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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.
Together with a lockdown and an information campaign, India’s early response to the Covid-19 pandemic included the launch of PMGKY, a major social protection package. This built on previous digital investments including in direct benefit transfer to financial accounts as well as on several established programs. The paper reports on the implementation of PMGKY, based on a household survey conducted 4-6 weeks after the lockdown and launch of the program. PMGKY successfully delivered benefits to millions of households, including food rations. At the same time, in spite of the information campaign, people did not always realize that payments had been delivered into their accounts while some also faced logistical difficulties in reaching cash-out points because of the severe disruption related to the pandemic and the lockdown.
India lacks an authoritative estimate of the death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic. We report excess mortality estimates from three different data sources from the pandemic’s start through June 2021. Estimating COVID-deaths with statistical confidence may prove elusive. But all estimates suggest that the death toll from the pandemic is likely to be an order of magnitude greater than the official count of 400,000; they also suggest that the first wave was more lethal than is believed.
When opportunities for corrupt earnings rise, is there more corruption? This fundamental question is the subject of new, frontier-pushing research by two young stars of development economics: CGD alumnus Sandip Sukhtankar and his co-author Paul Niehaus.
India’s tax revenue distribution reform creates the world’s first ecological fiscal transfers (EFTs) for forest cover, and a potential model for other countries. In this paper we discuss the origin of India’s EFTs and their potential effects. In a simple preliminary analysis, we do not yet observe that the EFTs have increased forest cover across states, consistent with our hypothesis that one to two years of operation is too soon for the reform to have had an effect. This means there remains substantial scope for state governments to protect and restore forests as an investment in future state revenues.
This controversial book argues that irresistible demographic forces for greater international labor mobility are being checked by immovable anti-immigration ideas of rich-country citizens. Pritchett proposes breaking the gridlock through policies that support development while also being politically acceptable in rich countries. These include greater use of temporary worker permits, permit rationing, reliance on bilateral rather than multilateral agreements, and protection of migrants' fundamental human rights.