State Capacity: Reflections on India

rahul mukherjee

Conveners: Zaad Mahmood and Matthew McCartney

Speaker: Rahul Mukherji

How does a weak post-colonial democracy develop the capacity to promote citizen well-being? The talk will explore the case of India by comparing two sub-national states – Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. The Indian state has entered an era of rapid economic growth. Moreover, the rights based approach initiated in 2004 has yielded results. State capacity in India deserves more attention at a time when the literature on clientelism dominates the field. The capacity of the Indian state is not the saga of a classic developmental state. We hold that ideas within the state in India evolve over a period of time to reach an ideational tipping point when bureaucratic puzzling coupled with political powering unleashes a policy paradigm, despite significant opponents. We propose this conjecture as being worthy of further scholarly engagement.

Prof. Rahul Mukherji is the Deputy Director of the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University. He has taught at the National University of Singapore, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi), Hunter College (New York) and the University of Vermont (Burlington). He serves on the board of journals such as India Review, Pacific Affairs and Governance.  His two recent books arePolitical Economy of Reforms in India (Oxford University Press, 2014), and Globalization and Deregulation: Ideas, Interests and Institutional Change in India (Oxford University Press, 2014). His current research is focused on the role of the state in the process of development.

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