Indian Polity and Economy : A Mirror to Difficult Times (e-Book)



Pranab Bardhan has been arguing for a long time that a Universal Basic Income policy can be effective in a country like India to relieve economic insecurity to a large extent. Bardhan has also constructed a thorough critique of the political direction India has been taking over the last few years leading to considerable social stress. For him, the health of a country’s political economy depends on its people’s capacity to exercise their democratic rights as well as their capacity to earn and spend. Thus, empowerment of the people is linked organically with income for the people.

Bardhan’s argument has emerged stronger in the wake of the COVID-19 onslaught. Many people, especially in the vast informal sector and in the salaried sector too, have suffered loss of income during the long spells of lockdown. Ensuring a basic income for them is crucial for social insurance as well as the rejuvenation of the economy as a whole.

Indian Polity and Economy: A Mirror to Difficult Times, brings together some of Bardhan’s articles written over the past five years on Universal Basic Income, the current political situation, and political-economy and policy, culminating in the recent pandemic period.

Three interviews which he has given to media persons on these issues are also included. These will help understand Bardhan’s standpoint more clearly. In one of the articles, he engages in a discourse with a prominent friend of his, Thomas Piketty, on how applicable the latter’s arguments against the basic income are to India. Articles comparing the Indian situation with other countries, particularly Indonesia and China, put the picture in perspective.

Pranab Bardhan is Professor of Graduate School at the Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley. Educated at Presidency College, Kolkata and Cambridge University, England, Bardhan taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Indian Statistical Institute and Delhi School of Economics, before joining Berkeley. He has been a visiting professor/fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, St Catherine’s College, Oxford, and London School of Economics. With a social thinker’s vision and economist’s acumen, Bardhan’s interest centres around issues of global development, inequality and poverty.

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