Subsidies: A Bottomless Bucket

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Authored By : Ramachandran K.S.

Publisher: Northern Book Centre

Book Price: 400.00

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Subsidies: A Bottomless Bucket

Summary of the Book




Taking off from a study of three major explicit subsidies — Food, Fertilizer and Petroleum, prepared at the behest of the Twelfth Finance Commission, this book seeks to come to grips with the entire gamut of subsidies—those that are budgeted for and those that are outside the budgets of the Centre and States. It underlines the damage done to efficiency through subsidies, which once given are rarely removed. The book warns against perpetually identifying subsidies with efforts towards poverty alleviation and castigates the classification between merit and non-merit pay outs. The underlying theme is that there should be a commercial basis for any economic activity and that every outlay must bear a commercial return. On foodgrains, the recommendations are tough: an end to public procurement operations and the mechanism of minimum support price as well as restricting the ambit of public distribution system to the poorest of the poor—the 2 crore population targetted by the Antyodaya Anna Yojana. For fertilizer, the prescription is that the price should be wholly market-determined as mooted by the Expenditure Reforms Commission. On petro-goods, while LPG prices should reflect only those ruling in the global market, access to PDS kerosene should be limited to the intended beneficiaries of the Antyodaya Anna Scheme. An agenda is set for doing away with implicit subsidies through a mix of commercial pricing and a thrust on enhanced efficiency. Irrigation facilities created through public investment must earn a commercial return on par with what farmers pay for private supplies. The same rule should apply to electricity available through public utilities.

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