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Narendra Modi govt’s intent to curb black money laudable, but demonetisation has hit RBI image

Rajesh Shukla, Adite Banerjie and Megha Shree | The Financial Express | December 31, 2016
On November 8, Indian consumers were hit by a financial tsunami of sorts in the garb of demonetisation. The notable objective to clamp down on unaccounted cash, however, has given a liquidity jolt and initiated a massive currency crunch. Historically, demonetisation has been used only in extreme circumstances to control income, consumption and circulation of currency.
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How India lives, thinks, earns and spends

Pramit Bhattacharya | Mint | December 24, 2016
How much do India’s richest earn and what do they spend their money on? Does a college education impact earnings significantly? How are Indians living in metros different from those living in other parts of the country?
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What Indians think of cash transfers, PDS and Narendra Modi

Pramit Bhattacharya | Mint | December 23, 2016
The poor use India’s massive public distribution system (PDS) for foodgrains much more than the rich, and rate the quality of grains more favourably than richer income classes, a large-scale nationally representative survey conducted this year shows. The ‘Household Survey on India’s Citizen Environment & Consumer Economy’ (ICE 360° survey 2016) shows that 73% of households belonging to the bottom quintile avail grains from the PDS. The proportion of households belonging to the top percentile that avails PDS grains is less than half that figure at 35%.
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Middle India is still some way off from being middle class

Pramit Bhattacharya | Mint | December 22, 2016
If you think you are middle class, or belong to the middle of India’s income distribution, you are most likely to be wrong. But you are not alone. An overwhelming majority of the richest Indians consider themselves to be middle class and at least a third of those actually in the middle of India’s income distribution pyramid consider themselves to be poor.
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Are single-earner families different from others?

Pramit Bhattacharya | Mint | December 21, 2016
Four out of 10 households in India have more than one earning member, according to fresh data from a large-scale nationally representative survey conducted this year. The ‘Household Survey on India’s Citizen Environment & Consumer Economy’ (ICE 360° survey) conducted this year shows that 40% households in India have multiple earners while 60% have only one earning member.
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Indian households’ healthcare woes

Pramit Bhattacharya | Mint | December 20, 2016
The low penetration of health insurance and high health costs expose Indian households, especially those at the bottom of the pyramid, to severe financial shocks, according to fresh data from a large-scale nationally representative survey. The ‘Household Survey on India’s Citizen Environment & Consumer Economy’ (ICE 360° survey) conducted this year shows that 3% of households in the top quintile (richest 20%) faced a health shock that wiped out more than a fifth of their annual income. The comparative figure for the bottom quintile (poorest 20%) was more than double at 6.8%.
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India and its burden of social obligations

Pramit Bhattacharya | Mint | December 19, 2016
More than a quarter of Indian households are indebted, and a majority of them borrow from informal sources rather than banks or financial institutions, according to fresh data from a large-scale nationally representative survey. The ‘Household Survey on India’s Citizen Environment & Consumer Economy’ (ICE 360° survey) conducted this year shows that 27% Indian households have at least one outstanding loan. Fourteen percent households have informal loans, 12% have formal loans, and 2% have both formal and informal loans.
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The rise of Bharat

The Financial Express | December 17, 2016
At a time when most analysts seem pessimistic about a step-up in India’s growth prospects, especially in the context of the jobless growth we are seeing and the continuing fall in capital formation, a new study by consumer research firm PRICE offers a lot more hope. The study essentially draws upon two all-India income surveys by PRICE—the 2014 one had over a lakh households in its sampling framework and the 2016 one had three times that number.
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99% Indian households are covered by a bank account

Pramit Bhattacharya | Mint | December 15, 2016
Ever since the government announced the scrapping of high value currency notes on 8 November, bank accounts opened over the past couple of years under the Jan Dhan Yojana (JDY) have become the subject of a raging controversy. While the government spokespersons and their supporters have cited the JDY numbers to stress the universalization of banking in the country, critics have questioned the credibility of those numbers, pointing out that many of the accounts may be fictitious, and may not belong to the true and deserving beneficiaries of the scheme.
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Why demonetisation has been disruptive for India

Pramit Bhattacharya | Mint | December 14, 2016
As most of the high-value currency notes scrapped on 8 November make their way back to the system, belying earlier expectations, the official narrative around the move seems to have shifted from this being a “surgical strike” against black money to being a great leap towards a cashless economy. But fresh data on consumer behaviour from a large-scale nationally representative survey conducted this year shows that the transition to cashless will be a Herculean task in a country such as India, where most consumers love cash, and very few have access to the Internet.
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