Assessing the Fiscal Capacity of Indian Governments

Ashima Goyal
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In this paper we assess the record of different post reform governments in meeting their targets and improving both delivery and finances. A variety of indices are constructed, and consistency checks devised to measure relative performance. No government has achieved its targets, but the congress has the best record in keeping its promises, and the NDA was most effective in reducing deficits. In the last year of the UPA the deadline effect helped meet expenditure targets, but at the cost of large deficits. The negative effect of the growth dividend on government debt and deficits is established, but the failure of government finances to improve commensurate with this, suggests further improvement in expenditure management is required. Four principles on which to base these improvements are identified.