A top US think-tank today launched a knowledge web-portal which tracks the policy and regulatory environments of major Indian states. An initiative of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the online web portal the ‘Engaging Indian States,’ was launched by Griffin Thompson, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Transformation and Richard Rossow, senior adviser and Wadhwani Chair in the US-India Policy Studies. “In its initial phase, the online portal focuses on energy – a sector that is critical to India’s development and pivotal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s power for all agenda. India’s states have the resources to generate the energy India needs, but they take different approaches to fostering the growth of the industry,” Rossow said. The online knowledge portal provides first-of-its-kind one-stop shop tool for businesses, research institutions, policymakers, and journalists for greater insight into the potential for engagement with India’s sub-national governments.
This portal is the only platform which will allow readers to follow state-level policy and regulatory changes in key sectors identified as critical to India’s growth, he said. “In an effort to spur innovation and effective governance, Modi has championed cooperative federalism in his strategy to develop the nation and has continued to devolve more and more power to the state,” a media release said. In order for states to create development schemes to suit the needs of their citizens, the 14th Finance Commission devolved the share of taxes shared between the centre and the state by an increase of 10 per cent and has now allowed states to access overseas development assistance directly, Rossow said. “Yet bigger state budgets alone will not solve the development challenges of the states. With greater freedom to legislate and spend on many issues important to peoples’ daily lives comes greater responsibility,” he said.