The memorial event seeks to honour those who died in the service of humanitarianism. It is an occasion for families, friends, colleagues and organisations to honour those who lost their lives in humanitarian action.
‘They don’t want to work’ versus ‘they don’t want to provide work’: seeking explanations for the decline of MGNREGA in Rajasthan
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is a public works programme that guarantees 100 days of employment as a right to all rural households in India. This paper presents a political economy explanation for the dramatic decline of MGNREGA in Rajasthan.
The paper clarifies that although Rajasthan was originally one of the highest performing states, it has seen a sharp decline from around 2010 onwards in the uptake of MGNREGA. However, in terms of the demand-side explanations, the author refutes the claim that there is a fall in the demand for MGNREGA work in the state.
Identically, in examining the supply-side explanations, the document finds that there are specific capacity gaps in Rajasthan that have restricted the MGNREGA from achieving its full potential. Nevertheless, it points that these gaps do not explain the sudden decline in MGNREGA’s performance in the state.
All things considered, the author argues that the answers to this sudden decline lie in the sudden decline in the state’s capacity to monitor the programme. Furthermore, she concludes that in countering the current downward trend, the state will need to provide incentives for demand capture, provide the right message to frontline officials and ensure timely and adequate wage payments.
Governance as a global development goal?: setting, measuring and monitoring the Post-2015 Development Agenda
The increasing realisation that governance quality is a fundamental element of long-run development has led to its consideration as a desirable development goal in its own right. This paper provides a framework to set, measure and monitor governance goals in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The paper indicates that it will be important for those engaged in improving governance to think both short term and long term about setting, measuring and monitoring governance goals/targets.
The author deems that existing measures on governance quality used in cross-national research can be exploited in the short term by policy-makers shaping the Post-2015 Development Agenda to capture aspects of legal, bureaucratic and administrative capacity. However, the document points that such an approach is subject to a number of challenges, e.g., country coverage, data comparability and the ideological base of the concepts of governance measured.
On the other hand, the paper suggests that, in the long run, measuring and monitoring governance quality may require reconceptualising “good governance” and designing internationally shared measures that are routinely provided by national statistical offices. Furthermore, in terms of setting governance goals, the author argues in favour of a combination of national target setting and minimum standard with continuous assessment and improvement.
Can aid bureaucracies think politically?: the administrative challenges of political economy analysis (PEA) in DFID and the World Bank
The basic aim of all forms of political economy analysis (PEA) is to improve rates of project success through better diagnostics of reform challenges and operating environments. However, even though all aid donors have some personnel working on the development and implementation of PEA methodologies and frameworks, whether this new cognitive model for aid is compatible with pre-existing administrative factors is still an open question.
The current paper argues that for PEA to become fully institutionalised in donor agencies it needs to overcome the hurdles of administrative viability. That is, it needs to be reconciled with corporate and professional incentives, as well as with the political environment in which an agency operates.
The document tracks this process empirically within two PEA leaders: the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the World Bank. Consequently, it finds that political economy analysis has not yet become institutionalised in programming, management or the professions, and remains an intellectual agenda very much rooted in the governance silo.
As a result, the authors conclude that the future of PEA lies in organisational change, not any particular framework. The authors indicate that this change is more likely to occur by disseminating PEA outside of the governance profession into agency management and the various sectors of development assistance.
This paper explores what has been learnt about how to instigate, negotiate or otherwise secure pro-poor government in towns and cities of the global South. The paper explains that with competition for scarce resources, the processes of urban development, and specifically the acquisition of land and basic services, are intensely political. Consequently, there are considerable needs that require the involvement of the state in these areas.
Identically, the document clarifies that households and communities have to negotiate their collective consumption goods in a context in which political relations are primarily informal, with negotiations that take place away from the accountable systems of modern government. In this sense, the author sheds lights on “clientelism”, which is the use of the patron-client networks that link powerful social groups to the urban poor to secure political advantage for the former and limited resources for the latter.
The paper illustrates that although clientelist relations are particularly prevalent in informal settlements, clientelism has been institutionalised in many towns and cities with broadly agreed “rules” replicated across neighbourhoods. Still, the author argues for greater legitimacy for the urban poor and their contribution to urban life, and greater accountability between leaders and those they represent and/or act for.
Updates on the largest forestry event of 2015 and the key occasion for the world’s foresters and forest supporters to gather, share their expertise and experience, and project a new vision for the future.
The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in Rajasthan: rationed funds and their allocation across villages
The performance of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in Rajasthan, India, has been a matter of debate, both for its remarkable performance in the initial years of the scheme, but also for the relative sharp decline after 2010. Using a large primary survey collected from a representative sample across districts, the current paper shows that the decline in performance of NREGS in Rajasthan is not entirely due to the lack of demand.
The paper clarifies that the supply-driven, top-down nature of the programme has led in recent years to a “discouraged worker” syndrome, with workers showing disinterest in demanding work and passively waiting for availability of NREGS work. On the other hand, the authors find evidence of the significant influence of elected representatives (Sarpanches) in deciding work allocation across villages. In particular, they find evidence of rationing in favour of the village where the Sarpanch resides.
All things considered, the paper concludes that:
- strengthening the demand-based nature of NREGS may reduce the need for rationing
- a simple temporal tracking of NREGS outcomes at the village level, along with proper recording of demand through the MIS (management information system), may help detect discrimination within Panchayats
Ideas, interests and the politics of development change in India: capitalism, inclusion and the state
India’s democracy often seems caught between widespread demands for change and resilience to rapid change. This paper offers an interpretation of India’s recent political economy in relation to the longer-term history since independence. The paper argues that at each juncture in India’s political economic history, the interplay of cognitive maps, interests and policy designs are seen.
The document indicates that India is at an important juncture in 2014 and the years ahead. Indeed, the boom years of the 2000s led to hubris amongst policy elites and the postponement of institutional reforms, both in areas important to capitalist dynamics and to the broader inclusion of the middle and poorer groups. Therefore, the 2014 election represented intensified frustration with the failures of the political elites to resolve issues of state functioning.
Consequently, the authors emphasise that India’s future development will depend crucially on improving state functioning, through both the deepening of democracy and administrative reform. Yet, the paper highlights that the cognitive maps of political, bureaucratic and business elites will continue to play an important role in policy and institutional designs. Nevertheless, they will particularly play an important role over whether there will be the kinds of transformational changes that are being demanded by an increasingly aspirational electorate.