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Neoliberal Reforms and Democracy in India

Neoliberal Reforms and Democracy in India

The debate regarding neoliberal reforms has, in the main, focused on the changes in economic policy initiated of late. The reforms of the state, and of governance, which have also been undertaken, have been viewed as providing the necessary back up for economic reforms. But, the restructuring of the state has an independent significance. It represents an attempt to incorporate market rationality in the organisation and functioning of the state. Further, the implications of political reforms for democracy in India need to be explored. Since not only democratic institutions but also the humanist ideals which had inspired the social democratic state are now being reinterpreted in line with the neoliberal political agenda, a critical examination of the process becomes important.

Perspectives

Neoliberal Reforms and Democracy in India

The debate regarding neoliberal reforms has, in the main, focused on the changes in economic policy initiated of late. The reforms of the state, and of governance, which have also been undertaken, have been viewed as providing the necessary back up for economic reforms. But, the restructuring of the state has an independent significance. It represents an attempt to incorporate market rationality in the organisation and functioning of the state. Further, the implications of political reforms for democracy in India need to be explored. Since not only democratic institutions but also the humanist ideals which had inspired the social democratic state are now being reinterpreted in line with the neoliberal political agenda, a critical examination of the process becomes important.

SARAH JOSEPH

I
ndians often express pride in the fact that over half a century after independence, India has remained a stable and effective democracy, one of the largest in the world. It has thus confounded the gloomy predictions which were made by many western scholars at the time of independence. Regular, and relatively free elections, a free press, an independent judiciary and apolitical army, and respect for constitutional procedures and laws, are some of the features of Indian democracy which are often cited with pride. Moreover, even though analysts have detected less commitment from the middles classes than from the poor with respect to voting, in this respect there has probably been less popular withdrawal from participation in democratic processes like elections in India than in many of the older democracies in the western world [Yadav 1999, Mair 2006]. Democracy in India has not only survived but appears to have put down deep roots.

However, it is paradoxical that along with pride in Indian democracy a growing cynicism about politics and politicians is also evident. Politicians are widely perceived as a self-seeking tribe motivated by a ruthless drive for power and personal gain while politics is associated with dubious deals and corruption. There seems to be an implicit belief among many people that a healthy democracy requires politicians who are not professional wheelerdealers but people of good moral character ready to devote themselves to public service. Part of the respect which Manmohan Singh seems to elicit across classes and parties stems from his image as a rational and qualified and honest leader who has not emerged out of the rough and tumble of professional politics.

Although there are undoubtedly serious issues which can be raised regarding representative democracy in India and the kind of professional politics which it has generated, questions could also be raised regarding some of the political reforms which are being initiated today in line with the neoliberal agenda. The impact of neoliberal1 policies on the economy, and on the model of development being pursued, has been the subject of considerable discussion in the country in recent years. However, the significance of the changes which are being introduced in the state and governance have not always been fully appreciated since they are often viewed merely as representing the necessary response of the state to the challenges of globalisation. It will be argued below that the political reforms being undertaken today have a more radical aspect in that they represent an attempt to incorporate market rationality into the structures and practices of the state. As such, they are as important a part of the neoliberal agenda as are the economic changes being initiated.2 Moreover, the implications of these changes for the understanding and practice of liberal democracy in India are also likely to be profound. Principles which were central to liberal democracy such as the distinction between the public and private spheres, and between the state and its citizens, are being reinterpreted today in terms of the political values which neoliberalism embodies. The significance of the popular suspicion of politics which we see around us needs to be understood in the context of these wider changes.

The first section will briefly discuss aspects of the reforms of state and governance which have been initiated in India in recent years. The second section will discuss the impact of such reforms on democratic institutions and practices.

Neoliberal Political Reforms

The wide influence and legitimacy of neoliberal theories and its political agenda today is generally attributed to the growing problems which beset the welfare state and capitalist economy in the west after the 1960s. The slowing down of the high rate of economic growth which had characterised western economies in the post-war decades generated rising inflation and unemployment. Coupled with the expansion of the public sector and increasing public expenditure on social services, the welfare state seemed to be in crisis by the 1970s and 1980s. Similar problems faced the developmental state in India after the 1960s [Joseph 2001]. As a result, criticisms of the developmental state and of modernisation theories also gained ground at the time. Moreover, social democratic parties like the British Labour Party, and the Congress Party in India, seemed to have little to offer which could help resolve the crisis. This provided the ideological space in which neoliberal theories gained wide legitimacy.

Although dismantling the welfare and developmental states and minimising state interference in the market constitutes only

Economic and Political Weekly August 4, 2007 one component of the current neoliberal political agenda, the significance of this agenda has been wide in that it has also influenced the nature of the reforms of state and governance which have been inaugurated in countries like India. Particular reforms have often been defended as necessary to avoid certain vulnerabilities to which the social democratic and developmental states were considered to be prone. One criticism made of the welfare state was that it attracted lobbies and special interests that competed to acquire power over the state to benefit themselves and their constituencies, even at the cost of the public interest. As a result states overextended themselves and were unable to deliver on their promises. For instance, in the “overload debate” of the 1970s special interests were blamed for “overloading” of the state, leading to excessive and wasteful expenditure. Democratic states, it was argued, found it particularly difficult to resist such pressures. [Held 1989-90, Self 2000]. To guard against the recurrence of such problems by introducing measures to reduce the possibility of political pressures influencing policy-making processes, has become one objective of the reform agenda.

In their suspicion of lobbies and special interests, neoliberal theories have gone against what had become the accepted view in liberal democratic theory. In the theories of pluralist democracy associated with social scientists like Harold Lasswell, and Robert Dahl, lobbies and organised interests had been accepted as an inevitable feature of large, modern democracies and one which could have some positive effects for democracy. The role of governments, it was held, was to mediate between multiple demands [Held 1989-90:27, Self 2000:101]. Neoliberal theories however, have reversed this view since they maintain that lobbies and special interests can pose a threat to democracy and good governance. Since lobbies and special interests are associated with politics, such theories have generated support for measures which would help distance decisionmaking and governance from politics [Zakaria 2003:196].

Criticisms similar to those made of the welfare state were also made by many economists and political scientists regarding the developmental state in India. They attributed the inability of the developmental state in India to implement its plans and commitments, to the influence acquired by powerful interests and lobbies over the political parties and the state [Kohli1991, Jalan 2005]. This led to a distortion of decisions and made it difficult for the state to achieve its developmental targets. It also made it difficult to implement re-distributive policies.3 Therefore, it was argued, the state was unable to achieve its goals of economic development and social justice. Among the strategies suggested in the neoliberal political agenda to avoid the recurrence of such problems have been proposals to restructure the administration to distance decision-making and implementation in a number of areas from political influences and pressures. By distancing some functions of government from the direct control of political leaders and ensuring political accountability to elected bodies, it is hoped that there will be less scope for political pressures to dilute the rationality and efficiency of policies and their implementation.

Another vulnerability associated with the developmental state is corruption. Large budgets, bloated bureaucracies, elaborate and time consuming rules of procedure, were seen as providing opportunities for individuals to indulge in “rent-seeking” behaviour [Bagchi 1993]. Anti-corruption measures were difficult to implement because an inflated and corrupt bureaucracy had acquired a vested interest in perpetuating the system. Neoliberal theories have argued that reducing the scale of government would provide less scope for corruption and the diversion of public funds towards private benefit. To replace bureaucratic decision-making they have upheld the superior efficiency of competitive markets to generate solutions which would be more cost effective and efficient, and would also be better able to harmonise competing interests.

However, the contemporary neoliberal political agenda is about more than dismantling big government and freeing the market from state restrictions. Although the virtues of the free market have indeed been extolled by neoliberal thinkers, there is also recognition that careful monitoring and regulation of the economy by the state is needed to facilitate the healthy functioning of markets, prevent market failure and promote economic growth. Moreover, in a global economy, states are expected to play an active role in attracting capital investment by providing a suitable economic and political environment for capital. This would require states to undertake new responsibilities for the provision of infrastructure and to offer concessions and subsidies to create a hospitable environment for capital investment. Further, it is accepted that markets also need regulation. Measures to promote competition where appropriate, as well as to regulate the functioning of public sector organisations and private enterprises now form part of the new responsibilities of the state and a number of regulatory bodies have been set up for the purpose. Hence, far from minimising the state, reforms in different countries have often had the paradoxical effect of strengthening states and investing them with new responsibilities even as they are divested of some of the welfare functions they had earlier assumed.

Partners in Governance

In liberal democratic theory the distinctions between state and society, public and private, are of central importance. In neoliberal theories however, the non-state sector, civil society, and global and national corporate interests are considered to be the natural partners of the state. The liberal concepts of sovereignty and autonomy are therefore being replaced by terms like “embedded autonomy”. With reference to the state the focus now is on networking across the public-private divide, and on state-society synergy and complementarity, which are considered more appropriate terms to describe the new relationship envisaged between state and non-state sectors. It is maintained that in a global economy states need to develop horizontal linkages with different interests and with civil society [Petitville 1998].

The impact of such theories can be discerned even in India. A number of new practices have been initiated in India which illustrate the belief in partnership and shared interests. For instance, it has become a common practice in recent years for representatives of corporate organisations, and sometimes even international organisations, to be included in government commissions and task forces from time to time. The National Knowledge Commission is a case in point.4 In addition, frequent consultations and negotiations take place between government and organisations representing particular interests such as FICCI, or the CII, chambers of commerce, and, to a lesser extent, civil society organisations. Representatives of business are often included in government delegations to other countries and political leaders may help to promote their interests. And there is of course the World Economic Forum at Davos which brings

Economic and Political Weekly August 4, 2007

together governments and business leaders [Arora 2001].

Partnership does not only mean the state promoting the interests of business. Business interests are also expected to shoulder some responsibility for promoting economic growth and social welfare although the extent and nature of their contribution is left to be determined by them. Even as governments divest themselves of some social responsibilities, corporate philanthropy is considered to be an important long term objective for the private sector today and business organisations often set up philanthropic trusts to promote a variety of public causes such as improving the quality of education, or trying to expand employment opportunities for the poor, or supporting the arts. In some cases, firms may prefer to support causes by entering into public-private partnerships with government departments for promoting particular projects.

Whatever may be the economic benefits of such arrangements, a noteworthy consequence is that the state is no longer considered to be the final articulator and protector of the public interest. That role is now shared with the non-state sector, with the views of corporate interests being given particular importance. The views of the marginalised are rarely given equal consideration.

Public-private partnerships, contracting, and outsourcing, are some of the many strategies being adopted today to associate the non-state sector with governance at all levels. Among the benefits claimed for such practices is making it possible to harness the funds and expertise available in the private sector for governance and making cost-effective and efficient service available to consumers. Some outsourcing had of course always existed but the scale has now greatly increased and this has contributed to the “hollowing out” of the state, a development which has also been noted in many other countries in recent years. The kind of functions outsourced could range from the relatively less important, such as garbage removal, or recruitment of lower level staff, to the more specialised.

Whatever may be the benefit to consumers from practices such as outsourcing, or contracting out, they raise important issues regarding the financial and political accountability of service agencies and departments to the citizens for the terms of the contracts negotiated, and for the efficient functioning of contractors. In theory the agency or department concerned would be responsible for protecting the public interest in all such deals, and for ensuring that contractors perform satisfactorily, but this responsibility may be difficult to enforce in the case of functions outsourced to private organisations. Supervision of contractors and enforcement of penalty clauses place new responsibilities on government departments, also, possibly new opportunities for corruption. Further, in the case of outsourcing also, important issues regarding the financial and political accountability of the executive to the legislature are raised.

Public-private partnerships also are being actively promoted today. Such partnerships have been established for a number of different purposes such as joint forest management, or watershed development, or education, or road building. They are being promoted particularly for infrastructure projects where large investments are required but where private capital may hesitate to invest because they have along gestation period and the returns may be limited. In addition to tapping private funds and expertise an additional advantage claimed for such partnerships is that they help to distance some governmental functions from bureaucratic regulations and possible political pressures.

Reorganising on Business Lines

It needs to be noted that although the concept of state autonomy may have been modified in neoliberal theories, autonomy is still considered a desired characteristic for public institutions by analysts influenced by the new institutional economics, and the historic institutionalism of political scientists such as Theda Skopcol [Kapur and Mehta 2005]. Their concern however is with the internal autonomy of public institutions. The design of institutions and their rules, and procedures, and incentive systems, can be important for determining the efficiency of institutions they argue. By instituting a system of positive and negative incentives members can be encouraged to work efficiently. Further, they maintain that institutional autonomy will strengthen the capacity of institutions to survive and grow by accessing global funds and forging national and international partnerships. Public sector institutions such as economic enterprises, universities, or research institutes, therefore should be granted autonomy to enable them to achieve their full potential in a changed world.

In addition to networking across the public-private divide attempts have also been made of late to reorganise government departments on business lines. This would involve introducing changes to make it possible to use business norms such as transparency, profitability, and economy, to assess bureaucratic performance. The assumption is that the administrative function is concerned with implementing policies and objectives determined by the political leadership. Reorganisation on business lines will hopefully increase the efficiency and productivity of the administration without challenging political control. In a number of cases private consultants have been hired to advise on the kind of changes which would be needed to streamline the government and chart out the most productive paths for future development.

In theory, management consultants should advise on management practices rather than political decisions but the dividing line may be very thin between them in many cases such as when expert advice is sought on the best direction for the future development of a government or a public institution. The McKinsey Vision 2020 report commissioned by the Andhra Pradesh government under Chandrababu Naidu became the subject of considerable political controversy at the time but hiring consultants has become an accepted practice now. It is also one of the conditionalities generally included by donors and lending agencies before funding a project. Paying consultants may constitute a not inconsiderable item of expenditure in projects which these bodies support [Bopaiah et al 2003].

In addition to management consultants, consultants are also being hired for advice on a wide range of decisions which government departments have to make from time to time. One of the advantages claimed for hiring consultants is that they can provide expert and impartial advice on specialised matters and thus reduce the possibility of decisions being influenced by political considerations. But is this assumption always justified? Experts are notoriously prone to disagree, it would be virtually impossible to exclude the possibility of disagreement on all but the most trivial matters. In such cases the final decision would presumably rest with politicians. Moreover, even if expert advice is based on impeccable and scientific considerations it may still become the subject of political controversy, for instance, if it lends the weight of expert opinion to support one among a number of possible options

Economic and Political Weekly August 4, 2007 facing a government, such as supporting one alignment for a road project over another, or one public transport system over others. However, politicians often welcome the practice because it may help them reach decisions in cases in which competing interests are involved, and it may also make it easier to sell controversial decisions to the public. Moreover, it appears that this procedure can also sometimes be used to accommodate private interests without attracting public criticism. Since the consultants’ reports may not always be accessible to the public and only rarely, if ever, does the government undertake a cost benefit analysis of the reports submitted, it is difficult to assess the real value of their input into governance but it is certainly possible to question the claim that using consultants helps reduce the scope for politics to influence decision-making. What the practice may indeed reduce would be democratic inputs into decision-making.

It would be difficult to make an overall assessment of the economic benefits and costs of the restructuring of the state which is being undertaken in many countries today, including our own. Here I would discuss only some implications for democratic government. The fragmentation of the state which is taking place as a result of reforms has affected not only the accountability of executive to the legislature but it has also affected the democratic right of citizens to express their views and hold governments accountable. No doubt, in some of the new institutions being set up, such as public-private bodies, provisions to incorporate alternate avenues for participation may be included. In such bodies the democratic principle of accountability of the executive to the elected bodies, and ultimately to the voters, has been reinterpreted to mean accountability to stakeholders and consumers. Providing opportunities for affected people to express their views is often mandated by the laws which establish such bodies. But it is, in general, only a limited and carefully monitored notion of participation which is recognised for these groups. Thus there may be provision for hearing their views before major decisions are taken but no guarantees regarding the importance which must be accorded to their views. Apart from consulting stakeholders and the public before important decisions are taken, provision for affected people to express their responses to the functioning of projects as well as providing a role for local bodies may also be mandatory now for many schemes though, here again, the scope and impact of such participation is likely to vary from state to state, and from scheme to scheme. In general, powerful stakeholders may well be able to exert some influence on decisions but responsiveness to the protests and opinions of ordinary members of the affected public may be limited. Hence the frequent recourse to violence by protesting groups.

The changes discussed above constitute only a few of the many far-reaching changes that have been initiated at different levels of governance in India in recent years as part of the neoliberal reform agenda. Since such changes are more than formal and may lead to new power alignments, the process has been a contested one and the success of the reform process in different parts of the country is not necessarily assured. Returning to the past is not an option today but creative solutions within the existing possibilities can be explored and for this a critical examination of the reform process is important. Perhaps one of the key areas of political contestation at this time are the legal and economic reforms being introduced to open up the land market to national and global players.

Neoliberalism and Liberal Democracy

Although the primary objective of political reforms has been to improve the efficiency and productivity of governance, inevitably they have also had an impact on the liberal democratic state. As was discussed above, principles such as the distinction between state and society, public and private, which were central to liberal democratic theory, are being reinterpreted and the need for states to network across the divide between state and non-state sectors is emphasised. States are now expected to share with corporate interests and civil society the responsibility of promoting the public interest. Moreover, the notion of public interest itself may be reinterpreted in market terms.

Neoliberal theories reject the social democratic notion of public good and social justice and the responsibility it placed on the state to promote interests which markets might ignore. They also reject the social democratic view that citizens are entitled to all the political, social and economic rights needed to enable them to live with dignity and respect. As against this view, neoliberal theories define citizens as consumers of services which the state provides, and as active participants in the market, capable of promoting their own interest. The role of the state would be to provide the basic services which could empower them to do this. As a consequence, in many countries social rights are being whittled down and market based solutions to problems such as healthcare, or education, are replacing them. Of course, neoliberal theories do also emphasise the importance of granting equal rights to all citizens but priority is given to individual freedoms and civil rights such as the right to property.

While social democratic theories put the responsibility for promoting collective welfare and social justice on the state, neoliberalism has been accused of seeking individual based solutions to collective problems and leaving it to the market to devise solutions. [Brown 2006:704]. This approach is reflected in the kind of policies currently being put forward in countries like India to deal with problems such as rural poverty, or environmental degradation. Although the causes of such problems may be political, requiring collective efforts to solve, the solutions being put forward tend to focus on the individual. For instance, promotion of self-help groups is one policy which is being given considerable importance today as a way of solving rural poverty. It is believed that if the poor can be provided access to the small amounts of capital which could empower them to become independent and productive players in the market, this could help to lift individuals above the poverty line and thus make a dent on rural poverty.

Another example would be the policies devised to rehabilitate victims of large development projects. Although such projects may destroy the livelihood and way of life of marginalised communities, rehabilitation policies tend to emphasise individual compensation as the solution to their problems. While the expected benefits of development may be increased prosperity for the state as a whole, a stake in that prosperity is rarely guaranteed to displaced communities.

In neoliberal terms long term and collective problems such as global warming, or depletion of water resources, would be treated as externalities and meeting the costs of such externalities could again be left to the market. Thus carbon trading has been put forward as one answer to the problem of environmental pollution, individual rain water harvesting as one

Economic and Political Weekly August 4, 2007

answer to the problem of ground water depletion.

Within the framework of neoliberal theories inclusive growth, not redistribution, is the objective and, in his speech on the occasion of the third anniversary of the UPA government, the prime minister argued that this could be achieved by promoting the empowerment of weaker sections, ensuring entitlements to employment, and the like, and stepping up public investment to spread growth. He also appealed to business to be more socially responsible and even to accept voluntary limits on their perquisites. Even the Left seems unable to put forward alternatives to this notion of inclusive growth and may try to achieve social justice and equality by working with business to promote industrialisation and growth. So widespread has been the penetration of the neoliberal theories and agenda into political discourse and popular beliefs that it is difficult to conceive of alternatives.5 Going back to the past is clearly not an option today for any country but it is important to critically examine current developments to be able to envisage possible alternatives. There is need to rethink existing development models and work towards more creative solutions which would make not only business but also the poor partners in the project.

In a vibrant democracy political parties and elected bodies would be expected to play a central role in safeguarding the rights and interests of all members of the population. But liberal democracy is under stress today. The concept of competitive elections as a means of making governments accountable to the electorate is being challenged by the kind of changes which are taking place in the party systems of many countries, and by the changed role which elections now play in representative democracies. Elections are now often less a choice between alternative political programmes and a means of enforcing political accountability on the government. They are increasingly taking on the character of referenda on personalities and slogans with professional fund-raisers and public relations consultants sometimes playing a greater role than citizens in selecting the issues used for mobilising voters. In India, where the attempt may be to build a strategic alliance of groups which can help a party to win votes, political platforms would be chosen with the aim of winning maximum votes rather than for ideological considerations. A basic consensus on development policies is often masked by mobilisation around emotive issues.

Procedural Democracy

A procedural model of democracy would seem to be the appropriate counterpart to the political reforms which have been initiated under the influence of the neoliberal political agenda. According to political scientists like Robert Dahl, good procedures rather than direct popular participation in government, are the most effective way of promoting democratic values such as freedom of speech, and equality, in modern, industrialised, states [Dahl 1989]. It is maintained that liberal democracy is committed to providing equal rights to all citizens and equal opportunities for participation in democratic procedures, not necessarily to ensuring equality of outcomes. In fact, in terms of market rationality, outcomes should reflect the skills and resources which individual actors are able to deploy and thus inequality is inevitable, natural. Governments may be assessed as democratic or otherwise, according to their adherence to democratic procedures such as regular and free elections.

The importance of maintaining democratic procedures cannot be underestimated but the claim that liberal values can be effectively promoted through procedures rather than also in more substantive ways, is debatable. Relying on procedures to promote liberal values may not only be problematic, it could also lead to a reinterpretation of those values. David Harvey has commented on how freedom has come to be understood as freedom to participate in market exchanges in neoliberal theories [Harvey 2005]. The emancipatory notion of freedom which was also present in the liberal tradition has been marginalised in the process. In fact, defence of humanist values and democratic norms is to a great extent now left to social movements and the more radical civil society groups.

Some of the limits and possibilities of a procedural approach to democracy can be illustrated by examining one procedure which is given central importance in the model, namely, the holding of regular and free elections. Its record of holding regular and free elections is one of the factors often cited with pride with regard to Indian democracy. True, conducting elections with reasonable efficiency and impartiality in Indian conditions poses a truly stupendous managerial challenge and the Election Commission has been widely commended for the way it has done this. Its efforts have helped to promote the equality and freedomof voters at the time of voting and have brought legitimacy to the process. But it is less often noted that this has been achieved at the cost of rigidly demarcating the period during which elections rules are enforced, by elaborating rules designed to exclude malpractices during that period, and by using the necessary force to maintain “the rules of the game”. This makes the problem manageable but is no guarantee of the quality of the democratic process which may precede, and succeed, elections. Nor can it ensure accountability of elected governments to the electors. This casts some doubt on the claims made by supporters of procedural democracy that procedures by themselves can embody and promote democratic values. Ultimately it would have to be the responsibility of citizens and elected bodies to promote democratic values.

Emphasis on democratic procedures as the defining characteristic of the democratic state may turn political attention away from the more long-term and substantive problems facing a polity. It may lead to beliefs such as that the seamy political deals and corruption which we see around us today are not, in part at least, a symptom of wider problems afflicting the polity, but that they constitute the problem. Such a perspective is reflected in the frequently expressed view that the remedy for reducing political corruption could be stricter enforcement of laws and more stringent punishments for offences, greater public vigilance, and the like. But it is debatable whether such measures alone, assuming that they could be enforced, would suffice to reduce corruption given its complex roots. The neoliberal emphasis on the importance of procedures and “the rule of law” may only bring about a change in the modus operandi of corruption rather than help to eliminate it.

Perhaps then the remedy for the ills of professional politics may lie not in trying to eliminate politics from democratic government but in strengthening democratic inputs into the political process while restoring a sense of a collective good and a shared future. It is unfortunate that politics is often associated only with dubious practices because, as a process of discussion, negotiation, accommodation, and compromise, it forms an indispensable component of democratic decision-making. It may be a slow and sometimes clumsy process but it offers the only way in which different interests and opinions can be

Economic and Political Weekly August 4, 2007 peacefully negotiated. It is difficult to conceive of a democratically constituted public sphere which excluded political interventions.

EPW

Email: sarahjph04@hotmail.com

Notes

1 It is not assumed here that neoliberalism represents a coherent and integrated politicalideology but rather, a loosely connected set oftheories in which certain common themes can be discerned. Among the well known theoristswho have contributed to the development ofneoliberalism are F A Hayek and MiltonFriedman (See Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, Routledge, 1960, and The Road to Serfdom, Rougledge, London,1976). One of the defining characteristics of the neoliberalpolitical agendas which political theorists haveemphasised, is the view that market rationalityis also the political rationality which shouldguide the state and its policies [Brown 2006].

2 This point has also been emphasised by theoristslike Wendy Brown and others [Brown 2006].

3 As Bimal Jalan has written “The peoples intereststend to be overtaken by the power of specialinterests”.

4 http://knowledgecommission.gov.in

5 “Neoliberalism has, in short, become hegemonicas a mode of discourse. It has pervasive effectson ways of thought to the point where it has become incorporated into the common senseway many of us interpret, live in, and understandthe world” [Harvey 2005:3].

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Petiteville, Franck (1998): ‘Three MythicalRepresentations of the State in DevelopmentTheory’,International Social Science Journal, Vol 50, Issue 155, pp 115-24.

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Zakaria, F (2003):The Future of Freedom, Penguin,Viking.

INDIRA GANDHI INSTITUTE OF DEVELOPMENT RESEARCH Film City Road, Goregaon (E), Mumbai-400065

Young Scholars’ Programme

Young scholars in the field of Social Sciences, Humanities, Mathematics and Statistics who are interested in Human Development are invited to participate in a Young Scholars’ Programme for capacity development. This programme is the second batch of the successful and well-received YSP first held in June 2007 and is planned for the end of September-first week of October period. The Programme is supported by UNDP/ Planning Commission and hopes to build research capacity on various aspects of Human Development. Those who have finished their master’s degree this year or the preceding three years may apply. Recently appointed college lecturers are also encouraged to apply. The total intake will be 35-40 students from all over India.

The Programme will consist of lectures, discussion groups and individual research, for which library and other facilities will be provided by IGIDR. All selected participants will be expected to give a short presentation or write a 2000 word note on a human development topic of their interest.

Those selected will be given full boarding and lodging on a twin-sharing basis at IGIDR, and a modest stipend for out-of-pocket expenses. Travel expenses will be reimbursed for an amount up to Three-tier AC travel (including Tatkal charges where necessary). Accommodation may also be available for those wishing to stay on preceding or succeeding days in case of travel exigencies.

Selection will be on the basis of CV and a half page note on motivation. These should be sent by email to: ysp@igidr.ac.in on or before 19th August 2007. Only those selected will be informed along with the firm dates.

Economic and Political Weekly August 4, 2007

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