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The 15th Finance Commission May Split Open Demographic Fault Lines Between South and North India


Well-known member
The decision to use Census 2011 entirely as the basis for population data is possibly the most important and consequential political event of our generation. The previous commission, the 14th Finance Commission, introduced that idea in a small way for the first time. It gave a weightage of 10% for Census 2011 data and even that hurt states like Tamil Nadu badly.

Between 1971 and 2011, Kerala and Tamil Nadu had an absolute growth in population of 56% and 75% respectively; the lowest among all states. That is understandable given their fertility rates have dropped to below replacement levels for a generation. Most other states had an absolute growth in excess of 100%. The data on the population baseline data in this 30-year period is eye opening.

A simple analysis of the data reveals that Tamil Nadu, had it merely kept pace with rest of India, would have added an additional 20 million people in these 30 years. Similarly, Kerala would have added ten million additional people had it kept pace with rest of India. Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan together added about 50 million people more than what the already high norm for India is.

This differential is so enormous and that’s the reason why using Census 2011 data for allocating central resources is extraordinarily unfair to Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The Indian union has made it almost untenable for Tamil and Malayalee societies to thrive in the union as rational self-interested sub-units. The demographic divergence is overpowering the levers of politics via the finance commission and delimitation; tax policies like GST hurt states like Tamil Nadu the most and also make it impossible for them to raise their own revenues in the form of indirect taxes. The demographic might of north India has already normalised the use of Hindi to a large extent. Politicians from states like Uttar Pradesh are now campaigning in Kerala, as if the latter state has anything to learn from the former.


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