Godsend, Sleight of Hand, or Just Muddling Through: Joint Management in India

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Date
1998
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Abstract
"The main attempt in this paper has been to chalk out a middle path between one extreme of taking state pronouncements of radical ideological shifts too literally and the other of characterizing the state, the only actor presume to have some agency, as a monolithic rent-seeking turf-maximizing entity. I presented evidence from two sectors across several provinces in India in favour of a richer framework that differentiates between participation and devolution, between joint management and decentralization, and then explains the range of state responses to the concept of community participation as being the outcome of the compulsions and motivations of several different actors inside and outside the 'state'. I would argue that in a country like India with a well-entrenched democratic setup and a vibrant civil society, the rent-seeking model of the state has a limited life-span. The process of liberalization and structural adjustment has temporarily shifted the balance of power towards the international donor agencies and also given greater legitimacy to the non-governmental sector. But the political arm of the democratic state and its constituencies will not remain bypassed for long. Whether that it does that consciously through a West Bengal-type internalization of the decentralization agenda or take the populist - and necessary haphazard - route as in Andhra Pradesh remains to be seen."
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IASC, joint management, common pool resources, resource management, forest management, decentralization
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