Development Policy as a Social Process: A Case Study of Niranthara Jyothy in Karnataka

Sudhakar, Meera (2022) Development Policy as a Social Process: A Case Study of Niranthara Jyothy in Karnataka. Doctoral thesis, NIAS.

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Thesis advisorPani,
Abstract: Public policy processes are predominantly studied by separating processes of formulation, when the policy is thought to be ‘made’, from processes of implementation, where policy decisions are assumed to be ‘delivered’. Such a separation has significant analytical costs in the Indian policy making context, increasingly evident in policy domains that are marked by horizontal and vertical conflicts, where the state and its institutions, are engaged in an on-going process of re-calibration of their roles in response to pressures from globalization and a deepening of democracy. Increasingly, in several policy issues that directly affect livelihoods of diverse social groups, consensus during policy formulation is constructed through future imaginaries and narratives that are to be realised in ideal conditions. In such a style of policymaking, overarching commitment is to specific instruments of change or policy ‘models’. Policy goals, winners and losers from the change process are ambiguous, and conflicts of interests are resolved by delegating change to lower levels of decision-making. This study uses the policy case of Niranthara Jyothy to identify the processes of ‘how-actually’ policy change is negotiated in a complex policy domain that cuts across issues in energy, water and rural governance. It does this by showing how a thin overlapping consensus for change is negotiated around a policy instrument through narratives of efficiency and sustainability during policy formulation. It then traces the actors, their interests and justifications through which a delimited version of change is made acceptable when more context-specific knowledge and interests are accommodated during the policy process. By arguing that the policy process relies on fragmentation of arenas for gaining acceptance, each assembling a different set of actors, audiences and modes of justification, the study seeks to show how divergence of policy outcomes are in-built rather than incidental to the process of absorbing change, allowing both ‘success’ and ‘failure’ narratives to co-exist. By providing this descriptive account of policy deliberation that proceeds in multiple fragmented arenas, the study offers a contrast to the normative ideal of policy deliberation that relies on a consensus generated through open and rational deliberation in the public arena.
Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: This thesis was submitted to Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal [Year of Award: 2022] [Thesis No. TH67]
Keywords: Policy process, Policy legitimacy, Deliberative practice, Politics of development in Karnataka, Governance of electricity-water-food nexus
Subjects: School of Social Sciences > Development Studies
Doctoral Programme > Theses
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2022 06:58
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2023 11:18
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