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A breath of fresh air: Raising awareness for clean fuel adoption

Afridi, F., Debnath, S. and Somanathan, E., 2021. A breath of fresh air: Raising awareness for clean fuel adoptionJournal of Development Economics, p.102674.

Abstract

Air pollution is amongst the gravest public health concerns worldwide, and indoor sources are the largest contributors in many developing countries. In our study in central India, we randomly assigned villages to a campaign by rural public health workers to either raise awareness about the adverse health effects of smoke from cooking with solid fuels and measures to mitigate them, or combined health awareness with information on the universal cash-back LPG (liquid petroleum gas) subsidy program or a control group in which neither information is provided. Using LPG sales records, we find an insignificant effect of the campaign on the purchase of LPG refills when measured at annual frequency. However, there was an almost 13% rise in refill consumption per month in the combined treatment, accounting for seasonality, monthly price variation and unobserved sub-district heterogeneity. Self-reported electric stove use rose by almost 50%, over the baseline mean of 6%, and the probability that the household had an outlet for smoke or separate kitchen increased by about 5 percentage points due to the treatment. There was no decline in use of solid fuels at the extensive margin, but the intensity of usage fell on some measures. The findings highlight the salience of financial constraints and the importance of the design of public subsidy schemes in inducing regular usage of clean fuels.

Impact of COVID-19 on the Indian seaport transportation and maritime supply chain

Prathvi Thumbe Narasimha, Pradyot Ranjan Jena, Ritanjali Majhi, Impact of COVID-19 on the Indian seaport transportation and maritime supply chain, Transport Policy, Volume 110, 2021, Pages 191-203, ISSN 0967-070X

Abstract: Impacts of COVID-19 in maritime transportation and its related policy measures have been investigated by more and more organizations and researchers across the world. This paper aims to examine the impacts of COVID-19 on seaport transportation and the maritime supply chain field and its related issues in India. Secondary data are used to analyze the performance indicators of major seaports in India before and during the COVID-19 crisis. We further explore and discuss the expert’s views about the impact, preparedness, response, and recovery aspects for the maritime-related sector in India. The results on the quantitative performance of Indian major seaports during the COVID-19 indicate a negative growth in the cargo traffic and a decrease in the number of vessel traffic compared to pre-COVID-19. The expert survey results suggest a lack of preparedness for COVID-19 and the need for developing future strategies by maritime organizations. The overall findings of the study shall assist in formulating maritime strategies by enhancing supply chain resilience and sustainable business recovery process while preparing for a post-COVID-19 crisis. The study also notes that the Covid-19 crisis is still an ongoing concern, as the government, maritime organizations, and stakeholders face towards providing vaccine and remedial treatment to infected people. Further, this study can be expanded to the global maritime supply chain business context and to conduct interdisciplinary research in marine technical fields and maritime environment to measure the impact of COVID-19.
Keywords: COVID-19; India; Seaports; Maritime; Supply chain; Stakeholders; Sustainability

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The impact of temperature on productivity and labor supply: Evidence from Indian manufacturing

Somanathan, E., Somanathan, R., Sudarshan, A. and Tewari, M., 2021. The impact of temperature on productivity and labor supply: Evidence from Indian manufacturing.  Journal of Political Economy, 129(6), pp.1797-1827.

Hotter years are associated with lower economic output in developing countries. We show that the effect of temperature on labor is an important part of the explanation. Using microdata from selected firms in India, we estimate reduced worker productivity and increased absenteeism on hot days. Climate control significantly mitigates productivity losses. In a national panel of Indian factories, annual plant output falls by about 2% per degree Celsius. This response appears to be driven by a reduction in the output elasticity of labor. Our estimates are large enough to explain previously observed output losses in cross-country panels.

Pre-print available here.

The distributional impact of climate change: Why food prices matter

Gupta, Eshita, Bharat Ramaswami, and E. Somanathan. “The distributional impact of climate change: Why food prices matter.” Economics of Disasters and Climate Change (2021): 1-27.

We analyze the impact of agricultural productivity losses stemming from climate change in an economy without frictions. The first-order GDP impacts are expected to be small. But the poor have higher food budget shares and food prices will rise. How do distributional impacts diverge from the GDP impact? This is the question that is addressed. The paper considers two major sets of comparative statics: the effect of trade and the effect of economic growth. The model is calibrated to Indian data of 2009 and projections for 2030. The percentage loss of income for the landless is six times the GDP impact in a closed economy. Trade halves this effect and economic growth moderates it substantially. Despite the food price rise, nearly all farmers lose from climate change. The model is simple enough for impact channels to be transparent.

Pre-print available here

Lifetime Achievement Award

Professor C H Hanumantha Rao
Past President of INSEE, Former Chairman and Honorary Professor
Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad

The Indian Society for Ecological Economics (INSEE) has conferred the Lifetime achievements Award to Professor C H Hanumantha Rao for his outstanding contributions to the agricultural and ecological economics, development studies and to the nation and society. The award has been presented at the tenth Biennial Conference of the Indian Society for Ecological Economics (INSEE) held at the Centre for Economic and social Studies, Hyderabad during November 6-8, 2019. 

INSEE Fellows

Professor M.N. Murty
Professor of Economics Rtd.
Institute of Economic Growth, University Enclave
Delhi-110007, India. 

Professor M.N. Murty is currently Fellow, South Asian Network for Development Economics and Environment (SANDEE). He was a Ford Foundation Fellow at University of Birmingham, and Research Fellow at London School of Economics, UK, Visiting Faculty, at Institute of Developing Economies, Tokyo, Japan, and Visiting Professor at National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, and TERI University, Delhi. He was a consultant for World Bank, Asian Development Bank, International Crop Research Institute (ICRISAT) and ESCAP. He specializes in Public Economics and Environmental and Resource Economics.

He taught at Delhi University, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham, U.K, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi,TERI University, Delhi, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, Institute for Economic and Social Change, Bangalore, Madras School of Economics, Chennai, and Jadavpur University, Kolkata. He has published 10 books including 6 books in Environment and Resource Economics, four by Oxford University Press, one each by Cambridge University Press and SAGE.  He has contributed a large number of research papers to national and international journals of Economics and chapters in a good number of edited books. He has undertaken a number of research projects funded by international organizations like World Bank, IDRC, Canada, ESCAP, European Commission and ICRISAT and Planning Commission, NITI Ayog, CSO, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Ministry of Communications and ICSSR of Government of India.


Prof. Ramprasad Sengupta
Professor Emeritus in Economics
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi

Prof. Ramprasad Sengupta is a Professor Emeritus in Economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi where he was  a Professor of Economics for almost four decades and  has been a former Dean of its  School of Social Sciences. He  was Mahatma Gandhi National Fellow of the ICSSR at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta during 2016 – 2018.  He was also a Professor at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (1999 -2001) and a Visiting Professor / Scholar in a number of foreign Universities in Eurpe, North America and Japan.  Besides his teaching stints, he was Advisor, Planning Commission, Government of India and a part time Independent Director on the Board of Steel Authority of India for several years. 

Prof. Sengupta’s area of interest and specialization are Energy, resource and   ecological / environmental economics; Quantitative policy modelling  of infrastructural sectors. He has written a number of books and large number of scholarly published papers; the latest book  authored by him has been Ecological limits and Economic Development : Creating Space,  OUP. (2013).  His forthcoming book is “Entropy Law, Sustainability and Third Industrial Revolution” to be published by the OUP.  


Dr. (Mrs.) Madhu Verma
Professor, Area of Environment & Developmental Economics
Coordinator, Centre for Ecological Services Management at the Indian Institute of Forest Management.

Dr. (Mrs.) Madhu Vermais a biological Science graduate and MA, M.Phil & Ph.D. in Economics from Bhopal University, Bhopal. She is a Fulbright Fellow (2012), LEAD Fellow (2007) and World Bank EMCaB program’s  EEOFC Grant awardee (2001) for post doc research at the UCAL(Berkeley) as Visiting Scholar and at UMASS (Amherst) &  as Visiting Professor (2001). She works on Economic Valuation & Green Accounting of Ecosystems & Biodiversity, Ecosystem-Economy Modelling, Tiger & Snow Leopard Habitat Valuation, Forest- Fiscal Federalism and Payment for Ecosystem Services.

She has 35 years of enriched work experience with many national and international institutes, Ministries like MoEFCC, MoFinance, Forestry Commission & various Finance Commissions of India and United Nations bodies, World Bank and various international funding agencies and academic institute. She has travelled across the globe to more than 30 countries for work and has more than 40 publications in international and national journals, several books & Project Reports to her credit. Many of her research outcomes have greatly influenced the policies and decision making process of the government and have led to introduction of economic instruments in the system. She has contributed to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report, TEEB and to the  Global Biodiversity Assessment Report of IPBES.

She has been recognized by United Nations- REDD platform for ‘Women Working in Forests”, featured in special issue of India Today in March 2018 on Madhya Pradesh under the category of Trendsetters- Anchors of New Policies for her work on valuation of forest resources to inform policy makers & nominated as a “Human Star” for the “Day out with a Star” forum at based at Washington, DC on environmental careers. 

Shri V B Eswaran

Shri V B Eswaran

Second September, 2016 was a dark day for most people associated with ecological and environmental movement in India. Dear V B Eswaran breathed his last on that day in New Delhi. He is survived by his good wife Girija jee, sons Somanathan and Sridharan, daughters-in-law Rohini and Divya and grand children.

For all those who have some links with research and development of policies on environment and ecological sustainability, Shri Eswaran was the doyen on this front from India. He belonged to the Gujarat  cadre of Indian Administrate Services, having served there in various capacities. Later on, he moved to the Central government, and retired as Expenditure Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. But all along his career as an able administrator, his own first love was conservation of energy, development of sustainable water and forest ecosystems and making natural resources available to the poorest of the poor in the country.

His earliest entry on these front began, perhaps around 1980 when he used to visit Sukhomajri and other surrounding villages in Haryana, He very quickly understood the power of people in protecting and conserving natural resources- be they the desert lands, watersheds, forests or wildlife resources. He supported vehemently the then very active social movement of  Chakriya Vikas Pranali (CVP),  in Haryana and also in the present day Jharkhand. In fact, he was one of the founder members of the NGO called Society for Hill Resource Management School, with the mentor and patron Shri P R Mishra.

After his retirement from regular government services, he served the Society for Wastelands Development, as Director initially, and later on as its Chairman. He also served in various other capacities in India as Chairman of a Committee on Training on Watershed Development in India in 1994. The recommendations were then taken up by several states in India to promote the concern and  actions on watershed development. He also served on a Committee set up by the honorable Supreme Court (briefly termed as NPV Committee), to recommend a methodology, methods and measures of forest values for diverting  forest resources to non-forest uses. Till today, the Committee’s recommendations stand out as the guiding principle for fixing such values by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in India.

In between, Shri Eswaran also served as Chairman of  Seva Mandir in Jaipur, and as advisor to MoEF and many others on many occasions. Among many of  his contributions, one distinctly recalls his works in the field of watershed development in India, forest conservation, and development of ecosystem services.

He was one of the founder members of the now famous Indian Society  for Ecological Economics (INSEE). Coming from a rich administrative background and experience, he was very instrumental in structuring the constitution of INSEE. He was very instrumental in developing INSEE’s original corpus funds, to give this organization a strong financial base, so that many academic activities could be geared up immediately. On behalf of INSEE he organized a national seminar on water resources in 2003 at New Delhi; and also helped to organize many such events. During 2002-04 he also served INSEE as its Vice-President.

The scientists, and social scientists in the field of ecology and environment cannot forget the numerous days and times working with Shri Eswaran on several occasions, walking with him, talking to him in the fields of Sukhomajri in Haryana, Chapri, Tandwa and sakhanpidi in Jharkhand. Visits to his house in Vasant Vihar house was always treasure to refresh one’s own social responsibilities to conserve natural resources in India.

An unassuming person, who helped and encouraged young scholars and administrators on the development of ecological economic thinking in India, is no more around us.

Gopal K Kadekodi
Past President, INSEE

Shri Ramaswamy R Iyer

Shri Ramaswamy R Iyer

In the demise of Shri Ramaswamy R Iyer the INSEE lost a member with great diversity of interests. Not having initial education in either ecology or economics, Ramaswamy gathered deep interest in these subjects while handling issues related to the natural environment in professional life, especially during his tenure as Secretary, MoWR. As a result, he became much interested in INSEE. In Ramaswamy there was a simple person with great human values. He was able to relate to others, from young people to senior professionals. He was a person of diverse intellectual sensitivities, ranging from Karnatic music to water laws and governance.

My association with Ramaswamy started in 1989 and continued as long he was alive. The longest and most intense interaction between Ramaswamy and me was during the two years we were part of a team analysing the proposal for inter-linking of rivers in India. It was also a process of learning together to understand the unsaid implications of the links, if and when undertaken. Our last interaction was about 10 days before he passed away and related to making continued efforts on the creation of a consciousness in India on the urgent need for a holistic water policy and new laws on water. And probably in this subject area he has made the most lasting contribution through his numerous newspaper articles and several books.

In his demise, the movement for holistic water systems management in India lost an important activist. This is also true for organizations like the INSEE, where inter-disciplinary thinking constitutes the lifeline.

Jayanta Bandyopadhyay
Past-President, INSEE

Dr. Narpat S. Jodha

Dr. Narpat. S. Jodha

Narpat Singh Jodha, noted economist and President of INSEE from 2004-06 passed away on February 18th, 2020. He received his Master’s degree from the Delhi School of Economics and his PhD from the University of Rajasthan. He started his career with CAZRI Jodhpur in 1963 and worked with IARI New Delhi and various other government institutions before moving to different CGIAR Centers in India and overseas including ICRISAT Hyderabad and IITA East Africa. He worked as agricultural economist in South Asia as well as East and West Africa.

Dr. Jodha  was foremost among the pioneers of work on common property resources, livelihoods and rural poverty  in India. His seminal 1986 paper (published in the Economic and Political Weekly) , in particular, provided strong empirical support on the contribution of common property resources to rural livelihoods. It impacted the way in which rural poverty was theorized and written about for decades to follow. Later he moved from the arid and semi-arid tropics to focus on mountain regions as head of Mountain Farming Division at ICIMOD Kathmandu. He was briefly with the Environment Resources Division at the World Bank before rejoining ICIMOD and working on different aspects of mountain development in various capacities. Wherever he was, his work always continued to be rooted in a fieldwork  based understanding of reality. 

We at INSEE will remember Dr. Jodha for his lasting contributions to it as President in its early years. He shepherded it painstakingly and presided over the Conference held at IGIDR, Mumbai in 2005. He also worked closely with SANDEE, the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics, mentoring researchers at its workshops. He was honoured as a Fellow of World Academy for Art and Science in 2001. He was also President of the International Society for the Study of the Commons (IASC) during the period 2004-06 and Conference President of the Indian Society for Agricultural Economics in 2008.

Apart from his professional accomplishments, his soft- spoken nature, his humility and his gentle spirit left a deep mark on all who were privileged to meet him. He will be remembered both as a great professional and as a genuine human.   

Kanchan Chopra
Past President, INSEE

Honorary INSEE Fellows

INSEE took a decision in 2018 to honour and confer the title of Honorary INSEE Fellow on all past Presidents of INSEE. Current INSEE President will be conferred the title after demitting office.

Kanchan Chopra, President, INSEE (1998-2000; 2010-2012)
C.H.Hanumantha Rao, President, INSEE (2000-2002)
Gopal K. Kadekodi, President, INSEE (2002-2004)
Narpat S. Jodha, President, INSEE (2004-2006)
Jayanta Bandyopadhyay, President, INSEE (2006-2008)
Sudarshan Iyengar, President, INSEE (2008-2010)
Amita Shah, President, INSEE (2012-2014)
Sharachchandra Lele, President, INSEE (2014-2016)
Pranab Mukhopadhyay, President, INSEE (2016-2018)
K.N.Ninan, President, INSEE (2018-2020)

Bina Agarwal Prize 2019

Professor Joan Martinez-Alier
Recipient of the 2019 Bina Agarwal Prize for Ecological Economics

The Prize Jury for the Bina Agarwal Prize for Ecological Economics consisting of Clement Tisdell (Chair), John Gowdy and E. Somanathan have unanimously decided to award the First Bina Agarwal Prize for Ecological Economics to Professor Joan Martinez-Alier for his outstanding contributions to ecological economics. The citation reads as follows:

This award is in recognition of Joan Martinez-Alier’s pioneering work integrating ecological economics with environmental justice. He co-invented the notion of the “environmentalism of the poor” that recognizes the dependence of the poor on the natural environment. He has made important practical contributions to environmental justice, including the EJ Atlas, and has provided online mapping of conflicts involving natural resources and the environment.

The Prize consists of a cash prize of Rupees Two Lakhs plus a citation which will be presented to Professor Joan Martinez-Alier at the Tenth Biennial Conference of the Indian Society for Ecological Economics (INSEE) scheduled to be held during November 6-8, 2019 at the Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS), Hyderabad.

Our hearty congratulations to Professor Joan Martinez-Alier.