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Fiscal Decentralisation and Economic Development: The Kerala Experience signifies a substantial contribution of the trends in the central government’s fiscal transfers and its impact on Kerala and all state finances between the fiscal years 1980–81 and 2012–13.
Regional disparity in resource transfer and economic development are often sources of political tensions and dissatisfaction in a federal system. The fundamental economic argument advanced in favour of decentralised government activity has been that decentralisation is a means to enhance the efficiency of government activity, to increase social welfare and to promote economic development and growth. Despite constitutional recognition of the third tier in 1992, analysis of fiscal decentralisation incorporating the role and functions of the third tier in conjunction with the first two tiers does not exist.
This study is an attempt to provide a more complete picture of the fiscal federalism in Kerala incorporating all the three tiers of government. Before the policymakers shift to some new theories on deciding the allocation of very valuable scarce national resources to states through the Finance Commission and Planning Commission and thereby providing strong incentives to influence the development strategy of states, it is pertinent that we consider some empirical relationships from the data on Indian states and this book hopes to provide some insight into this direction, which will be highly useful to policy makers, administrators and academics.
This book focuses on the provision of basic social services, in particular, access to education, as the central building blocks of any human development strategy and it also signifies a substantial contribution towards the central role of education in social mobility. In examining the impact of educational development of any society or group, the questions that the proponents of egalitarian approach ask are: Who benefits? Who loses? What is the resulting socio-economic status of the people? Although gender inequality in education is not so prominent in Kerala, the difference between communities and classes is one of the critical aspects of this broader phenomenon of disparity in Kerala. Recent studies regarding poverty and inequality show that although poverty is declining, inequality between socio-economic groups is increasing in Kerala. In this scenario, the educational backwardness of the socio-economic groups in Kerala is a matter of particular concern to the policy makers and this book hopes to provide some insight into this subject. It will be highly useful to policy makers, administrators and academicians.