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Orient Blackswan recently published the book „The State in India: Ideas, Norms and Politics“, which includes the study „The State, Social Policy and Welfare: Reflections on Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal“ by Prof. Rahul Mukherji and Dr. Himanshu Jha (Department of Political Science at SAI). The edited book offers an overview of the literature on the state and showcases the interplay of state and society in new sites: processes of globalisation, assertions of sovereignty, and across the regional and local.
Abstract of the chapter
This chapter examines some of the conditions under which the state is likely to be more capable in delivering welfare results. It argues that ideas held within the bureaucracy are as important as the political will to support such proposals. Ideas and competence within the technocracy matter, as much as the political support for governance projects. This framework is then applied to welfare provisioning in two comparable cases. The first was the successful implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in undivided Andhra Pradesh. The second is the relative failure of the state in West Bengal to implement the same program in the early years.