Policy Engagements and Blogs

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

July 12, 2019

12 July 2019
Mapping Power: The Political Economy of Electricity in India’s States


Mapping Power: The Political Economy of Electricity in India’s States, edited by Navroz K Dubash, Sunila S Kale and Ranjit Bharvirkar, provides the first comprehensive analysis of the politics of electricity distribution across fifteen Indian states. The book examines why, despite several decades of reform, India’s electricity sector remains marked by financial indebtedness and an inability to provide universal, high quality electricity for all. In chapters written by scholars of politics and electricity, the book traces the power sector in states as diverse as Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, and Jharkhand. Through these state narratives, the authors argue that attempts to depoliticise electricity reforms are misplaced. Instead, they argue, successful electricity reforms in India depend on linkages with electoral gains.

The book was launched in September 2018 by Suresh Prabhu (former Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation), Jairam Ramesh (Member of Parliament), Narendra Taneja (National Spokesperson, BJP), and Dr Pramod Deo (former Chairman, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission). Since then, it has been reviewed by:

“The 15 articles serve as a one-stop shop for information about the power sector’s tryst with politics and are quite interesting… In as much as it zooms-in into the relationship between politics and the power sector in fifteen big states, the book is timely and useful, because the Electricity Act is going nowhere.”

“This book is an ambitious and substantial contribution to current day thinking on the challenges of India’s power sector. It is methodologically well-grounded in relevant theory and data… The focus on states contributes to bridging a crucial gap that exists in literature today, as most existing studies on India’s electricity sector address the country level. This work is a vital contribution towards not just informing India’s policy pathways, but also towards a methodological blueprint to understand the levers that drive electricity sector development across much of the developing world.”

“The editors have done commendable pioneering work in bringing the “political economy” to the centre of the analytical framework, which is an overdue course correction in the study of the electricity sector in India.”

The launch of Mapping Power was followed by a technical panel discussion with Professor D V Ramana (Professor, Xavier Institute of Management Bhubaneshwar), Aditi Phadnis (Political Editor, Business Standard), and Shantanu Dixit, the Group Coordinator of Prayas (Energy Group). Read more about the Mapping Power book discussion event hosted by the Centre for Policy Research and Oxford University Press here.

To learn more about the state-level politics of electricity in India, check out the Mapping Power blog series: