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

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Issues before the Ninth Finance Commission

Issues before the Ninth Finance Commission S Guhan AT the outset, I should apologise for neglecting, in the last few weeks, the sacred duty of keeping abreast with the EPW which is what has caused the delay in responding to K R G Nair's comments (EPW, May 28) on my article "issues before the Ninth Finance Commission; On Closing the Pandora's Box" (EPW, February 6).

Issues before Ninth Finance Commission-On Closing the Pandora s Box

Issues before Ninth Finance Commission On Closing the Pandora's Box S Guhan Articles 280 (3) (a) and (b) of the constitution, which contain the basic mandate for finance commissions, require that they shall be called upon to recommend the distribution between the union and the states, and between the states, of shareable taxes under Articles 270 (income taxes other than the corporation tax) and 272 (union excise duties) and to recommend grants-in-aid to states which may be in "need of assistance" under Article 275. This paper examines the issues involved in the manner in which the Ninth Finance Commission has been called upon to approach its basic mandate of transfers under Articles 270, 272 and 275. The terms of reference for the commission have opened a Pandora's box. The author dwells on the pestilential contents of the box and draws some pointers on what it will involve to close the box so that hope may continue to remain within.

Bureaucracy in India Immunity and Infection

Bureaucracy in India; Immunity and Infection S Guhan Government and Bureaucracy in India 1947-1976 by B B Misra; Oxford University Press, 1986; pp xi + 416, Rs 170.

Fiscal Policy, Projections and Performance

S Guhan The Budget for 1986-87 is the first one to follow the publication of the Seventh Plan and the Long-Term Fiscal Policy (LTFP). The Plan document gives the latest estimates in regard to the financing of the Sixth Plan and sets out a specific scheme for the financing of the Seventh. The LTFP provides a historical review of budgetary trends, identifies the major issues that have emerged, and projects the pattern of Plan and non-Plan financing for 1985-90. The Plan and the LTFP outline the desirable directions in which fiscal policy ought to evolve. We thus have a quantitative and qualitative framework with reference to which the first two budgets of the present government can be assessed.

Anti-Poverty Programmes in Asia

Anti-Poverty Programmes in Asia S Guhan Strategies for Alleviating Poverty in Rural Asia edited by Rizwanul Islam; ARTEP, Bangkok; pp xii + 315, US $ 10.

Devolution Criteria From Gamble to Policy

Devolution Criteria: From Gamble to Policy S Guhan The strength of the Indian Centre-State fiscal system is that it provides mechanisms in the Finance and Planning Commissions which can redistribute national resources between the Centre and the states and amongst the latter in the light of the twin considerations of ability and need. The weakness has been that in the actual working of the two Commissions there has been a lack of both clarity and co-ordination in regard to ways in which each Commission could address itself to upgrading ability while responding to needs and, concurrently and conversely, compensate for backwardness while upgrading ability This paper seeks to outline an approach to deal with this problem.

Iruvelpattu Revisited

S Guhan Joan P Mencher This paper presents the findings of a resurvey of lruvelpattu, a village in the South Arcot district of Tamilnadu. It is one of the 'South Indian Villages' surveyed originally by Gilbert Slater and his students in 1916, with this village being the initial one surveyed by Slater personally.

Management of Poverty or Vice-Versa

Bureaucracy and the Poor: Closing the Gap edited by David C Kortan and Felipe B Alfonso; McGraw-Hill International Book Company. 1981; pp 258 + xiv.

The Twenty-Point Framework

The Twenty-Point Framework S Guhan SANKARA has an evocative description in the Bhoja Govindam: "The days pale into the evenings, winter and spring repeat themselves, time is playful, and life proceeds...." Five months of intense activity in the Planning Commission, Finance and other Ministries, and in Public Sector Corporations, open and secret consultations, rounds of discussions between the Centre and the states, dark hints and promises. Industry advising Government and Government advising Itself (vide the Economic Survey) all climax on a Saturday afternoon at the end of February. It is Derby Day for the official gallery, the Cabinet enters in a herd from its meeting on the Budget, and the Finance Minister rises to present his proposals. Spot reactions- senile or infantile-follow on the radio and on television. Much newsprint is spilled in the coming week. The next three months of parliamentary time are taken up in the detailed and non-detailed discussion of the Budget, relieved only by calls for quorum. The official machinery is brought to a standstill keeping track of it. It is all over in mid-summer leaving Ministers free to go on their foreign trips. Four months later, duly rested, we are into the preparations for the next round. Time plays, life proceeds, but as Sankara ends the verse, "delusion does not depart".

A Theory of adJustice-World Development Report 1981

World Development Report 1981 S Guhan World Development Report 1981; The World BanK, Washington, DC, August 1981; pp viii + 192. THE World Development Report (WDR) 1981 is the fourth in the series, the experiment having been initiated by Robert S McNamara in 1978 on the basis, if recollection is right, of a desire expressed in the London summit of OECD powers in 1977. Pre- sumably, the summit felt that since it might take a while to deal satisfactorily with international development problems, such problems should be at least satisfactorily documented once a year. McNamara, always ready to accept a challenge, decided that these reports should be produced in the World Bank. His reason for this decision, as expressed in his foreword to WDR 1978, was as follows: "The World Bank, with its broad-based membership, its long experience, and its daily involvement with the development problems of its members is in a unique position to analyse the inter-relationships between the principal components of the development process". On the need for the document, he was equally clear: "... whatever the uncertainties of the future, governments have to act. They are faced with the necessity of daily decisions. And hence the quality of the information, and the range of available choices on which those decisions will have to be made become critically important. That is why we have undertaken this analysis". The WDR then is the document that relates the World Bank's "daily involvement with development problems" to the need of governments to "take daily decisions" in regard to the development process.

The Cluster Approach

 The Cluster Approach S Guhan THIS book is part of the output from the 'Tumkur Project' of the Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore. The project is a systematic, interdisciplinary attempt to look at problems of rural development in the perspective of clusters of villages as the 'unit-area' of development. The 'cluster approach' was first outlined by V K R V Rao in his Convocation Address (1977) to the Indian Agricultural Research Institute. It is based on the perception that" both welfare-oriented and growth-oriented rural development should be optimally planned for on the basis of groups or clusters of villages rather than on single village basis or in terms of ad- ministrative units such as blocks and taluks.

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