December 2016
Rural India on the National Optic Fibre Network: What Happens Next?

As one of the world’s largest rural connectivity endeavours, the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project has been the subject of immense policy interest for the potential it holds to deliver high speed broadband internet to rural India. The building of infrastructure on a scale of this kind was acknowledged as an audacious move owing to the nature of transformation that this could herald in the way rural India could ride the digital information highway. The project, however, has been subject to numerous delays and deadline extensions for its completion are now a matter of routine. The pilot projects for NOFN were rolled out in the year 2012 in three States—Tripura, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh—and they received functional internet connectivity from 2013 onwards. This study visits the three pilot project sites to find out how the NOFN infrastructure is faring three years after it was first rolled out to 58 gram panchayats (village local bodies) in India. Adopting a qualitative lens, the study locates the infrastructure in the geographical, social, and work practice context of the sites where it is supposed to be delivering seamless, reliable, and high speed internet connectivity through fibre optic cables. This Policy Report details the ways in which the NOFN infrastructure draws attention to itself and becomes highly visible not due to its functioning, but due to its frequent breakdowns and the many disruptions that follow. The Report recommends that attention to regular maintenance and repair, in terms of budgetary provisions that include salary for dedicated personnel, be incorporated as an integral part of the way the NOFN infrastructure is rolled out and built. Without this, the infrastructure loses its functionality and its ‘completed’ status is rendered meaningless. [PDF 3.87 MB]

Formalising Finance, Informalising Labour: Demonetisation and the Informal Economy

The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi's announcement over television on the night of November 8, 2016, withdrawing from circulation currency notes with denominations of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000, has had a cascading effect on the economy.  This Issue Brief maps the pathways through which demonetisation impacts the informal economy. A distinction is made between sectors and categories of labour such as the self-employed, the casually employed and the micro and small enterprises operating below the realm of formal regulation. This Issue Brief points to the paradox of justifying demonetisation in terms of formalising financial markets even it has informalised labour markets. Finally, it also points out that there is little likelihood of the move benefiting the informal economy even in the long run. The author can be contacted at [email protected] Click to read this Issue Brief (HTML) [PDF 4.37 MB]

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Formalising Finance, Informalising Labour: Demonetisation and the Informal Economy

Abstract: The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi's announcement over television on the night of November 8, 2016, withdrawing from circulation cur

Jayalalithaa and Governance

The demise of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on December 5, 2016, brings to an end a unique approach to governance and policy-making in Tamil Nadu. In th

Jayalalithaa (1948-2016): A Selection of Articles from The Hindu and The Hindu BusinessLine

The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy presents a compilation of articles published in The Hindu and The Hindu BusinessLine after the demise

How Participatory is My Government? A Closer Look at MyGov.in

In keeping with the spirit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, the Union government had, in 2004, introduced a pre-legislative consultative p

A Patchy Approach to Fight Vector-Borne Diseases

Every year, Delhi's residents are affected by mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya. This year, the national capital saw one of its w