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

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Perplexing Data


The article “Challenges to Indian Fiscal Federalism” (EPW, 2 March 2019) provides a long-range historical perspective on how fiscal relations have evolved between the states and the union. The article is scholarly in its scope and raises a few interesting points that call for further deliberation. However, some important numerical calculations leave the reader somewhat perplexed.

Table 3, “Composition of Central Grants, 1999–2000 to 2016–17” highlights the various sources of revenue for the states and how the composition has varied since the start of the 21st century. There are two issues with this table: (i) the total of the columns does not individually add up to 100% (the totals range between 135.92 and 98.02); (ii) the average is calculated using these numbers that do not add up, but more importantly, the average is a simple average of the four numbers, without weighting them for the number of years that each number represents. Since the numbers underlying these calculations are not readily available as part of the text, it is not possible for the reader to understand the implication of these errors. The overall points may still hold directionally, but it will be helpful to base the discussions in actual numbers.

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Updated On : 22nd Mar, 2019
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