Ideas to Action:

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CGD Policy Blogs

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How Do India’s Payments Banks Measure Against Key Principles for Financial Inclusion?

Keeping in mind the low levels of financial inclusion in the country, the Indian authorities have developed a broad strategy to improve access to financial services, as outlined in the report by the Committee on Comprehensive Financial Services for Small Business and Low Income Households, led by Nachiket Mor. Among the committee’s recommendations, payments banks are one innovative tool to further India’s goal of greater financial inclusion.

Popping the Rice Price Bubble

In India, the price of onions is an election issue, so ubiquitous are they in the nation’s cooking. Regularly, around the world, poor consumers face extra hardship as the prices of basic foodstuffs seesaw. Global food security is an area CGD has worked on for many years, and back in mid-2008, we tried to help figure out a solution to the skyrocketing price of a major staple.

When China Looks at MDBs, It Sees Infrastructure

When the Chinese government launched a new multilateral development bank (MDB) with “infrastructure” in the name—the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)—it hardly seemed far-fetched to assume a strong Chinese preference for infrastructure-related MDB financing. Everything we know about China’s bilateral development financing suggests the same. Yet, a closer look at the AIIB’s charter suggests openness to a broader range of sectors and activities, pointing to potential for investments in “other productive sectors.”

Trade Is Not "Us against Them"

There has been an unfortunate tendency in this year’s US presidential campaign to make trade policy an “us against them” story. It is true that the US government does not do enough to compensate those who lose from trade, or to help individuals and industries adjust to the changes that more open markets bring. But rhetoric pitting poor people in the United States against even poorer people elsewhere helps neither.

Obama’s Meeting with Jokowi Yields Disappointing Results for Forest and Peatland Protection

Last Friday, I wrote about how President Obama should hail Indonesian President Joko ("Jokowi") Widodo’s dramatic announcement last week to halt further development of peatlands and to initiate a major program to restore peatlands that have already been disturbed. While the Joint Statement out of the meeting does mention peatland, the US response to Jokowi’s potentially game-changing new course of action appears to fall short.

Cashing In on Coal

India is getting some serious cash from coal. According to official estimates, the government will get nearly $250 billion in revenues over a period of 30 years from the sale of over two hundred coal blocks to private bidders. Given India’s record of corruption and mismanagement of natural resources, it is difficult to be optimistic that it will be able to cash in on this windfall and use it for development. But there are a few silver linings that may prove us (happily) wrong.

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