A look at the progress of election-bound Chhattisgarh on key parameters shows that its fiscal position, after steadily improving in the initial two years of the incumbent government, deteriorated sharply in 2017-18. From 3.4% of the Gross State Domestic Product in 2014-15, the fiscal deficit declined to 2.1% and 1.4% in subsequent years, before rising sharply to 3% in 2017-18. While the fiscal deficit rose in 2017-18, it has been below the national average of 3.1% for all states combined for three out of these four years.
Data from the Reserve Bank of India show that as Chhattisgarh’s fiscal deficit expanded in the fourth year of the incumbent government, its expenditure on health increased while spending on development, the social sector and education fell in most of the four-year period.
The state’s expenditure on education, as a percentage of total expenditure, fell to 19% in 2017-18, from 20.8% in 2016-17. Expenditure on health was nearly flat at 5.7% in 2017-18 as compared with that in the previous year, but higher when compared to the 4.9% in 2014-15. The state’s expenditure on development and the social sector increased in the fourth year (2017-18) compared to the first year (2014-15), but declined on a year-on-year basis. Its expenditure on development and the social sector remained above the national average over the four year period.
Voting in the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections ends with the second phase Tuesday, when 72 of the 90 seats go to polls. The first 18 seats voted last week.