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Quiet revolution: The political logic of India’s anti-poverty programs

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Aditya+DasguptaRead Harvard doctoral candidate Aditya Dasgupta’s recent India in Transition article on the increasing political importance of anti-poverty schemes. He discusses how the Congress-led UPA and BJP-led NDA have fought over the right to claim credit for various anti-poverty schemes and how this is a positive indicator of the increasing competitiveness of politics in the country.

In the last fifteen years, India has seen the adoption of an “alphabet soup” of ambitious national anti-poverty programs: a rural connectivity scheme (PMGSY), a universal primary schooling initiative (SSA), a rural health initiative (NRHM), a rural electrification scheme (RGGVY), a rural employment guarantee (NREGA), a food subsidy (Food Security Act), and a new digital infrastructure for transferring benefits directly to the poor (UID). Quietly, these programs are delivering genuine benefits on the ground and revolutionizing India’s anti-poverty policies. Where have these programs come from? And with elections on the way, where are they headed? The experience of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) suggests that effective anti-poverty programs play an increasingly important role in Indian elections and are therefore here to stay. Continue reading…

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