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

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Fiscal Federalism and Regional Inequality in India

In all federal structures, the composing units are not self-sufficient financially. But, in India, the economic dependence of states on the centre is rather high because of widespread disparities in their levels of economic development. The federal transfers to the states through the Finance Commission, Planning Commission and centrally-sponsored schemes are investigated. The role of the union government in equitable direct investment, subsidy, and private investment policy for unbiased regional development is also underlined . The data proves that although the Finance Commission’s transfers are progressive, the share of devolution for low-income states is gradually decreasing. Unfortunately, all other transfers and efforts by the centre are regressive to address the regional inequality issues.

Need to Redo the Draft National Energy Policy

NITI Aayog’s Draft National Energy Policy has numerous suggestions to make but has not underlined those of critical importance. In recent years, the cost of solar and wind energy has fallen dramatically. The focus on peak oil supply has been replaced by peak oil demand. The end of the coal era has already begun. DNEP’s energy mix does not reflect these developments. Hence, NITI Aayog should redo its draft energy policy with a well-developed road map.

Does India Need a Giant Integrated Oil Company?

Over the last 22 years, there have been attempts by different governments to merge state-owned oil companies to create a mega company. Two different advisory committees have recommended against it. This article analyses different mega merger alternatives using a multiple criteria methodology based on eight factors to show that the formation of such a company could have a negative impact on energy security and competitiveness.

Political Security or Energy Security?

The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s decision to buy 80% of Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation’s interests in the Krishna Godavari basin for $1.2 billion could be a calculated gamble. While the deal has been criticised as a rescue operation to save GSPC from bankruptcy, this article attempts to take a more dispassionate look at it both from the angles of commercial interest and promoting India’s energy security.

Deconstructing Government's LPG Subsidy Savings Claim

The Comptroller and Auditor General report on the implementation of PAHAL, India's ambitious direct benefit transfer for LPG scheme, debunks the government's exaggerated subsidy savings claim. To improve the efficacy of the subsidy delivery mechanism and curb diversion of subsidised domestic LPG to the black market, the government should take serious note of the recommendations made in the CAG report.

From LPG Connections to Use

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, to provide concessional LPG connections, is a step in the right direction but much more needs to be done by 2019 and beyond to ensure homes in India cook using modern fuels. This article explores the issues of providing connections, subsidy provisioning and ensuring sustained use of LPG and other modern fuels, so as to displace solid fuels from Indian kitchens. It also highlights the need for planning for increased demand and addressing institutional gaps to ensure that the benefits of modern fuel adoption, especially health benefits, are realised.

Oil Deregulation: Losing Sight of Goals?

Rhetoric and even platitudes are necessary notes of any official policy statement. But usually the notes are the overtones of a song/symphony – not though in the government’s draft science policy statement. Drafted by a group of eminent scientists/science administrators and bureaucrats the policy, the third such statement to be issued since independence, is content to construct fetching word pictures without spelling out the processes which can reverse the steadily decreasing interest in science in the country. Even the implementation strategy document that accompanies the policy statement – an innovation, to be sure – fails to grapple with the real issues.
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