THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF RURAL ELECTRIFICATION IN INDIA
Seitz, Gregory J.
Barma, Naazneen H.
Sigman, Rachel L.
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As developing countries climb the ladder of economic and social development, providing electricity to their poorest citizens becomes a social imperative, but the distribution of electricity in poverty-stricken regions is frequently more complex than simply installing electrical towers. This thesis focuses on rural electrification in India; how politics interacts with technical and economic factors in the design and implementation of the government’s electrification schemes. It finds that entrenched political interests, developed during Britain’s colonial era and cultivated in the years since independence, have historically been more interested in rent-seeking and treating electricity as a political favor than in developing electrical infrastructure. India’s unique legacy of colonial, distributive, and bureaucratic politics have resulted in a patronage-oriented political economy that affects the relationship between citizens and would-be electrical providers and also has direct impacts on investment and development in the electricity sector.
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