Current Issue

Volume 50, Number 1, January 2020

Some Reflections on the Extent and Causes of Child Labour

Niti Mehta
Professor and Acting Director, Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research, Ahmedabad 

Smrutirekha Mohanty
Assistant Professor, Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research, Ahmedabad


The issue of child work has remained a contentious theme of research due to the large socio-economic costs associated with it. Despite significant efforts to eliminate child labour, it is deep-rooted in many parts of the world. About 9.6 per cent of children are engaged in some form of work or another the world over. India is home to about 10.1 million child workers. The paper reviews their status across the states and the industries, where the incidence of working children is high. An attempt is also made to review the underlying causes of this phenomenon, including the association of child work and underage marriage. The findings indicate that a diverse array of social and economic factors exacerbates child labour. In addition to poverty alleviation, a wholistic combination of interventions like school retention and compulsory primary and middle education for children, productive employment avenues, and education for parents is likely to lead to a more realistic policy response.

India’s Trade Deficit Problem in the RCEP: A Panel Data Approach

Sunil Kumar
Assistant Professor, Department of Finance and Business Economics, South Campus, University of Delhi, Delhi


ASEAN centric model, known as Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, is considered to be a bigger and better free trade agreement. The central idea of developing RCEP, in 2012, was to increase efficiency and reduce trade barriers among ASEAN, and its 6 FTA members. Had India joined RCEP, it could have faced various trade-related challenges, especially the increasing trade deficit with other RCEP members. Of the 15, India is facing a trade deficit with ten members, whereas China is the major contributor. The main focus of this paper is to find the critical determinants for India’s trade deficit with the RCEP region. The empirical result of this study shows that India has failed to reduce its trade deficit with other RCEP members. India’s tariff policy to curb imports has not been fruitful, while its trade balance in RCEP mainly gets affected by the external factors.

Keywords: RCEP, Balance of Trade, Panel Data, generalised least square, Trade Integration.

State Government Finances and Rural Development in India in the Post-Reform Era

Akanksha Pratik Sonker
Research Scholar at the Center for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi


The State Governments have an important role ascribed to them by the Constitution for ensuring growth and development. Since the states shoulder a disproportionately higher share of expenditure as opposed to the revenues that accrue to them and are hence dependent on the Centre for transfers and other forms of borrowing to undertake their mandated responsibilities. However, in the post-reform era, the States are faced with growing debt-burden, reduced avenues of generating revenues, restrictions on borrowings and declining transfers from the Centre. Even the fiscal stringency norms have restricted the fiscal space of the states and affected growth and development in rural areas. This paper examines State Government finances and the impact of the neo-liberal reforms on rural development expenditure to conclude that rural development has suffered due to the deteriorating financial condition of the State Governments and due to the fiscal stringency norms that have circumscribed the fiscal space and the capacity of the State Governments to strengthen the rural economy.

Key Words: Center-State Relations, Rural Development, State finances, Public expenditure, New Economic policy.

Working Conditions of Informal Workers: An Analysis of the Extent of Informality at Workplace

Sonu Madan
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Indira Gandhi University, Meerpur, Rewari.


A majority of the workforce is working as informal workers across the world. With a varying degree of informality, they are vulnerable to exploitation due to lack of legal and regulatory protections. Growing liberalisation and competition, along with limited work opportunities in the formal sector brings a large and growing proportion of workers in the informal labour market. This paper explores how working conditions for informal workers can be explained by framing an informality index. The position of workers on the informality scale highlights that the majority of informal workers have to face poor work conditions at their workplace. Using multinomial regression, significant worker-specific characteristics have been traced to increase their bargaining power for formal/less informal working conditions. An attempt is also made to explore some workplace specific characteristics wherein the extent of informality is higher. The study suggests some corrective measures, which not only work in-line to improve working conditions but also help in raising tax revenue of the government to finance minimum social security and improve working conditions of the informal workers.

Keywords: Informal labour market, informality index, informal workers, working conditions, worker-specific characteristics, workplace specific characteristics.

Impact of Social Sector Development on Inclusiveness of Growth: A Case Study of Punjab

Vikram Chadha
Professor (Retd.), Punjab School of Economics, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

Ishu Chadda
Assistant Professor, R.R.M.K. Arya Mahila Mahavidyalya, Pathankot.


The present study examines the impact of Social Sector Development on inclusive growth in Punjab. The results indicate that the households receiving the scholarship for their wards; households availing the maternal healthcare benefits provided by the government, households that got children vaccinated from the government healthcare centres, households who constructed their toilets, and the households served by sewage treatment were found to have a positive and significant impact on inclusivity of growth. On the contrary, the inclusiveness of growth exhibited a negative association among the households receiving benefits under any housing scheme, and the households covered under different welfare schemes for marginalised sections. The paper concludes that it calls for a more proactive strategy on the part of the government to promote employment, strongly monitor and evaluate policy outcomes, and elicit people’s participation in decision making in a democratic framework, to attain sustainable inclusive growth.

Keywords: Social Sector Development, Inclusive Growth, Employment Generation, Iterated Factor Analysis, Tobit Regression.

Economic Wisdom in India and the West during the Ancient Era and Thereafter

Arnab Majumdar
Assistant Professor and Head, Department of Economics, Women's Christian College, Calcutta University, Kolkata


The issue of the standard of scientific intellect that developed in ancient India has been a subject of intellectual debate, since long. There are diverse views regarding the fundamentality of scientific thoughts in ancient India, and their relevance in modern times. Such debates have regained their vigour in recent years. Though economics and finance are the crucial areas of human life, it is strange that there is not much of an interest among the intelligentsia about ascertaining the state of economic wisdom in ancient India, and analysing its quality and relevance in today’s world. Besides, there is a general perception among the occidental thinkers that intellectual exercises in ancient India were about abstract, otherworldly matters, and had nothing to do with practical aspects of life. It is in this background that the study tries to reinforce the fact that though there may be a lack of awareness and understanding both among Indians, as also in the west, about the development of economic wisdom in ancient India. Several hardcore practical aspects of life like money and finance were an integral part of intellectual exercises in ancient India. The paper argues that the level of economic wisdom in ancient India, and thereafter, reached far greater heights than the contemporary western intellect in the same sphere.

Keywords: Ancient Indian economic wisdom, Kautilya Arthashastra, Rig-Veda, Vedas, Puranas, Nitishastra.

Swadeshi Movement and Participation of Women in Bengal

Nazmul Hussain Laskar
Assistant Professor & Head, Department of Political Science, Dr. Gaur Mohan Roy College, Monteswar, Purba Bardhaman (West Bengal).


In the history of India's freedom struggle, the Swadeshi movement played a vital role. It not only enlightened the people but also played a substantial role in developing the spirit of nationalism and patriotism. The Swadeshi movement in Bengal is a familiar theme in Indian historiography. Historical scholarship has been focussed on different aspects of this multi-dimensional movement. As is well known, the Swadeshi movement emerged in response to Curzon’s decision to partition Bengal, which was officially declared in 1903. Bengali women responded to the call and came out in large numbers to participate in the movement against the British government. The character of their response can best be analysed in three sections; direct participation, indirect participation and participation through writings. The main purpose of this paper is to focus attention on the nature and extent of the participation of the women of Bengal in the Swadeshi movement and on the interaction between this movement and the women’s movement in Bengal.

Keywords: Swadeshi, Movement, Women, Bengal, Participation

Mobile Banking: Is it Revolutionalising Banking in India?

Abhijit Sinha
Associate Professor, Department of Commerce, Vidyasagar University, West Bengal.

Dipankar Jana
Research Scholar, Department of Commerce, Vidyasagar University, West Bengal.


Mobile banking is gaining importance as a means of financial inclusion, and also as a way to move towards a cashless economy. The present research looks at the growth trend in mobile banking, for the period 2012 to 2019, and also for two sub-periods viz. 2012 to 2015 and 2016 to 2019. The analysis shows a huge jump in the transactions through mobile banking in terms of both volume and usage. In terms of volume, the increase in the second sub-period is obviously much higher, compared to the first one. However, in respect of the value of transactions made, the growth rate in the latter period is much less compared to the first one. The average value of transactions also shows a fall during the second sub-period. For the growth rate in volume and value, there is no statistically significant difference during the two sub-periods. Moreover, the test for stability shows that there is a structural break during the period, and the change has taken place since 2016.

Keywords: Mobile Banking, Financial Inclusion, Growth, Structural growth

Book Review

Rajesh Lakum

Pathania, Gaurav J., The University as a Site of Resistance: Identity and Student Politics, UK: Oxford University Press, 2018, pp. xx+236 price Rs. 820/- (Hard cover)

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