Politics and the Room to Manoeuvre: Democracy, Social Opportunity and Poverty in India
Dulal, H. (ed.) Poverty Reduction in a Changing Climate, Chapter 2, Lexington Books. ISBN 978-1-4985-1093-6, 2015
22 Pages Posted: 8 May 2020
Date Written: 2015
Ownership is the essence of economic citizenship. Beyond actual possession, a sense of personal welfare and proprietorship, or at least the hope of achieving them, constitute a necessary and important complement to being stakeholders in a society. Together with efficacy and legitimacy, these are necessary attributes of political agency. In this chapter we examine the interplay between democracy, social opportunity and economic security, drawing upon survey data to explore popular perceptions of India’s new economic policy. The article first situates itself within the context of new theoretical literature on the multidimensional nature of poverty and how to measure it, then identifies aggregate indicators of the performance of Indian states and the overall achievements and failings of India in terms of poverty alleviation. In the second half, the article identifies what seems to be the lack of a ‘politics of poverty’ in India and the various cultural, historical, political explanations that have been proffered for this apparent anomaly. Finally, the impact of democracy on poverty reduction is examined through the programmes that have been launched and which aim at creating a level-playing field, but which nevertheless have the potential to degenerate into highly populist measures.
Keywords: Democracy, Social Opportunity, Multidimensional Poverty, India, Politics, Economic Policy, Political Economy, Citizenship, Welfare, Efficacy, Legitimacy, Survey, Perception, Poverty Measurement, Indian States, BRICS, South Asia, Post-Colonial
JEL Classification: E2, E24, H4, H11, I, I3, I31, I32, I38, O1, O2, O15, O43
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation