Institute for Business in the Global Context

Where the World of Business Meets the World

Tag: India (page 1 of 3)

The Aadhaar Opportunity

In an age rife with digital innovation, India has made two meaningful contributions: The number “zero” and Aadhaar. Okay, I cheated a little bit with the first one, given its pre-digital age origins, but let’s not allow petty details to get in the way. Aadhaar is a monumental IT project and a monumental vision for inclusion. Aadhaar, as a concept, lays the very foundation of trust in the digital age. And it does so regardless of caste, Facebook status or creed, across a billion people. Unfortunately, this also means that Aadhaar is a treasure trove of personal data on a billion people; therein lurks a parallel potential for widespread mischief. A journalist writing for The Tribune suggests that, indeed, such mischief can be pulled off rather easily.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

Memo to the World Bank: India should be rated even higher in the ease of doing business rankings the next time

Pop the champagne and pass the mithai — for it is, indeed, the epoch of belief, the season of light in the world’s largest democracy. After languishing in the World Bank’s league tables, India is, finally, getting its due: It has been admitted to the top 100 nation club for Ease of Doing Business. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one giant step closer to fulfilling every Indian’s dream.

It is now time to plot the next big move — to break into the top 80 nations club. With all the hard work already behind us, this next step should be a piece of cake. Here is how.

Read the full piece in The Indian Express

Ig-Nobel Mistakes

Wiping out 86 per cent of a country’s currency is rarely a “good start” on anything. In a country where, according to recent analyses of income-tax probes, the cash component of undeclared wealth is estimated to be only about six per cent, leaving an economy virtually cashless is certainly not a good place to end up. If Thaler had studied the data on the Indian economy he might have realised that the policy instrument he had supported was aimed at the wrong target: The currency of corruption is mostly in non-cash assets.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

Beware the Trump Effect

This is a tale of two septuagenarians; I hope they never meet. One is the country of India as an independent democratic nation. The other is the American president, a reminder that independent democracy provides no guarantee for its product. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Washington DC, he extended an invitation to the Trump parivaar to visit India. Ivanka Trump accepted right away and recently the details of her visit have been re-confirmed by the official medium of this White House — over a tweet. While Ivanka’s appearance would be harmless enough, it would be best if Daddy chooses to stay away.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti at Brookings

When can we stop using cash?
by Kai Ryssdal & Maria Hollenhorst

Here’s a question: How much cash is in your wallet right now? If you answered not a whole lot, that’s not very surprising. It’s getting ever easier to operate in this economy without carrying cash. You tip your Lyft driver on your phone, you pay your dinner bill with a credit card and you Venmo your friends to split the check. Consider then, the future of cash. Bhaskar Charkravorti, the senior associate dean of international business and finance at The Fletcher School at Tufts, has done a number of studies on the subject, including the “Cost of Cash.”  Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke to him about the future of bills and coins in this changing world. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Listen to the interview with Dean Chakravorti on Marketplace

If Trump, Modi Talk Climate

All this makes for an awkward prelude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington — a pity, since the two headstrong heads of state have a lot in common. Diplomacy may demand that the climate kerfuffle be kept off the agenda. In the unlikely event that it does come up, though, here is a cheat sheet for the PM.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

Planet Money: On Why India Made Most Of Its Money Worthless

India’s prime minister recently decided to make almost all of the cash in his country worthless. He said it was meant to stop corruption. It turns out, that idea came from a very surprising source.

“In many ways, people in India are actually quite comfortable, you know, going back and forth between science and spirituality. The lines are sometimes quite blurred.”

Listen to the full NPR piece, including comments from Dean Chakravorti

Evaluating India’s Radical Experiment In Eliminating High-Value Currency

Economist Bhaskar Chakravorti says even after all the drama, almost all of the cash in circulation in India made its way back into the banking system.

BHASKAR CHAKRAVORTI: Not all of that was legal cash. It just happened to be the case that India has – is extremely innovative in getting it on constraints.

STACEY VANEK SMITH: But the public loved it. Modi’s approval rating has continued to climb. It’s just amazing to me that people aren’t angry about this. Like, why do you think that people are supportive of this move?

CHAKRAVORTI: Because populism is a strange thing, right?

Listen to the full piece at NPR

The Art of Curry Diplomacy

Infosys’ curry diplomacy was, no doubt, inspired by Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” order and his threat to revise the H-1B visa programme. I am not convinced that extravagant job-creation programmes in the US are the best use of Infosys’ increasingly scarce resources. While the Bengaluru-based IT giant may know how to mix its spices, to “curry favour” is a phrase that, oddly enough, has little to do with treating someone to a mean curry. Its obscure origins are in the grooming of horses: “To curry” is “to brush”. By spending resources on creating thousands of tech jobs in a country where the administration is gutting resources for science and technology programmes in an industry rapidly being automated, it seems Infosys is bringing the wrong curry and backing the wrong horse.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

Student Research: eKutir: Finding Value at the Base of the Pyramid

Technological solutions for agriculture in the developing world have become fairly widespread during the last decade, but challenges remain related to reaching farmers in rural, less connected areas. Well known applications such as M-Farm in Kenya have provided SMS-based market and price information to farmers, while other applications, including Esoko in Ghana, have offered information on weather patterns and other factors. However, due to lack of digital infrastructure or farmer literacy, reaching those at the base of the pyramid remains a significant challenge.

An eKutir farmer’s irrigated tomato plants

eKutir, a social business based in Bhubaneswar in the Odisha State in eastern India, has developed an ICT-based model that is designed to create value at the base of the pyramid. The eKutir model provides “micro-entrepreneurs” working in farming, food sales, and sanitation with access to technology that helps to improve productivity and streamline value chains. Over time, there is potential for this system to make a substantial impact by increasing returns on investment and reducing transaction costs throughout a wide range of value chains.

With support from the IBGC, I had an opportunity to travel to Bhubaneswar in March 2017 to meet with the eKutir management team as well as some of the farmers and entrepreneurs involved in eKutir’s value chains as part of research for my Fletcher capstone project. During my time in India, I was impressed by the consistent positivity among the various people with whom I spoke.

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