ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Sukanya BoseSubscribe to Sukanya Bose

Financing the Right to Education

An assessment of the resource gaps for fulfilling the right to education across Indian states presents a disconcerting picture. The gap between normative requirement and actual expenditure is particularly large in the poorer states, requiring not only a higher overall fiscal push, but one that would address the unequal positions of the states. Since equalisation is the primary mandate of the Finance Commission, it should address the inequalities in provision of elementary education, which is a merit good plus a core constitutional guarantee. To meet the special needs of the 16 focus states with the largest additional requirement vis-à-vis their revenue base, it is important that the Fifteenth Finance Commission responds with specific purpose grants of an adequate magnitude for elementary education.

What Does the Right to Education Need to Achieve?

In the context of the Right to Education, it is essential that the government (i) lays down a clear financial road map based on a normative framework with clearly stated and transparent norms that apply equitably; (ii) recognises the unequal financial position of the states and the crucial role of the centre in forging long-run development goals; and (iii) approaches finance in relation to social policy.

Universalisation of School Education Using the Public-school System is Feasible

One of the challenges for universalisation of school education using the public-school system arises from the supposed lack of financial resources. Particularly, the high salary of teachers as per the Sixth Pay Commission has been used to point towards infeasibility of public institutions serving the goal of universalisation (Jain and Dholakia, 2009; 2010). This article demonstrates that with more realistic parameter values, the estimates would be revised downwards significantly. Further, in a federal set up, teacher salary is arrived at through a complex set of negotiations, such that the recommendation of the Central Pay Commission is not sacrosanct. In working towards a normative, a “middle path” of decent salary for all teachers is suggested, which would ensure both equity, efficiency and feasibility.

Financial Literacy in Rural Banking

Financial literacy in the present Indian policy context is seen as an instrument to raise demand for banking services. The location of the problem as one of deficient demand is untenable. The conception of financial literacy, as reflected in the Reserve Bank of India's Financial Literacy Guide, is packed with stereotypes of the poor as ignorant and in need of moral lessons on savings, consumption and credit. Financial literacy has to be positioned within a broader conceptual view of the financial system, so as to become a tool to raise critical consciousness and equip people to respond to the challenges posed by the financial sector. Further, financial literacy material must evolve from below, such that lives of the common people are organically a part of it. This paper also hints that the campaign mode for financial literacy might allow for greater public engagement and action. The effects of financial literacy, however, will not accrue if it is not accompanied by adequate outreach of banking services through credible public institutions.

Inflation: Sources, Challenges and Policy Options

Despite the range of monetarist, micro-behavioural and cost-push explanations for the recent episode of inflation that were presented at a seminar in New Delhi last November, there was general consensus that monetary tightening had failed to have its desired impact. Further, it was unclear whether India could afford the concomitant growth slowdown. Instead, a shift in policy focus to agricultural production and the distribution and pricing of strategic food and fuel commodities was seen as a more promising option.

Teaching Economics in Schools

The curricular changes based on the National Curriculum Framework (2005) have enfolded Economics education at the school level. This article reviews in detail the imperative for and the main elements of the change, and argues that the issues involved merit the attention of professional economists.

Japanese Economic Recovery and the Macroeconomic Policy Mix

This paper reviews the macroeconomic policy mix in Japan over the past 15 years as it grappled with slow economic growth and deflation in the economy. It argues that the repeated recessions and the enormous difficulties in economic recovery are not unrelated to the macroeconomic policies adopted by Japan. Countercyclical economic policies have largely been a let-down. Given the near liquidity trap situation in the economy and the doctrinaire methods of Japanese monetary authorities, not much could be expected from monetary policy. Expansionary fiscal policy could have provided the necessary demand push if only the fiscal stimulus had been large enough and the nature of public expenditure such as to induce a significantly high multiplier effect in the economy. This obviously was not the case. In the past few years, fiscal policy has been clearly contractionary despite the continuing demand deficit in the economy.

Back to Top