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Frontlist | The dirty underbelly of Indian development: Book Review

Frontlist | The dirty underbelly of Indian development: Book Review
on Jan 21, 2021
Frontlist | The dirty underbelly of Indian development: Book Review
What are the sources of political patronage in India? Why is the education system in such a mess? Why do state governments gift bicycles for students but neglect to recruit teachers and why do they offer compensation when a family member dies but nobody cares about not having enough doctors? How deep are the roots of democracy in the country? What explains the plight of small scale industry? How do politicians extract rent? M Rajshekhar spent 33 months doing in-depth reporting on the political economy of six states—Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab, Bihar, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu -- to try and answer these questions. This excellent book is the outcome of his efforts.
The author travelled the length and breadth of each state, talking to business people, politicians, activists, religious leaders, academics and ordinary people to get a feel of the changes happening in the state at the grassroots level. This is reporting at its best. The picture that emerges is of a democracy that has been hijacked by vested interests, interested only in power and pelf. In state after state, Rajshekhar found an unholy nexus between politicians and crony capitalists. In Mizoram, he found an unviable economy, surviving on handouts from the Centre. After the siphoning away of funds from road contracts and populist programmes, the state had no money to pay the salaries of doctors and health workers, despite its AIDS problem. In Odisha, blessed with huge mineral resources, the masses benefited little from the iron ore boom. The reason, sums up Rajshekhar, is because the state had supported capital at the cost of its own people.   Source: Money Control

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