Vol. 2 No. 6 (Nov-Dec) (2021): Indian Public Policy Review

					View Vol. 2 No. 6 (Nov-Dec) (2021): Indian Public Policy Review

In the sixth issue of 2021, Ritika Juneja, Ranjana Roy, and Ashok Gulati take stock of the agricultural sector -the past achievements and future challenges - in India's 75th year of independence. Vijay Kelkar, Arvind Datar and Rahul Renavikar's paper analyses the present structure and operation of GST and makes a number of proposals to simplify the tax, reduce its cascading effects, lower the compliance burden, and improve revenue productivity. Arnab Mukherji documents the size of the economic impact of the pandemic on various child-specific schemes in Karnataka and proposes a prioritisation framework. Sneha et al perform an in-depth analysis of the causes and consequences of indecision and risk aversion in the Indian bureaucracy. M Govinda Rao writes a review article based on Madhav Godbole's book "India – A Federal Union of States: Fault Lines, Challenges and Opportunities”.


Published: 2021-11-19
  • Indian Agriculture @ 75 Past achievements and future challenges

    Ritika Juneja, Ranjana Roy, Ashok Gulati

    India has experienced significant transformation in its economy since independence, especially agriculture. From a severely food-deficit nation during mid-1960s to a self-sufficient one, and becoming the largest exporter of rice and the largest producer of milk in 2020-21 is not a small achievement. Similar break-throughs have been achieved in poultry, fishery, fruits and vegetables, and cotton. All this was made possible with liberal infusion of modern technology, institutional innovations that made small holders part of this change, and enabling right incentives to cultivators. This holds lessons for many developing countries in south and south-east Asia as well as in African continent. But India still faces many challenges on food security front. Malnutrition rates amongst children remain high, and agricultural production begs the question of sustainability as water table in most parts of the country is falling rapidly. Also, the food system needs to move from ‘tonnage centric to farmer centric’ as incomes of agri-households remain pretty low, largely because of small holding sizes. It is high time that India opens up land lease markets, build efficient supply chains with Farmer Producer Organisations by infusing digital technologies to unleash next technological revolution that promotes efficiency, inclusiveness, and sustainability in agriculture through precision agriculture.

  • Moving Towards a World-Class GST

    Vijay Kelkar, Arvind Datar, Rahul Renavikar

    The paper analyses the present structure and operation of GST and makes a number of proposals to simplify the tax, reduce its cascading effects, lower the compliance burden on taxpayers, and improve revenue productivity. The important recommendations include (i) expanding the tax base and reducing the cascading effects by bringing petroleum products, electricity, potable alcohol, and real estate into the tax net immediately; (ii) replacing the multiple tax rates with a single rate on goods and services ; (iii) making PAN the single GST identification number, and doing away with the State-based GST registration requirement to ease compliance burden; (iv) creating a GST Tribunal, or strengthening the present CESTAT as a National Indirect Taxes Tribunal, similar to the present ITAT, and making the AAR and the Appellate AAR truly independent bodies, not manned by departmental officers; (v) ensuring a uniform and consistent application of GST throughout the country; (vi) setting up an independent National GST Secretariat, headed by a Secretary-General represented by the Centre and the State Government officials, and a Tax Policy Advisory Committee co-opting external economists / tax experts to assist the national GST Secretariat in formulating Tax Policies; and (vii) working out a new formula for compensating the States for any loss of revenue for undertaking GST simplification based on the overall growth of the economy for a fixed period of time.

  • Securing the Future Strategizing Child Development in Karnataka in the Aftermath of COVID-19

    Arnab Mukherji

    COVID-19 has disrupted routine functioning of the economy and the delivery of welfare programs everywhere. Using the case of Karnataka, this paper document the size of the economic impact on both the state and its households, and the status of various child-specific schemes managed by the Government of Karnataka over 2020- 21. With shrinking household consumption and rising deficits of the state, there is need for operational focus on child development to ensure a healthy future for children in India. Using district level data from NFHS 5, this paper proposes a simple and easy- to-implement prioritization framework, which can be used to identify geographic focus for child development schemes in Karnataka, in order to address deficits that matter for the Global Hunger Index in a time of tightening budget constraints for both the state and households.

  • Fault lines, Litany of Blunders in the Federal Union of States

    M Govinda Rao

    Review article on “India – A Federal Union of States: Fault Lines, Challenges and Opportunities” by Madhav Godbole

  • Bureaucratic Indecision and Risk Aversion in India

    Sneha P, Neha Sinha, Ashwin Varghese, Avanti Durani, Ayush Patel

    The Indian bureaucracy suffers from indecision and risk aversion, resulting in an inordinate focus on routine tasks, coordination failures, process overload, poor perception, motivational issues, and a deterioration in the quality of service delivery. We argue that bureaucratic indecision, in large part, is a form of rational self- preservation exercised by bureaucrats from the various legal and extra-legal risks to their person, careers and reputation. These risks originate from problems of organizational design, institutional norms, and other political factors. The research for this paper included a review of interdisciplinary literature on bureaucracy and policy decisions, combined with semi-structured interviews. We interviewed current and ex-bureaucrats from India and other Asian and African countries, political scientists, and other policy researchers. We also conducted a document analysis of historical and contemporary, administrative, and legal documents, including committee reports, acts and rules, annual reports, and other government publications. We summarise the evidence on factors such as penal transfers, overload, inadequate training, process accountability, contradictory rules, and political patronage.