Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

Governing Locally: Institutions, Policies, and Implementation in Indian Cities

A Virtual Book Talk with the Authors

in partnership with the South Asia Center & the Penn Institute for Urban Research

Suraj Jacob & Babu Jacob
Political Economist, Azim Primji University & Former Member, Indian Administrative Service, respectively
Thursday, October 21, 2021 - 12:00
A Virtual CASI Book Talk via Zoom — 12 noon EDT | 9:30pm IST

About the Book:
India and other countries chose a decentralized mode of delivering public services through elected local governments for increasing public welfare. However, great expectations of effective services, increased accountability, and people’s participation were widely belied in practice. Based on field research in cities of Gujarat, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, the book is a detailed examination of how state and local governments function and why decentralization outcomes vary considerably. It locates the primary reason in governance practices that compromised autonomy and capacity of urban local governments. Governing Locally demonstrates that despite a constitutional mandate for decentralized governance, policy implementation got derailed in processes threading through laws, rules, and administrative actions. It shows how habitual practices create hidden institutional rigidities that thwart policy moves despite good intentions and democratic legitimacy. The book also discusses how to navigate policy to skirt hidden threats to successful implementation.

About the Authors:
Suraj Jacob is a political economist who teaches development and policy at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. He recently worked as the Chief Executive of Vidya Bhawan, a non-governmental organization in Rajasthan.

Babu Jacob is a former member of the Indian Administrative Service. He worked in several domains in the Kerala state government and national government and retired as Chief Secretary to the Government of Kerala. He researches governance and was affiliated with the Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum.