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Title: Does deliberative participation matter? : political economy of provision of local public health goods in rural India
Author: Padvetnaya, Vivek
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 4779
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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Access to basic water and sanitation services, the local public health goods, is a human right and a public health necessity. Provision of these services is typically devolved to Local Governments to ensure they correspond to the local needs. In rural India, such a correspondence is sub-optimal, with high local needs and poor provision by the Local Governments (Panchayats). The citizen participation in Panchayat's public deliberative meetings (Grama Sabha) is weak. The community context is characterised by social fragmentation and high socio-economic inequality. This research examined, whether and how better deliberative participation in Panchayat meetings was associated with better provision of these services by the Panchayats. The research used a three-staged systematic sampling method. Using correlational field survey design it gathered primary data from 99 panchayats in Karnataka State, and from 99 villages and 396 individuals within these Panchayats. Factor analytic and multivariate regression techniques were used to analyse the data in the statistical software, Stata® v.13. Results suggest, better Grama Sabha meetings (that were convened more frequently, attended by a higher number of people with better representativeness, where discussions approximate to the deliberative norms: reciprocal, pro-social and accountable; and decisions taken have a common good orientation) were associated with better provision of water and sanitation services by the Panchayat. Further analysis suggested two possible explanations for this association: First, the individuals who participated more frequently in deliberative meetings of the Panchayat and where discussions approximated to the deliberative norms; were associated with: • Better information on availability and accessibility to services; • Better external political efficacy, a perception of greater responsiveness of the Panchayat to their needs and their efforts to influence it; and hence engage evenly in discussions; • Better sense of community, a greater willingness to cooperate and coordinate, to find mutual needs and seek convergence when they are heterogeneous. Above findings suggest, in a participatory setting, these individuals can be associated with better capability to collectively engage; to articulate, communicate and identify the mostii common of their service needs and frame it as a collective demand, through policy objective, for provision by the Panchayats. Second, better Grama Sabha meetings were associated with better rule of law in policy administration at the Panchayat level. This suggests, rule-bound conversion of policy objectives into actual service outputs; a reflection of responsiveness and accountability of the bureaucratic action in achieving administrative commitment to the legislative goals. In conclusion, better deliberative participation can be associated with better capability of the individuals to engage in collective action. This can improve the correspondence between the needs and the provision; by strengthening individuals' collective demand for the services and by improving the responsiveness of the Panchayat in the supply of these services.
Supervisor: Margetts, Helen ; Yip, Winnie ; Acharya, Arnab Sponsor: Wellcome Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: rule of law ; water and sanitation services ; sense of community ; local government ; political efficacy ; local public health goods ; collective action ; deliberation ; grama sabha ; panchayat ; information structure ; participation