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1. In recent years surveys of varying detail are undertaken every fi ve years.

2. For example, in 1996–97 state governments raised about 37 per cent of the combined

revenues of the center and the states, but undertook over 58 per cent of total expenditures

by the two tiers of government. For a more comprehensive discussion of the federal fi scal

architecture, see Joshi (1999).

3. In addition to the Center and the States, a third tier of the government, namely local

bodies, also exists but was not mentioned in the Constitution until 1993 when the 73rd and

the 74th Constitutional Amendments assigned some functions to the local bodies. Under

the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution, states were required to introduce a strengthened

system of local government (Panchayat Raj). The government structure at the district level

and below is now three tiered, though the names of each tier occasionally vary across

states. The three tiers are (1) Zilla Parishad at the district level; (2) Panchayat Samiti at

the block level; and (3) Gram Panchayat at the local level, typically comprising a group

of villages. In addition, each village has a Gram Sabha or village assembly comprising all

adults in the village, and to which certain development and other functions are allocated.

Although the effective transfer of power to lower tiers of government has varied across

states, most CSS including poverty-targeting programs are implemented through local

government units.

4. The fi scal year in India is from 1 April to 31 March. These data refer to budget allocations.

Actual utilization by the States is typically much lower due to various factors (Shariff et

al., 2002).

5. Initially most of these schemes were fully fi nanced by the central government but this

has evolved over time into a shared burden with states contributing anywhere from 10

to 90 per cent of the scheme funding, with 25 per cent as the typical norm.

6. For example, during the ninth five-year plan the department of Agriculture and

Cooperation ran 147 schemes with a fi ve-year outlay of Rs 92.3 billion, implemented

by 7500 people working in 182 offi ces across the country. Similarly, there were 17

independent schemes under the department of Women and Child Development, all

aimed at development of women (GOI, 2000).

7. Under the Targeted PDS eligible families were issued with ration cards for use at fair

price shops. They are entitled to a ration of foodgrains per month (set at 35 kg in 2002)

at half the normal price in the PDS shops.

8. In a case study of three villages in Uttar Pradesh, one of the largest and poorest states in

the country, Srivastava (2004) documents the process of identifi cation of poor households.

None of the villages had cards issued, though the survey was completed. In practice,

the survey was substituted by a list of poor households in each village drawn up by the

Village Development Offi cer in consultation with the village chief (instead of an open

meeting of the village assembly) and forwarded to the district level. At the same time, it

was expected some names from the list would be deleted at higher levels of administration

due to a ceiling on the total number of poor. Meanwhile, many village residents were

confused by a profusion of color-coded cards allowing different privileges, due to cards

issued earlier as part of the PDS as well as other cards issued under a state-government

scheme targeting poor households.

9. For example, according to the National Sample Survey, 70 per cent or more of the total

population consumed less than 2100 calories per day in all available years since 1993–94.

Data from the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau shows that 48 per cent of all adults

are malnourished, while according to the National Family Health Survey, almost 47 per

cent of all children are malnourished (Karat, 2003).

10. Administratively those seeking to work in EAS had to fi rst apply and register. A project

report had to be prepared initially, submitted to the district administrator (the Collector),

who then would seek funds from the central Ministry. In practice Collectors took key

decisions on where and how the funds would be used (GOI, 2000).

11. In one of the six villages, the head was also the owner of the subsidized food outlet, while

in another the local administration had close ties to the owner of a ‘toddy’ (country-liquor)

shop. Instead of the mandated wage of Rs 56 per day, men in that village were given Rs

40 and two bottles of toddy and women received Rs 30 and one bottle (Deshingkar and

Johnson, 2003).

12. A host of other schemes co-existing with the IRDP, such as the Training of Rural Youth

for Self Employment, Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas, Supply of

Improved Toolkits to Rural Artisans and the Million Wells Scheme, were merged into

the SGSY.

13. Small borrower accounts are defi ned as accounts with less than Rs 25 000 outstanding,

and accounted for 71 per cent of total bank deposits in 2001.

14. Commercial banks in India are required to target 40 per cent of their lending to priority

sectors defi ned by the government.

15. Formally self-help groups may be formed by NGOs or by offi cials of local government

(or even banks). However, once formed, members of a group have to meet regularly

over a period of at least six months, make regular contributions of funds, and maintain

proper books before becoming eligible to receive funding from banks under the SGSY


16. The popularity of IAY as a source of patronage is evidenced by requests by members

of the national parliament for a larger quota of housing whose allocation is under their

control (Nayak et al., 2002).

17. The CAG audit tested about a third of the expenditures under the IAY, which cumulatively

built almost fi ve million units during the reference period. An examination of a third

of this amount, that is roughly 1.6 million units, found that roughly 2.2 per cent of the

benefi ciaries (34 542) were ineligible (CAG, 2003).

18. There are two other CSS schemes under the National Social Assistance Program, namely

the National Family Benefi t Scheme and the National Maternity Benefi t Scheme. The

government is also introducing pension reforms to increase fi scal sustainability of its

pension liabilities and expand coverage to the informal sector.