Expert Zone

Straight from the Specialists

The burden of India’s cash transfer scheme

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The government’s cash transfer scheme (CTS) has been accepted by economists as the most  efficient method of delivering subsidies to the poor. This became possible with the identification of the poor after the introduction of “Aadhaar” or unique identity scheme. The scheme is going to be implemented from the beginning of 2013.

The Congress party is excited because the scheme can prove to be an excellent vote magnate magnet. Cash in hand is a good enough incentive even if it is in replacement of invisible subsidies. UPA-II came to power mainly on the basis of a loan waiver to farmers which cost the government 600 billion rupees. Possibly, CTS would not need any additional outlays and may actually reduce the burden on the exchequer. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has been quick to understand the scheme’s political appeal and is protesting its introduction for one reason or the other.

A pilot project for CTS was started a year back in Kotkasim block in Rajasthan that has 25,000 households. Preliminary results indicate that the scheme was a flop. It was intended primarily to replace the state subsidy of 14 rupees per litre on kerosene. With the withdrawal of the subsidy, prices increased while the cash transfer got delayed or did not take place at all. The government did not have in place an efficient system to replace subsidy by cash delivery. That is likely to happen when the scheme is extended to 51 districts from January 1.

India Markets Weekahead – An opportunity to ride the rally

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

It was a stupendous week with 4.5 percent gain and the closing at 5879, the highest point for Nifty in 19 months. The week started with positive international cues of a Greek bailout, and was further strengthened with Moody’s confirmation of a stable rating for India.

Will Indian stocks end 2012 on a happier note?

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(Rajiv Deep Bajaj is the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Capital Ltd. The views expressed in this column are his own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The rally in the Indian stock markets, fuelled by the so-called reform announcements, seems to have fizzled out. Frontline indexes have retraced more than 60 percent of the gains made since Sep. 13, 2012, the day the reform measures were made public.

From Bhagalpur to Boisar

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

What is common between the movie “Gangaajal” and the television soap opera “Afsar Bitiya“? It’s Bhagalpur.

India Markets Weekahead – It’s a no trade zone for now

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Indian markets were in a narrow Nifty band of 5550-5650 last week but volatility kept market participants on tenterhooks.

Yet another infructuous parliament session?

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Thomson Reuters)

The last session of parliament was a washout. The present one looks to be no different going by its chaotic start.

Kasab execution is reminder of Pakistani foot-dragging

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Nearly four years after the horrific Mumbai attacks that left over 160 dead, including six Americans, India put to death the lone surviving gunman, Pakistani citizen Ajmal Kasab.

Kasab hanging a resolute and prudent decision

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

By C. Uday Bhaskar

Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving Pakistani gunman among the perpetrators of the Nov. 26, 2008 attacks on Mumbai was executed by hanging at Pune’s Yerwada prison on Wednesday, bringing to judicial closure a high-profile case that had generated both anger and anguish in India.

Why online is the right way forward in life insurance

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Insurance in India is divided into two broad categories — life insurance and non-life insurance (also called general insurance). For the record, most retail non-life products such as health insurance, car insurance and travel insurance are already sold completely online by most insurers.

The year ahead: expectations and apprehensions

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

The economy is presently under stress and there are no indications that recovery is underway in spite of recent reforms announced by the government. India is not alone in under-performance. But it has fared too badly for its own reasons.

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