Atul Kohli, The State and Poverty in India. (1986). Selected chapters to be assigned.

_Summary:_ Concerned with the questions of why rural India remains impoverished after four decades of developmental effort. Kohli’s analysis examines the impact of regime variation on distributional outcomes in India. Looks at factors of state power (social base, ideology, organization) and their ability to implement land reform (crucial for such an agricultural country). Principal  conclusion of the study is “that under circumstances such as prevail in India (‘electoral constitutional rule and a private-enterprise economy’) a successful reformist regime will be characterized by a ‘coherent leadership; and ideological and organizational commitment to exclude the propertied interests from direct participation in the process of governance; a pragmatic attitude toward facilitating a non-threatening as well as a predictable political atmosphere for the propertied, entrepreneurial classes; and an organizational arrangement that is simultaneously centralized and decentralized.” These are the factors that the Marxist Party had (and they were the most successful), to be contrasted with the other governments which were less successful at land reform.

 

 

_Notes:_<br />

Kohli examines three different party governments:

* Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) in West Bengal (1977-1984)

* Congress government in Karnataka (1974-1980)

* Janata government in Uttar Pradesh (1977-1980)

 

Kohli elaborates the difference between the party regimes in terms of:

* Social base

* Ideology

* Organization

 

Kohli’s explanation and analysis concentrates on two factors

* State power – Argues that the state is neither irrelevant to socio-economic change nor a mere compliant instrument in the hands of a ruling class

* Land reforms

 

Conclusions:

* The CPM was the most effective at land reform

** They had the ideological commitment, united leadership, and the grassroots organization and disciplined support to be able to carry through substantial reform measures on behalf of the landless peasantry

 

Principal conclusion of the study is “that under circumstances such as prevail in India (‘electoral constitutional rule and a private-enterprise economy’) a successful reformist regime will be characterized by a ‘coherent leadership; and ideological and organizational commitment to exclude the propertied interests from direct participation in the process of governance; a pragmatic attitude toward facilitating a non-threatening as well as a predictable political atmosphere for the propertied, entrepreneurial classes; and an organizational arrangement that is simultaneously centralized and decentralized.