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What is a randomised controlled trial?

The new Economics Nobel laureates – Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer – are considered to be instrumental in using randomised controlled trials to test the effectiveness of various policy interventions to alleviate poverty.

What is a randomised controlled trial?

It is an experiment that is designed to isolate the influence that a certain intervention or variable has on an outcome or event.

Why is randomised controlled trial so popular?

  1. At any point in time, there are multiple factors that work in tandem to influence various social events.
  2. RCTs allow economists and other social science researchers to isolate the individual impact that a certain factor alone has on the overall event.
  3. For instance, to measure the impact that hiring more teachers can have on children’s learning, researchers must control for the effect that other factors such as intelligence, nutrition, climate, economic and social status etc., which may also influence learning outcomes to various degrees, have on the final event.
  4. Randomised controlled trials promise to overcome this problem through the use of randomly picked samples.


Many development economists believe that RCTs can help governments to find, in a thoroughly scientific way, the most potent policy measures that could help end poverty rapidly.

Criticisms of randomised controlled trials:

As per economist Angus Deaton, who won the economics Nobel Prize in 2015, “Understanding and misunderstanding randomised control trials” that simply choosing samples for an RCT experiment in a random manner does not really make these samples identical in their many characteristics. While two randomly chosen samples might turn out to be similar in some cases, he argued, there are greater chances that most samples are not really similar to each other.

Other economists argue that social science research, including research in the field of development economics, may be inherently unsuited for such controlled research since it may be humanly impossible to control for multiple factors that may influence social events.

No Assam govt jobs for those with more than two children:

The Assam Cabinet has decided that no government jobs will be given to persons having more than two children after January 1, 2021.

In September 2017, the Assam Assembly had passed the ‘Population and Women Empowerment Policy of Assam’ that specified that job candidates with two children only would be eligible for government employment and the existing government staff were to strictly follow the two children family norm.

AMRUT mission

 Unable to meet set targets for urban renewal in 500 cities, the Centre has decided to extend the mission period of its flagship initiative Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) by two more years.

About AMRUT mission:

Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) is the new avatar of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). But, in a significant departure from the earlier mission, the Centre will not appraise individual projects.

The Mission will focus on the following Thrust Areas:

  1. Water Supply.
  2. Sewerage and septage management.
  3. Storm Water Drainage to reduce flooding
  4. Non-motorized Urban Transport.
  5. Green space/parks.

Five hundred cities have been selected under AMRUT. The category of cities that have been selected under AMRUT is given below:

  1. All Cities and Towns with a population of over one lakh with notified Municipalities as per Census 2011, including Cantonment Boards (Civilian areas).
  2. All Capital Cities/Towns of States/ UTs, not covered in above.
  3. All Cities/ Towns classified as Heritage Cities by MoHUA under the HRIDAY Scheme.
  4. Thirteen Cities and Towns on the stem of the main rivers with a population above 75,000 and less than 1 lakh.
  5. Ten Cities from hill states, islands and tourist destinations (not more than one from each State).

Other facts:

  1. Under this mission, 10% of the budget allocation will be given to states and union territories as incentive based on the achievement of reforms during the previous year.
  2. States will only submit state annual action Plans to the centre for broad concurrence based on which funds will be released.
  3. Central assistance will be to the extent of 50% of project cost for cities and towns with a population of up to 10 lakhs and one-third of the project cost for those with a population of above 10 lakhs.
  4. Under the mission, states will transfer funds to urban local bodies within 7 days of transfer by central government and no diversion of funds to be made failing which penal interest would be charged besides taking other adverse action by the centre.

‘Nagpur Resolution: A holistic approach for empowering citizens’:

The ‘Nagpur Resolution – A holistic approach for empowering citizens’ has been adopted at the end of the Regional Conference on ‘Improving Public Service Delivery – Role of Governments’, held recently in Nagpur, Maharashtra.

Key facts:

  • The conference was organised by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Government of India, in collaboration with the Government of Maharashtra and the Maharashtra State Commission for Right to Public Services.
  • Previously, the Shillong Declaration and the Jammu Resolution have been adopted for good governance.

Overview of the resolution:

As per the resolution, the GOI, the Government of Maharashtra and other participating States shall collaborate to:

  1. To empower the citizens by policy interventions for better service delivery through timely updation of citizens charters, implementation of enactments and benchmarking standards for continuous improvement;
  2. To empower citizens by adopting a bottom-up approach to bring massive improvements in quality of grievance redressal and reduction in timelines of grievance redressal;
  3. To adopt a holistic approach of systemic public grievance reforms through improved mapping, formulation of monitoring matrix, data collection and evaluation in quality of grievance redressal;
  4. To provide an enabling environment for States and Ministries/Departments of the Government of India for creating web portals and to adopt a holistic approach for improved service delivery through digital platforms;
  5. To focus on dynamic policy-making and strategic decisions, monitoring of implementation, appointment of key personnel, coordination and evaluation;
  6. To achieve a sense of common identity by exchange of technical expertise in the areas of Improved Service Delivery between the paired States under the Ek Bharat – Shreshth Bharat Program;
  7. To ensure timely publication of Good Governance Index to identify the quality of governance in 10 sectors especially those pertaining to welfare and infrastructure at the Union, State and District levels.
May 2024