K.N. RAJ STUDY CENTRE FOR PLANNING AND CENTRE -STATE FINANCIAL RELATIONS

 MAHATMA GANDHI UNIVERSITY

Priyadarshini Hills P.O.
Kottayam, Kerala-686560

MISSION STATEMENT 

To provide exemplary training and research programmes in Economics for students and researchers; to provide services to the university, to professional and policy-making communities, and to the public. It will be accomplished by educating/training students to be leaders in their disciplinary profession; conducting exceptional basic, public policy/developmental services research; advocating for improvement in inclusive growth and development; and building a collaborative, diverse environment that values and rewards innovation, productivity and critical thinking.

 VISION STATEMENT

The vision of the K. N. Raj Study Centre for Planning and Centre-State Financial Relations (KNRC) is to be the leading academic Centre for innovative interdisciplinary research and training in Economics.  The KNRC is committed to generating, disseminating, and preserving knowledge, and to working with others to bring this knowledge to bear on the world's great challenges. The KNRC seeks to develop in each member of the academic community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind. 

 

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HONORARY DIRECTOR 

DR. R. GIRISH KUMAR
 
Assistant Professor
School Of International Relations And Politics
Priyadarshini Hills P.O
Kottayam Kerala, India
Pin - 686 560
Tel:      91 481 2731040  
Fax:    91-481-2732279
Mob: + 9194470 90000
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

Faculty Members:

Ms.SWAPNA M. (Tel: Mob: +919656320857)
Ms. JAYA SADASIVAN (Tel:Mob: +919037639305)

ACADEMIC PROGRAMME:

MA (Economics)

PROGRAMME STRUCTURE

CORE AND ELECTIVE PAPAERS

Duration of the Programme: Two Years (4 Semesters)

Intake of students:  12 (Twelve)

Eligibility for Admission:

a)      Candidates should have passed the Bachelors Degree in Economics/ Mathematics/Statistics under 10+2+3 pattern of education with at least 45% marks in core and complementary subjects or equivalent Degree from an institution approved by Mahatma Gandhi University.
 

b)      Candidates who are awaiting the results of the final examinations shall produce marklists of the qualifying examination before finalizing the rank list.

Selection Criteria:

Selection will be made from the rank list prepared on the basis of Marks/Grades obtained in the qualifying examination and Entrance Examination


K.N. RAJ CENTRE  

FOR PLANNING AND CENTRE-STATE FINANCIAL RELATIONS

Mahatma Gandhi University is privileged to have a Centre in honour of, and to perpetuate the memory of the late K.N. Raj, a highly esteemed Indian economist of post-independent generation and a great institution builder. The Centre is a befitting tribute to this renowned economist whose contributions to India’s developmental economics and planning are profound and enduring. The institution of the Centre with a focus on Planning and Centre-State Financial Relations has special significance. Raj was one of the architects of the First Five Year Plan in India. He also served as economic adviser to Prime Ministers from Nehru to P.V. Narasimha Rao. Throughout his career, Raj was an ardent advocate of equitable development and the welfare of the common man. His writings and perspectives on planning, agriculture, land reforms, rural economy, unemployment, poverty, economic growth and investment, savings and capital formation, decentralisation and development etc have great relevance, both from academic and public policy points of view.  

K.N. Raj’s intellectual engagements in the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) brought forth what came to be known as the Kerala model of development, characterised by high social sector spending that led to high human development indices even at relatively low level of per capita income. The Report Poverty, Unemployment and Development Policy: A Case Study of Selected Issues with Reference to Kerala prepared for United Nations by a team from the CDS led by K.N. Raj drew attention to a paradoxical scenario. In spite of having a very low per capita income, a high percentage of population below poverty line (48 per cent, as estimated by the Report based on a detailed food balance sheet, which took into account the local consumption pattern) and a high unemployment rate especially among the educated, Kerala had the highest literacy rate and school enrolments and the longest expectancy of life in the country. An advocate of ‘planning from below,’ Raj worked assiduously to uphold both studies and action on decentralised development through local bodies and Panchayati Raj institutions in Kerala. All this underlines the significance of institutionalising a Centre in K. N. Raj’s name in Mahatma Gandhi University.  

RATIONALE FOR THE CENTRE

There has been an increasing concern about the quality in teaching and research in the discipline of Economics in the country. Questions of deteriorating standards are in place with respect to the quality of programmes underway in many universities and research institutions in India. Though India has produced and continues to produce economists of high stature, there are only a limited number of centres of excellence in teaching and research in Economics. For various reasons, these centres of excellence have been declining in number. There are very few schools/centres where teaching and research in Economics reach up to the international standards. On the other hand, the services of well-trained, competent economists are in great demand, and the demand is expected to grow in the coming years with the continuing economic reform process and globalisation of the economy.  The number of young economists being produced alongside the shrinking number of centres of excellence is far from adequate to meet this rapid growth in demand for high-quality professionals from the public and private sectors, in addition to meeting the needs of universities. It is in this context that the rationale of setting up the K N Raj Study Centre is to be seen. 

The main objective in establishing the Centre is to create a Centre of Excellence in Economics with specialisation in Planning and Fiscal Federalism in the country. Fiscal federalism is an important area of study in Public Economics that has been greatly influenced by the current policy changes in the economy. It has also added a new dimension to the discourse on Centre-State financial relations. The devolution of resources/power from the Centre to sub-national units (States/PRIs), under the aegis of the Planning Commission/Finance Commission/ Central Ministries has been an integral part of this discourse. Issues related to public debt of the centre and State governments, transfer of power/resources to PRIs etc are also discussed as part of multi-level finance or Fiscal Federalism in the country. The K.N. Raj Centre (KNRC) will contribute, in a major way, towards strengthening the study and research in these areas of planning and fiscal federalism.  

It may also be noted that the discipline’s epistemological foundation as well as its frontier areas have expanded with the distinct contributions made by scholars, intellectuals, statesmen and policymakers. While retaining its dominant concerns, Economics has transcended its classical parameters, incorporating a variety of theories and experiences from other social sciences, particularly from History, Sociology, Anthropology and Political Science. This has helped to enlarge the scope of the discipline, and the profound changes that have come about across the world, in the recent past, only serve to underscore the growing importance of the study of Economics. The KNRC will go a long way in setting the agenda for a new path of teaching and research in Economics.

OBJECTIVES AND PROGRAMMES

The KNRC has been instituted with a set of objectives and a variety of programmes. It is envisaged to

Ø  Place the contributions of K. N. Raj in their right perspective; 

Ø  Act as a Centre of research leading to MA, MPhil/PhD degrees in Economics; 

Ø  Organise research and consultancy in the area of fiscal federalism/Centre-State Financial Relations/Taxation/Public Debt of Centre-/State; 

Ø  Take up theoretical and other issues related to decentralised planning with special reference to the working of Panchayat Raj Institutions(PRIs); 

Ø  Act as a Centre of training for civil servants in the area of planning and fiscal federalism; 

Ø  Act as a centre for training people’s representatives in the area of public expenditure, taxation and public debt of Centre/State/Local bodies; 

Ø  Initiate studies and research projects pertaining to Institutional Economics, plantation economy of Kerala, Health Economics, inward migration, free trade and agrarian economy of Kerala, gender and social capital,  etc  either independently or in association with governmental and non-governmental agencies. As such, the KNRC shall seek the assistance and cooperation of the Ministry of Finance (Union and State), Kerala State Planning Board, University Grants Commission, Indian Council of Social Science Research,   Research and Information Systems for the Non-aligned and other developing countries, New Delhi, Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA), Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS), Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore, Rubber Research Institute, Kottayam, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram etc.  

Ø  Organise annual seminar/workshop/colloquium on a theme relevant to Planning and Fiscal Federalism in India;  

Ø  Conduct the K.N. Raj Annual Lecture every year on a topic relevant to contemporary India and its economic policy; 

Ø  Bring out a comprehensive volume in memory of the late K.N. Raj on a specific theme of Indian economic policy; 

Ø  Institute Fellowships;  

Ø  Institute an endowment in memory of K.N. Raj;  

Ø  Create a website for the Centre ; and 

Ø  Start a biannual Journal of Planning and Fiscal Federalism (JPFF) under the auspices of the KNRC, providing a forum for open debates and interfaces between academics and policy-makers.

THRUST AREAS 

The KNRC plans to focus on   

1)      Planning and Fiscal Federalism 

2)      Decentralised Planning and Governance  

3)      Institutional Economics and Human Development 

4)      Plantation Economy of Kerala 

5)      Health Economics

6)      Inward Migration 

7)      Free Trade and Agrarian Economy of Kerala 

8)      Gender and Social Capital

PRIORITY PROJECTS

(A)  PLANNING AND FISCAL FEDERALISM 

The KNRC seeks to initiate specific projects to study the Centre-State relations in India in the areas of finances and economic and social planning. Intergovernmental fiscal relations are expected to facilitate the Centre and the States to discharge their constitutional responsibilities in an effective and efficient manner, whose vital objective is to maximize the welfare of citizens. The projects envisaged under the KNRC try to analyse the working of the existing arrangements between the Union and States under the Constitution of India, the healthy trends in place and the verdicts of courts in regard to powers, functions and responsibilities, among other things, in the sphere of financial relations, economic and social planning and sharing of resources.   

The factors relevant to the study of financial relations and economic and social planning are: a) The role and authority of the Centre vis-à-vis the States in promoting the concept and practice of independent planning and budgeting at different levels; b) The role and jurisdiction of the Centre vis-à-vis the States in linking Central assistance of various kinds with the performance of States; c) The jurisdiction of the Centre in adopting approaches and policies vis-à-vis backward States and; d) the impact of the recommendations made by the Eighth to Twelfth Finance Commissions on the fiscal relations between the Centre and the States, especially the greater dependence of the States on devolution of funds from the Centre.   

Since the Sarkaria Commission submitted its Report way back in the late eighties, significant changes have taken place in the realm of economy having an impact on the Centre-State relations. Some of the issues examined by the Sarkaria Commission such as levy of cesses and surcharges on Central taxes, plan formulation, pattern of plan assistance, regional development and strengthening of local bodies etc are pertinent even today. Several new issues have emerged following the neoliberal economic reforms initiated in the early nineties. There are also developments outside the sphere of economic reforms. There was of course a paradigm shift in economic policy with the introduction of economic reforms in the early nineties. The earlier focus on planned economic development, primacy of the public sector, location of public sector undertaking to address regional imbalances and regulation of industry and trade through a system of licensing and permits gave way to market-oriented economic policies. The focus has obviously shifted from public investment to promoting private investment.   

The Punchhi Commission (2010) Report acknowledged that the economic reforms and other associated changes had repercussions on the Indian economy in a number of ways. A major impact is the greater role cast on the States in economic development. With the major portion of investment envisaged to come from the private sector in the five-year plans, States are required to put in place the necessary enabling conditions such as the provision of adequate infrastructure to attract private investments. States which have taken proactive policy measures and having better infrastructure facilities have been able to attract private investment. States failing to attract private investment have lagged behind. The Punchhi Commission pointed out that this has resulted in increasing inequalities in economic growth thus accentuating imbalances across States. The poorer States with lower resource base and lack of infrastructure have been unable to catch up with the rest of the States. There has also been large scale migration from poorer States to richer States and a faster pace of urban growth stretching the already inadequate civic amenities in urban areas to the hilt.  

The Punchhi Commission noted that disparities among States have been steadily increasing particularly since the initiation of economic reforms in the country. The XI Five-Year Plan document expressed concern over the widening income differentials between more developed and relatively poorer States. In the post-reform period, private investment had gone mostly to southern and western States because of proximity to ports, better infrastructure and perceptions regarding better governance. Yet, Kerala has not yielded any major result. This calls for rigorous studies on Kerala’s development scenario.  

The KNRC seeks to identity the contentious issues brought up by States and issues which have emerged following neoliberal economic liberalisation and other policy changes in the area of Centre-State fiscal relations. Issues relating to the role of the Finance Commission and the Planning Commission also merit attention. The Finance Commission is entrusted with the responsibility of recommending transfer of resources from the Centre to States to address both vertical and horizontal imbalances. In terms of the Constitutional provisions, the Finance Commission recommends States’ share in shareable Central taxes and grants-in-aid to States under Article 275. With the initiation of Five-Year Plans for the development of the economy, transfers from the Planning Commission have gained in importance. Besides, the Central Ministries have emerged as another channel of resource transfers to States. The emergence of two more parallel conduits of resource transfers through the Planning Commission and the Central Ministries has made the system of resource transfers complex.  

Following the introduction of economic reforms in India in the early nineties, a debate has been underway in regard to the relevance of planning the way it was practiced in the first four decades of country’s independence. In recognition of the market orientation of the economy, the Eighth Five-Year Plan had stated that the Plan was problem-solving in nature. The Ninth and Tenth Plans that followed reiterated that planning had to be primarily problem-solving and that the State could at best be a facilitator for private investment. Despite the retreating role of public investment in the total investments, the practice of drawing comprehensive plans, both Five-Year and Annual continued unchanged. States are still required to get their annual plans approved by the Planning Commission. Thus, some of the important issues related to formulation and financing of Plans and the role of the Planning Commission call for in-depth studies.

The Punchhi Commission viewed that the approach to planning needs to be changed in keeping with the emerging economic scenario. Most of the States seem to favour flexibility in the formulation and implementation of State plans. While the Planning Commission may finalise the Five-Year Plans in consultation with States to ensure broad correspondence with the national objectives, detailed exercise of approving States’ annual plans may not be necessary, according to the Punchhi Commission. It recommended that the States should be given freedom to plan according to their own needs and priorities within the framework of nationally accepted priorities.  The Punchhi Commission pointed out that with the economic reform process underway, the role of central planning lost much of its relevance. There was a shrinking of the share of the public sector investment. However, in the emerging scenario, the Punchhi Commission noted, planning still has an important role. That it needs to be more problem-solving in nature has been recognized from the Eighth Plan onwards. That its primary role should relate to optimal allocation of limited resources, as a facilitator for the provision of basic infrastructure facilities and in influencing the behaviour of private agents to serve public goals needs to be recognized.

Similarly, questions relating to Centre-State financial relations in so far as they relate to the finances of the local bodies deserve specific studies. The 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution were certainly momentous developments in the Indian polity and were aimed to reinforce self governance at the grassroots level and to make local bodies important agencies for the delivery of public services. Decentralisation is intended to result in greater efficiency in the delivery of services. Local bodies being closer to people are expected to meet the local needs better than a centralized system of governance. Under Articles 243G and 243W, State legislatures may by law transfer powers and authority to rural and urban local bodies as are necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self government. Powers and authority include transfer of functional responsibilities and powers to levy and collect taxes as may be assigned to them by the State legislatures. Such issues and challenges call for specific comparative studies pertaining to southern States such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andra Pradesh to be undertaken by the KNRC.

(B)   FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS (FTAS) AND THE AGRARIAN ECONOMY OF KERALA

Free trade agreements (FTAs) have proliferated since the birth of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1995. Many governments, throughout the world, have either signed FTAs, or are negotiating or contemplating new bilateral free trade and investment agreements. These agreements are generally seen as stepping stones towards international integration into a global free market economy. There is another way to ensure that governments implement the liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation measures of the corporate globalisation agenda.

It is generally assumed that free trade and the removal of regulations on investment will head to economic growth reducing poverty and increasing standards of living and generating employment opportunity. However, there are experiences to show that FTAs also generate different levels of problems in various economies. India is a case in point. The regional disparities and imbalances in the local economies (such as Kerala) need to be analysed in the emerging context of free trade regimes’ negative implications for areas having no significant comparative advantages. This can be analyzed historically, focusing on the Kerala agrarian economy.   

From a policy point of view, the post-independent economic history of India may be grouped under two periods. The first period, called the Nehruvian era, ranging from 1947 to the 1970s, where the import substitution industrialization (ISI) model and protectionism in international trade were practiced. But in the post-Nehruvian era, spanning from 1980s onwards, India has increasingly adopted neoliberal policies. As an integral part of liberalization in foreign trade the Government of India signed a number of bilateral, regional and multilateral free trade agreements. India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement of 1998, India- ASEAN Free trade Agreement of 2009 and a number of agreements signed with WTO are examples. These Free Trade Agreements have been exerting tremendous impact on the agrarian economy of India, in general, and its cash crops sector in particular. As Kerala is conspicuously involved in cash crops production, the farmers in the state are worst-hit by these policies. The primary investigation of the present project is limited to Kerala.

Research  Problem

From time immemorial, India was known to the rest of the world as a source of spices and crafts goods, particularly cotton, clothes etc. However, Indian agriculture, in general, was a peasant activity and production was mainly for local consumption. But after the Industrial Revolution Great Britain required industrial raw materials in a large scale which they could access only from the tropics. India being a tropical country, they introduced a number of cash crops like indigo, rubber, coffee and tea. The British expanded the cultivation of these crops by establishing a number of plantations owned and managed by Europeans and also compelling Indian peasants to adapt cash crops like indigo, cotton and jute.

As Kerala was quite suited to the cultivation of most of the cash crops, the British capitalists established a number of plantation enterprises in tea, coffee, cardamom and rubber in various parts of the state, particularly in the High Ranges. Later, indigenous people, mainly Syrian Christians followed the Europeans in plantation agriculture. After independence, Government of India found that the cash crops economy of Kerala has a national significance as these crops were valuable raw materials for the emerging Indian industries and foreign exchange earners. Hence the government resorted to the promotion of these crops, by extending incentives to farmers as well as establishing institutions like the Rubber Board and Spices Board mainly for Research and Development. The multinational corporations operating in India also aligned with the Government of India in the promotion of these crops as it would enable them to access raw materials cheaply. Nevertheless, the change in the policy of Government of India since the 1980s has put the farmers of the country in great agony. The emerging agrarian crisis, particularly of Kerala, consequent upon the signing of Free Trade Agreements is the research problem of the proposed project.

Interdisciplinary Relevance

Linking free trade and agrarian economy from the perspective of people’s livelihood is a major task of this project. The subject of people’s livelihood itself is an interdisciplinary one encompassing questions of agriculture, trade and international agreements in a larger setting of economic security. The agrarian implications of the FTAs can only be studied in a framework of interdisciplinary mode employing the techniques and tools of social research along with the content-analysis of the data relating to trade, agriculture, export-import etc. The proposed project is therefore relevant from the point of view of coalescing theoretical as well as empirical insights from disciplines such as Economics, International Relations, and Political Studies. Mahatma Gandhi University has four major schools (School of International Relations and Politics, School of Social Sciences, School of Gandhian Studies and School of Indian Legal Thought) which can offer institutional support for an in-depth analysis of the problem under investigation.

Review of Research and Development in the Subject

The implications of FTAs became the object of widespread public interest since the 1990s, notably through the studies undertaken by economists and policy specialists. Over years, many international agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), as well as various non-governmental organisations (NGOs)/voluntary groups (such as Third World Network) have come to reckon that the burgeoning FTAs would have multiple implications for Third World economies. Studies say that the countries in the Third World have registered very high level of imbalances and inequalities in the era of FTAs. The research studies conducted in India in general and Kerala in particular on the implications of FTAs report that they tend to generate regional disparities and uneven pattern of development. Reports of farmers’ suicide in the Wayanad district of Kerala also point to the livelihood issues involved.

Significance of the Study

Kerala had drawn world-wide attention for its development model. Yet, the mounting evidences of the agonies of farmers in several districts of Kerala point to the lack of public and institutional alertness on the implications of FTAs for the regional segments. It underlines the rationale and significance of an in-depth investigation of the implications of FTAs. It is in this context that the agrarian problems related to the impact of FTAs are placed for investigation in this project. As such, the project tries to focus on the agrarian crisis in the select districts of Wayanad, Idukki, Alappuzha and Kottayam where the effects of India’s trade policy have been felt.  

The following are the main objectives of the study 

  1. To examine the agrarian implications of the various Free Trade Agreements.
  2. To analyse how FTAs have a bearing on the agrarian conditions of India?
  3. To elucidate the multi-dimensional impact of FTAs on agriculture in Kerala.
  4. To comprehend how the competition from outside has affected marketing and pricing of these crops and thereby income of farmers and agricultural workers.
  5. To explore the countervailing strategies to redeem the agrarian economy of Kerala. 

As the project under consideration is interdisciplinary in nature, the investigation calls for a wide range of methods employed in social research. Empirical-analytical mode is the primary methodology to be used in the investigation. Extensive field study and interviews need to be carried out to generate data. A multi-staged random sampling technique would also be employed in this the study. Besides, individual cases and focus groups methods will be deployed. 

Details of collaboration

The KNRC seeks to collaborate with the CDS, Thiruvananthapuram and Rubber Research Institute, Kottayam on a range of subjects. Mahatma Gandhi University has three important teaching and research departments with which the KNRC can associate and sustain academic collaboration at various stages of the project. School of Social Sciences, School of Gandhian Studies and School of Indian Legal Thought have a good number of researchers and faculty members who can offer rich inputs on matters related to trade, agrarian economy, international agreements, sustainable development etc. Besides, the KNRC can seek the help of NGOs who have been working in areas related to trade, agrarian economy and sustainable development. 

(C)   INSTITUTIONAL ECONOMICS AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

The KNRC seeks to explore the interconnections between institutions and human development, an area in which K.N. Raj had taken considerable interest in his later years.   These links are obviously very complex and intricate insofar as human development is a multidimensional concept. Institutional economics has made significant contributions to the methodology of social research. The goal of institutional economics is to enable more realistic comprehension of economic phenomena. Methodology of institutional economics is significantly different from the composition method of the mainstream, which tries to base macroeconomic phenomena on microeconomic foundations. Methodological orientation of institutionalism is much more broadly founded and incorporates insights of holistic, system and evolutionary epistemological approach.

Institutional economics conceive socio-economic reality as something more than rigorously determined system of relations – it is a process that cannot be separated from societal institutions. Socio-economic change is not purely mechanic; it is the product of human action, but action definitely shaped and bounded by the society, from which it originates. Institutional economics is therefore holistic, because it is focused on the causal relations between the whole and its parts. It is systemic in nature, because of the conviction that interaction of parts gives rise to the coherent structure, within which parts can only be understood. It is evolutionary, because it perceives change in the causal relations as the essence of socio-economic reality.  

It has often been argued that a consistent economic institutional framework is a necessary pre-condition (but not sufficient) for sustainable economic growth which produces at the same time human development. However, an institutional analysis has to consider also the informal dimension of an economic system. Such an informal dimension would be characterised first of all by social norms, conventions, moral values, religious beliefs, traditions and other behavioural norms that have passed the test of the historical time and that determine the individual’s behaviour as well as organisations in pursuit of their aims. These norms are institutions if become “standard of appropriate behaviour for actors with given identity.”

One of the crucial aims of the KNRC is to offer studies that differentiate between economic growth and human development. Human development is defined as a process enlarging people’s choices, achieved by expanding human capabilities and functioning.  Human development is strongly linked with institutions, first of all because in order to expand human capabilities institutions are needed. Moreover, institutions need to be rightly oriented, providing opportunities to poor and to people in general. Values and social norms such as equality, solidarity and co-operation shape formal institutions and choices. In turn, capabilities are enlarged by institutions. In fact, institutional policies, consequence of prevalent norms and institutions, would allow for improving basic capabilities for human development, such as leading long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and having a decent standard of living. If basic capabilities are not achieved, many choices are simply not available and many opportunities remain inaccessible. 

The liberal agreement in political economy is that (competitive) market mechanism would bring forth efficient allocation of resources and maximum economic growth with distributive justice. But empirical evidences do not support these claims. The state-led coercive planning also proved deficient. In this predicament, alternative economic arrangements are being sought. The significance of Institutional Economics emerges in this scenario, particularly, to promote human development. The core of institutional approach is building up of ‘human communities’ by ‘cooperation.’ However, the approach attempts to integrate all economic, social and political institutions in economic decision making and its implementation. So market, state, planning, social values and customs, legal rules, organisations etc are all vital in economic life. Building up of appropriate institutions is so important in the promotion of human development. The KNRC thus seeks to initiate studies and research related to institutions and human development. The working paper series envisaged under the KNRC are intended to promote this domain of research.

(D)   INWARD MIGRATION IN KERALA

Inward migration of job-seekers from neighbouring Tamil Nadu, Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh has been a perceptible phenomenon in Kerala for decades now. With those traditionally engaged in labour-intensive manual labour, such as road and building construction, moving to the Gulf or to other job avenues within the State, Kerala has been experiencing a shortage of labourers for the past two decades. It is into this gap that the migrant labourers have stepped in. People from Tamil Nadu who were the first to move in, followed by their counterparts from Bengal, Orissa and Bihar, have evolved with the process of migration. From waiters in small eateries, they have moved up the value chain, learning the skills of hospitality vocations from formal courses and training programmes. But there are still a large number of migrant Tamil workers engaged in the construction industry and working as farm hands and plantation labour and doing such jobs as ironing.  Workers from other States are mostly concentrated in the construction industry, plywood industry, bricks industry, rubber nurseries, plantations etc which experienced boom over the past one decade.  Kerala is yet to come to grips with the challenges thrown up by the inward migration of workers from linguistic and cultural locales far removed from the State.  

It is almost clear that the local workers are completely disappearing from the construction labour market. The major reasons for this flow are the demand for labour from growing construction sector and availability of higher wages.  At one level, there is relief that they have replaced the missing local workforce, but at another more serious level, there is a lot of worry about the character and content of migration and its implications for Kerala society.  A study conducted on this subject noted that in view of the rising in-migration, questions related to governance, public health, sanitation, water supply, housing, urban environment, educational and infrastructure needs, law and order, and so on warrant greater attention at the level of policy planning and implementation. The KNRC seeks to initiate specific studies pertaining to inward migration in an interdisciplinary mode. The outcome of such studies, made public through working paper series, is expected to facilitate policy making and programme initiatives.

(E)   IMPACT OF FISCAL CRISIS ON PUBLIC HEALTH IN KERALA 

Awareness of the economic manifestation of health and diseases and the limited resources allocated to health care services have brought to the focus a new discipline called Health Economics - Cost accounting, cost benefit, cost effectiveness methods, etc are increasingly becoming an integral part of the health management and evaluation of health programmes. Health Economics has emerged with the task of regulating the relationship between the health objectives, on the one hand, and the available resources, on the other.  The WHO defined health economics as that which seeks, inter alia, to quantify  over times, the resources used in health service delivery, their organisation,  functioning and the efficiency with which the resources allocated and used for health purposes and the effect of preventive curative and rehabilitative health services on individual and  national productivity.  

The KNRC seeks to initiate specific studies related to Kerala’s health scenario, a state which had earned reputation for high index in health. In fact, health was seen as one of the twin pillars of Kerala model of development for long.  Though the health status of Kerala has been relatively far better compared to other Indian states, Kerala still experiences great challenges in the health front. Kerala, which has been considered as a state with advanced human development index and better health status is now trailing in sustaining the health status which it had retained over the last decades.  The state is suffering from acute shortage of investment in medical and public health, better infrastructural facilities including good drinking water, sanitation and it also suffers from maintaining better environmental quality and better environmental facilities.  Investment in health sector in Kerala is also steadily diminishing especially in the liberalised context of the economy. The KNRC aims to address the impact of fiscal crisis on public health in Kerala by focusing on the declining role of public health facilities and its inevitable fallout on the health status of the state. 

PUBLICATIONS OF KNRC 

(1)   Journal of Planning and Fiscal Federalism (JPFF)   

The Journal of Planning and Fiscal Federalism (JPFF) is a refereed biannual journal to be published by the KNRC. JPFF is committed to providing a space for the best of writings in Economics and Politics. It publishes topical, scholarly work on significant debates in planning and fiscal federalism and on all major socio-economic and political issues affecting Indian economy, development process and the Centre-State relations in India. Editorial policy encourages variety and plurality in subject matter and methodology. JPFF also provides space for conceptual essays and policy analysis. Each volume will carry peer-reviewed research articles, and a mix of review essays, interviews and debates. Special issues will also be published from time to time.  JPFF will be published in May and October every year. The articles and reviews will be sent for peer-review as soon as they are received. There will be a panel of referees who will look into various aspects of the articles/reviews received, such as topicality, contents, theoretical as well as empirical components and methodology.  Copyright of the journal, alongside the articles/reviews published, shall be with the KNRC, Mahatma Gandhi University except in cases where essays are reproduced with the permission of the author/publisher.  

The Vice Chancellor, Mahatma Gandhi University shall be the Patron of the journal. JPFF will have an Editorial Board (Associate Editors) consisting of the faculty members of the KNRC and other reputed Centres of Excellence in Economics. The journal will have an editor nominated by the Faculty Council for a specific period (renewable two years’ term) who is responsible for the selection and publication of articles/reviews after the peer-review. The Faculty Council of the KNRC shall also nominate issue editors from time to time. The IJPAIR will have a Board of Advisory Editors consisting of scholars of international repute drawing from various countries.  JPFF shall be a journal with facilities for individual and institutional subscription. There will be Inland Subscription and Foreign Subscription. The Inland Subscription rates proposed for individuals are Rs. 400 (for two issues) and for institutions it is Rs. 600. The Foreign Subscription rates for SAARC countries are 30 US$ (for individuals) and $40 for institutions, and for other countries, it is US$50 and US $60 respectively.

(2)   WORKING PAPERS/ OCCASIONAL PAPERS 
 

The KNRC also envisages publication of Working Papers and Occasional Papers Series based on the research and extension programmes undertaken by the faculties, researchers and students of the Centre. Such papers, intended to be policy inputs/recommendations, are published after presentation and discussion in seminars organised for the said purpose.  The drafts of these papers are also sent for evaluation by referees. The Director and a faculty member nominated by the Faculty Council annually shall be responsible for the publication of such Working Papers/Occasional Papers.

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