‘The Suffocating Embrace?: The state in independent India’
Prof. Devesh Kapur,
University of Pennsylvania,
While the State in post-independence India has been seen as a key instrument for socio-economic transformation, expectations have been belied more than met. The talk examines why the Indian State is relatively successful in some complex tasks while much less so in seemingly simpler tasks. By focusing on core functions of the modern State – public order, regulation, public goods and the State’s role in the international system – the speaker argues that the Indian State’s weaknesses are rooted in factors that are largely internal to India. A political economy consumed with social representation in State organs, a severe imbalance between goals and capabilities, and political and cognitive centralization have led to a neglect of intra-organizational issues that are critical to successful implementation. A growing mismatch between the capacity of the Indian State and the emerging challenges facing the country, pose the biggest threat to India’s future.
Prof. Devesh Kapur is Madan Lal Sobti Professor of Contemporary India and Director, Center for Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania, USA.