India

How does Bhutan’s Economy Look?

How does Bhutan’s Economy Look?

Bhutan has maintained solid economic performance to date in 2017 but delays in hydropower construction may affect its economic outlook with growth expected to slow to just under 7 percent in 2018. 

Bhutan is one of the smallest, but fastest-growing economies in the world. Its annual economic growth of 7.5 percent on average between 2006 and 2015, placed the country 13th of 118 countries, compared to the average global growth rate of 4.4 percent.

This growth has been shared by a majority of Bhutanese, with extreme poverty dropping from 25 percent in 2003 to 2 percent in 2012, based on the international poverty line of $1.90 a day (at purchasing power parity). This is among the rate in South Asia and compares favourably to the regional poverty rate of 19 percent. Equally impressive improvements were made in access to basic services such as health, education and asset ownership.

The recent developments on strong lending growth, inflation, exchange rates and international reserves show that Bhutan maintains a solid and stable growth in the first half of 2017. Gross international reserves have been increasing since 2012, when the country experienced an Indian rupee shortage. Reserves exceed $1 billion, equivalent to 10 months of imports of goods and services in mid-2017 which makes the country more resilient to potential shocks. This is also very much in line with the requirement spelled in the 2008 Constitution which outlines minimum reserve requirements. The Bhutanese ngultrum, pegged to the Indian rupee, have been stable or slightly appreciating against the U.S. dollar.

Despite recent solid growth and macroeconomic stability, we need to carefully monitor its Development. According to the latest Bhutan Economic Update, the hydropower construction and the implementation of the 2016 Economic Development Policy are expected to support this solid growth during the next few years. However, with confirmed delays in the completion of two hydropower projects, the contribution of the hydropower sector to growth will be lower than the originally projected. Therefore, the World Bank revised down its growth forecasts in 2019/20 by a few percentage points to 7.6 percent, still among the fastest in the world.

by · Thursday, 14 September 2017 · Bhutan, India
Fresh thinking on economic cooperation in South Asia

Fresh thinking on economic cooperation in South Asia

Young Economists sharing the stage with Sanjay Kathuria, Lead Economist and Coordinator, Regional Integration (Left to Right: Aamir Khan/ Pakistan, Sreerupa Sengupta/ India, Sanjay Kathuria/ World Bank, Mahfuz Kabir & Surendar Singh/ Bangladesh) Photo By: Marcio De La Cruz/ World Bank


That regional cooperation in South Asia is lower than optimal levels is well accepted. It is usually ascribed to – the asymmetry in size between India and the rest, conflicts and historical political tensions, a trust deficit, limited transport connectivity, and onerous logistics, among many other factors.

Deepening regional integration requires sufficient policy-relevant analytical work on the costs and benefits of both intra-regional trade and investment. An effective cross-border network of young professionals can contribute to fresh thinking on emerging economic cooperation issues in South Asia.

Against this background, the World Bank Group sponsored a competitive request for proposals.  Awardees from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, after being actively mentored by seasoned World Bank staff over a period of two years, convened in Washington DC to present their new and exciting research. Research areas included regional value chains, production sharing and the impact assessment of alternative preferential trade agreements in the region.

Young Economists offer fresh thoughts on economic cooperation in South Asia

Mahfuz Kabir, Acting Research Director, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies and Surendar Singh, Policy Analyst, Consumer Unity Trust Society (CUTS International) presented their research: Of Streams and Tides, India-Bangladesh Value Chains in Textiles and Clothing (T&C). They focus on how to tackle three main trade barriers for T&C: a) high tariffs for selected, but important goods for the industries of both countries; b) inefficient customs procedures and c) divergent criteria for rules of origin classification.

Sreerupa Sengupta, Ph.D. Scholar at Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi discussed Trade Cooperation and Production Sharing in South Asia – An Indian Perspective. Reviewing the pattern of Indian exports and imports in the last twenty years, her research focuses on comparing the Global Value Chain (GVC) participation rate of India with East Asian and ASEAN economies. Barriers to higher participation include a) lack of openness in the FDI sector; b) lack of adequate port infrastructure, and long port dwell times; and c) lack of Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs).

Aamir Khan, Assistant Professor, Department of Management Sciences, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad presented his work on Economy Wide Impact of Regional Integration in South Asia – Options for Pakistan. His research analyzes the reasons for Pakistan not being able to take full advantage of its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China, and finds that the granting of ASEAN-type concessions to Pakistan in its FTA with China would be more beneficial than the current FTA arrangement. The work also draws lessons for FTAs that are currently being negotiated by South Asian countries.

by · Monday, 11 September 2017 · Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan
Sri Lanka: Building a more resilient economy

Sri Lanka: Building a more resilient economy

At the launch of the Sri Lanka Development Update (SLDU), our Twitter chat #SLDU2017: Environmental Benefits of Economic Management set out to explore how Sri Lanka could meet the twin challenges of increasing its physical and financial resilience.
 
The panel comprised experts from the World Bank – Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough; Senior Economist Ralph van Doorn and senior environmental specialist Darshani De Silva – and Kanchana Wickramasinghe, a research economist in the Institute of Policy Studies. Together, they unpacked the SLDU, discussed its key findings and fielded questions from across the region around its main themes.
 
The bi-annual report, notes key economic developments over the preceding months, placing them in a longer term and global perspective; in the Special Focus section, it explores topics of particular policy significance to Sri Lanka. 
 
Ralph started with the idea that Sri Lanka faces a window of opportunity during which key reforms could transform the country and its economy. He noted that Sri Lanka’s position in the global economy improved its global growth prospects, as well as that of its key export partners. Low commodity prices and the restoration of the GSP+ preferential trade arrangement with the EU had also combined to improve the outlook for the Sri Lankan economy.

For Idah, the country’s mood and the government’s commitment to change were critical to success:   
 

#SriLanka has demonstrated potential for significant reforms. Crucial for the move to a higher middle income status #SLDU2017

— Idah Pswarayi-Riddih (@Idah_WB) August 21, 2017

The panel delved into how natural disasters and extreme weather events posed a threat to Sri Lanka’s growing economy. In the short-term the damage was clear and serious, with losses amounting to several billions a year, as Idah noted in her blog. During the chat, she emphasised how Sri Lanka needed to be prepared for future disasters or it would cost the country enormously.
 
Kanchana pointed out that in the long-term, disasters could set back poverty alleviation efforts, especially in agricultural and rural areas, adding:
 

it can induce #urban #rural #migration – has implications on #foodsecurity in #lka #SLDU2017 #climatechange

— Kanchana (@Kanchi_w) August 21, 2017

With the chat underway, questions poured in from an online audience who were interested in diverse issues – from managing Sri Lanka’s ongoing drought and its impact on the Northern Province to what insights the SLDU had to offer other countries in the region such as India.

by · Wednesday, 6 September 2017 · India, Maldives, Sri Lanka
Online regulations and LGBT rights: A test for China’s legal system

Online regulations and LGBT rights: A test for China’s legal system

On June 30, 2017, the official China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA) released a new regulation related to online broadcasting. This is the latest step in a government-led effort to tighten political and administrative control over mass communication and social media through the implementation of new laws, rules, and regulations. In a country with 1.3 billion…

      

 

 

by · Friday, 1 September 2017 · China, India

Indian state to pilot cashless accident trauma insurance

If the test is successful, an ADB project will help set up a post-accident response initiative that can be scaled up in Madhya Pradesh and beyond.

by · Monday, 28 November 2016 · India

Indian state to pilot cashless accident trauma insurance

If the test is successful, an ADB project will help set up a post-accident response initiative that can be scaled up in Madhya Pradesh and beyond.

by · Monday, 28 November 2016 · India

Indian Hybrid Organization Fighting against Unequal Access to Primary Healthcare

Doctor shortage, poor infrastructure, long wait times (especially for women), high diagnostic costs and extensive travel for treatment…all of these results in avoidable deaths and high mortality rate in rural India. According to the Lancet (2015), more than 2,000 primary health centers in India were operated without a doctor and more than 5,000 have no pharmacist.

by · Wednesday, 5 October 2016 · India

Basic income paid to the poor can transform lives

Contrary to what sceptics predicted the basic incomes model created more economic activity and workThe idea of providing low-income people with money to reduce poverty and insecurity was, until recently, regarded with scepticism in development circles….

by · Thursday, 18 December 2014 · India

How can India end this tide of violence against women? | KumKum Dasgupta

Despite rising levels of education, gender awareness and stringent pro-women laws, change has been slow and violence against women is increasing The rape of a young woman by a taxi driver in Delhi has again left the city and the country traumatised, an…

by · Wednesday, 10 December 2014 · India, Oman

India’s sterilisation camps must give way to proper family planning | Shree Venkatram

A target-driven mindset and a disregard for female life mean the country’s birth control drive has been tainted by tragedyIt is one of the worst medical disasters in India’s history. Following a simple procedure called laparoscopic tubectomy carried ou…

by · Saturday, 22 November 2014 · India