Chanchal Kumar Sharma Fellow CMF,ISS, New Delhi , is the exponent of the Discursive Dominance theory of economic reform sustainability.[1] The theory explains why economic reforms are sustained or reversed, after they are implemented either under external pressure or by a convinced executive. The theory is built by conducting a cross temporal comparative review of the economic history of India since independence. The theory states that the policy success or failure is determined by the discursive conditions prevailing in the society. In a democratic country, any attempt to bring about a major and visible change in the existing path to economic development will be doomed if anti-change constituencies (status quoists) win the development discourse.This happened in India in 1966 and 1985. Reverse of this happened in 1991, imparting sustainability to the economic reform process. The theory explains the determinants of discursive conditions and how they play out to steer the course of economic policies.

Chanchal Kumar Sharma has also propounded two new concepts of fiscal federalism: Vertical Fiscal Asymmetry (VFA) and Vertical Fiscal Difference (VFD).[2] Simply stated, VFA is a state of fiscal asymmetry between the centre and the states. It becomes a state of fiscal imbalance when there is misallocation of revenue-expenditure responsibilities between the centre and the states. On the other hand, a gap emerges when the central government fails to devolve the excess of funds it legitimately collects by virtue of having greater revenue raising powers. When misallocation is addressed by reallocation of revenue and expenditure powers and the resultant gap is addressed by a properly designed transfer system, we are left with VFD, a state of revenue-expenditure asymmetry where there is no imbalance and no gap.

Chanchal Kumar Sharma has supported a collaborative federal architecture for India.[3] [4]The author demonstrates in his research that apart from the rise of single state parties, there has been an unprecedented surge in the urge of the non-government stakeholders for more engagement. All this has created new complexities for federal governance in India. These complexities call for collaborative responses in the form of multi-level, multi-actor partnerships. Thus the new federal architecture should not only align resources, competencies and capabilities of the governments at all levels but also engage civil society /non-governmental organizations and private sector in the policy making process. The existing institutional design is inadequate to respond to this change because it was conceived to accommodate a centrally managed cooperative federalism. Thus the author asserts that the time has come to establish a highly interactive architecture of collaborative federalism that will provide channels for much less politicized interactions among the partners of the federation. Such an institutional set up will motivate States to compete for higher level of performance and innovations while actively pursuing cooperation among themselves. The new generation of institutions will also incentivize the Central government to collaborate with the local governments without losing the States’ trust.

Major contributions

  • Discursive dominance theory[1]
  • The concepts of "Vertical fiscal asymmetry" and "Vertical fiscal difference"[2]
  • Balanced fiscal policy framework in federal countries[5]
  • Advocacy of "Collaborative Federalism" for India.
  • Sustainable tourism governance[6]
  • His contributions, particularly in the field of decentralization[7][8][9][10][11] and VAT in India,[12] have been cited more than 100 times[13]

Selected works


  1. 1.0 1.1 Sharma, Chanchal Kumar (2011). "A Discursive Dominance Theory of Economic Reform Sustainability: The Case of India". India Review 10 (2): 126-184. 
  2. 2.0 2.1   </noinclude> (2012). "Beyond Gaps and Imbalances: Restructuring the Debate on Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations". Public Administration: An International Quarterly 90 (1): 99-128. 
  3. Sharma, Chanchal Kumar (2010). "Towards a Modern Federal Construct in India: The Urgency of an Institutional Response to the Ideational Turn". Journal of Political Science 28 (1): 3-32. 
  4. Sharma, Chanchal Kumar and R. K. Barik (2012). "Towards a New Generation of Collaborative Federal Architecture in India: Some Reflections". Indian Journal of Public Administration: -. 
  5.   </noinclude> (2011). "Multilevel Fiscal Governance in a Balanced Policy Environment". India Economy Review 8 (1): 90-97. 
  6.   </noinclude> (2005). "Tourism policy innovations of an Indian state (Haryana) and their implications". Tourism: An International Interdisciplinary Journal 53 (1): 67-76. 
  7.   </noinclude> (2006). "Decentralization Dilemma: Measuring the Degree and Evaluating the Outcomes',". Indian Journal of Political Science 67 (1): 49-64. 
  8.   </noinclude> (2005). "When does Decentralization Deliver? The Dilemma of Design". South Asian Journal of Socio-Political Studies 6 (1): 38-45. 
  9.   </noinclude> (2004). "Why decentralization? The puzzle of causation.". Synthesis 3 (1): 1-17. 
  10.   </noinclude> (2009). "Emerging Dimensions of Decentralisation Debate in the Age of Globalisation". Indian Journal of Federal Studies 10 (1): 47-65. 
  11.   </noinclude> (2006). "The Federal Approach to Fiscal Decentralisation: Conceptual Contours for Policy Makers". Loyola Journal of Social Sciences 19 (2): 169-188. 
  12.   </noinclude> (2005). "Implementing VAT in India: Implications for Federal Polity". Indian Journal of Political Science 66 (4): 915-934. 
  13. Dr. Chanchal Kumar Sharma - Google Scholar Citations. Google Scholar. Retrieved on 17 June 2012.

External links

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