ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Bhaskar ChakrabartiSubscribe to Bhaskar Chakrabarti

Coordination Failure in Local Government Networks

Local government networks are often characterised by coordination failures between multiple actors possessing resources that are critical for the success of the network. In the study of public networks, focus is drawn here on the obstacles faced in managing these networks, a relatively understudied phenomenon. While the existing literature throws light on how to manage such networks, relatively less attention is paid to understanding the obstacles they face. Using a decentred approach, we examine the implementation network for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 in the panchayats of West Bengal. The findings reveal that network composition plays a greater role in coordination compared to network structure. The study also shows that the inability to address a hidden agenda often makes bureaucratic leadership ineffective, whereas control over public discourse makes political executives better suited to manage networks.

Resolving Disagreements in Panchayats

Based on the long-term ethnographic research in four districts during a political transition in West Bengal and analysing narratives of disagreements between elected representatives and local bureaucrats in their gram panchayats, it is argued that the interface between the elected members and the bureaucracy is dialectical and is influenced by external as well as local contexts. Conflicting demands from stakeholders as well as factors like conflict, violence, elite control, and resistance from certain sections of the society could result in such disagreements. While there are instances of political “deep probe” in local bureaucracy, resultant decisions are often unpredictable and can come through unforeseen mechanisms. Informal mechanisms of resolution of disagreements, often associated with corruption, are either challenged by the counterpublics or give rise to an altered form of corruption to adjust itself to the process of political change.


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