This analysis of the role of government in eradicating India's rural poverty raises a whole series of crucial contemporary issues relating to the state, its degree of autonomy in the developing world and the problems of effecting genuine redistributive reform. The particular importance of the book is that it focuses attention on the nature of ruling political parties as an important factor influencing the success or failure of redistributive and welfare politics in a democratic capitalist setting. Dr Kohli compares in detail three state-level Indian governments of the late seventies: Communist-ruled West Bengal, Karnataka under the Congress Party, and Uttar Pradesh under the Janata Party. Comparing these in terms of their success in redistributing agricultural land and creating employment for the rural poor, the author argues cogently that well-organised, left-of-centre parties in government - like that in West Bengal - are the most effective in implementing reform.
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'Atul Kohli's book makes an important contribution ! He chooses his ground precisely and well ! The argument throughout ! is easily accessible and clearly stated. Judgements are sensitive and balanced ! There is ! so much of perceptive comment scattered throughout the book on so many relevant questions.' Government and Opposition 'Kohli interweaves empirical materials ! with a tightly constructed, sophisticated theoretical framework. His argument is provocative, far reaching and yet carefully substantiated.' Comparative Politics 'The enduring value of Kohli's work is going to be that, in addressing the question of India's poverty from the point of view of political variables, he makes a definitive contribution to the study of India's political economy.' Statesman (India) '! an important attempt to analyse under what conditions is it possible to undertake and implement significant redistributive reforms in favor of the poor in capitalist Third World countries.' Journal of Development Studies 'A complex and rigorous analysis of the determinants of state policy towards the problems of poverty and its reform ! The skill and rigor with which [the author] has handled his empirical materials also is exemplary.' Indian Express (India) 'Kohli's book is a very interesting and a very important study of development and reform policy.' Nyt Fra Historian (Denmark)
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. The state and redistributive reforms; 2. Democracy and development in India: an interpretation; 3. West Bengal: parliamentary communism and reform from above; 4. Karnataka: populism, patronage and piecemeal reform; 5. Uttar Pradesh: political fragmentation, middle-peasant dominance and the neglect of reforms; 6. Conclusion: the state and reform in democratic-capitalist development; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.
The State and Poverty in India by Atul Kohli
Cambridge South Asian Studies
Used - Very Good
Cambridge University Press
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