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The regressive nature of
central transfers on health
Pranay Kotasthane
@pranaykotas
pranay@takshashila.org.in
Pranay Kotasthane, Devika Kher,
Pavan Srinath, Aashish Chajjer
Advisor: Dr M Govinda Rao
Key arguments
1. transfers are not linked to health indicators. Instead, such transfers
by and large tend to be incremental.
2. the specific purpose transfer system for health has not been very
helpful in offsetting the fiscal disabilities of the poorer states.
3. states tend to substitute grants received from the union for their
own spending. Hence no commensurate increase in overall
spending.
Methodology
Existing datasets on public health expenditures broadly have 3 issues:
1. direct transfers to implementing agencies dominates union-to-state
transfers
2. challenge of decentralisation
3. substantial volume of health expenditures is incurred outside the
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) at the Union level
and health departments at State levels
So, we constructed a comprehensive and comparable dataset for public
health expenditures between 2004-05 and 2015-16
0.83% 0.84% 0.85%
0.92%
0.97%
0.94% 0.92% 0.93%
0.90% 0.91%
0.46% 0.44%
0.48% 0.47% 0.47%
0.43%
0.39% 0.40%
0.37%
0.32%
0.12% 0.13% 0.14% 0.16% 0.18% 0.19% 0.19% 0.19% 0.18% 0.17%
1.41% 1.40%
1.47%
1.55%
1.62%
1.55%
1.51% 1.52%
1.45%
1.40%
2005-06* 2006-07* 2007-08* 2008-09* 2009-10* 2010-11* 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
Health Water Supply & Sanitation Nutrition Total Health & Allied Fields
*GDP data for 2005-06 to 2010-11 from the 2004-05 series, and for
subsequent years from the 2011-12 series.
What has been the role of central
transfers on health?
Specific purpose transfers on health
Federal systems have mismatches between expenditure mandates & revenue-
raising abilities. Hence: intergovernmental transfers.
The rationale for general purpose, untied transfers is to enable all states to
provide comparable levels of public services at comparable tax rates.
The rationale for specific purpose transfers is to ensure minimum standards of
public services.
Rao, M. Govinda.
“Central transfers to states in India: Rewarding performance while ensuring equity”
NITI Aayog Report, September 2017
Central transfers’ distribution does not help the poorer states enough
Low equalising impact
Targeting of central transfers
to deficient states
The States that spend more on health continue to have lower IMR
1. States that already had a head-start received more per capita specific transfers on
health
2. by 2015-16, the specific transfers had become even more regressive
Result remains same even when we accounted for specific purpose transfers
spilling into succeeding financial years
Do centrally sponsored schemes stimulate
(or substitute) health expenditure?
The possibility of additional fiscal space at the state level for health can be
due to:
1. Increase in own revenues of the states;
2. Increase in general-purpose transfers from the Finance and Planning
Commissions, which includes shared taxes and plan and non-plan grants;
3. Increase in specific-purpose transfers for the health sector; and
4. Changes in prioritization in favour of the health sector.
Δ (PC_OHE)it = α + β Δ (PC_CGH)it + γ Δ (PC_SOR)it + ψ Δ (SPH)it + τ Δ(PC_GPGC)it
+ υ (State Dummies) + σ (Year Dummies) + εit
Where,
Δ (PC_OHE)it = { (PC_OHE)it - (PC_OHE)it-1 } or changes in per capita own health expenditure (from the
previous year) of State i in year t;
Δ (PC_CGH)it = { (PC_CGH)it - (PC_CGH)it-1 } or changes in per capita central government’s specific
purpose grant (from the previous year) for health to State i in year t;
Δ (PC_SOR)it = { (PC_SOR)it - (PC_SOR)it-1 } or changes in per capita own revenues (from the previous
year) of State i in year t;
Δ (SPH)it = { (Ghi /Gbi)t - (Ghi /Gbi)t-1 } or changes in the ratio of public expenditure on health to total
budget expenditure of the ith State in the year t over the previous year; and
Δ (PC_GPGC)it = changes in per capita general purpose grant by the central government to State i in year t
= (tax devolution + plan and non-plan grants).
Ref: Rao, M. Govinda, and Mita Choudhury. "Health care financing reforms in India."
National Institute of Public finance and policy working paper 2012-100 (2012).
# Independent Variable
Coefficient of Variation
(and Standard Error)
Rao and Choudhury (2012) (New)
1991-2007
(Model I)
1991-2000
(Model II)
2001-2007
(Model III)
2012-2015
(Model IV)
1
Specific Purpose Transfers from Union
Government on Health
-0.952***
(0.074)
-0.777***
(0.114)
-1.059***
(0.109)
-0.360***
(0.137)
2 State's Own Revenues
0.012***
(0.003)
0.015***
(0.004)
0.1545***
(0.006)
0.012
(0.020)
3 State's Priority for Health (as % of spending)
17.649***
(1.828)
15.03***
(2.038)
19.487***
(4.231)
38.644***
(12.069)
4
General Purpose Transfers (Unconditional)
from Union Government
0.019***
(0.007)
0.014
(0.011)
0.013
(0.01)
0.017**
(0.008)
5 Constant
18.252***
(3.561)
17.17***
(3.885)
3.552
(5.035)
58.204***
(17.542)
6 State Specific Fixed-effects Yes Yes Yes Yes
7 Time Specific Fixed-effects Yes Yes Yes Yes
8 Number of States 14 14 14 11
9 Number of Observations 224 126 84 55
10 R-square 0.69 0.62 0.77 0.29
Regression Results –
Dependent Variable:
Changes in States’ Own
Expenditure on Health,
from a two-way fixed
effects panel data
model.
1. transfers are poorly targeted
2. the grants are not linked to improving service levels and the states with
larger shortfall in services do not receive higher grants
3. states were able to substitute grants for their own spending with the
result that there has not been a commensurate increase in spending on
healthcare after the grants are received
Conclusion
- Don’t spread resources thin. Focus on a small set of service delivery
standards & achieve them. Specify fewer objectives.
- Link transfers to service levels
- Don’t fiscally handicap poor states by mandating high matching
contributions. Implement a varying matching ratio – by taxable capacity.
Agenda for reform
Pranay Kotasthane
@pranaykotas
pranay@takshashila.org.in
The regressive nature of
central transfers on health
Thank You.

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The Regressive Nature of Central Transfers for Health

  • 1. The regressive nature of central transfers on health Pranay Kotasthane @pranaykotas pranay@takshashila.org.in Pranay Kotasthane, Devika Kher, Pavan Srinath, Aashish Chajjer Advisor: Dr M Govinda Rao
  • 2. Key arguments 1. transfers are not linked to health indicators. Instead, such transfers by and large tend to be incremental. 2. the specific purpose transfer system for health has not been very helpful in offsetting the fiscal disabilities of the poorer states. 3. states tend to substitute grants received from the union for their own spending. Hence no commensurate increase in overall spending.
  • 3. Methodology Existing datasets on public health expenditures broadly have 3 issues: 1. direct transfers to implementing agencies dominates union-to-state transfers 2. challenge of decentralisation 3. substantial volume of health expenditures is incurred outside the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) at the Union level and health departments at State levels So, we constructed a comprehensive and comparable dataset for public health expenditures between 2004-05 and 2015-16
  • 4. 0.83% 0.84% 0.85% 0.92% 0.97% 0.94% 0.92% 0.93% 0.90% 0.91% 0.46% 0.44% 0.48% 0.47% 0.47% 0.43% 0.39% 0.40% 0.37% 0.32% 0.12% 0.13% 0.14% 0.16% 0.18% 0.19% 0.19% 0.19% 0.18% 0.17% 1.41% 1.40% 1.47% 1.55% 1.62% 1.55% 1.51% 1.52% 1.45% 1.40% 2005-06* 2006-07* 2007-08* 2008-09* 2009-10* 2010-11* 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 Health Water Supply & Sanitation Nutrition Total Health & Allied Fields *GDP data for 2005-06 to 2010-11 from the 2004-05 series, and for subsequent years from the 2011-12 series.
  • 5. What has been the role of central transfers on health?
  • 6. Specific purpose transfers on health Federal systems have mismatches between expenditure mandates & revenue- raising abilities. Hence: intergovernmental transfers. The rationale for general purpose, untied transfers is to enable all states to provide comparable levels of public services at comparable tax rates. The rationale for specific purpose transfers is to ensure minimum standards of public services. Rao, M. Govinda. “Central transfers to states in India: Rewarding performance while ensuring equity” NITI Aayog Report, September 2017
  • 7. Central transfers’ distribution does not help the poorer states enough
  • 9. Targeting of central transfers to deficient states
  • 10. The States that spend more on health continue to have lower IMR
  • 11. 1. States that already had a head-start received more per capita specific transfers on health 2. by 2015-16, the specific transfers had become even more regressive
  • 12. Result remains same even when we accounted for specific purpose transfers spilling into succeeding financial years
  • 13. Do centrally sponsored schemes stimulate (or substitute) health expenditure?
  • 14. The possibility of additional fiscal space at the state level for health can be due to: 1. Increase in own revenues of the states; 2. Increase in general-purpose transfers from the Finance and Planning Commissions, which includes shared taxes and plan and non-plan grants; 3. Increase in specific-purpose transfers for the health sector; and 4. Changes in prioritization in favour of the health sector.
  • 15. Δ (PC_OHE)it = α + β Δ (PC_CGH)it + γ Δ (PC_SOR)it + ψ Δ (SPH)it + τ Δ(PC_GPGC)it + υ (State Dummies) + σ (Year Dummies) + εit Where, Δ (PC_OHE)it = { (PC_OHE)it - (PC_OHE)it-1 } or changes in per capita own health expenditure (from the previous year) of State i in year t; Δ (PC_CGH)it = { (PC_CGH)it - (PC_CGH)it-1 } or changes in per capita central government’s specific purpose grant (from the previous year) for health to State i in year t; Δ (PC_SOR)it = { (PC_SOR)it - (PC_SOR)it-1 } or changes in per capita own revenues (from the previous year) of State i in year t; Δ (SPH)it = { (Ghi /Gbi)t - (Ghi /Gbi)t-1 } or changes in the ratio of public expenditure on health to total budget expenditure of the ith State in the year t over the previous year; and Δ (PC_GPGC)it = changes in per capita general purpose grant by the central government to State i in year t = (tax devolution + plan and non-plan grants). Ref: Rao, M. Govinda, and Mita Choudhury. "Health care financing reforms in India." National Institute of Public finance and policy working paper 2012-100 (2012).
  • 16. # Independent Variable Coefficient of Variation (and Standard Error) Rao and Choudhury (2012) (New) 1991-2007 (Model I) 1991-2000 (Model II) 2001-2007 (Model III) 2012-2015 (Model IV) 1 Specific Purpose Transfers from Union Government on Health -0.952*** (0.074) -0.777*** (0.114) -1.059*** (0.109) -0.360*** (0.137) 2 State's Own Revenues 0.012*** (0.003) 0.015*** (0.004) 0.1545*** (0.006) 0.012 (0.020) 3 State's Priority for Health (as % of spending) 17.649*** (1.828) 15.03*** (2.038) 19.487*** (4.231) 38.644*** (12.069) 4 General Purpose Transfers (Unconditional) from Union Government 0.019*** (0.007) 0.014 (0.011) 0.013 (0.01) 0.017** (0.008) 5 Constant 18.252*** (3.561) 17.17*** (3.885) 3.552 (5.035) 58.204*** (17.542) 6 State Specific Fixed-effects Yes Yes Yes Yes 7 Time Specific Fixed-effects Yes Yes Yes Yes 8 Number of States 14 14 14 11 9 Number of Observations 224 126 84 55 10 R-square 0.69 0.62 0.77 0.29 Regression Results – Dependent Variable: Changes in States’ Own Expenditure on Health, from a two-way fixed effects panel data model.
  • 17. 1. transfers are poorly targeted 2. the grants are not linked to improving service levels and the states with larger shortfall in services do not receive higher grants 3. states were able to substitute grants for their own spending with the result that there has not been a commensurate increase in spending on healthcare after the grants are received Conclusion
  • 18. - Don’t spread resources thin. Focus on a small set of service delivery standards & achieve them. Specify fewer objectives. - Link transfers to service levels - Don’t fiscally handicap poor states by mandating high matching contributions. Implement a varying matching ratio – by taxable capacity. Agenda for reform
  • 19. Pranay Kotasthane @pranaykotas pranay@takshashila.org.in The regressive nature of central transfers on health Thank You.