Project Briefs CGP 2.0

HOUSEHOLD MARKET PARTICIPATION ACCESS AND FARM PRODUCTIVITY IN AJK: EVIDENCE FROM FARM HOUSEHOLD DATA

DR. KHUSH BUKHAT ZAHID (RASTA ID# CGP 02-007)
Subject Matter Specialist
Training and Adaptive Research Unit (TARU), Department of Agriculture Muzaffarabad, AJK

The research analyses the linkages between farm productivity and market participation in the presence of market access factor based on the hypothesis that households with more productivity tend to participate in the agriculture market having better market access against the null hypothesis. Mixed methods will be used to find answers. Data will be collected across all districts of AJK based on farm population comprised of household characteristics, farm variables, demographic characteristics, market-related variables and the factors that influence farmer market access. The research will be carried out in two steps:(i) technical inefficiency scores will be generated by using the stochastic production frontier model, and (ii) the Tobit model approach will be used to access the relationship between farm productivity and market participation. Market participation is defined here in terms of sales as a fraction of total output, for the sum of all agricultural crop production in the household.

Duration: 12 months
Approved budget: Rs. 3,500,000/-

DYNAMICS OF FOOD PRICES IN MAJOR CITIES OF PAKISTAN

DR. NIGAR ZEHRA (RASTA ID# CGP 02-011)
Assistant Professor/Research Economist
Applied Economics Research Centre (AERC), University of Karachi, Karachi

Worldwide, the last few years have exhibited an upsurge and volatility in food prices. Pakistan has also been affected by global food price shocks. This study aims to evaluate the dynamics of food prices at the commodity and the city levels by analyzing various stylized facts and volatility in food prices. It also aims to analyze the impact of some important exogenous and endogenous covariates–exchange rate, interest rate, crude oil prices, etc.–on food prices. The study will contribute by computing various stylized facts of food prices. Synchronization Index will help policymakers in identifying the commodities to be intervened at the city level. One of the significant contributions of this study will be the assessment of the volatility of different food commodities for major cities in Pakistan. The findings will help policymakers in designing policies to control volatility in food prices.

Duration: 08 months
Approved budget: Rs. 1,600,000/-

IMPACT OF MAJOR PUBLIC POLICIES ON COTTON PRODUCTION IN PAKISTAN

DR. IRFAN AHMAD BAIG (RASTA ID# CGP 02-016)
Professor
MNS University of Agriculture, Multan

Cotton is an important cash crop in Pakistan with robust backward and forward linkages in the economy. Dismal progress of the crop during recent years has raised questions and concerns to the research, development and relevant agricultural policies landscape of the country. This has remained quite diverse during recent regimes, ranging from support prices, import, export and production subsidies, trade restrictions, technology acquisition, and protection from land distribution to fragmentation. Policy Analysis Matrix (PAM) can be an appropriate tool to estimate the effect of agricultural policies on production systems and farmers’ decisions. Primary data will be collected from Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan provinces to develop PAM. Similarly, focus group discussions will also be conducted with key stakeholders to refine policy scenarios to enhance the competitiveness and efficiency of the crop, especially in the wake of water and climate change scenarios till the mid-century.

Duration: 10 months
Approved budget: Rs. 3,500,000/-

ENHANCING TRANSBOUNDARY WATER COOPERATION THROUGH ECONOMIC VALUATION OF BIODIVERSITY & ECOSYSTEM SERVICES IN KABUL RIVER BASIN

DR. HAMEED JAMALI (RASTA ID# CGP 02-018)
Assistant Professor
Institute of Management Sciences (IMSciences), Peshawar

The ongoing transboundary water conflicts in the Kabul River Basin (KRB) are narrowly conceptualised in terms of quantitative water distributions leading to win-lose situations, which are exacerbated due to ongoing insurgencies, climate change, growing industrialization and urbanization. The existing transboundary water mechanisms are state-centric, bilateral, exclude other actors, and disregard the broader biodiversity and ecosystem services (BESS) of the river basin for enhancing human well-being. This research explores: can the BESS concept be used to bring together multiple stakeholders across the KRB and transform the water sharing conflicts by enabling a re-definition of the water management problem in the context of green water economy and evidence of shared environmental benefits? The proposed research aims to enhance our understanding to transform distributive win-lose bargaining into integrative win-win bargaining. A better understanding of water-related BESS can change the behaviour of relevant actors while addressing climate change (water scarcity, water recharge and discharge zones), socio-political changes (dispute resolution, human rights to water and sanitation, inter-generational equity) and economic changes (pollution prevention, growing agriculture, industrialisation, demographic shifts and urbanisation).

Duration: 12 months
Approved budget: Rs. 3,600,000/-

DECENTRALISATION’S EFFECTS ON HEALTH: THEORY AND EVIDENCE FROM BALOCHISTAN, PAKISTAN

DR. MANZOOR AHMED (RASTA ID# CGP 02-034)
Associate Professor
Lasbela University of Agriculture, Water and Marine Sciences ((LUAWMS), Uthal

The provision of basic healthcare services in Pakistan is a critical issue where a vast majority of the population particularly the disadvantaged communities are deprived of access to basic health facilities. In Balochistan, the situation is abysmally poor. This project investigates the impacts of provincial devolution on health services in Balochistan. After the 7th NFC Award and 18th Amendment, Balochistan has gained fiscal space and provincial autonomy to improve social services including health. Hence, it was anticipated that provincial governments would take steps to improve healthcare service delivery. However, some broader perceptions suggest otherwise since the province has not been able to allocate more funds and improve healthcare services. This study will examine this using primary and secondary data and explore to what extend Balochistan has/has not been able to improve the healthcare services. The study will also explore the underlining political and economic factors and provide policy guidelines to remove bottlenecks for better healthcare services for all in the province.

Duration: 08 months
Approved budget: Rs. 2,000,000/-

MEASURING THE ACCESSIBILITY BENEFITS OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT: AN EVIDENCE FROM LAHORE ORANGE LINE METRO TRAIN (OLMT)

DR. ALVINA SABAH IDREES (RASTA ID# CGP 02-054)
Lecturer
Government College (GC) University, Lahore

Lahore Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) is a recent policy intervention to meet the growing demand for public transport in Lahore which is the first mass transit project of Pakistan. The study will investigate the consumer-oriented benefits of OLMT. Primary data will be collected to cover the aspects of a demographic and economic profile, proximity, affordability, mobility, convenience, connectivity and social as well as temporal acceptability. These aspects of accessibility will help us to evaluate whether subsidization of OLMT is rationalized or not from the perspective of social inclusion. In addition, a case will be developed for accessibility improvement, if needed, to incentivize the OLMT usage. The study will target a small group of non-users of OLMT as well which will help to identify the gaps and provide solutions to make urban transport policy more compatible with mass transit. Lastly, the ex-post evaluation of OLMT is likely to contribute by suggesting viable policy options to make this project financially sustainable. The expected outcome of this research will help devise a better feasibility plan for similar mass transit projects in the future by linking different parameters of transportation accessibility benefits with sustainable revenue streams.

Duration: 08 months
Approved budget: Rs. 2,500,000/-

ESTIMATING THE DISTRIBUTIONAL BURDEN OF INDIRECT TAXES IN PAKISTAN

MS. IFFAT ARA (RASTA ID# CGP 02-094)
PhD Scholar
Applied Economics Research Centre (AERC), University of Karachi, Karachi

The tax structure of Pakistan heavily relies on indirect taxes that constitute 62 per cent of total tax receipts in FY 2018-19 whereas direct taxes constitute 38 per cent. This research aims to assess the overall incidence and the distributional burden of indirect taxes in Pakistan across deciles of household expenditures. Specifically, it examines the extent to which indirect taxes (general sales tax, customs and federal excise duties) can be considered as progressive, regressive or proportional.The research also incorporates the implicit taxes on exempted items, i.e., tax paid on intermediate inputs used in producing these items. Estimating the incidence of indirect taxes without capturing the impact of these taxes may likely portray misleading results. This research will use an input-output model-based approach to incorporate this feature. To observe household consumption expenditures, the study will use Household Integrated Economic Survey (HIES) 2018-19. The incidence and distributional impact will be computed by assembling household consumption items into various commodity groups. Among direct taxes, an important source is withholding taxes (WHT) where over 60 per cent of the collection is indirect as these can be shifted forward. The research also examines the incidence for indirect components of WHT, but only for those heads where data are available at the household level. The findings shall provide the government options to address the distributional impact of indirect taxes and formulating equitable taxation policy.

Duration: 08 months
Approved budget: Rs. 1,800,000/-

CITY DEVELOPMENT PRODUCT (CDP): DATA ARCHITECTURE FOR SUSTAINED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN PAKISTAN

MR. MOHAMMAD AHMAD (RASTA ID# CGP 02-098)
PhD Scholar
The Fletcher School of Tufts University, United States of America

This project uses multiple sources of publicly accessible remotely sensed satellite data as the primary source for estimating Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the city level. In the absence of a formal System of Regional Accounts (SRA) which requires repeat economic censuses, the Regional Domestic Product (RDP) can be a sufficient statistic for tracking economic growth and development at lower administrative levels where identification and preparation (PC-I) of development projects takes place. The study intends to build a unique panel dataset of RDP estimates for Pakistan from 2010, using satellite imagery on night-time luminosity, Phyto mass growth, and machine learning algorithms. In addition to empowering local governance, this dataset can be leveraged to causally evaluate the allocative efficiency gains of public funds.

Duration: 08 months
Approved budget: Rs. 3,500,000/-

DECENTRALIZATION AND PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY: A CASE STUDY OF EDUCATION SECTOR IN BALOCHISTAN

MR. RAFIULLAH KAKAR (RASTA ID# CGP 02-120)
Director
Planning and Development Department, Government of Balochistan, Quetta

This research project will examine and assess the impact of the decentralization introduced by the 18th Constitutional Amendment on education service delivery in Balochistan. Taking a case study approach of the education sector in Balochistan, this project will examine if progress has been made against some of the core objectives. This study will assess if decentralized public management of education has resulted in improvements in school education planning and management, implementation, monitoring, financing, transparency and governance in Balochistan. The findings of the study will be useful for policy-makers, practitioners and designers of public sector reforms.

Duration: 08 months
Approved budget: Rs. 2,000,000/-

EVALUATION OF DIFFERENT TAX REFORM PROPOSALS

MR. MUHAMMAD NADEEM SARWAR (RASTA ID# CGP 02-138)
PhD Scholar
Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi

The choice of tax structure directly affects tax revenues, economic growth and income distribution. Therefore, while developing a comprehensive taxation system, the governments must be cautious to take proper account of its macroeconomic and distributional impacts. In recent years, various tax rate reform proposals have been put forward by different individuals and institutions. These include continuing with progressive income tax but reducing income tax rates and the number of slabs, opting to flat tax rate, cutting down corporate tax rate, sales tax and custom duties, abolishing various indirect taxes, exemptions, etc. This study aims to identify and quantify the direction and magnitude of impacts of proposed changes in direct and indirect tax rates and tax structure on various sectors of the economy, economic growth, employment level, government revenue and income distribution, etc., using a general equilibrium framework. This analysis will provide government and policymakers with a comprehensive comparative analysis of various tax rate proposals. Given the low tax to GDP ratio and economic growth in Pakistan, this study will help to choose a better tax rate structure.

Duration: 08 months
Approved budget: Rs. 1,700,000/-

REVISITING URBAN IMMOVABLE PROPERTY VALUATION: AN APPRAISAL OF SPATIAL HETEROGENEITIES USING BIG DATA IN PUNJAB

DR. SHOAIB KHALID (RASTA ID# CGP 02-150)
Assistant Professor
Government College (GC) University, Faisalabad

This study aims to undertake the urban immovable property valuation in major cities of Punjab, using big data and advanced spatial analysis techniques to explore the significant impact of location-specific parameters on the urban immovable property prices. It argues that the current system of valuation of immovable properties (DC rates and FBR rates) by the government agencies is inefficient, non-scientific and inconsistent. Due to the poor official property valuation system and low regulatory oversight, most of the gains go unreported, which in turn gives rise to black economy practices and loss of revenue for the national exchequer. To compute immovable property values, the study will use Geographic Information System (GIS) and Big Data analytics. Furthermore, it will also calculate the dead capital in urban centres. The study will help to establish a more sophisticated system of valuation of immovable properties based not only on the structural attributes but on the spatial variables as well.

Duration: 08 months
Approved budget: Rs. 3,000,000/-

THE ONGOING CRISIS IN THE SUGAR INDUSTRY

BARRISTER AHSAN JAMAL PIRZADA (RASTA ID# CGP 02-157)
Senior Partner
Jamal & Jamal Advocates & Legal Consultants, Islamabad

This study is based on a multidisciplinary approach to analyse laws governing the sugar industry and the implications thereof. It focuses on the current market operation within Pakistan, critically contrasting it with the model implemented within different jurisdictions for the effective market operation of the sugar industry. It highlights the inefficaciousness and longstanding practices of the market players, how these are supported by existing legal structures, and how these undermine competition. While the sugar industry is highly significant towards the economy of Pakistan and regardless of the so-called stringent legislative control, which has without a doubt failed, this study shall focus on unveiling the adverse implications of these rules and regulations and analyze a more viable model for an effective market operation. This project shall unveil adverse implications of the overregulation employed for the governance of the sugar industry by analyzing the law and exploring a more viable model for efficacious market operations.

Duration: 06 months
Approved budget: Rs. 1,500,000/-