New Login   

Poverty Endures

Mujibur Rehman

By Narayan Lakshman
Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2011, pp.249, Rs. 675.00


The book under review is a vital addition to the scholarly writings on Indian political economy, though sadly it engages with the familiar puzzle regarding why and how poverty persists among various social groups of India even after more than six decades of India's freedom. For decades, it was the colonial state, then it was the Nehru-vian state and now it is globalization that is generally seen as the key factor for India's poverty and inequality. This book tells us that there are more factors than the ones that is generally attributed in the scholarly writings for decades, and it is the failure to recognize this is the reason behind India's pervasive poverty. The discourse of political economy has been dominantly led by professional econo-mists, but in this case the author has brought interesting insights by locating the puzzle in the larger perspective of caste politics backed by a very well-grounded empirical research of two States: Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Given the complexity of India's political economy, the claims and findings of this research eludes generalizations, but in its specific context it does make convincing arguments about why the poor remain poor and how many non-state factors are central to the enduring nature of Indian poverty. This book, according to the author, is an exploration of the impact of the regime type at the state level in India on the effectiveness for pro-poor policies. The research, it is obvious, is inspired by an important work by Atul Kohli who sought to explain the relationship between regime and anti-poverty programmes that came out of his doctoral research from the University of California, Berkeley. This book is also a product of doctoral research at the London School of Economics, UK under the supervision of the noted social anthropologist Professor John Harris who has deep interest in political economy. Therefore, it is not at all surprising to see why factors such as caste is explored in such detail. This obviously has contributed positively to the understanding of state failure. The States, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, chosen by the author focuses on the budgetary processes with studies of political history of each State. The framework recognizes the interplay of political factors on economic policies and their distributional outcomes. It hopes to make a convincing case how public policy and the evolving balance of power during the twentieth century can significantly explain political and distributional ...

Table of Contents >>
Please or to Read Entire Article

Free Access Online 12 Back Issues
with 1 year's subscription
Archive (1976-2011)
under construction.