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Government at the Grassroots in India: Findings from a Case Study

CASI Spring 2018 Visiting Fellow

Rashmi Sharma
Indian Administrative Service (Retired)
Friday, March 23, 2018 - 12:00
Center for the Advanced Study of India 3600 Market Street, Suite 560 (5th floor) University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104

About the Speaker:
Rashmi Sharma retired from the Indian Administrative Service in 2017. She has worked and published extensively in the areas of elementary education and local self-government in India. She is currently engaged in researching and writing about the structure and working of government at the grassroots levels. She is a CASI Spring 2018 Visiting Fellow.

About the Lecture:
In an exploratory case study of the working of government at the grassroots, Rashmi Sharma analyzes the dynamics of field administration in India. She finds that the structure of field administration itself leads to role-confusion, fragmentation, and excessive centralization, which reduce the capacity to deliver. Developments after the 1990s have further reduced this capacity. There is a human resource crisis, as the scope of work has expanded over the years, while the number and quality of personnel have declined. There is wide-spread corruption, and measures introduced to enhance accountability to the community have had a weak impact. Technology has been used mainly to centralize even further. There is a crisis in field administration, which is un-analyzed and barely even noticed within and outside government, which whittles away at the impact of government initiatives for socio-economic development and social welfare.