Size of Government in Kerala

Bulging Department of Agriculture in a Decentralising Structure




Kerala has devolved a large number of functions, funds and functionaries to the local governments. The state reports the highest number of local government functionaries per 1000 population among the Indian states. Adhering to the principle of subsidiarity would suggest that line departments at the state level reduce in size. The paper analyses the size of the state government in terms of employment, and in particular examines the efficiency of the Department of Agriculture by comparing the number of employees per unit area under cultivation in Kerala with that in Karnataka and Telangana. The findings are that Kerala reports 86 percent higher number of total employees per lakh population compared to Karnataka and about 25 percent higher than that in Telanagana. As regards the Department of Agriculture, while in Kerala an employee attends to 141 hectares, it is five times that area at 778 hectares in Telangana and ten times that area at 1425 hectares in Karnataka. The proportion of drivers, typists and clerks in the department in Kerala is also high. Running revenue and fiscal deficits and facing fiscal stress year after year for the last twenty years, where salary accounts for over 30% of the total revenue receipts, the state can aim for rationalization of its administration in order to have more resources for capital spending.


Government Size, Agriculture, Government Employment, Efficiency, Kerala, Decentralisation

Author Bio

Delampady Narayana

D. Narayana was the Director of Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation (GIFT), Thiruvananthapuram between 2012-13 and 2016-19.


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