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

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Emerging Issues in Union–State Fiscal Relations

The restructuring of non-Finance Commission Grants is an improvement when it comes to scheme-related transfers. However, when 10 schemes constitute 90% of core grants, there is further scope for rationalisation of these schemes. The implications of following a sustainable debt path under the new Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management framework in the budget indicate a larger fi scal correction at the state level vis-à-vis the union government.

Business as Usual

The global situation is tense, marked with protectionism. The domestic environment is constrained by the twin balance sheet crisis. The dull investment climate was further jeopardised by the note ban. The budget has failed to create a policy environment to kick-start a virtuous investment cycle. It has failed to address critical issue of accelerating employment.

Not for Growth

Sticking to the firm commitment to contain fiscal deficits, the reduced thrust on government spending does not seek to be countercyclical given that economic growth is falling. There is vast scope to step up collection of corporate taxes by widening the tax base through greater compliance.

What Does the Rural Economy Need?

The agricultural sector has performed worse than the other sectors over the years. The shares of non-agricultural employment and output have increased, while70% of agricultural householdscannot meet their low consumptionneeds even after diversification of sources of income. An analysis of budgetary provisions for the rural economy suggests that the government has not done enough to address some of these well-documented problems, and does not have the required vision to substantially increase rural employment opportunities.

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.

Demographic Dynamism of Punjab, 1971–2011

Three aspects of population—vital rates, population growth, and population composition—have played a key role in the demographic dynamism of Punjab since 1971. Population mobility shows a distinct pattern: outmigration and emigration from the state, and a simultaneous inflow of labour, chiefly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, leading to notable rise in Scheduled Caste population, and also a moderate increase in the share of Hindu and Muslim population.

Addressing the Agrarian Crisis in Punjab

The state of agricultural markets, the agricultural market policy and regulatory reforms in Punjab are reviewed in the context of the agrarian crisis. The farmer and farm worker manifesto of the Aam Aadmi Party is critically assessed. Policy mechanisms for agro-industrial development of the state are suggested.

Promise of Punjabi Diaspora

The Punjabi diaspora is globally dispersed with dense transnational networks. With a long history, its modern incarnation coincides with the beginnings of the Punjabi Suba movement in the 1950s. Over 85% of the Punjabis are now concentrated in Europe and North America. Political turmoil in Punjab in the 1980s created a new conflict-generated diaspora, which has become highly active in both host-land and homeland affairs. The Punjab state government’s response to the promise of Punjabi diaspora’s homeland linkages has shifted from reluctant engagement to indifference and needs a fresh initiative.

Water Use Scenario in Punjab

In view of the complexity and sensitivity of the river water sharing conflicts between Punjab and Haryana, a serious review taking into account the current availability of the quantity of water is of utmost importance. The optimum use of water, especially for paddy irrigation, can save substantial amount of water. The two states need to give increased attention to sustainable use of water, even as they assert their claims over the river waters.

Internal Caste Cleavages among Dalits in Punjab

Punjab houses the highest number of Scheduled Castes in comparison with all other states in India. Despite the common nomenclature—SCs, Dalits are sharply divided into 39 castes. This caste heterogeneity impacts their upward social mobility and political mobilisation in multifarious ways.

Cropping Pattern in Punjab (1966–67 to 2014–15)

While rice and wheat occupied 90.1% of the area in Punjab and contributed 76.9% towards production in 2014–15, the combined area under other crops, which in 1966–67 was 54.54%, has decreased drastically to 9.87% in 2014–15. This changing cropping pattern is of key significance for the present state and future prospects of Punjab economy.

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