Building Policy Research Capacity for Rural Governance and Growth in India

India has recently experienced a high level of economic growth, but there is fear that this growth might exacerbate existing inequalities rather than narrowing them. The absence of inclusive growth has been attributed to the fact that the rural poor have not been able to access the public goods they need to realize their productive potential and escape poverty. This project will examine the hypothesis that decentralization, supported by an appropriate institutional framework, is the optimal solution for bringing about more inclusive growth in India. It proposes to demonstrate that that effective decentralization allows for better governance and service delivery, and could lead to the formation of pro-poor institutions.

The research will be conducted within the context of India's 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2012) and the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution, which empowers local governments to allocate public resources. Researchers will examine the mechanics of service delivery and the ability of households to access them. They will endeavor to determine whether decentralization increases fiscal buoyancy, reduces systemic inequalities, empowers women and other disadvantaged groups, and positively impacts affirmative action. They will determine whether service delivery through decentralized forms of government is relatively more efficient than through centralized frameworks, and whether higher rates of growth have translated into increased provision of public goods at the village level. And, they will look at those reforms and corrective measures have been put in place to improve access, and their effectiveness. The findings are expected to inform policy discourse within India, and the wider international community.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Friday, January 2, 2009

End Date

Monday, December 31, 2012


36 months

IDRC Officer

Rodriguez, Mr. Edgard

Total funding

CA$ 1,450,000


South Asia, Central Asia, Far East Asia, India


Employment and Growth

Project Leader

Dr Hari Nagarajan


National Council of Applied Economic Research

Institution Country


Institution Website