ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Democratic Dilemma of Transparency

Patching Development: Information Politics and Social Change in India by Rajesh Veeraraghavan, Oxford University Press, 2021; pp 254, £19.99.

What is the appropriate process of development? Is a bottom-up process of development that includes the people necessarily the best model of development? Or can development models also be driven from the top? Patching Development: Information Politics and Social Change in India is an important contribution in the debate on development in India that addresses in depth some of these questions by not necessarily taking a stance on the above questions, rather by challenging the dominant mode of understanding the process of development between its two extremes. As much as a top-driven approach does not account for the actual concerns of the people and can cater to the interests of particularistic groups and communities, mired in corruption, so too a bottom-up model can be caught up in the web of local-level hierarchies and power structures without necessarily circumventing it. Through fieldwork in Andhra Pradesh on the delivery of MgNREGA, Rajesh Veeraraghavan offers us a peek into the tensions and challenges of implementation of development schemes at the grassroots level. Through interviews and interactions with upper- and lower-level bureaucrats and the workers on the ground, he offers us a unique insight into contradictions and dilemmas of policymakers, activists, development practitioners and the people.

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Updated On : 15th May, 2023
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