Twenty five years ago, I argued in my doctoral thesis that fiscal policy could be used to map changes in state objectives. In essence that is what I am doing in this column. I contend that the Indian State, at both the central and state levels, is transitioning from being a development State to a compensatory State. Both at the political and the executive level, the clamour is to find the means, technologies and modalities to put money directly into the pockets of citizens to compensate them for the fact that economic growth has not done so, and that the State has also failed in its mission to deliver public and merit goods to those who cannot afford to procure these from the market.
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