March 15, 2021

India’s State institutions are failing citizens because they were built to control, not govern

In this opinion piece published in ThePrint, Kadambari Shah and Vibhav Mariwala argue for "strong, effective, and agile institutions" to cater to the changing demands of the country and its citizens. They analyse the colonial structures underlying these institutions and discuss how they are failing citizens because they were built to control, not govern. Excerpts:


"At the local level, it was not until the 1990s that local government bodies in urban and rural areas were constitutionally recognised through the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments; even then, their powers and autonomy are limited. An analysis of local government provisions reveals that the appointment and dismissal of municipal commissioners and district collectors across different states, barring Kerala, is at the discretion of the state government, not the citizens in the districts they administer and represent. This mismatch between authority and agency is reflected in the poor condition of welfare services. Thus, the post nation-building political establishment has failed to transform institutions from agents of control to those of governance."


Read the full article here.

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