Books

       
 

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DEFEATING POVERTY - JAN DHAN AND BEYOND
It examines why so many years after Independence, India still has a large number of poor and points towards vote-bank politics as a key culprit in choosing poor policy options that could never deliver optimally. Poverty alleviation measures adopted by Narendra Modi during his tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat, were a greater success compared to other states. The book identifies the key success factors for financial inclusion – a credit and livelihood based approach as well as a gendered view of inclusion; sustainable development; skill development; financial literacy; push for MSMEs; employment and focus on hygiene and health. Thus, making the Modi model, called ModiNomics, as one of the proven approaches that can take financial inclusion to its logical conclusion. The model comes close to the author’s academic work, understanding of ModiNomics and years of research that has a great potential for its replication nationally. Given that the end-objective of financial inclusion is poverty alleviation, at Skoch Group, we have been unyielding in our advocacy of equitable growth with the three critical elements attached to it: financial, social and digital inclusion. The book proposes a model for bringing all these elements together and also suggests ways for the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana to be financially viable, selfsustaining and emerge as India’s main weapon for defeating poverty.

   
 

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The last decade of Gujarat and the rise of Narendra Modi first as the Chief Minister and then as a national leader being the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has catapulted the Gujarat model and Narendra Modi into the national and international limelight. In the interim, especially in the last few years, there has been much literature on Gujarat and Narendra Modi. However, much of it is presented from a personality or political perspective. In the run-up to the national elections around May 2014, public interest goes beyond politics and personality. There is interest on some of the pioneering work done in Gujarat around governance and Panchayati Raj. The nation wants to know how Narendra Modi and his team of bureaucrats have been able to make a difference. There is curiosity about the interplay between politics, economy and policy. Crucially, the world wants to know if the Gujarat model is scalable to the national level. However, today's literature on Gujarat and Modi fails to cover his economics and governance vision. In the hurly-burly of politics, the innovations, the unique models and policies that Gujarat has seen over the last decade seem to be getting overlooked. This book presents the vision behind Modi’s thought process, and the action on the ground in terms of actual field reports and case studies. The book seeks to highlight the economic and development strategies adopted by Modi. The learnings from these would stand other states in good stead. Under Modi, Gujarat stands out for its long-term vision and impeccable execution. Governance is clearly not just about lofty speeches and promises but actual delivery; as is economics. One of the key ideas that the book brings out is that Modi is a proponent of both Inclusive Economics as well as Inclusive Governance. This in a sense is the essence of ModiNomics, a new phenomenon, which is discussed in the book.

 

 
 

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Nandan Nilekani earned hid place as an iconic entrepreneur in India in the 1980s, having co-founded Infosys Limited in 1981. In the post-economic liberalisation era, he cemented his reputation as a pioneer in the corporate and information technology world, just as he helped launch Infosys into the big league of world's IT-enabled services companies. He served as the company's Chief Executive Officer from 2001 to 2007. At the fag end of his career in Infosys, Niilakani wrote a best-selling book in 2009, Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation. The book is widely acclaimed for heralding a new, idea-based approach to meet the present and future challenges facing India. It spelt out the theoretical framework for the provision of a unique identity for all its citizens as an important step towards putting, what Nilekani called, "human capital front and centre as the main driver of productivity and growth". His long experience in the corporate world and his passion for the citizen empowerment - as proved in the successful Bangalore Agenda Task Force experiment started in 1999 as well as enunciated in his 2009 book - made him the natural choice to be the first chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) that was being set up by the Union government to provide residents of India with a unique identity and a digital platform - known as the Aadhaar. Nilekani left Infosys to head the UIDAI in July 2009.

 

 
 

Policymaking for Indian Planning

Policy-Making for Indian Planning

Essays on Contemporary Issues in Honour of
Montek S. Ahluwalia
Sameer Kochhar(Ed.)

A key figure in India's economic reforms from the early 1980s onwards,  ..Montek Singh Ahluwalia's fingerprints can be found in policies from economics to education reform, and he has been a driving force in the liberalisation programme of the past 20 years or more. The Oxford-educated economist spent 11 years with the World Bank in Washington before returning to India in 1979 to work as an economic adviser to the government. His commitment to poverty alleviation and inclusive growth can be found in his early writings and as Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, he has managed to translate this into the country’s Plan process. He is also the harbinger of participatory planning wherein for the first time Planning Commission started inviting suggestions and feedback for the 12th Five Year Plan. This festschrift comprises a range of essays covering different drivers of economic growth and development, providing not only an insight into policymaking and its impact, but also directions for India if it is to become a major player in the global economy. This book is a must-read for students of development economics and political economy and is highly recommended for graduate students, academics and professionals interested in economic issues of developing countries.

 

 
 

Growth & Finance

Growth & Finance
essays in honour of c. rangarajan
Sameer Kochhar (Ed.)

In this timely book—a festschrift for Dr. C. Rangarajan—top experts, policymakers and economists offer their assessments of India’s performance in the area of economic and financial reforms and analyse the successes and continued challenges. It provides an insight into critical macroeconomic and macro-finance issues of today. The book covers a broad set of topics, including fiscal, monetary and external sector policies, drivers of banking and financial growth, infrastructure and financial inclusion.

A strategy of gradual economic liberalisation combined with risk-averse prudential regulation in the banking and financial sector helped limit India’s exposure to the recent financial crises and the subsequent global economic slowdown. The improved economic performance in recent years encouraged the country to become more globally and regionally integrated. This process is unlikely to be reversed by the current global economic slowdown, given the economic and strategic benefits India has derived so far.

The authors in this festschrift share a critical, but overall positive, view of the country’s future and outline several areas and recommendations for bettering the lives of citizens. Empirically rich and topically diverse, the book is broad in scope and full of deep analytic insights and will serve as a useful reference and planning tool for administrators, planners, policymakers and students of development economics, monetary economics and finance.

 

 
 

India on the Growth Turnpike

India on the Growth Turnpike
Essays in honour of Vijay L. Kelkar
Sameer Kochhar(ED.)

Vijay Laxman Kelkar has been one of the most creative, contemplative and versatile public policy makers of India. Whether it has been articulating a vision for the role of markets and government, or stressing for the importance of a sound public sector balance sheet, or arguing for tax reform and fiscal federalism, or making simple and sound policies through consensus, his contributions are non-parallel. The essays in this festschrift are by some of the leading economists, bankers and policy planners of India. While saluting his visionary role in the government, they also provide an insight into some current and critical macroeconomic and finance issues. The writings cover a broad set of topics, among them fiscal, monetary and external sector policies, infrastructure, financial inclusion and education.

This volume commemorates the conferring of the Skoch Challenger Lifetime Achievement Award 2010 on Dr. Kelkar for his unique contributions to the Indian economy in general and his key role in financial sector reforms process in particular. This timely book will appeal to policy makers, political scientists, economists and other social scientists conducting research and teaching courses in political economy, fiscal and monetary policy, development studies, public policy and governance.

 

 
 

Building from the Bottom

Building from the Bottom
Infrastructure and Poverty Alleviation
Sameer Kochhar • M. Ramachandran (Eds.)

Putting the right infrastructure is critical to India’s plans for inclusive growth. Increasingly, responsibilities for infrastructure development will be decentralised to the local governments, whether rural or urban. There is now an increasingly urgent need for large-scale environmental improvement programmes and for strengthening governance and the capacity of local institutions to plan, implement, and finance infrastructure provision and service delivery.

Building from the Bottom: Infrastructure and Poverty Alleviation provides critical insights into infrastructure governance from different angles—policy making, urban and rural aspects, technology, connectivity, capacity building and participation. Some of the most distinguished scholars and practitioners have contributed to this volume that encapsulates the key issues in mainstreaming poverty alleviation strategies in infrastructure programmes. Some important questions it seeks to answer are: How can we ensure infrastructure access and affordability for the poor? What are the implications for development planning and decision-making processes? What are the financing options? The book also contains a number of best practice case studies to reflect community participation, innovation and commitment, all vital ingredients to the process of building from the bottom.

The book will serve as a useful reference and planning tool for administrators, planners, policymakers and researchers of development economics.

 

 
 

Speeding Financial Inclusion

Speeding Financial Inclusion

Sameer Kochhar

Scaling-up access to finance for India’s rural poor presents a formidable developmental challenge in a country as vast and varied as India. It was in this context that Skoch Development Foundation undertook the first-ever nationwide multi-stakeholder study entitled "National Study on Speeding Financial Inclusion". This study sought to collate primary research based on our grassroots experiences from several project sites and field visits; and, views from all stakeholders so as to arrive at key interventions and intermediations to speed up the process of financial inclusion, and thereby poverty alleviation. Apart from providing key recommendations in the form of a roadmap to speed up the process of financial inclusion, the study also sought to determine the viability and cost-effectiveness of the Business Correspondent (BC) model and has identified several options to make the model viable.
 

 
 

Urban Renewal

Urban Renewal

policy and response
by M. Ramachandran • edited by Sameer Kochhar
The Indian Government took the historic step of launching the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in December 2005 with a view to give fillip to urban infrastructure development in 65 major cities by mobilising Rs.50,000 crore from the Central budget and by getting a matching Rs.50,000 crore from the State governments and the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). The response to JNNURM has been very good. As a consequence, projects costing Rs.95,385 crore have already been sanctioned and are under various stages of implementation. This book reveals the nuances and thinking behind the JNNURM, its implementation and status on the ground and suggests the way forward. The current urban reform process undoubtedly offers tremendous opportunities to rethink economic and development priorities. This book is timely given the re-affirmed commitment of the government to urban development. It is an essential read for all interested in policy, planning, urban develop-ment and renewal issues.
 

 
 

Infrastructure & Governance

Infrastructure & Governance

Editors:
Sameer Kochhar, Deepak B Phatak, H Krishnamurthy,
Gursharan Dhanjal

This compilation has emerged from a recent National Consultation on Infrastructure and Governance called India @ Work Summit, organised by Skoch Consultancy Services, providing critical insights into the subject of infrastructure and governance, all pointing to a common goal of inclusive growth.

The book opens with a chapter entitled: Participatory Democracy, Infrastructure and Empowerment. Offering the concerned reader the collective wisdom of eminent policy makers and distinguished experts, the content in this volume is organised under seven sections, namely:

 

 
 

Financial Inclusion

Financial Inclusion

Sameer Kochhar, R. Chandrashekhar, K.C. Chakrabarty, Deepak B. Phatak (EDS.)

This compilation is the result of action research and field visits across India spread over last 10-years that have been punctuated with seminars and workshops providing multi-stakeholder consultations. These were conducted by Skoch Consultancy Services with recently added support from Skoch Development Foundation. The compilation focuses on various facets of financial inclusion ranging from opening up of no-frills accounts to micro-credit to financial literacy, while emphasising the role of process changes, technology enablement, capacity building and outreach mechanism. It looks at examples of local bodies, post offices and tele-centres having been used effectively. It also proposes a model of inclusive development, emphasising that inclusive economics leads to inclusive governance and vice-versa. The book provides a holistic view based on practitioners’ perspective and grassroots learning. A must read for all involved in inclusive development of India.