Book Talk on Governing Locally

18 March, 2022


March 18, 2022 - 3:30 pm


March 18, 2022 - 5:00 pm

Book Talk on ‘Governing Locally’ by Babu Jacob, IAS, Formerly Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala and Suraj Jacob, Visiting Fellow, Centre for Development Studies


Abstract of the book:
India and other countries chose a decentralised mode of delivering public services through elected local governments for increasing public welfare. However, great expectations of effective services, increased accountability and people’s participation were widely belied in practice. Based on field research in cities of Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the book is a detailed examination of how state and local governments function and why decentralisation outcomes vary considerably. It locates the primary reason in governance practices that compromised autonomy and capacity of urban local governments. The book demonstrates that despite a constitutional mandate for decentralised governance, policy implementation got derailed in processes threading through laws, rules and administrative actions. It shows how habitual practices create hidden institutional rigidities that thwart policy moves despite good intentions and democratic legitimacy. The book also discusses how to navigate policy to skirt hidden threats to successful implementation.

Author bios:

  • Babu Jacob is a former member of the Indian Administrative Service. He worked in several domains in the Kerala state government and national government and retired as Chief Secretary to the Government of Kerala.
  • Suraj Jacob is a political economist who teaches development and policy at the Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. He recently worked as the chief executive of Vidya Bhawan, a non-governmental organisation in Rajasthan.
    Both authors have had affiliation with CDS.