Delivering services effectively

My work since 2001 has been on making governments delivering basic public services effectively. Questions from this work led me to my doctoral work, and subsequently my first book “Delivering public services effectively”. The articles below reflect this theme. The list below is chronological with the most recent articles on top. I recommend this as the starting point for thematic order to the articles.

The fact that common people started becoming assertive only helps us understand why governments became more responsive to popular demands. It does not explain why public services, rather than an alternate policy agenda such as land reforms or rapid industrialization became the favoured policy. This article discusses how that agenda came to be.

Why public services & not land reforms?

In many villages, people had fought for decades to demand one amenity after another. As an activist put it, they would struggle one year and get 100 metres of road, street lights required another protest, and many basic amenities had to be gained through sustained collective action. The impact of such protests over time was to gain an impressive array of services. Such protests date back at most to the 1970s.

The root of TN’s commitment to services

My training in mainstream economics and my social background had convinced me that government programmes to address hunger were a waste of public resources. I adhered to the idea that they should be eliminated in favour of promoting economic growth. That changed in 2002 when I travelled to the Chambal Valley of Madhya Pradesh, which was suffering its third consecutive year of drought. Here is a short note on that transformation.

How I became interested in TN’s public services

Tamil Nadu is one of India's exceptional states when it comes to delivering basic public services such as schooling, child care, water, public transport and the Public Distribution System. These services reach most people in the state and the quality is remarkable, compared to most other states of India.

About Delivering public services effectively: TN & Beyond