Mapping Power: The Political Economy of Electricity in India's States

Edited by Navroz K Dubash, Sunila S Kale, and Ranjit Bharvirkar
Oxford University Press
2018

Despite several decades of reform, India's electricity sector remains marked by the twin problems of financial indebtedness and inability to provide universal, high quality electricity for all. Although political obstacles to reform are frequently invoked in electricity policy debates, Mapping Power provides the first thorough analysis of the political economy of electricity in Indian states. Through narratives of the electricity sectors in fifteen major states, this book argues that a historically-rooted political economy analysis provides the most useful means to understand the past and identify reforms for the future. The book begins with an analytic framework to understand how the political economy of power both shapes and is shaped by a given state's larger political economy. The book concludes with a synthetic account of the political economy of electricity that is animated by insights from the state-level empirical materials. The volume shows that attempts to depoliticize the sector are misplaced. Instead, successful reform efforts should aim at a positive dynamic between electricity reform and electoral success.