Vol. 2 No. 5 (2021): Indian Public Policy Review

					View Vol. 2 No. 5 (2021): Indian Public Policy Review

IPPR is a peer-reviewed, bi-monthly, online and an open-access journal, which carries original, analytical, policy relevant papers, book reviews, and commentaries, inter alia, Economics, Political Science, International Relations and Security, Political and Defence Strategy, and Science and Technology Policy.

In this anniversary issue, Shikha Dahiya et al. note the growing centralisation in India's human capital interventions and instead suggest a more decentralised and targeted approach within India's federal structure. Vivek Jadhav's paper measures and analyses the political concentration and inefficiency that characterise the disproportionate representation caused by the First Past The Post electoral system followed in India. Aarushi Kataria examines the content of over a thousand press releases by the Government of India during the COVID-19 crisis and argues that they served as a mechanism for the government to shape narratives in a manner that showed it in a positive light. Damodar Nepram and James Konsam explore how India's North Eastern states benefitted from the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax. Finally, Anantha Nageswaran reviews Paul Blustein's book "Schism: China, America and the fracturing of the global trade system".

Published: 2021-09-10
  • India’s Human Capital: The Regulatory Context for Leveraging Federalism

    Shikha Dahiya, Kevin James, Kandarp Patel, Aditi Pathak, Anoop Singh

    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.

  • GST Unlocks Strong Revenue Potential of India’s North Eastern States

    Damodar Nepram, James Konsam

    The north eastern (NE) states have largely benefitted from the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST) in the country. Arunachal Pradesh witnessed the highest increase in tax collections in the country, while the performance of Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland was well above the national average. This can be attributed to three distinct reasons. First, with the shift from origin-based levy to destination-based taxation in inter-state sales of goods and services, these states collected much more revenues as they are predominantly consuming states. Second, GST being a value added tax has an inbuilt mechanism for higher tax compliance. All the NE states have witnessed higher revenues from SGST, a component of GST representing taxes collected within the state. Third, the central and the state governments have also encouraged tax payments indirectly by disseminating information on the new tax system. With economic growth picking up in the NE states, GST is likely to register a strong revenue performance in the future and help in much-needed resource mobilisation for the development of the region.

  • Who gutted international trade? Hint: It is not Trump A book review of “Schism: China, America and the fracturing of the global trade system” by Paul Blustein

    V Anantha Nageswaran

    Paul Blustein's book is well written and easy on the reader. His style is fluid and lucid. Trade is a dry topic and he makes it interesting. 

  • Dual Problem of FPTP Electoral Systems: Evidence from the Indian States

    Vivek Jadhav

    Democracy across the world has witnessed the evolution of the electoral system. First-Past-The-Post (FPTP), practiced in India has certain disadvantages in terms of disproportionate representation. This paper aims to construct the Gallagher Index, Gini Coefficient, and Generalized Entropy Index to measure and analyse the political concentration and inefficiency that characterise such disproportionate representation. The Gallagher Index measures the disproportionality between seat share and vote share; as it captures the disproportionality between votes received and seats won in the house. This can be viewed as a measure of inefficiency in representing the population, inasmuch as parties with a low vote share can have a high seat share. In other words, even though voters are not preferring the particular party or set of parties, these parties can still get enough seats to govern the particular state. Further, this paper tries to build the association between inefficient representation and concentration of power. We show that the high level of inefficiency in representation observed in the Indian State Assemblies is associated with the concentration of power at the state government level. We suggest that since FPTP in Indian democracy is associated with the dual problems of inefficiency and concentration, alternatives to FPTP should be considered.

  • Shaping Narratives Through Selective Use of Numbers: A Covid-19 Case Study

    Aarushi Kataria

    In the period between March 2020 and May 2021, India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare produced 1,324 press releases, at an average of three per day. At different times, these press releases  provided different numbers relating to the COVID-19 crisis: number of cases, number of recoveries, number of deaths, quantity of medical supply, recovery rate, and case fatality rate. This paper analyses the content of the press releases and identifies patterns that correspond to  specific narratives such as hope, confidence, electoral emphasis, and deflection. The paper argues that the press releases served as a mechanism for the government to drive narratives in a manner that showed it in a favourable light, irrespective of the actual performance.