Governing India: Evolution of Programmatic Welfare in Andhra Pradesh

Date01 June 2020
Published date01 June 2020
Subject MatterArticles
Governing India: Evolution of
Programmatic Welfare in Andhra
Rahul Mukherji1
Seyed Hossein Zarhani1
How can clientelistic politics be transformed into programmatic politics in a subnational state with
a well-recorded history of patronage politics? We explore institutional pathways away from clien-
telism by systematically explicating clientelistic propensities with programmatic citizen-oriented ones
in undivided Andhra Pradesh. This paper engages with a paradigm shift in policy from clientelistic
to programmatic service delivery in rural development by exploring three major rural welfare pro-
grammes in undivided Andhra Pradesh: need-based redistribution, evolution of self-help groups and
implementation of the right to work in India through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment
Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme. We argue that the capacity of the state to deliver owes a
great deal to bureaucratic puzzling and political powering over developmental ideas. We combine
powering and puzzling within the state to argue the case for how these ideas tip after evolving in a
path-dependent way.
Policy paradigm, welfare, bureaucracy, ideas, tipping point, Andhra Pradesh
This paper presents a way of thinking about the emergence and success of citizen-friendly programmatic
welfare in a postcolonial liberal democracy, where patronage-based clientelism is rampant. Our research
explains the emergence and evolution of ideas about redistributive politics in a subnational state in
India—undivided Andhra Pradesh. We hold that ideas within the state in India evolve to reach an idea-
tional tipping point when bureaucratic puzzling coupled with political powering unleashes a policy para-
digm, despite significant opponents. Puzzling here refers to the technocratic and scientific thinking about
Studies in Indian Politics
8(1) 7–21, 2020
© 2020 Lokniti, Centre for the
Study of Developing Societies
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/2321023020918054
1 Department of Political Science, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg, Germany.
Corresponding author:
Rahul Mukherji, Department of Political Science, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University, Voßstraße 2, Building
4130, D-69115 Heidelberg, Germany.

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