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April 2008

Banking everywhere, and not a single village left out

Ignacio Mas's picture

Only about one-quarter of households living in developing countries have any form of financial savings with formal banking institutions. Even in countries that have experienced substantial development over the last decade or two, this statistic remains stuck stubbornly at a level that would not be acceptable for any other measure of socio-economic development: 10% in Kenya, 20% in Macedonia, 25% in Mexico, 32% in Bangladesh.

 

Evidence-based debate on education in Pakistan

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Pakistan’s education indicators are abysmally low, especially when it comes to learning outcomes.  Almost everyone you speak with has strong views on why the situation is what it is, and what should be done about it.  Some advocate spending more money on public schools; others, improving accountability in the system; others, regulating private schools; and still others allowing private schools to flourish.  Much of this debate occurs without much hard evidence on which proposal might improve education in Pakistan. 

Beggar thine own people?

Shanta Devarajan's picture

First the good news. The Indian government has agreed to sell the originally-agreed 400,000 tons of non-basmati rice to the Government of Bangladesh at a price of $430 per ton. On March 30th, the Government of Bangladesh’s Purchase Committee approved the Indian offer of procuring the 400,000 tons of rice at $430 per ton by ship.

The Silver Lining

Shanta Devarajan's picture
In late February of every year, I get ready to be disappointed by the budget speech of the Indian Finance Minister. The reason is that, despite ample evidence that there are serious problems with the productivity of public spending in health, education and other areas, the budget speech always announces an increase in spending on these sectors, with little attempt—if any—at making that spending more efficient at reaching poor people.

Can social audits be change agents?

Maitreyi Bordia Das's picture
While international development practitioners debate and discuss the best tool for people’s monitoring, the Indian government takes a page out of the book of the Right to Livelihood and Right to Food movements and of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) and institutionalizes social audits by mandating them in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). The onus is now on the state to ensure that its own performance is monitored and evaluated by the people.