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Title: Voice, responsiveness and collaboration : democratic decentralisation and service delivery in two Indian cities.
Author: Jalal, Jennifer.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis explores state-civil society relations with respect to urban services in the context of democratic decentralisation. These issues are analysed through a comparative case study of approaches to improved services in the Indian cities of Bangalore and Calcutta. Three main areas of focus in the thesis are a) relationships between citizens' voice and local government responsiveness; b) the implications of collaboration and partnership in urban service delivery; and c) the impact of broader socio-political factors on relations between service users and service providers. At the national level, legislation attempting to revitalise local government through democratic decentralisation has had a range of consequences for urban service provision. These consequences are examined through three paths towards improving service provision. The first, led by service users, is through traditional modes of political engagement and direct involvement in local community action groups. The second path, led by the local government service providers is through internal reforms adopted to boost responsiveness. The third path is led by the collaborative efforts of service users and service providers. The consequences of national legislative attempts at decentralisation have been markedly different in the two cities. Comparing the experience of approaches to improved service delivery in each, the thesis isolates the impact of local socio-political factors on municipal local governance. Demographic characteristics, the nature of political and administrative leadership, the character of local government institutions and the status of civil society, all prove to be important determinants of the quality of service delivery. Neither Bangalore nor Calcutta have enjoyed dramatic improvements in urban services as a direct result of democratic decentralisation. The thesis argues, however, that the decentralisation process has created an environment more conducive for dialogue between service users and providers: in which users have the space to express their voice, and state actors are encouraged to listen, acknowledge and respond.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Urban services; Bangalore; Calcutta; Governance Regional planning Political science Public administration