Policy Engagements and Blogs

CPR Dialogues 2020- Political Elites and Local Bureaucratic Capacity

Rahul Verma

March 13, 2020


Watch the full video (above) of the panel discussion on ‘Political Elites and Local Bureaucratic Capacity’ featuring Shekhar Gupta (Founder, ThePrint India); Deepak Sanan (Senior Visiting Fellow, CPR); Patrick French (Dean, School of Arts and Sciences, Ahmedabad University); Jayant Chaudhary (Former Member of Parliament, India); presentation by Rahul Verma (Fellow, CPR) and moderated by Mukulika Banerjee (Director, South Asia Centre, LSE).

There is ample evidence to show that concentration of power in the hands of a small number of political elites has an adverse impact on economic growth and provision of public goods, however our understanding about the conditions under which power concentration takes place is rather limited. The panel responded and reflected to a short presentation made by CPR Fellow Rahul Verma drawing on his fieldwork in Uttar Pradesh which shows that reproduction of traditional power structures as a by-product of well-oiled machinery maintained by few powerful elites – who are generally from upper castes, tend to keep political offices (across various levels) within family, collude with bureaucratic agents and oversee a large patronage network which has links with criminal entrepreneurs and brokers. They often operate like a cartel, which in turn has serious implications for local bureaucratic capacity.

The panel was organised as part of the second edition of CPR Dialogues, held on 2nd and 3rd March 2020 at the India Habitat Centre. Addressing the theme of Policy Perspectives for 21st-century India, CPR Dialogues 2020 provided a window to the India of the future. Experts from around the country and the world engaged with and debated these very significant development and policy challenges that India faces in the coming decade.

ThePrint India was the digital partner for the event.

An article on political elites in India, written by Rahul Verma in ThePrint can be accessed here.

Media coverage of the panel discussion can be read below:

How political elites are placed in India today, and their impact on state capacity by ThePrint
Videos of other panel discussions organised as part of CPR Dialogues 2020 can be found below:

CPR Dialogues 2020- Inaugural Address by Hon’ble Subrahmanyam Jaishankar
CPR Dialogues 2020- At the Threshold of a New Decade: Navigating the Emerging Geopolitical Landscape
CPR Dialogues 2020- Rights in Times of AI: Emerging Technologies and the Public Law Framework
CPR Dialogues 2020- What Would Happen if We Were to Believe in Indian Agriculture?
CPR Dialogues 2020- Creating an Inclusive Economy in a Digital World
CPR Dialogues 2020- What Would it Take to Build a 21st-century State for India? Launch of CPR’s State Capacity Initiative
CPR Dialogues 2020- Technology and Administrative Reform: Experience from India and the World
CPR Dialogues 2020- Tracking Government Spending: Challenges in Social Policy Financing
CPR Dialogues 2020- The Air Pollution Crisis: Making Political Salience Count
CPR Dialogues 2020- Article 21 and India’s Social and Economic Rights
CPR Dialogues 2020- Challenges in Public Education: Balancing State and Non-State Actors
CPR Dialogues 2020- Emerging Trends in Indian Politics
CPR Dialogues 2020- Are India’s Financial Institutions in Crisis? Understanding India’s Economic Slowdown
CPR Dialogues 2020- The Role of Ideas in Shaping Policy
CPR Dialogues 2020- Indo-US Relations
CPR Dialogues 2020- Land and the Constitution: Solving Land Conflict in India