- Arvind Mayaram, Vice Chairman, Rajasthan Economic Transformation Advisory Council and Economic Adviser to the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, and Former Finance Secretary, Government of India
- Himani Baxi, Assistant Professor, Ahmedabad University
- D Vijay Kumar, Commissioner and Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya and Chief Minister’s Secretariat, Planning, Finance, Tourism, Sports and Youth Affairs, etc.
- Moderated by Avani Kapur, Director of Accountability Initiative at the Centre for Policy Research
The Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown have placed a significant fiscal burden on the Indian economy, which are likely to have long-term repercussions. But, India’s public finances were in a precarious position even prior to the pandemic.
A recent study by the Accountability Initiative revealed that factors such as the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax regime, UDAY (electricity distribution companies revival scheme), and an increase in States share for the Union government’s Centrally Sponsored Schemes, had already severely constrained the States’ revenues. As a response to mitigate the immediate effects of the pandemic, the Union government announced a range of financial relief measures. Among them is the Rs 20,000 crore Atmanirbhar Bharat package wherein the government is providing free foodgrains to the poor, cash to poor women and elderly, incentives to small-scale industries, amongst others.
The pandemic has laid bare faultlines in India’s fiscal federal architecture in which the purse strings are held by the Union and majority spenders are the States. An illustration has been the demand made by States for greater autonomy in borrowing limits and expenditure decisions, and more funds transferred directly to them.
It is against this backdrop that the Accountability Initiative is holding a webinar to delve on four important questions on the fiscal response of State and Union governments in dealing with the pandemic. These are:
- What lessons can be learnt from past trends in State finances?
- What are the adaptation strategies used by different States to ensure adequate fiscal space?
- What can a medium to long term fiscal package to stimulate the economy look like?
- How should the Union government generate finances and ensure adequate resources to States?
The schedule is as follows:
- 11.00-11.20: Introduction and Context Setting
- 11.20-12.10: Moderated Discussion
- 12:10-12.30: Questions
This webinar is part of a larger effort by the Accountability Initiative to unpack India’s pandemic response. We have already held a lively discussion with grassroots Civil Society Organisation leaders on their contribution to the pandemic response and collaboration with the government.
To RSVP for this session, send us your interest at: email@example.com.