Op-Eds and Essays

Classified under topic heads (with links): Economics - General, Development & Policy, Indian Economy & Politics, West Bengal Economy & Politics, Misc, Coronavirus Crisis, & Interviews  

Please click here for all essays organised in chronological order



Economics – General


1.     A pioneer of modern economics passes away, Hindustan Times, May 16, 2023.

2.     A simple realistic solution to the paywall problem, (non-paywalled version), Hindustan Times, May 27, 2022.

3.     Relentlessly pursuing growth can uproot the tree that bears us fruit, The Economic Times, December 23, 2020.

4.     Vital additions to empirical research, The Hindu, October 18, 2019.

5.     What Lies Behind Abhijit Banerjee’s Nobel, The Open Magazine, October 17, 2019.

6.     Pricing Social Returns in Economic Growth, Business Standard, October 19, 2018.

7.     Poverty and Inequality in a ‘Principles of Economics’ Textbook, (web version), Economic and Political Weekly of India,  Vol. 53, Issue No. 24, 16 Jun, 2018

8.     With Thaler’s Nobel Win, Behavioural Economics Has Officially Made Its Way Into the Mainstream, The Wire, October 13, 2017.

9.     Nobel prize in Economics 2016: The economy as a nexus of contracts. Ideas for India, October 20, 2016 (shorter version co-published in Business Standard).

10.  Angus Deaton - The Real World Economist, The Indian Express, October 16, 2015 (See longer version in the Ideas for India).

11.  What Crisis Has Taught Economics, Financial Express, New Delhi, January 9, 2010.

12.  Buying Land and Selling Kidneys, Financial Express, New Delhi, November 9 & 16, 2009.



Development & Policy


1.     Determining how many Indians are poor today, Ideas for India, May 29, 2024.

2.     Debating inequalities in the backdrop of elections, Hindustan Times, April 27, 2024.

3.     Poverty in India Over the Last Decade: Data, Debates, and Doubts, The India Forum, April 10, 2024.

4.     India’s suboptimal use of its labour power, The Hindu, March 9, 2024.

5.     The rise of the affluent is the real India growth story, Hindustan Times, March 1, 2024.

6.     Quantity vs Quality: Long-term Trends in Job Creation in the Indian Labour Market, The India Forum, January 31, 2024.

7.     Why Gig Work Matters, Business Standard, 7 August 2023.

8.     The simmering debate over poverty rate, Mint, May 4, 2023.

9.     Estimation of poverty in India, Introduction to an e-Symposium for Ideas for India, October 10, 2022.

10.  Trends in Economic Inequality in India, The India Forum, (click here for pdf version), September 19, 2022.

11.  Why people stay poor, in VoxEU.org, September 16, 2022.

12.  Does India have an inequality problem? CEDA-Data Narratives, June 29, 2021.

13.  India's Inequality Problem, The India Forum, July 2, 2021.

14.  The real problem is of unequal opportunities, Forbes India, 12th Anniversary Special Issue, May 21, 2021.

15.  The lack of mobility hinders the India story, Hindustan Times, October 9, 2020.

16.  What Would Make India’s Growth Sustainable?  The India Forum, August 13, 2020.

17.  Not long-term solution to poverty but useful ‘first-aid’, NYAY e-Symposium, Ideas for India, May 1, 2019.

18.  How the Congress can make the minimum income guarantee scheme a reality, in CNBCTV18.com, March 27, 2019. 

19.  Can Rahul Gandhi’s minimum income guarantee proposal work?  Ideas for India, February 7, 2019, the original version was published in NDTV.com on January 30, 2019.

20.  Make the debate fruitful, The Economic Times, December 6, 2018.

21.  The Big Bank Theory - The Need to Move Beyond the Privatisation vs Nationalisation Debate, The Open Magazine, March 23, 2018.

22.  Aadhaar is fine to stop some kinds of leakage and corruption. But it is no panacea, The Economic Times, January 23, 2018.

23.  India needs to create greater economic opportunities for all, The Economic Times, October 9, 2017.

24.  Review Of Jean Dreze's Book, Jholawala Economics For Everyone, in NDTV.com, October 03, 2017. 

25.  Combating poverty in developing countries with a universal basic income, VoxDev.org, July 17, 2017 (shorter version in The Wire, July 21, 2017). 

26.  A Universal Basic Income Scheme for India? in Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), Economy Watch, April 2017, Issue 14.

27.  Is India ready for a universal basic income scheme? NDTV.com, August 27, 2016 (longer version published in Ideas for India).

28.  The price of basic income. The Indian Express, June 29, 2016

29.  Reservation Policy in India and Its Discontents, in NDTV.com, October 11, 2015.

30.  'Suit-boot' or 'Jhola'? That Debate's a Trap, in NDTV.com, July 20, 2015 (See longer version in the Ideas for India).

31.  Yes, a Land Acquisition Act Can Address Both Justice and Prosperity (with Parikshit Ghosh), The Wire, June 1, 2015.

32.  Calling Farmer Suicides a 'Tragedy' Fails India in NDTV.com, May 2, 2015 (See longer version in the Ideas for India).

33.  Empower, Don't Patronise the Farmer, The Indian Express, March 30, 2015 (See longer version in the Ideas for India).

34.  The Land Acquisition Ordinance (with Parikshit Ghosh), eSocialSciences.Org, February, 2015.

35.  Response to the Bhagwati-Panagariya rejoinder on MNREGA, Ideas for India, December 14, 2014 (See shorter version in The Times of India).

36.  Wrong Numbers: Attack on NREGA is Misleading, Times of India, November 9, 2014. Click here for a pdf version. (Slightly longer version in Ideas for India).

37.  India has more than its fair share of super-rich and it isn’t a good thing (with Debraj Ray), The Economic Times, Setember 4, 2014. Click here for the longer Ideas for India version. 

38.  Reforming India's Land Policy (with Parikshit Ghosh and Dilip Mookherjee), Yojana, November 2013.

39.  The Land Acquisition Bill is Deeply Flawed (with Parikshit Ghosh), Ideas for India, October 23, 2013.

40.  Developing a land acquisition policy for India, (with Dilip Mookherjee), Ideas for India, and MINT, Sep 5 2012 [press coverage in Times of India].  

41.  Land acquisition: Is there a way out? (with Parikshit Ghosh), Ideas for India, July 16, 2012 [interview in Rediff.com and press coverage in Forbes India].

42.  The Land Acquisition Bill: A Critique and a Proposal, (with Parikshit Ghosh), Economic and Political Weekly of India, October 8, 2011, Vol. XLVI, No 41.  (Click here and here for shorter versions, and here for press coverage). 

43.  Land on One’s Square Feet, Hindustan Times, New Delhi, September 21, 2011.

44.  No Way Out of this Plot, (with Sanjay Banerji), Financial Express, New Delhi, September 30, 2009.

45.  Small is Smart, Financial Express, New Delhi, August 24, 2009.

46.  Poor Man’s Capitalism. Financial Express, New Delhi, March 23, 2009.

47.  Barefoot Entrepreneurs?  Financial Express, New Delhi, January 12, 2009.

48.  Where is Credit Due?  Financial Express, New Delhi, October 27, 2008.


Indian Economy & Politics

1.     An assessment of policy performance under the current regime, Ideas for India, February 1, 2021.

2.     FM had a tough task, but Budget has failed to clear the smell test, (pdf version), The Times of India,  February 2, 2020

3.     With a huge informal economy, government should increase spending, not worry about deficit, The Indian Express, January 22, 2020 (coverage in Financial Express).

4.     $5 Trillion Economy By 2024? Magic Realism at Play Given Current Low, in NDTV.com, January 10, 2020. 

5.     No Disguising The Economic Slowdown Now, in NDTV.com, October 7, 2019. 

6.     Modinomics - What He Promised And What We Got, in NDTV.com, March 26, 2019. 

7.     Modi's five years prove that sustained economic growth is incompatible with toxic Hindutva politics, in Scroll.in, March 24, 2019.

8.     The Mirage of Modinomics(with Udayan Mukherjee), The India Forum, March 8, 2019.

9.     Economic Growth under Modi and UPA I and II, in NDTV.com,  August 30, 2018

10.  Did India Grow Slower than the World when the Nehru-Gandhis were in power? in NDTV.com, March 13, 2018. 

11.  Commanding Heights Again, The Open Magazine, February 9, 2018.

12.  Budget Signals No Achhe Din For Those Looking For Jobs, in NDTV.com, February 2, 2018. 

13.  Gujarat Poll Results Cap BJP's 2014 Hangover, Start New Chapter in Indian Politics, CNN-IBN, December 27, 2017.

14.  Why So Many Economists Are Disillusioned With the ‘Gujarat Model’? (with Sanchari Roy), The Wire, November 29, 2017

15.  When Gujarat Model Fails, Bring In "Padmavati" in NDTV.com, November 24, 2017. 

16.  Gujarat’s growth rate of income stayed the same before and after Modi, The Print, November 9, 2017

17.  Gujarat model: The gleam of state’s high growth numbers hides dark reality of poverty, inequality, in Scroll.in, October 25, 2017.

18.  Modinomics has turned into Muddlenomics, in NDTV.com, September 27, 2017.

19.  Please, Let's Call A Lynching A Lynching, NDTV.com, July 5, 2017.

20.  The Rhetoric of Partisanship, The Wire, July 1, 2017.

21.  Why ‘Free’ Speech Is Not Always ‘Costless’, The Wire, June 14, 2017.

22.  IT Lay-Offs Reveal The Dangers That Lie Beneath, in NDTV.com, May 18, 2017.

23.  Behind the Struggle Against Erosion of Free Speech is a Fight Over the Rule of Law, The Wire, March 23, 2017.

24.  Demonetisation Was Bad Economics But as an Act of Vigilantism it Served Modi Well Politically, The Wire, March 13, 2017.

25.  What New Spend on MGNREGA Exposes About Notes Ban, in NDTV.com, February 1, 2017.

26.  Economists against demonetisation - Firing cannonballs to kill mosquitoes, The Tribune, December 5, 2016.

27.  Notes Ban Beats Holograms as Modi's Campaign Gold, in NDTV.com, November 22, 2016.

28.  "Mann Ki Baat" Or "Ban Ki Baat"? Government Must Back Off, NDTV.com, August 31, 2016.

29.  Modi Government Presented A UPA 3 Budget in NDTV.com, March 3, 2016.

30.  How Brand Nitish Defeated Brand Modi, in NDTV.com, November 9, 2015.

31.  Modi Government's Complacency Hit By Reality (with Parikshit Ghosh) in NDTV.com, August 11, 2015.

32.  From ‘Mess in India’ to ‘Made in India’ as a global brand?, The Economic Times, October 13, 2014. Click here for the longer Ideas for India version. 

33.  India needs more than Narendra Modi's trickle-down model, The Guardian, July 14, 2014.

34.  Did Gujarat Switch to a Higher Growth Trajectory Relative To India under Modi? A Rejoinder (with Sanchari Roy), Economic and Political Weekly of India, May 3, 2014. A comment on this piece.

35.  Growth in the time of UPA: Myths and Reality (with Parikshit Ghosh & Ashok Kotwal),  Economic and Political Weekly of India, April 19, 2014. (Reprinted in Economic Growth and its Distribution in India (ed.s) Pulapre Balakrishnan, Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan, 2015.)

36.  Winnowing fact from rhetoric: A look at what figures tell of UPA's regime (with Parikshit Ghosh & Ashok Kotwal), Economic Times, April 15, 2014.

37.  Did Gujarat’s Growth Rate Accelerate under Modi? (with Sanchari Roy), Economic and Political Weekly of India, April 12, 2014. See here the version with the latest year's data.

38.  Growth is Not the Victim of the UPA, it is the Other Way Round, (with Parikshit Ghosh), Hindustan Times, April 3, 2014.

39.  A Look in the Mirror (with Sanchari Roy), Outlook, March 31, 2014. Click here for a pdf version, here for version with tables, and here for the Ideas for India version

40.  Gujarat Model of Development and Other Growth Stories, (with Sanchari Roy), DNA, March 31, 2014.

41.  Modinomics: do Narendra Modi's economic claims add up?  (pdf version) (with Sanchari Roy), The Guardian, March 13, 2014.

42.  Harvard, Hard Work, and Hard Facts, Economic Times, Sunday Magazine, February 23, 2014.



West Bengal – Economy & Politics


1.     2021 West Bengal Assembly election: Did the Covid-19 surge matter? Ideas for India, May 12, 2021.

2.     West Bengal’s economic performance relative to India over the last three decades, Ideas for India, May 1, 2021.

3.     The Big Numbers That Could Decide Whether Mamata Returns, in NDTV.com, April 28, 2021.

4.     The story of Bengal’s economy,  Hindustan Times, April 15, 2021

5.     West Bengal: The Dilemma That Left-Leaning Voters Are Facing in This Election, The Wire, April 3, 2021.

6.     No hope left? Interpreting the West Bengal election results, in NDTV.com, May 24, 2016.

7.     Spare Some Change: Mamata Hasn't Delivered Much For Bengal in NDTV.com, April 19, 2016.

8.     The Chit fund crisis: Should not put all financial intermediaries in the same bracket, (with Abhijit V. Banerjee), Ideas for India, May 3, 2013

9.     Anger in the Wake of Aila (with Sreyashi Dastidar), Financial Express, New Delhi, June 11, 2009.

10.  Beyond Nandigram: Industrialization in West Bengal (with A.V. Banerjee et al), Economic and Political Weekly of India, April 28, 2007.

11.  Strategy for Economic Reform in West Bengal (with A.V. Banerjee et al), Economic and Political Weekly of India, October 12, 2002.

12.  Bengal’s Economic Survival (with A.V. Banerjee et al), The Telegraph, Calcutta, May 13, 2001.



1.     Two Pieces on Timir and Other Poems by Sankha Ghosh - A Tribute, The Space Ink, April 23, 2021.

2.     Remembering My Grandfather – Manish Ghatak, The Space Ink, February 15, 2021.

3.     Why Do We Insist on Debating Politics With Our Friends and Family?, The Wire, May 22, 2019.

4.     My Most Unforgettable Teacher, (pdf version) Reader's Digest, Indian Edition, September 17, 2017.

5.     `Meghnad Badh Rahasya’ Evokes Memories of a Movement That Continues to Haunt Bengal’s Imagination, (with Manishita Dass), The Wire, September 5, 2017.

6.     Circles in Time - Memories of Presidency College, (pdf version), Autumn Annual, 2016-17, Vol. XLV, Presidency Alumni Association, Calcutta, January 2017.

7.     Media fumbles as NOTA wins US elections with 42% evading polls, Business Standard, 16 November 2016.

8.     The Trump Conundrum, The Open Magazine, Web Exclusive, 2 November 2016

9.     Brexit suggests focusing on trade and inequality may not be antithetical, The Economic Times, June 28, 2016.

10.  Congrats, Britan, you've likely voted for a recession, in NDTV.com, June 25, 2016.

11.  Fixit, Don't Brexit, in NDTV.com, June 22, 2016.

12.  In an Imperfect World (with Sugata Marjit), The Telegraph, Calcutta, June 29, 2002.

13.  Big Boom Theory (with Parikshit Ghosh), The Telegraph, Calcutta, June 4, 1999. 


Coronavirus Crisis


1.     How has Covid-19 affected India’s economy? Economics Observatory, June 30, 2021. (Reprinted in Scroll.in, July 9, 2021.)

2.     India’s true self-reliant entrepreneurs, Hindustan Times, March 24, 2021.

3.     So How Bad Is India's Economic Crisis? Brace Yourself, in NDTV.com, September 02, 2020.

4.     Can India Recover? (pdf version), Interview in India Today, September 7, 2020.

5.     Comparing Rishi Sunak's Plan For UK To India's Steps, in NDTV.com, July 20, 2020. 

6.     We Threw Our Workers under the Bus, Reader's Digest, Indian Edition, July 2020.

7.     A blueprint to protect labour rights without constraining capital, Hindustan Times, July 4, 2020.

8.     State governments can be better armed financially to fight Covid-19 by issuing public health bonds, The Economic Times, June 5, 2020.

9.     How to reorganise the World Health Organization – and how to finance it, in LSE Business Review, June 5, 2020.

10.  The World Health Organization: A GRID for reform, in VoxEU.org, May 30, 2020.

11.  Will it work? (pdf version), Interview in India Today, May 23, 2020.

12.  Migrants Certainly Forced into Atmanirbhar Abhiyan, in NDTV.com, May 19, 2020. 

13.  The indispensability of labour in reviving India’s economic engine, Hindustan Times, May 8, 2020. 

14.  The Twin Crises of Covid-19 and How to Resolve Them, The India Forum, April 24, 2020.

15.  Step up action to ease poverty amid this crisis, Evening Standard, April 21, 2020.

16.  The World Has a $2.5 Trillion Problem. Here’s How to Solve It. The New York Times, April 20, 2020.

17.  Coronavirus Will Upend the 'Profits Over People' Mantra of Globalisation, The Wire, April 4, 2020.

18.  3 Points of Concern On Government's Much-Needed Economic Package, in NDTV.com, March 28, 2020. 

19.  Coronavirus: How will it change us? Podcast of panel discussion, BBC – The Real Story, March 27, 2020.

20.  The crumbling of India’s economy, Hindustan Times, March 24, 2020.




1.     Choosing Economics as a Subject, Unravel Economics, October 16, 2020.

2.     The Delivery Deficit, (pdf version), Interview in India Today, February 17, 2020.  

3.     An idea with dual impact, an interview for The Telegraph on the co-winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize, Abhijit Banerjee, October 16, 2019.

4.     A revival roadmap, Interview in India Today (pdf version), September 6, 2019.

5.     The price of NYAY, Interview in India Today (pdf version), March, 2019.

6.     Walking The Fiscal Tightrope, (pdf version), Interview in India Today, February 8, 2019.

7.     On Shaky Ground, (pdf version), Interview as part of cover story on India's growth slowdown in India Today, October 19, 2018.

8.     Show Me the Black Money, (pdf version), Interview as part of cover story on demonetisation in India Today, September 08, 2018.

9.     Interview in the LSE Annual Economics Review 2017-18, September 2018.

10.  At the moment, the GDP growth is at a four-year low, Interview in The National Herald, September 17, 2018.

11.  Stormy Times but Stay Optimistic: An Interview with Suman Ghosh, in The Telegraph, September 03, 2018.

12.  Ceteris Paribus, Interview at The Economie, Netherlands, September 22, 2014. 

13.  Interview as Editor of Journal of Development Economics with the Development Impact blog, June 5, 2012.








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Last modified:  March 4, 2024

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