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Milking ICE

Bibek Debroy | Business Standard | June 24, 2015
It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." That's Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle if you prefer) in "A Scandal in Bohemia". As most people know, the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) collects data on consumption expenditure. However, for many policy questions, one would like to have data on distributions of income. Since income recall is perceived to be unreliable (deliberately or inadvertently), NSS doesn't collect it...
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Sitting on a gold mine

Rajesh Shukla | The Financial Express | May 26, 2015
Gold has, for centuries, occupied one of the most significant positions in the asset repository of most households in India, be they poor or rich, but it has curiously been devoid of a similar significance in the nation’s economy. Gold has traditionally performed multiple roles in Indian society—as an indicator of prosperity, endorsement of beauty, source of financial security, and a matchless medium of exchange and ritualistic value on festive and conjugal occasions...
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Marketers must revise their rural marketing formula based on hard facts, say consultants

Rama Bijapurkar and Rajesh Shukla | The Economic Times | March 18, 2015
Some marketers say that in their experience the rural-urban divide is blurring, and the whole idea of rural marketing as we knew it (haats, wall paintings, mobile vans, paisa packs, street corner demos on benefits and methods of usage, etc) are now obsolete; that media, physical distribution, exposure to the world, income levels, access to ecommerce have drastically improved, so let's officially end the era of specialists in rural markets...
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Gold monetisation: Make your metal work for you and the economy

Rama Bijapurkar and Rajesh Shukla | New Delhi | March 16, 2015
Explaining Indians’ love of gold to foreigners is hard. We are the world’s biggest gold consumer, pipping China to the post, and consuming 842 tonnes of gold in 2014, 75 per cent of which was in the form of jewellery. It is very hard to explain to puzzled foreigners the psychological and emotional feelings of well being and security that comes from owning or wearing gold...
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As opposition hardens, Narendra Modi stands firm on land acquisition Bill

fe Bureau | The Financial Express | February 25, 2015
While defending the amendments to the Land Acquisition Act, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, promulgated by an ordinance in December last year, the Modi government on Tuesday nevertheless agreed to hold an all-party discussion though it ruled out suspending the ordinance until consultations were complete. Claiming the legislation will benefit farmers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted at the BJP parliamentary meet that there was no going back on the changes...
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The consumer is ready; are companies?

Rama Bijapurkar and Rajesh Shukla | Mint | February 25, 2015
The Indian Consumer is feeling very good right now. Across the rich and poor, and those who live in both urban and rural India, there is a strong belief that the good times are around the corner (echoing the Ache din aane wale hein slogan on which the Bhartiya Janata Party Rode to power last year)....
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Bridging the income gap

Rama Bijapurkar and Rajesh Shukla | Business Today | January 04, 2015
The discussion inside India on inequality has become very complex and fragmented. Lost in the maths and the economic theory, the ideology and the international comparisons is the "people view". It's the tower of Babel and the championship of silo-ed thinking out there...
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New Delhi Courts 'Neo Middle Class' With Incentives

Niharika Mandhana | The Wall Street Journal | Sept. 5, 2014 8:04 p.m. ET
As India's new government formulates economic policy, it is focused on a group of citizens that helped propel it to power. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dubbed them the "neo middle class."...
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