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

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Public Report on Health

A bottom-up view of the health conditions and services in six states - three performing and three not-so-well performing ones - was arrived at through a study by a multidisciplinary team with varied experiences in health research. This paper presents the results of a Public Report on Health that was initiated in 2005 to understand public health issues for people from diverse backgrounds living in different region-specific contexts. The findings, which have policy implications, have been used to analyse the ongoing official attempts to deal with the various challenges thrown up by the National Rural Health Mission.

Equalising Transfers through the Finance Commission

This article discusses the issues that the Thirteenth Finance Commission has to address to enable it to design a scheme of transfers that is just and fair to all states. A significant fiscal correction took place in most states over the last four years. The most important trend that has emerged is the differing significance of transfers to the rich and poor states. It is imperative that the thFC accepts the concept of equalisation as the guiding principle in deciding transfers. Another issue it may have to address is the mix of tax share and grants.

Obituary: K R Narayanan- Making of a President

K R Narayanan's journey of life from a 'chetta kudil' (meanest hut) to Rashtrapathi Bhavan is a saga which has no parallel in India and is certainly more remarkable than that of Abraham Lincoln from a log cabin to the White House.

Debt Relief for States

The Twelfth Finance Commission has made significant recommendations on debt relief for states. The quantum of relief is substantial and the conditionalities - passage of a fiscal responsibility legislation and reduction of revenue deficits - are not unreasonable. However, single-minded pursuit of fiscal correction to get the benefit of debt relief can have disastrous implications for states where social and economic infrastructure investments have been insufficient. Some of them will have to impose heavy cuts on development expenditure to adhere to the tight schedule to bring down the revenue deficit to zero by 2008-09. A more rational approach may have been to allow them to follow more realistic adjustment paths over a longer period.

Widening Regional Disparities in India

Inter-state economic and social disparities in India have been increasing in spite of various governmental measures to develope backward areas. This article assesses disparities in terms of demographic indicators, female literacy, state domestic product and poverty, development and non-development expenditure by state government, shares in plan outlay, investments, banking activities and infrastructure development.

State Government Finances

This paper attempts to bring out the deteriorating trend in state finances in recent years, in particular during the last two years. Failure to contain wasteful expenditure and reluctance to raise additional resources on the part of the states are the main causes. Tax wars among state governments to attract private investments in the wake of economic reforms as well as competitive populism on the part of ruling parties and contenders for power led to this. The last blow has been the pay revision of employees forced upon the state governments by the centre's unilateral decision to implement Fifth Pay Commission Report. Consequently, states are starved of funds to meet the essential investment needs in social and infrastructure sectors. Large borrowings are resorted to by several states just to meet the current expenditure. Almost all the indicators of fiscal health of the state economies are steadily deteriorating. The paper reaches the conclusion that unless drastic measures to correct the situation are resorted to without delay, finances of several states will collapse.

Employment Potential in Rural India-An Analysis

An alarming aspect of the Indian economy during the recent past has been the deceleration in the growth of employment which accompanied the accelerated economic growth. This article systematically explores the employment potential in the rural areas with particular emphasis on agriculture and allied sectors. It attempts an analysis of trends in distribution of operational holdings on the basis of the available time series data. The employment potential of animal husbandry and allied activities and their spatial distribution are also discussed, and a later section deals with the irrigation resources of the country and their regional distribution. A detailed analysis of labour absorption in the crop sector on the basis of cost of cultivation data for all the major crops in the country is presented with a discussion of issues emerging from the present analysis which have a bearing on public policy planning for the current decade.

Anti-Poverty Programme A Reappraisal

N J Kurian To issues which are being much debated today in the context of the Eighth Plan are decentralised planning and the involvement of panchayati raj bodies at various levels in the implementation of anti-poverty programmes. These are vital issues which can make a spectacular difference to the effectiveness of the anti-poverty programmes. The focus of this article is on the Integrated Rural Development Programme.

IRDP How Relevant Is It

N J Kurian The Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) is the centre-piece of anti-poverty programmes in India. The core of the IRDP is to provide poor families with income-generating assets to enable them to cross the poverty line. What share of IRDP assistance goes to the deserving poor? What kind of assets are they provided with? What is the order of leakages that take place? What are the problems associated with bank financing of IRDP? Are IRDP loans bad debts? Do the assets remain with the beneficiaries? Are they better off due to IRDP assistance? What proportion of them cross the poverty line?
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