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The Gated Republic: India's Public Policy Failures and Private Solutions Kindle Edition
'In five swiftly narrated chapters, Aiyar lists the malaise in India’s key public services sectors: water, health, education, power, law and order, pulling from history, research, committee reports, plan documents, national surveys, and reportage to create his narrative.' – Uma Mahadevan Dasgupta, The Hindu
'A gut-socking book ... This book is a must have and must read for all those interested in policy formulation and execution ... engaging and well researched.' – Seetha, The Hindu Businessline
'Superbly researched and brilliantly argued, perhaps the best in living memory. A must read for every serious student of policy and politics ... Aiyar is a brilliant and insightful commentator.' – Srivatsa Krishna, Business Standard
'An impressive combination of historical analysis, policy initiatives, cited research and individual case studies of private responses. This would seem to be quite a challenge to coherence, but I found it superbly addressed. The power of this book is that anyone interested in addressing these questions is enriched and equipped at the end of reading it.' – Rathin Roy, India Today
'A compellingly uncomfortable book ... a must read for public policy experts, politicians and civil servants.' – V. Anantha Nageswaran, Swarajya
'India’s citizens have shut themselves away in an illusory Gated Republic of private solutions to government failures because they have failed to hold their leaders accountable. This book forces them to face up to this stark reality.' – Srirang Samant, Loksatta
'Argues that the failure of India’s public sector to deliver on its most essential functions has created a massive gap, which the private sector has had no choice but to fill.' – Grand Tamasha Podcast with Milan Vaishnav
'Looks at how despite the tremendous successes of the Indian state, it has also failed to deliver on a number of fronts – water, health, security – that many see as fundamental to the very idea of a government. The book offers an important glimpse into the gap between intention and outcome and lays bare some of the truly disturbing failures of independent India.' – Rohan Venkataramakrishnan, Scroll
'Aiyar's mastery of the historical detail – on both the public and the private side of the story – is distinctive.' – Mihir S. Sharma, Biblio
'Aiyar's new book examines what he believes is the root cause of all our present-day problems: the inability of states to fulfil five critical obligations.' – Jane Borges, Mid-Day
'A detailed excursion through failures [of public service provision].' Siddharth Singh, Open
'How persistent disillusionment with a failing system is driving Indian masses away from government services.' – Financial Express
'Shows how failures of public policy are forcing many Indians to invest in the pay-and-plug economy for the most basic services' – Hindustan Times
'A sense of history, a neat turn of phrase, a journalist's penchant for good copy – Shankkar Aiyar's columns and books never fail to prod and provoke. Amidst the structural change India is experiencing, this disturbing book should make citizens demand more from their governments.' – Bibek Debroy
'Shankkar Aiyar has surpassed himself with his latest book. With his knowledge of the political economy, he presents the stark reality – that Indians are paying twice for basic services, first as taxes, then as fees. This, alas, further removes the pressure from the government to provide basic public services. This book is a must-read for India's politicians, policy-makers and her people.' – Nandan Nilekani
'Politicians and economists in India often think the solution to the country's many problems involves coming up with one government scheme after another. In this engaging new book, Shankkar Aiyar details how such statism has repeatedly failed. He explains how the government just doesn't have the capacity to deliver and why the private sector offers more effective, if not always adequate, solutions. It is a book rich in anecdotes and ground reporting – a must-read for understanding the state of the Republic.' – Ruchir Sharma
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
From the Back Cover
Seventy years since it became a republic, India has come a long way. But it is still failing on some key fronts.
Piped drinking water for all continues to be a pipe dream; homes and businesses are haunted by power outages; the lack of proper primary health care renders the poorest more vulnerable; millions of children coming out of schools lack rudimentary skills; and the security of lives and enterprises, a source of great anxiety, depends on private contractors.
Indians are seceding from dependence on the government for these most basic of services and are investing in the pay-and-plug economy. They have internalized the incapacity of the state to deliver these and are opting for private providers despite the costs. But can India sustain private republics amidst public failures in a landscape scarred by social and economic fault lines? What are the possible solutions? Can government reinvent itself?
The Gated Republic presents an interrogative view of the history and future of private India.--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- ASIN : B08463QG7R
- Publisher : HarperCollins India (1 June 2020)
- Language : English
- File size : 528 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 319 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #38,014 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from India
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Mind you, the Indian state has always wanted to and was in the driver’s seat of national development for most of our independent history.
But 72 years later, millions upon millions of Indians still lack basic access to health, education, security and water. The failures are far too many to ignore any longer.
Suffice to say that, the Indian brand of socialism has failed its citizens. Apathy, incompetence and inefficiency continue to plague the public sector and a sense of despondency and fatalism has taken over the minds of those who man the system.
The author states that since the Indian state has failed miserably in many of its core functions, there is a vacuum in the delivery of essential services to citizens. This is increasingly being filled by the private sector. In many places, the writer also remarks that the services provided by the private players are in fact better than those provided by the state.
But the writer is not happy with this situation. He is not comfortable with the idea of the state losing its preeminence to the private sector. So the writer wants the state to take back control but get more effective and efficient.
However, one is tempted to ask why the inevitability of the private sector’s dominant role is not ideal.
Considering India’s many complexities and systemic issues, it’s not unthinkable that the state should not have performed these functions in the first place. Or at least, once the problems became apparent, the state should’ve willingly and proactively outsourced most, if not all developmental functions liked health, education etc to the private sector. It should’ve just retained the regulatory functions. Perhaps then we would have had better governance outcomes.
I’m not saying this would’ve been the best approach. All I’m pointing out is that the author has a pre-decided conclusion and then fits the facts to support it.
The writer also adopts a contradictory approach when it comes to comparing India’s public policy failures with the successes of other developing countries in the same areas. The author does acknowledge that India’s socio-economic problems are exacerbated by its size, incredible diversity, federal structure and lack of resources. However, he then goes on to cite examples of countries like South Korea, Finland, Singapore, Japan etc which do not share any of the problems listed above with India. Korea, Singapore and Japan are unitary states where the provinces have little to no control; they have mostly homogenous population and also, their size is less than many of India’s biggest states.
So though the writer has done commendable research into the historical origin of problems and their present magnitude, his conclusions have a left socialist-bias and the comparisons with other countries are lazy at best
Top reviews from other countries
But the author also gives some hope with small examples but it"s long way to go. We call changes as reforms but in actual they are just correction of our past policies and decisions.
A must read for every Indian.