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November 07, 2014

Selling a Rs.400 bulb for Rs.10 and other Brilliant Ideas to Reduce the Fiscal Deficit

Dr. Ajay Shah has timely and extremely well argued post on the government's plans to subsidise LED bulbs costing Rs.400 to be sold for Rs.10! Hopefully the decision makers will take note and switch off this yet-another-money-sucker-in-making proposal before it, well, sees light of the day. Extracts from Dr. Shah's post:
The guiding question, in all design of government, should be: What's the market failure? I am not able to see a market failure in the working of the market for LED bulbs.
...Energy efficiency is just one part of economic efficiency. An LED lamp is a big up front payment and then a stream of gains in the future. Whether the LED lamp is worth putting in depends on (a) The magnitude of each gain (i.e. how much you use that lamp) and (b) The discount rate. If the interest rate is high, it will make sense to buy a Tungsten bulb instead. 
...we should be hard headed in how we thinking about what government does. Most of what government in India does is not the job of government; most of what government ought to do in India is not being done. The rocket science that we require in India is the great organising principle of the market economy -- the Bond-Currency-Derivatives Nexus.
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