Skepticism on the startup economy; Timely contracting at DMRC; Measurement of crime; Economic consequences of the war
Skepticism on the startup economy
In recent years, startups have commanded disproportionate mind-share in India. Stories of twenty-somethings who become billionaires make great press. At a time when the main-line firms had sluggish revenue and profit growth, the appeal of magical outcomes from some tiny startups was magnified. Traditional firms — both financial and real sector — sought to embrace this world.
My column in the Business Standard today, Rethinking the startup economy, is skeptical about some of this hype. The magnitudes in the startup economy are small when compared with the economy. The public equity market has proved to be a better sanity check when compared with VC or PE funds. That great elixir of illiquid and high risk investment — low interest rates in DMs — has retreated. We are in for saner times.
Timely contracting at DMRC
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is a remarkable success in many respects. In the field of government contracting, it needs to be examined as a case study. Are there insights that can be derived from this for improvements in government contracting more broadly?
Anirudh Burman and Pavithra Manivannan have an article Timeliness in government contracting: Evidence from the country's largest metro-rail network, on The Leap Blog, on 12 August, which examines these questions. They assemble evidence on DMRC from the CMIE Capex database, tenders awarded by DMRC and payments made by DMRC. They find that DMRC did well on delays in contracting and in making payments. At the same time, there were significant project delays. Strength in contracting is a necessary but not sufficient condition.
Measurement of crime in India
Crime victimisation surveys involve direct measurement of crime: by asking questions of a random sample of households, as opposed to official statistics. In recent years, there has been significant progress in this field in India. Renuka Sane and I have a new XKDR Forum working paper, Crime victimisation surveys in Indian criminal justice system reform, which reviews the state of the art in this field.
This is a chapter in a forthcoming book, Crime Victimisation in India, edited by Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Renuka Sane, Ajay Shah and Varsha Aithala, from the Springer Series on Asian Criminology and Criminal Justice, 1st ed. 2022, Springer Nature.
Economic consequences of the war
On 1 August in Pune, a conference on the Ukraine war was organised by Pune International Centre, Takshashila Institution and XKDR Forum. All the videos from this conference are up on the PIC youtube channel, and on the XKDR Forum channel we have published the economics session, featuring Nitin Pai, Rakesh Mohan, and me.