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Rural development: Shrinking Bharat needs a new approach

Rajesh Shukla | The Financial Express | September 18, 2015
Urban population has seen a dramatic increase during the decadal 2001-11 period. According to Census 2011, urban population grew by about 32%, almost two-and-a-half times the rise of rural population (13%). With the increasing emphasis on building urban infrastructure, the neglect of Bharat is more than evident. Last week’s article (Revitalising rural economy, FE, September 11— captured some of the highlights of the status of village level community infrastructure vis-a-vis road and public transport, public goods and services, and healthcare and education. Here’s a quick recap...
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Revitalising rural economy

Rajesh Shukla | The Financial Express | September 11, 2015
Mahatma Gandhi famously said that India lives in its villages. The fact that urban population constituted merely 11% of the total Indian population in the early decades of the 20th century gave power to his grassroots Swadeshi movement. One that envisioned an India which did not merely replace imperialist rule with self-rule, but also energised the national economy and culture by revitalising its villages...
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Pulses can restore India’s nutrition needs

Rajesh Shukla | The Financial Express | September 04, 2015
India’s score on food security is nothing short of scandalous. Despite growing income and political stability—factors which are primary drivers of universal food availability—food security continues to be a major concern. The latest Global Food Security Index has ranked India at 66th position, much below China, which is at 38th position...
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Healthcare spend pushing households below poverty line

Rajesh Shukla | The Financial Express | August 28, 2015
There has been a rise in the number of world-class hospitals and highly-qualified medical personnel in India, and the nation’s emergence as a preferred destination for medical tourism has been the cause of much celebration and accolade. However, the not-so-bright side of the picture is that for millions of Indians, healthcare services continue to be out of reach in terms of both access and affordability...
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Caste is an irrelevant marker of the state of well-being

Rajesh Shukla | The Financial Express | August 21, 2015
Caste continues to play a dominating role in the politics of the nation. Against the backdrop of two decades of economic growth and affirmative action programmes taken by successive governments, how have different caste-based communities been impacted? Is there reason to believe that ‘well-being’ markers are more prominent among the upper castes than the communities who belong to the lowest rungs of the caste hierarchy?
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Rural India, a reality check

Rajesh Shukla | The Financial Express | August 14, 2015
There is a quiet change sweeping through the Indian countryside, one that has virtually crept up on us during the past decade. Yet few people realise the implications and consequences of the enormous changes taking place. Let’s take a closer look at some of these realities and what these signify for the well-being of not just the 800 million people living in its 6 lakh villages but the entire nation...
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Rural-urban continuum and the lessons for India

Rajesh Shukla | The Financial Express | August 12, 2015
Economic development, the world over, has followed a similar path—a shift from an agrarian-based rural society to an industrialised, urban-centric one. Cities provide an environment for a multitude of employment and business opportunities that lead to economies of scale and thereby enhance productivity and economic growth...
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Well-being: The path towards inclusive growth

Rajesh Shukla | The Financial Express | August 11, 2015
India is a country of contradictions. Is it the land of a million mutinies as VS Naipaul had famously said? Or is it the country where a billion aspirations bloom? Where shiny new malls jostle for space with large stinky slums. Where a farmer from Bulandshahr district walks into a Delhi showroom, pockets bulging with cash, and drives out with a spanking new BMW. Where farmers of Vidarbha continue to drink a lethal concoction of pesticides to seek escape from never-ending cycle of debt. Where downtrodden Chhattisgarh tribals fight pitched battles with the police...
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The real acche din

Rama Bijapurkar and Rajesh Shukla | The Economic Times | August 09, 2015
Discussing gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates has become a national pastime with Indians in the world of business and policymaking alike, and the intelligentsia and the media. We dissect it with as much passionate intensity as the judges in MasterChef do their contestants' entrees: the texture, the flavour, the balance, the overall look-feel of it...
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Rural ICE

Bibek Debroy | Business Standard | July 2, 2015
"Still it is an error to argue in front of your data. You can find yourself insensibly twisting them round to suit your theories." That's Sherlock Holmes/ Arthur Conan Doyle in The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge. Census 2011 tells us there are 641,000 villages in India (not all are necessarily inhabited). The population-wise distribution of villages isn't available from Census 2011 yet. But we have numbers from Census 2001...
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