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The average child born in south India will live a healthier, wealthier, more secure life than one born in north India. Why is south India doing so much better than the north? And what does that mean? At the time of independence, Nilakantan writes in the Introduction, the southern States were indistinguishable from the rest of India in terms of their development metrics. Today, the difference couldn’t be starker. South vs North: India’s Great Divide is Nilekantan RS’s book looking into this great divide between the South and North backed by statistics.
What does this great divide between South and North mean for representation? In 1971, Rajasthan and Kerala had the same population, in 2011, Rajasthan had more than twice the number of Kerala. Population numbers grant democratic control. As a result, India’s federal system is vertically imbalanced. The union at the top has more money, more power, and more discretion, than state governments, combined. There is a horizontal imbalance, too, with the Finance Commission devolving funds based on newer population estimates, for the first time. This imbalance in revenue sharing has made every finance minister in the south critical of the south being treated with a stick instead of being rewarded for its contributions ot national development.
South Vs North is an important analysis that is timely with increased centralization of power with Government of India and the challenging debates around representation, migration and census 2021.
Grab the book and come listen to the author on 18th January.
About the author
Nilakantan RS lives in Chennai and works as a data scientist. South Vs North:India’s Great Divide is his first book.
About the moderator
Srinivas Kodali is a interdisplinary researcher working on technology, data and governance.
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