The papers included in this volume were presented at a conference held at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai (IGIDR) in November 2014. The conference, in a sense, was the culmination of a collaborative academic effort of three institutions – University of California Berkeley, King's India Institute at King's College London, and IGIDR. This conference was financed by the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) to bring together scholars from various academic disciplines and analytical perspectives interested in understanding the political economy of contemporary India. More details of the activities that formed a part of this initiative are available at the following web site: http://www.igidr.ac.in/ indiapolecon.
We place on record our thanks to UKIERI which financed the research initiative, and scholars from the three institutions who shaped it: Pranab Bardhan and Sanchita Saxena from University of California Berkeley, Sunil Khilnani and Louise Tillin from King's India Institute, and P. G. Babu and S. Mahendra Dev from IGIDR.
While there is considerable interest in bringing together scholarship from diverse perspectives on problems and issues confronting contemporary India, doing so posed several challenges. However, it turned out to be a rewarding experience for us largely due to the enthusiasm of those who presented papers at the conference. We made an effort to look for fresh scholarship, and we were lucky that several scholars obliged, turning in fine papers. We are grateful to all those who presented papers. Three anonymous referees provided valuable feedback on the papers submitted to the volume, and we thank them. We also organized two panel discussions, which considerably enhanced the vibrancy of the conference. We thank all the panelists – C. Ram Manohar Reddy, Siddharth Varadarajan, Gautam Mody, Bernard D'Mello and Aseem Shrivastava.
The conference and the volume would not have seen the light of the day without the support of IGIDR administration and accounts, in particular the registrar Jai Mohan Pandit and conference assistant Jayshree Borkar. We are grateful for their assistance. Many scholars from Mumbai took time away from their busy schedules and participated in the conference, enriching the discussions. Given the long list, we cannot name them, but thank all of them.
Last, but not the least, we gratefully acknowledge the support of Cambridge University Press and its staff. Dhiraj Pandey was involved with the project since its inception and took it through the process of external review and revisions.