India’s Human Capital: The Regulatory Context for Leveraging Federalism

Authors

Abstract

Investing in human capital through interventions in nutrition, health, and education is critical for achieving sustainable inclusive growth. However, despite many public interventions, India’s human capital indicators remain low, and have likely worsened from the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also significant inter-State disparities. India’s human capital interventions have been marked by growing centralisation, not just by the Centre vis-à-vis the States, but also by the States vis-à-vis local governments, that form the third tier in India’s federal structure. This growing centralisation may have misaligned incentives with respect to accountability and effective delivery of public services. Drawing from international best practices and an analysis of the constitutional scheme, a more decentralised and targeted approach within the contours of India’s federal structure may be the best way to build civil society engagement, address failures in accountability, and ultimately, improve India’s human capital outcomes.

Keywords:

Regulatory Issues, State Governments, Local Governments, Public Health, Education

Authors Bio

Shikha Dahiya, Indian Economic Service

Shikha Dahiya is a civil servant and was a Joint Director in the Fifteenth Finance Commission.

Kevin James, Centre for Social and Economic Progress

Kevin James is a Research Associate at Centre for Social and Economic Progress

Kandarp Patel, National Academy of Audit and Accounts

Kandarp Patel is a civil servant and was a Director in the Fifteenth Finance Commission

Aditi Pathak, Indian Economic Service

Aditi Pathak is a civil servant and was a Joint Director in the Fifteenth Finance Commission.

Anoop Singh, Centre for Social and Economic Progress

Anoop Singh is a Distinguished Fellow at Centre for Social and Economic Progress and was a Member of the Fifteenth Finance Commission.

Published

2021-09-10