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Development Diary – Will there be jobs for Bihar’s growing population?

Michael Neri Development Diary Will there be jobs for Bihar’s growing population? By Michael Neri In 2001, Bihar’s population was a bulging 82 million. By 2011, it had jumped toa whopping 103 million people, an addition of a massive 21 million – equal to the entire population of Haryana state in 2001. But that’s not the worst of it. If Bihar continues to grow at its current rate of 2.5 % per annum, its population will double in 30 years, to a staggering 206 million people in 2041, and probably peak at around 218 million by 2050. If it was a separate country, Bihar would rank just after... 

Development Days – Why the poor in India are still hungry

Michael Neri Development Days Why the poor in India are still hungry By Michael Neri   One disadvantage of having world class economists in government is that their rationalizations and justifications for policy failures can be hard to argue with and negate –such is the sophistication and sophistry at their command.  That has certainly been the case in India, where official claims that poverty has been reduced sharply in recent times, have been dressed up in credible data and impeccable analysis. But every now and then, an inconvenient truth jumps out and tears into the smoke screen of... 

Development Days – Reframing the immigration debate

Michael Neri Development Days Reframing the immigration debate By Michael Neri   Cozumel is a small and dreary island just off the coast near the popular tourist destination of Cancun in Mexico, but you’d probably never go there if you weren’t forced to. It has little to attract the visitor that Cancun can’t provide in spades. But it was in Cozumel – where my cruise itinerary forced me to disembark – that I ran into Ketan Ramnani, the 40 year old manager of a ritzy jewelry store. Ketan left his home town of Jaipur 5 years ago to take up a job in a country whose language he did... 

Development Days – The economics of inequality and the politics of equality

Michael Neri Development Days The economics of inequality and the politics of equality Michael Neri   “Though inequality measures for India as a whole show only a modest worsening over the 1990-2010 time period, the wealth of the richest 40 individuals exploded to a startling 31 % of GDP in 2010, representing the most extreme inequality anywhere in the world”.   This has been said, but it bears repeating. What took the Occupy Wall Street movement so long to come out of hiding and be heard? After all, bankers and hedge fund managers have paid themselves gargantuan salaries and bonuses... 

Development Days-The social enterprise solution to poverty in Bihar

Michael Neri Development Days The social enterprise solution to poverty in Bihar By Michael Neri  Ever since Bill Drayton coined the term ‘social entrepreneur’and incorporated the Ashoka Foundation to support this new breed of business innovators in 1980, and Muhammad Yunus launched the microfinance revolution in 1988, hundreds of social enterprises have sprung up in every corner of the globe. Three decades into this revolution, there is broad consensus that, along with governments and NGOs, social enterprises must be an essential part of the solution to the problems of global poverty. Yet,... 

Development Days-Bihar’s growth strategy: a failure of imagination

  Michael Neri Development Days Bihar’s growth strategy: a failure of imagination By Michael Neri  Where will Bihar be in 20 years? Will it be like Punjab is today, with its dominant agriculture sector supported by a thriving small scale manufacturing industry in urban pockets, or will it be like Gujarat or Maharashtra, with their robust industrial economies and their sophisticated services sectors dovetailed into the global economy? The World Bank, in a 2005 report (http://tinyurl.com/3befoh7), created a growth strategy for the state that leverages its rich land and water endowment to... 

Development Days – Globalization’s microfinance cat’s paw

Michael Neri Development Days Globalization’s microfinance cat’s paw   By Michael Neri Free market ideologues were thrilled to see the global microfinance industry grow from small beginnings in Bangladesh to a goliath with a loan portfolio of over $ 65 billion, disbursed by over 3000 sizeable institutions (and thousands of smaller ones) to an estimated 95 million borrowers in over 40 countries, as of 2010. After all, they argued, Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) used market mechanisms to address poverty, as opposed to aid and welfare giveaways which, they said, created dependency and... 

Development Days-An Indian answer to the discontents of globalization

Michael Neri Development Days An Indian answer to the discontents of globalization By Michael Neri September 9, 2011. Globalization is the mantra of mainstream development economists, but it can and often does erode democratic rights and even livelihoods. This much we now accept without too much debate and contradiction, thanks to the persuasive empirical and theoretical studies of Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, and the more polemical works of Canadian author and anti-globalization activist Naomi Klein. Logically, similar effects should have been very visible in India, which has now become substantially... 

Development Days – Can Anna Hazare compete with the smartphone?

Michael Neri Development Days Can Anna Hazare compete with the smartphone? By Michael Neri August 25, 2011. The story of the Arab spring and the role that technology played in facilitating it is now widely known. Facebook, twitter, smartphones, and the internet were lead actors in that story, and helped bring down corrupt despots who had oppressed and robbed an entire generation of its prosperity and freedom. Can they play a similar role in India, where, ironically, corruptionhas infected the deployment of the very technology that unleashed free spirits elsewhere, as for instance in the so called... 

Development Days- Free Nalanda from the prison of its past

Michael Neri Development Days Free Nalanda from the prison of its past By Michael Neri Whether the anticipated (or should we be saying promised?) $ 1 billion for the proposed Nalanda International University will ever get raised and invested is more than a little uncertain, but what if it does? Will that have a significant impact on Bihar’s economy and on development in the region, as distinct from what it will do for encouraging cultural integration in Asia, and for India’s reputation for scholarship? Let’s do some back of envelope calculations in an attempt to answer this question. A... 
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