ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Incongruence between Announcements and Allocations

A scrutiny of the Indian economy and the state of public finances reveals that while there are a few areas of improvement under the current government, the economy remains fragile and, worryingly, the situation has worsened in some other respects. It was hoped that the Union Budget 2018–19 would take measures to address some of these concerns but these expectations have been belied. Budget 2018–19, possibly with an eye on elections, has made grand announcements instead of taking hard decisions and making adequate allocations towards key sectors of the economy.

An Examination of Revenue Generation

The revenue side of the budget is scrutinised to understand if the government is being realistic about revenue generation in 2017–18. Clearly, there is over-optimism, given that economic growth will be slow. Too much is expected from voluntary disclosure and penalties, while incentives are not in place. It would make sense to allow some slippage in the deficit targets in order to revive the economy. In addition, the increasing problem of cesses is discussed with reference to the Krishi Kalyan Cess to assess whether cesses serve the purpose for which they are introduced.

Lacking in Substance

Budget 2016-17 was presented after the Economic Survey recognised weaknesses in the Indian economy and raised hopes that the government would usher in major changes to enthuse the private sector to invest and grow once again. The dire situation of the rural sector was sought to be addressed through measures to alleviate suffering. Indeed, the slew of announcements sound impressive but, in reality, are quite modest.

Long on Announcements, Short on Intent

The first full-year budget of the National Democratic Alliance government announced a sharp focus on investment, growth and social security. In addition, Budget 2015-16 claims to have given a boost to cooperative federalism. The budget indeed makes numerous impressive-sounding announcements, but stumbles in the details. This article focuses on the attention-grabbing push for investments and finds that the target of Rs 70,000 crore investment may be over-ambitious. As far as devolution of funds to states is concerned, the recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission have been diluted and the states may find themselves short-changed.

Transformations, Then and Now: The Appeal of Karl Polanyi

Karl Polanyi's views on the nature of "pre-market" society are influential not only among historians but also among economists concerned with present-day transitional and developing economies. This paper examines Polanyi's arguments about the "Great Transformation" from traditional to market society in the light of recent advances in economic theory and empirical evidence from a range of European and non-European societies. These theoretical and empirical considerations provide little support for Polanyi's views concerning fundamental discontinuities between traditional and market societies. The paper concludes that Polanyi's rosy view of pre-market society provides an inappropriate historical basis for addressing the challenges faced by present-day transitional and developing economies.

Learning Public Finance

Learning Public Finance Readings in Public Finance by Amaresh Bagchi (ed); Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2005; AJIT KARNIK The book under review presents a selection of articles in the area of public finance. The objective is to provide students and teachers of economics with access to some of the writings by leading scholars in the field. Bearing in mind the fact that

Impressive Grandstanding but Empty Coffers

Budget 2005-06 seeks to paint a picture of a government committed to pushing the development of sectors that have been neglected during the process of economic reforms. Unfortunately, it wishes to do this without bringing about structural changes in its public finances. There exists a serious malaise in the quality of government expenditures, which can be ignored only at great peril.

Reforming Property Tax System

This paper has been written in the context of the clamour for reform in the property tax systems in Indian municipalities. Recent attempts at reform have been based on shifting away from the age-old rental value based system of property taxation. The authors explore the possibility of an alternative capital value based system for a metropolitan city and address the intricacies of a smooth shift-over to the alternative, taking into consideration the pre-reform utility positions of both the property owners and the local government.

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