ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Status of Women’s Reproductive Health in Bihar

Based on the National Family Health Survey data for 2015–16 and 2019–20, the article shows the precarious sexual and reproductive health of women in Bihar. While there are some improvements in this period, multiple indicators emerging from social and institutional determinants continue to show poor SRH of women in the state.

Climate Change and Disaster Management

Avinash Persaud had raised the issue of data gaps on climate change in his H T Parekh Finance column. It is elucidated herein that when different players assess the area of relevance to develop their strategies, games help in narrowing data gaps. This has immediate policy relevance because the Biden presidency’s approach to climate change has greater concern on the rights of forest dwellers of native populations.

Some Methodological Issues in India’s SDG Index Report 2019

The second edition (2019) of the Sustainable Development Goals Index India Report released by the NITI Aayog is an enhanced version that builds on the baseline report of 2018. However, the second edition could not address the methodological issues sufficiently. The justifications and coverage on several aspects, such as proxy indicator identification, target setting, state categorisation, imputation of indicators, data gaps are found to be weak. This commentary highlights some of the problems identified in the report and suggests possible solutions, which can bring more credibility and statistical acceptance to the future SDG index reports.

Indian Fiscal Federalism at the Crossroads

The abolition of the Planning Commission, the creation of the NITI Aayog, the constitutional amendment to introduce the goods and services tax, the establishment of the goods and services tax council, and the historically high tax devolution to the states based on the Fourteenth Finance Commission have changed the union–state fiscal relations fundamentally. The changing contours of union–state fiscal relations discussed in the context of the release of a recent book Indian Fiscal Federalism by Y V Reddy and G R Reddy are presented here.

NITI Aayog’s Health Index

Based on a critical review of the NITI Aayog’s recently published “Healthy States, Progressive India,” it is argued that the report provides only a superficial insight into the overall health attainment. Much deeper and careful analysis is required if one aims to unfold the complexity and varied contexts provided by Indian states, let alone ranking them on health attainment. The method of calculating the index in the report compromises scientific rigour, and the inferences drawn are highly misleading.

The Next Stage of Planning in India

A close review of the Niti Aayog’s vision document vis-à-vis earlier plans and programme details offers valuable insights and suggestions on the real issues that India must face for inclusive growth.

Majoritarian Rationale and Common Goals

Looking at existing policy instruments and goals, and the economic and social outcomes they promise to deliver, it is argued that majoritarian politics and social and cultural outcomes are not part of fringe thinking. The politics of hate actually works to build a consensus for ruling class economics. It is not surprising, therefore, that the only "nationalist outlook" of our times is to stand firmly behind the policy programme for the global investor.

Is NITI Aayog Even Thinking about Health?

The NITI Aayog has effectively stalled the finalisation and tabling of the National Health Policy 2015 in Parliament. The document, including the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare's report, should be revived to put forth a concrete plan for transforming the healthcare system in India.

Doubling Farmers' Incomes by 2022

How realistic is the objective of the Government of India to double the income of farmers by 2022? Is there a precedent? From estimates of change in income of agricultural households over the period 2003-13, this article suggests what needs to be done to achieve a doubling of real incomes. A focus on income from cultivation alone will be inadequate. Policy aimed at increasing net income from animal farming will be key.

Evolving Centre–State Financial Relations

After the Fourteenth Finance Commission award, aggregate transfers as a percentage of gross domestic product has increased, while grants as a percentage of GDP has declined. The centre is resorting to cess and surcharges that are not shared with the states. This would mean denial of revenue to states, which goes against the spirit of the Constitution. Further, the states have a reduced untied fi scal space, with the union’s share in Centrally Sponsored Schemes in 2016–17 (BE) being reduced. Finally, in the absence of plan transfers, post 2017–18, the focus should be to develop a framework for non-fi nance commission grants to states which is predictable and certain.

Role and Functions of NITI Aayog

The architecture, engineering and management aspects of the new institution, NITI Aayog, will have to be crafted carefully, if it is to serve as an institution to impart dynamism to the developmental process in a harmonious manner. Its effectiveness will depend on how it charts out a course for itself. An important question is whether the Aayog will have influence when it does not have the power to give grants and does not have the powers to make plan allocations to different ministries and departments.
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