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Capability Development and Decentralization

  • Santosh Mehrotra
Chapter
Part of the Rethinking International Development series book series (RID)

Abstract

In this chapter, Santosh Mehrotra considers the linkages between decentralization and capability expansion. He begins by arguing that there are theoretical reasons why the decentralization of governance and delivery of basic services will improve human capabilities. To illustrate this process, he advocates three extensions to Sen’s capability approach which stress interdependence between simple and complex functionings, the exercise of collective forms of action, and the importance of local—as well as national—forms of participation. Mehrotra then turns to empirical evidence by considering the historical record of OECD countries and China. The evidence shows that where central government acts to enable the articulation of voice by the local community, functionaries of the state tend to respond positively to such pressure. It follows that successful decentralization can be modelled in terms of a three-way dynamic between the state, the local authority, and civil society, which ensures effective service delivery and thus improves human development. Mehrotra argues that in the case of India, government remains highly centralized, and the model of decentralization that has worked elsewhere has been ignored. The result is that the enormous challenges to human welfare are compounded by this centralized system of government.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author thanks Deboshree Ghosh for the excellent research assistance and the editors for very useful comments and suggestions. The usual disclaimers apply.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Santosh Mehrotra
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Institute of Applied Manpower ResearchNew DelhiIndia

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