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

Chirashree Das GuptaSubscribe to Chirashree Das Gupta

‘Fiscal Federalism’ in India since 1991

The “reforms” in 1991 laid out a new trajectory in which federalism was dichotomised into two parts—political and fiscal. The fiscal was privileged and used to undermine the political. Fiscal federalism in India since 1991 rests on the contradictions generated by the theoretical infirmities of the sound finance paradigm along with a concerted undermining of federal provisions. This political drive is in keeping with the agenda since 1991, eroding the relative autonomy of the state to turn it into a facilitator of a macroeconomic expansion process in which the wage–surplus distribution becomes more and more favourable to capital.

Historiography sans History

Responding to Tirthankar Roy's article "The Economic Legacies of Colonial Rule in India: Another Look" (EPW, 11 April 2015), which reinterprets the economic legacy of British rule in India, this article critically interrogates the relationship between ideology, perspective, and method in an emerging strand of economic history. This strand tries to make history writing on colonialism consistent with the rationalisation(s) of contemporary globalisation. This article traces the ideological basis of "neutrality," explores the conceptual and historical fallacies of the "openness" paradigm, and assesses the methodological inconsistencies of cost-benefit analysis in the historiography of reinterpretations of colonialism in India.

The Tenacity of the Hindu Undivided Family

The key houses of business, both old and new, found ways to maintain control over decision-making through the institutional structure of the family-run business house. This article attempts to point out the unique interstices of gender, property and religion in the facilitation of the family-run business house as the locus of organisation of industry and commerce in India.

Unravelling Bihar's 'Growth Miracle'

It has now become almost conventional wisdom that Bihar under the National Democratic Alliance government has moved onto a new and higher growth path. An examination of the Central Statistical Organisation data for the decade since 1999-2000, however, reveals a cyclical move towards a higher growth continuum rather than any structural break under the nda government. The recent growth path represents the resumption of a long, fluctuating and volatile movement towards a trade-led higher growth continuum that had started in 1994-95 but was interrupted by the impact of bifurcation of Bihar in 2001. A preliminary proposition is that the process of movement to a higher growth continuum since 1994-95 in Bihar follows from the diversified patterns of accumulation through the agency of new entrants to accumulation as an outcome of the social justice movement in Bihar. The evidence presented here belies the propositions around a "growth miracle" under the nda government and indicates a politically fractious movement of Bihar's economy since bifurcation to a volatile higher growth continuum that is lopsided in three dimensions - regional, sectoral and social.

Political Implications of Inter-State Disparity

This study attempts to analyse the political implications of regional disparity in India in the post-independence period, keeping in view the nature of federalism and democracy enshrined in the Constitution. It presents the crucial findings on regional disparity since the 1960s, and investigates the observed trends from the perspective of the federal aspects of the Constitution. It also notes the challenges posed by regional disparities to the overall functioning of democracy and its evolution over the last six decades. The conclusion situates certain changes in the institutional role of finance commissions over the post-independence period in the light of the observations on the link between regional disparity, federalism and democracy.
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