Thursday, June 28, 2012

Brief: A Note on Community Participation in India

Shiny Saha

This paper discusses the situation of communityparticipation in India, the various programmes initiated to facilitate it andthe roles of various interest groups towards the same. The paper is dividedbroadly into three sections. The first section - National Context: Facilitating Community Participation via Decentralization - discusses the provisions undertaken by the government tofacilitate community participation. The second section - Local Expressions of Community Participation - discusses acts of community participation that have evolved independent of governmentinterventions. The third section - Participation: A critical analysis - critically analyzes participationand the role of civil society in the same.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Brief: Do slum dwellers have the required documentation?

S. Chandrasekhar & Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay

It is a cause for concern that overall at least 51.3 percent of households in notified slums and 52.3 percent of households in non-notified slums do not have a voter ID card. This implies that 19,83,830 households in notified slums and 10,16,407 households in non-notified slums are possibly disenfranchised.

Brief: The out of school population - motivation and analysis

Aditi Gandhi & Kanhu Charan Pradhan

This note reviews the reasons due to which the currently out of school population did not enrol or discontinued education for both genders in rural and urban India. The analysis seeks to determine the importance of financial constraints, parental preferences and gender specific influences in causing a student to not enrol or drop out of school. It is also observed that the urban-rural disparity in education completion rates progressively widens from Elementary to Secondary to higher levels of education. This trend is also explored.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Brief: Gains in education attainment

Shiny Saha, Kanhu Charan Pradhan & Aditi Gandhi

In this note we review the participation in elementary and higher education over time to identify the changing pattern in education enrolment and attainment, in both rural and urban India. We find that significant gains have been made in attainment of education over the past fifty years. However, the levels in attainment of secondary education are still perceptibly low. Further, while in urban areas the gender disparity has closed, in rural areas, it still persists. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review: The City

Shiny Saha

The City by Max Weber

The City is divided into five chapters however, broadly, the book can be divided into two sections. The first section comprising of the first chapter discusses the nature of the city. Here, Weber argues that mostly a city is understood in terms of its size and density, which are not sufficient to define a city. Therefore, he characterizes the city in terms of economy, political-administrative and fortress or garrison. Economically, for Weber, the city is a settlement in which the citizens live off versatile trades and commerce, rather than agriculture, and satisfy the substantial part of their daily needs through the market. Politico-administratively Weber defines the city in terms of its unique land relations in which land ownership is not accessory to house ownership. In terms of the last characteristic he argues that in the past the city, although not universally, was a fortress. He adds that this characteristic of the city has been lost in the present but the fusion of the fortress and the market was important for the composition of the city in the past: the consumption power and protection of the fortress attracted merchants and at the same time the lord was interested in attracting them to earn revenue through taxation or investment.

Municipal Bonds

Aditi Gandhi

The case and potential for developing municipal bond markets

The Report on Indian Urban Infrastructure and Services (HPEC) estimates Rs 39.2 lakh crores of urban infrastructure expenditure over the next 20 years (exclusive of the land acquisition expenditure). Further, the operations and maintenance expenditure is estimated at Rs 19.9 lakh crores.

The urban expenditure so far has been financed significantly out of the budgetary support. However, going forward, it is envisaged that increasingly the financing needs will be met by Urban local body (ULB) own revenues and the external financing needs through debt financing. There is a strong case for the development of municipal bond markets.

There is also significant potential for the development of bond markets in India. The savings rate in India is high, close to 33%. The household savings are roughly 25%, of which only about 50% are currently invested in financial assets. Moreover, over 10% of household savings are invested in gold or currency. An integrated set of actions is required to convert gold/currency based saving into financial saving.

The development of municipal bond markets in India has been slow due to constraints that operate on both the demand and supply side.