Himanshu Jha

Himanshu Jha
Universität Heidelberg · South Asia Institute (SAI)

Doctor of Philosophy

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34
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Publications

Publications (34)
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In the latest issue of India in Transition,Center for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania - I examine the process of institutional change by tracing the passage of the Right to Information Act (RTIA), 2005.
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Purpose Contemporary arguments around efficient public management (PM) envisage a limited role of the state for efficiency, effectiveness and austerity. On the contrary, the PM of the Covid-19 pandemic shows the significant role and depth of administrative state in multi-faceted ways. In this context, the purpose of this article is to examine the a...
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With a rare reelection in India’s most populous state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party may have found its winning formula.
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Freud's Mahābhārata. By Alf Hiltebeitel. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. 304 pp. ISBN: 97801908788337 (cloth). - Freud's India: Sigmund Freud and India's First Psychoanalyst Girindrasekhar Bose. By Alf Hiltebeitel. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. xx, 301 pp. ISBN: 9780190878375 (cloth).
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What engenders state capacity in a weak state? How do weak states develop state capacity? And Under what conditions do policy paradigms succeed in historically weak states? In this blog I discuss a case of weak state developing state capacity – an aspect hitherto ignored in the mainstream literature.
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This paper examines the process of institutional change through the lenses of transformation in the ‘information regime’ in India by tracing the evolution of the Right to Information Act (RTIA) 2005. The case of the RTIA. What explains this move towards institutional change? Why did the state decide to turn the page and initiate an institutional ch...
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This Chapter examines the processes around state and society, traces the role of social networks outside the state realm, and conceptualizes these processes as the complementarity of state and society, where strong ideational linkages led to the formation of an ‘epistemic network’. These processes played a significant role in the final phase of the...
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This chapter traces the trajectory of ideas that emanated from the judiciary since the early 1950s. The ideational movement within the judiciary coincides with the first two phases. This chapter discusses significant judicial cases in which the Supreme Court has interpreted Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India as inherently containing th...
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This chapter examines the role of global norms in institutional change. The nature and extent of the impact of global norm diffusion on the domestic discourse is traced in this chapter. The global–national processes around global norms on transparency, accountability, and access to information are spread over two phases outlined in this manuscript....
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This chapter draws upon the evidence presented in the book and provides four broad conceptual points. First, it argues that the institutional change is a result of an incremental, slow-moving process of ‘ideas’ emerging endogenously from within the state resulting in a ‘tipping point’. Second, it points towards the role of ideas within the state. T...
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This chapter covers Phase 1 (1947–89) or what is termed as the first layer of institutional change. In this stage, the norm of secrecy was securely ‘locked in’ as an institution. At the same time, a counter-narrative of ideas on ‘openness’ emerged on the fringes of policy discourse, albeit in a nascent form. The state pushed for secrecy; yet, ‘open...
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This chapter examines the emerging processes in the second phase (1989–2005), which is treated as the second and final layer. It shows that the incremental effect of emerging ideas on the state’s thinking resulted in tangible policy movements and led to institutional change. We show that in the final stage of layering the transition from ‘oppositio...
Book
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Institutions are norms that undergird organisations and are reflected in laws and practices. Overtime institutions take root and persist, as they are path dependent. This makes them change-resistant. So, it is puzzling when institutions change. One such puzzle, in the Indian context, has been the enactment of the Right to Information Act (RTI Act)...
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How did democracy take root in India? How did it become part of the wider political imagination? In this book (reviewed here) Ornit Shani answers these questions providing a fascinating historical account of the roots of Indian democracy.
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Why does the state sometimes provide welfare and sometimes not? Why is it able to promote competition on some occasions and not others? We argue that a critical variable in this process is the way the state thinks. State capacity is also a product of the relationship between bureaucratic or technocratic elite and political will. We demonstrate this...
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What explains the institutional change in India's welfare regime, from a concept of programs and schemes providing welfare, to one of the citizens having rights? For example, since 2004, citizens have the right to know and access information from the state authorities , from the Right to Information Act, and the right to work, under the Mahatma Gan...
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Since 2004 state has reaffirmed its commitment towards ‘rights-based development’ that granted legal rights to the citizens by enacting laws, such as Right to Information (transparency and accountability), National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (right to food and work), Right to Education and Forest Rights Act (for the tribal citizens living in th...
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In May 2019, India handed a categorical victory to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Why did it win so resoundingly? And with an anemic opposition, a comfortable majority in parliament, and an able foreign policy team in place, what will the second Modi regime do in its foreign policy?
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Poor economic performance should have hurt the prime minister atthe polls. Instead, appeals to nationalism won him (Modi) the vote. https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/05/25/the-modi-mystery/#
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Transparency laws have proliferated worldwide: between 1990 and 2010, 76 countries promulgated laws or ordinances on the freedom or right to information. By examining the domestic and global processes involved in the passage of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTIA) in India, this article locates the global trend within the local context. It arg...
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Historically, the Indian state has embraced the norm of secrecy. Yet despite this legacy, in 2005 India passed the Right to Information Act (RTIA). What explains this institutional change in India’s information regime? The mainstream literature overlooks significant historical evidence, which I deploy to demonstrate that ideas on openness emerged a...
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The implementation of the Right to Information Act, 2005 in Bihar is studied to examine the progression and deepening of institutional change. The institutional progression is inextricably linked to change in the political regime and the resultant shifts in policy priorities. The RTI Act has opened up a new space for accountability between state an...
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The edited book offers an insightful overview of the literature on the state and showcases the interplay of state and society in new sites: processes of globalisation, assertions of sovereignty, and across the regional and local.The volume moves beyond the state question to interrogate how the state can shape concepts, ideas, and institutions centr...
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The successful implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in undivided Andhra Pradesh underlines the triumph of citizen formation over patron-client politics, aided by a democratic politics. This article argues that its success in Andhra Pradesh depended heavily on how the ideas within the rural development bure...
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The development agenda of a country has to constantly strike equilibrium between economic growth and social well-being. This presents a daunting challenge for policy-makers to formulate a comprehensive developmental plan that allows the fruits of growth to reach every nook and corner of society. However, not all sections of society benefit from gro...
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Acemoglu and Robinson undertake a thorough and detailed enquiry of the existing puzzle of economic, social and political inequality in the current world scenario. The authors make an attempt to address the fundamental problem of glaring income gaps and variation in the standards of living in various parts of the world, "why [some] nations fail" whi...
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In a federal democratic setup different formulae and policy framework are evolved for fiscal sharing between the Centre and States. Fiscal equilisation has been an important working principle for federal transfers. This article discusses in detail the institution arrangement for fiscal transfers in India and Australia and highlights similarities an...