Book review: Bala Ramulu Chinnala, Marginalized Communities and Decentralized Institutions in India: An Exclusion and Inclusion Perspective

AuthorD. Ravinder
Published date01 December 2022
Date01 December 2022
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews
Bala Ramulu Chinnala, Marginalized Communities and Decentralized
Institutions in India: An Exclusion and Inclusion Perspective. New York:
Routledge (South Asia Edition), 2021, xviii + 141, pp. `995.
Discussions on decentralisation and community-driven governance have become
central to policy dialogues worldwide to accelerate economic reforms, equitable
distribution of resources and enhanced social inclusiveness. There are presumptions
that decentralisation processes could neutralise globalising market trends to
ensure local pro-poor growth processes. Within the wider context of Indian
economic reforms from 1991 onwards, institutional reforms granting increased
rights to local governments and extending reservations to specific social groups
were reflected in important constitutional amendments in 1992. Their thrust has
been to reduce state functions to those of a minimal state, allowing free-market
forces to generate growth with trickle-down effects for everyone, thereby
promoting inclusive development. Particularly the Panchayats (Extension to the
Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), 1996, and its Rules of 1996, reflect presumptions
that proper representation of historically and structurally disadvantaged
communities would integrate them with the mainstream to inculcate a new ethics
of reciprocity among social groups, eventually resulting in substantive socio-
economic changes.
Chinnala’s book analyses the participation of marginalised communities in the
democratically decentralised institutions in this wider context of development
models and institutions, shifting from planned to market economy. He examines
the linkages between the neoliberal model of development and state sovereignty
in ensuring inclusive growth and distributive justice and the role and mandate of
grassroots-level public institutions as enshrined in the Constitution. He scrutinises
the role of political executive personnel from marginalised communities in the
development process, challenges in current political structures, inclusion of
marginalised communities in governance and development, and seeks to ascertain
the extent of real empowerment of local bodies and rural people in development
The book contains six chapters. Unlike other books, it juxtaposes the macro and
micro pictures of the development models and decentralised processes regarding
the position of marginalised communities in grassroots-level institutions. Chapters
1 and 2 deal with the macro picture, while Chapters 3–5 are concerned with
the micro picture, while Chapter 6 presents the conclusion. The study has used
both secondary and primary data and focuses particularly on one South Indian
state, Telangana.
Indian Journal of Public
68(4) 736–741, 2022
© 2022 IIPA
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/00195561221097836

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