Democracy and Development in India

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSUS1PO7354

Semester and Year Offered: Winter

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr. Ishita Mehrotra

Email of course coordinator: ishita.mehrotra[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: None


The course aims to unpack the Indian model of development and its relationship with democracy through situating the process of economic development in the wider context of political democracy in postcolonial India. It also briefly discusses the transformations occurring in the development process under the influence of globalization which are creating new power dynamics as well as of the response to these transformations in the form of protest movements.

Course Outcomes:

  1. To identify key phases and concepts in India’s development trajectory
  2. To understand how the changing nature of the Indian state over the years has impacted its development ideology and policy practice
  3. Demonstrate awareness of challenges posed to mainstream development ideas.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

  1. Interaction of Democracy and Development in India: Indian democracy has challenged almost all theories formulated regarding conditions for sustaining democracy. This module looks at the legacy of centralized state control under colonial India and its transformation in post colonial India, attempting to understand the impact of politics on development.
  2. Deepening Democracy: Decentralization Model (Panchayati Raj Institutions): The module discusses the evolution and trajectory of PRIs in India and looks at the question of whether democratic deepening is a matter of political democracy or is it also about deepening of development.
  3. Development Debates in India: This module looks at the debates around development in India through a discussion on Bombay Plan, Gandhi – Nehru debate, Nehru - Mahalanobis approach to development, Economic Liberalization Model and Neoliberal Reforms. This module also looks at the role of planning in development.
  4. Governance and its Crisis in India: This module looks at the evolution of the definition of governance and its relationship with democracy and development. It critiques the managerial/technical definition of the concept as it precludes both-substantive democracy and development.
  5. Critique of Development & Forms of Political Contestation over Development Paradigms: The module draws from the writings of Aditya Nigam, Amit Bhaduri and Amartya Sen to question the deficits of the existing model of development and propose an alternative thinking about it.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Mid-sem exam: 40%
  • Term Paper: 40%
  • Presentation: 20%

Reading List:

  • Bose, Sugata, (1997), Instruments and Idioms of Colonial and National Development, in Cooper,Frederick and Packard, Randall (ed.) International Development and the Social Sciences, PP. 45-63
  • Sengupta, C(2010), Burden of exception? Deficits and deepening of democratic development in India in Chandan Sengupta and Stuart Corbridge (ed.) Democracy, Development and Decentralisation in India: Continuing Debates, Routledge, New Delhi
  • Mukherjee, R (2010), The Political Economy of Development in India, in Sumit Ganguly and Rahul Mukherji, India since 1980, Cambridge University Press, New York
  • Kohli, Atul (2001), The State and Poverty in India. Cambridge: CUP/ Introduction and chapters 1 & 2
  • Jayal, N (2007 Introduction, in Niraja Gopal Jayal, Amit Prakash, and Pradeep K. Sharma (eds.) Local Governance in India: Decentralization and Beyond, Oxford university Press, New Delhi
  • Manor, J (2011), Perspectives on Decentralization, working paper no 3, ICLD Swedish international centre for local democracy
  • Kabeer, Naila (2005). Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Gender and Development, Vol.13, No.1
  • Chatterjee, Partha, (2000) ‘Development Planning and the Indian State’ in Hasan, Zoya (ed) Politics and the State in India, pp. 115-141, Sage Publications
  • Nanda, B.R., (1995), JawaharLal Nehru: Rebel & Statesman, Chapter 3 (Gandhi and JawaharLal), PP. 22-55, Oxford University Press
  • Kaviraj, Sudipta,(1996), 'Dilemmas of Democratic Development in India' in Adrian Leftwich edited Democracy and Development: Theory and Practice, Cambridge, Polity Press
  • Jayal, N, The governance agenda: Making democratic development dispensable, Economic and Political Weekly, vol 32(8), February 22, 1997
  • Mathur, K. (2011), From Government to Governance, New Delhi: National Book Trust
  • Stoker, G (1998) Governance as theory: five propositions, International Social Science Journal, Volume 50, Issue 155, pages 17–28, March 1998
  • Bhaduri, Amit (2005), Development with Dignity, National Book Trust, New Delhi
  • Dreze,J., and Sen,A (2013) A new India, in Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen (eds.) An uncertain glory: India and its contradictions, Princeton University press, UK
  • Ray, Raka and Katzenstein, Mary Fainsod. (2005) Social Movements in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • Baviskar, Amita (1995). In the Belly of the River: Tribal Conflicts over Development in the Narmada Valley, Delhi: OUP.


  • Menon, Krishna (2011), Democracy and Development in India.
  • Available at:
  • Bardhan, Pranab:
  • Democracy and Development in India: A Comparative Perspective
  • Panchayati Raj and Traditional Institutions of Governance in Niraja Gopal Jayal, Amit Prakash, and Pradeep K. Sharma (eds.) Local Governance in India: Decentralization and Beyond, Oxford university Press, New Delhi