Extractive States and Layered Conflict: The Case of Jharkhand’s Electricity Sector
Despite its considerable resource endowment, and a relatively “clean slate” during the formation of the state, Jharkhand has severely underdelivered on most aspects of its electricity mandate. It is hard to blame a beleaguered Jharkhand State Electricity Board exclusively for these problems; the weak relative bargaining power of the state vis-a-vis central actors—particularly Central Public Sector Undertakings, or PSUs—and the short-sightednesss of most politicians are just as much responsible for this underdelivery of public services. A large amount of the financial agency traditionally associated with control of the state has been taken away from the Jharkhand electricity sector because of these disputes. Ultimately, Jharkhand’s electricity system has still not been able to extricate itself from the multiple disputes both within and outside the state. Until this happens, it is hard to see the electricity system improving considerably.