Planning for Economic Recovery of South Asia from COVID-19- "Strengthening General Equilibrium Modelling Capacity in India"
NCAER will partner with ADB to build cutting-edge CGE modelling capacity in India in collaboration with the world’s leading CGE centers. Building on past CGE work and existing modelling capacity, the research institute will build dynamic, quarterly, and regional model variants to serve the policymaking community with economic policy simulations that enable better policy, program and investment choices in macro, industry, services, agriculture, trade, environment, land and labor. Efforts to bring in some dimension of rural-urban segmentation will be explored so as to enable analysis of selected issues relating to urban development. Robust economic modelling offers both policy analysts and policymakers the opportunity to examine the impact of policy changes on their economies. Such models are particularly useful when they are economy wide, can offer quantitative impact assessments and sensitivity analysis around policy options, incorporate the influence of both domestic and foreign market developments, and can link assumptions and policy scenarios to outcomes. Economy-wide models allow analysts to trace the impact of economic changes and policies as their price and quantity effects ripple through the economy. Quantitative models offer a tool to articulate tradeoffs, including those important from a political economy perspective, showing the costs and benefits of “what-if” policy changes to key stakeholders.

An Integrated Modelling Approach for Assessing the Macroeconomic Costs and Benefits of Low Carbon Pathways
Incorporating specific strategies for achieving defined carbon emission reduction goals in the economic development agenda is crucial for India, given its development imperatives and consequences of its choice to the world. Choice of specific strategies in this context will have to be guided by assessments of implications of policy choices to the economy at the aggregate level and whether it is inclusive or not. The assessment also needs to be weighed in terms of its impact in the short-term, medium term and long- term effects. Understanding this broader dimension of the implications would be of critical significance in the choice of low carbon pathways to minimize economic costs while achieving the goals to preserve life sustaining nature. The programme will assess low-carbon development pathways for India, with the twin pillars of (1) techno-economic assessment of cost-effective opportunities for energy transitions in key sectors, and (2) qualitative examination of socio-political and governance challenges of potential pathways and requisite policy interventions. This work program is designed to develop a methodology to provide an economy wide assessment of alternative policy choices to achieve low carbon pathways towards sustainable and inclusive economic development in India. The study scopes to Integrate the Social Accounting based CGE Model to be developed by NCAER with the MESSAGEix based Energy Systems Model, to be constructed by The Celestial Earth, who are the collaborative partner in this study. In the process, the study identifies the linkages and mapping of MESSAGEix and CGE model.

NCAER Gig Economy Initiative
The programme seeks to research and highlight the socio-economic impact of platform work and platform companies in India. The study will progress on two tracks: • Track I, spanning over 6-months, will focus on platform agents in the food delivery sector. We will survey delivery partners to analyse their options, preferences and choices that are enabled by the platform’s flexible work model and the current regulatory environment. We will also conduct a qualitative sectoral case-study of food delivery sector in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic • Track II will be a longer program that will attempt to answer two questions – (1) What is the impact on MSMEs as they increase their reliance on platform economies? (2) What are the direct and indirect jobs created by platform work in the economy?

White Paper on Farm Mechanisation in India
NCAER will prepare a white paper that will focus on recommendations for creating an industrial and trade Policy to make India a powerhouse in the farm machinery sector. The overall objective of this paper is to recommend policymakers, key strategic actions to be taken to foster the growth of the Farm Machinery Industry (other than tractors) based on evidence that would enable India to become a global leader in this sub-sector.

Evaluation of India’s Faceless E-Assessment Tax Scheme
The Central Board of Direct Tax’s ‘Faceless E-assessment of Tax Returns’ (now referred to as the Faceless Assessment Scheme (FAS) was notified on 12th September 2019 to facilitate a simple, transparent, efficient and accountable way of carrying out and concluding income tax assessment proceedings. The scheme is implemented by CBDT in the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, through a National e-Assessment Centre (NeAC) and a network of eight Regional e-Assessment Centres (ReACs). The FAS is a major team based digital initiative of CBDT to further simplify tax administration and introduce greater efficiency, transparency, speed and convenience for the taxpayer in income tax assessments and in tax collection. Building on CBDT’s prior e-Proceedings tax protocol, this scheme is a double-blind anonymization procedure (hence “faceless”) where the taxpayer is unaware of who the Assessment Officer (AO) is and where she/he sits. This is in contrast to the earlier e-Proceedings scheme in which scrutiny assessments were housed in the same jurisdiction assigned to the taxpayer. The Department of Economic Affairs and Central Board of Direct Taxes Ministry of Finance, Government of India has requested NCAER to take up an independent, third-party assessment on the ease of compliance of taxpayers with the FAS, as well as obtain and evaluate the responses of taxpayers on their overall experience on the efficiency, speed, effectiveness, transparency, and accountability of the new scrutiny process. This evaluation by NCAER would also suggest areas of improvement in the Faceless e-Assessment Scheme based on the feedback received from taxpayers.

India and the Coronavirus Pandemic: Economic Losses for Households Engaged in Tourism and Policies for Recovery

Assessment of Alcohol Taxation, Affordability and Price Elasticity Patterns in India
The broad objective of the project is to estimate overall tax burden and elasticity of alcohol products for the last 10 years in 7 selected states (Delhi, MP, Sikkim, Maharashtra, Bihar, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh) of India. To attain this goal, the research study involves undertaking the specific tasks: Reviewing of the state wise price mechanisms and structure of taxation across various types of alcohol products; Estimating the trend in sales, consumption, and affordability of different alcohol products for the last 10 years; Examining the price and tax elasticity of different alcohol products segregated by geography and socio-economic status; Estimating the cross-price elasticity between alcohol products; Analyze state wise increase in revenue in relation with increase in taxation for last 10 years; and, Provide an estimated incremental tax requirement for relative reduction in consumption of alcohol by 10 % by 2025.

Analysis of India's Logistics Costs
Before making any policy intervention, it is important to estimate the overall logistics costs, including the various associated components/elements in order to understand and identify the problem areas and arrive at meaningful solutions. This NCAER report symbolises a major step in the direction of quantification of logistics costs. Such an exercise, in fact, needs to be conducted at regular intervals for estimating and monitoring the performance indicators and accordingly identifying the areas that need intervention. Hitherto, no serious attempt had been made to carry out research using a proper methodological framework for quantifying the logistics costs being incurred in India. Albeit, some estimates of the logistics costs incurred in the country are available in the public domain. However, these costs cannot be validated due to the non-availability of a framework for their estimation procedures. This also necessitates more comprehensive research in the area of estimation of logistics costs in India. In this context, the Logistics Division, Ministry of Commerce, commissioned NCAER to undertake interlinked studies for addressing the following issues related to the logistics ecosystem of India: (a) Route Study: Time and cost analysis of cargo movement along major routes in the country; (b) Estimation of overall logistics costs in India; and (c) Organisation of a Policy Roundtable among stakeholders to identify and tackle the challenges being faced by this sector.

Research and Estimation of Macroeconomic Logistics costs
High Logistics Costs in India compared to countries with similar environment & state of development are matter of concern for manufacturing growth and comprehensive development of the country. Several reasons are often cited for high logistics costs namely, unfavourable policy regime, lack of multimodal transport system (heavy reliance on road transport), fragmented Storage infrastructure, presence of multiple stakeholders in the entire transport and storage value chain, poor quality of road and port infrastructure, and the absence of technology intervention at storage/transportation and distribution activities. The high cost of logistics affects the country’s competiveness in export and domestic markets. It is important to estimate overall logistics costs, including its various components/elements, so as to understand where problem are and the corresponding solutions. To meet the overall objective of understanding the cost of undertaking logistics in India, Logistics Division, Ministry of Commerce, has commissioned NCAER to undertake interlinked studies with the following objectives: (a) Cost analysis of cargo movement on major routes (Route Study); (b) Estimation of Macroeconomic logistics cost; and (c) A Policy Roundtable among stake-holders

Implement Digital Direct Benefit Transfers: A DBT Readiness Index for the States of India
Both the central and state governments in India operate a vast array of cash and in-kind transfers to protect its poor. But these social protection schemes often suffer from substantial leakages and poor targeting, distort market functioning by subsidising prices and thereby impose significant fiscal stress without commensurate social benefits. India is seeking to port these subsidies into direct-to-beneficiary transfers, often called Direct Benefit Transfers or DBT. Implementing DBT should be a means to an end, not only to reduce leakages in the Indian subsidy system, but also to ensure that the targeted poor and vulnerable in society get timely transfers at low cost in time and money. In the Indian context DBT readiness is the ability of states/UTs to pursue government to citizen (G2C) and government to bank/business solutions through the use of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) viz. electronic transfer of cash or in-kind benefits from government to citizen or for effecting cashless in- kind transfers. Accurate targeting of beneficiaries due to Aadhar and biometric verification makes it feasible to avoid leakages due to ghost beneficiaries and to avoid leakages due to duplication errors . The DBT-Readiness of all Indian states and Union Territories (UTs) will be assessed both annually and quarterly by National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) over the next three years starting from 2016 to 2018 based on annual surveys. The quarterly assessment will be based off a combination of primary and secondary data available or made available by state/UT governments. States/UTs will be ranked relatively using the annual surveys. The quarterly rankings will be based off absolute index, which will help track states/UTs their own growth over time. In addition to the overall DBT assessment of states and UTs, this survey undertakes DBT Readiness of 10 Central Schemes.

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