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The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library


‘The Roots of Citizen Well-Being in India’, 2nd July, 2015 .

‘The Roots of Citizen Well-Being in India’

Dr. Rahul Mukherji,
National University of Singapore,


The state of Andhra Pradesh is one of the success stories in NREGS implementation, which is one of the world’s largest employment guarantee schemes being implemented all over India. The programme is hobbled by rampant corruption in many Indian states. Andhra Pradesh is different. The poor and the excluded are demanding and obtaining work through the scheme. Successful programmes such as this highlight the triumph of citizen formation over patron client politics, aided by democratic politics. The paper argues that the success of the right to employment in Andhra Pradesh depended heavily on the capacity of the sub-national state, especially in the ability of the Department of Rural Development and Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy to insulate a committed rural development bureaucracy from powerful farmers and construction companies with a clear interest in thwarting the programme. This paper highlights the role of state capacity in working out an architecture that checked corruption – nay even exploited actors in society strategically to achieve ends. How the state thinks and acts is important. Good development can be good politics, even though democratic politics does not automatically guarantee citizen well-being.


Dr. Rahul Mukherji is Associate Professor in the South Asian Studies Programme at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He is concurrently Head of Research at the Institute of South Asian Studies also located within NUS. His two recent books are: The Oxford India Short Introduction to the Political Economy of Reforms in India; and, Globalization and Deregulation: Ideas, Interests and Institutional Change in India, 2014.

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