes (stamp duties/entry/octroi).  Nor is...

    Bibek Debroy

    Toilets on trains: Some issues that need attention

    Ever since the Railway Committee started its work, whenever people run into me, even if it is at a social occasion, they buttonhole me and offer suggestions about what should be done to improve the...

    Bibek Debroy

    Patent locker room tactics

    In April, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) brought out a Special 301 report and India was placed on the Priority Watch List. There is a long litany of complaints about India’s intellectual property rights...

    Bibek Debroy

    Textbook anachronism

    Every once in a while, an inter-country ranking of universities surfaces and it is discovered that India doesn’t do particularly well. The recent 2014 QS rankings are a case in point. If you leave aside...

    Bibek Debroy

    Old laws: Good idea for old statutes to be scrapped?

    Assorted reports have appeared in media, about 287 old laws being slated for repeal, through a Bill introduced in Winter Session. In addition, there is a pending bill to repeal 36 old laws. That gives...

    Bibek Debroy

    Why compare US and India in matters of governance?

    I have several friends and acquaintances in the United States. Without getting into legal niceties of their status (some are of Indian origin, but are American citizens now), let me loosely call them NRIs. When...

    Bibek Debroy

    Effective governance and three anecdotes

    Recently, I heard a hilarious story.  It’s an old story, but I heard it recently.  I am disguising it a bit, so that you can’t readily identify the individual concerned.  This was the early days...

    Bibek Debroy

    Government should not rush into broader GDP revision

    Reports have appeared about a revision being done to GDP. Apparently, for Q3 of 2014-15, there will be new GDP numbers based on the new methodology, also incorporating a change in base year from 2004-05...

    Bibek Debroy

    Exceptional teachers: Lessons from my life

    I studied in Ramakrishna Mission School (Narendrapur), Presidency College (Kolkata) and Delhi School of Economics.  The last two will ring a bell anywhere in the country.  The first one probably won’t, not unless you are...

    Bibek Debroy

    The Planning Commission must be replaced

    The year was 2001. Jeffrey Sachs had invited me to a seminar in Harvard, something to do with the Indian economy. As is customary with seminars, some overseas participants were invited to a dinner and...

    Bibek Debroy

    Slash number of centrally sponsored schemes

    In the Budget 2014 papers, you will find an intriguing statement along the following lines, “In BE 2014-2015 after restructuring of centrally-sponsored schemes (CSSs), existing CSSs have been restructured and plan schemes under which central...

    Bibek Debroy

    No big subsidy reform intended by Modi government?

    According to media reports, Aadhaar and Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) are both back, or will be, after an announcement on 15th August. Again according to media reports, the benefits being talked about are MGNREGS, PDS,...

    Bibek Debroy

    Let there be light

    Unless your general knowledge is particularly good, you may not have heard of Gbadolite, as opposed to Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Gbadolite is the capital of the country’s Nord-Ubangi...

    Bibek Debroy

    Labour law reforms: Reduce inspector raj on priority

    Part of the problem with administrative decisions is that they leave a large degree of discretion, often at petty functionary levels, and thereby encourage corruption and rent-seeking and this also plagues the self-employed entrepreneur. Let...

    Bibek Debroy

    Lots to do on labour laws

    The Rajasthan government has proposals to amend the Industrial Disputes Act (IDA), raising the threshold for state permission to fire workers from 100 to 300. It also wants changes to the Contract Labour Act (CLA)...

    Bibek Debroy

    Speculating and hoarding are good, make them legal

    Speculator, hoarder, black marketeer – these expressions are freely bandied around, more recently, in the context of food inflation. It is very tempting to blame them and assume that legislation and control will solve the...

    Bibek Debroy

    Why India’s balance sheet is in a mess

    Though I am not putting it within quotation marks, all the statements that follow are within quotes. I will tell you later where these quotes are from. India’s balance sheet is in a mess. Hundreds...

    Bibek Debroy

    The 10-Point Agenda For The Modi Sarkar

    After the 2nd Cabinet meeting, the first proper one, we have a 10-point agenda. (1) Focus on economy and infrastructure ministries; (2) Better inter-Ministerial coordination; (3) Restore confidence of bureaucrats; (4) Use IT and social...

    Bibek Debroy

    Shake Out Old Laws

    Life is full of uncertainties. But if there is one certainty about next week, that is Manmohan Singh no longer being Prime Minister. There are plenty of anecdotes about MMS floating around, mostly unkind. In...

    Bibek Debroy

    Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

      In a recent TV interview with BJP’s PM candidate, the expression ?????? ?????????? came up.  It is remarkable how standard Sanskrit words are routinely mispronounced.  The word is ??????.  It has nothing to do...

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