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Monday, May 17, 2021

Bibek Debroy

Bibek Debroy

The writer is chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the PM. Views are personal.

Black marketing during the pandemic comes from longstanding, systemic flaws
Thu, May 13, 2021

Action not taken in the best of times now strikes back at us in the worst of times

Chenab bridge: A future icon of Indian Railways heritage
Thu, Apr 15, 2021

Upon completion, it will be the world’s highest railway bridge

The case of the disappearing manhole cover
Thu, Mar 11, 2021

Indian manhole covers have a global market. But the Howrah-based foundries making them are in decline.

National Rail Plan maps existing railway network on a GIS platform, identifies gaps
Thu, Feb 11, 2021

These are places where one needs new tracks and investments. Historically, such decisions were often driven by political considerations and were ad hoc. NRP bases those decisions on objective criteria.

Need to control prices of certain commodities is historically contingent
Fri, Jan 22, 2021

Bibek Debroy writes: Before liberalisation, there were around 80 Union government-level orders and around 150 state government-level orders decreeing various items as “essential”.

There are challenges in Covid vaccination drive, but these are not intractable
Thu, Jan 14, 2021

The problems in carrying out vaccination on this massive scale are apparent, but not intractable. States should be prepared for adverse events following immunisation (AEFI).

It may be necessary to formalise apiculture to disincentivise adulteration in honey
Thu, Dec 10, 2020

The only way we will ensure honey is genuine is through traceability and technology and digitisation makes this task easier.

Legal language in India is filled with jargon
Thu, Nov 12, 2020

Legal language in India is sometimes beyond understanding, often boring. George Orwell may have the solution.

The insider’s view
Sat, Nov 07, 2020

NK Singh’s anecdotal account of his eventful career in policymaking is laced with self-deprecating humour and an insight into India’s economic history.

Indian agriculture has changed since Green Revolution. Reform is about giving farmers choice
Mon, Sep 28, 2020

With realistic input costs, that form of agriculture is no longer viable in those Green Revolution tracts. Farmers, and governments, in Bihar and Kerala, don’t want APMCs, nor do UP, MP, Gujarat and Karnataka.

The NEP reboot: Mother tongue versus English isn’t the real issue
Thu, Sep 10, 2020

Bibek Debroy writes: The home language/mother tongue versus English isn’t the real issue. The real issue is the amnesia about our history, roots, culture, legacy and language and the production of interpreters and clerks. That is what NEP seeks to reboot.

Who needs an MPhil anyway? The degree was meant to act as a filter for PhD candidates. It has become an exit option
Fri, Aug 14, 2020

Across a wide range of disciplines, PhD enrolments are invariably more than MPhil, yet another pointer that the MPhil degree was anything but a filter. It was an exit option.

India’s trade agreement with China was one-sided to begin with
Thu, Jul 09, 2020

If you scrutinise the schedules, you will find non-manufacturing items in China’s miscellaneous list, but many manufactured items in India’s miscellaneous list (light engineering, plastic manufactures, cement, agricultural implements, paper). By any yardstick, the 1954 agreement was one-sided.

Imagine COVID-19 information being disseminated through the beating of drums rather than Aarogya Setu
Fri, Jun 05, 2020

In 2020, farmers have beaten drums and utensils, used DJ-s and burst firecrackers to ward off locusts — in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. But that’s not the same as disseminating information about locust invasions through the beating of drums.

The public policy dilemma: There is indeed tension between lives and livelihoods
Sat, Apr 25, 2020

No country has done universal testing for a proper random sample either. The ICMR has told us more than 75 per cent of Indian patients will be asymptomatic. Who do we test? Those who show symptoms, those who have been in contact with confirmed patients and those who suffer from severe respiratory diseases. Most countries do something similar.

Predators and the prey: Will our relationship with insects change?
Thu, Mar 12, 2020

We may need to overturn normalised spectres that govern our relationship with insects. With global population headed towards nine billion, humans will perforce seek out other sources of food. Food habits aren’t constant over time.

Several measures to simplify tax structure, but no magic wands
Sun, Feb 02, 2020

Let’s not forget that one of the successes of the government, since 2014, has been containment of inflation, dramatically stated in Economic Survey using thaalis.

Silos in railway services have to be broken, though it’s a complicated task
Thu, Jan 16, 2020

Unification has been recommended by several committees. The Prakash Tandon Committee recommended a single service. The Gupta-Narain Committee (1994), set up to examine feasibility of implementing this single service idea, questioned whether this could be done.

Indian Railways needs restructuring and modernisation, efforts since 2014 are bearing fruit
Thu, Jan 02, 2020

Departmentalism is worse than it was in the 1950s. And much worse than it was in 1905, when the Railway Board was formed. However, the Railway Board went through a major change in 1951. It was time for another change in 2019 and HR reform feeds into that.

There is nothing ‘fast’ about fast track courts
Thu, Nov 14, 2019

The performance of fast-track courts was mixed. The new special courts should take that record into account.

The Boilers Act needs to be done away with
Thu, Oct 10, 2019

It is this perception that has changed. That’s the reason we no longer need amendments to the Boilers Act. We no longer need that specific legislation and the specific entry in Seventh Schedule. Boilers are only an example. The entire Seventh Schedule needs a relook.

Constitution’s Seventh Schedule, which differentiates between spending by the Centre and states, needs a re-look
Thu, Sep 12, 2019

Why should then there be CSSs for items in the State List (such as health)? If the Union government should contribute for health because it is nationally important, why should states not contribute for defence?

The river must flow
Thu, Aug 15, 2019

Ascribing legal rights to rivers helps counter pollution, may revive water bodies.

On writing: The fountain-pen has survived time, trade and technology
Thu, Jul 18, 2019

Many people will probably give up writing by hand and either type, or dictate to their favourite form of technology. However, for those limited few who still prefer to write by hand, I am happy the fountain-pen still survives. I don’t mean the high-end pens alone, there are several brands that are relatively cheap.

The middle income illusion
Tue, Jun 11, 2019

There is no economic evidence to support the notion of middle-income trap.