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4 - Outsourcing Democracy through Professional Consulting

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 May 2024

Anuradha Sajjanhar
Affiliation:
University of East Anglia
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Summary

Chapter 4 traces a rising market of professional consultants and think tanks in policymaking and political activity. Upper-caste and elite-educated men have long filled positions of power, including parliamentary seats, administrative services, business groups, advisory boards, and chambers of commerce. Despite some shifts towards caste-based affirmative action since the 1980s, the political classes remain predominantly elite (Verniers and Jaffrelor 2020). In 2014, anti-incumbent sentiment led to widespread distrust in existing experts, such that elite intellectuals and Western-educated economists holding political and policymaking positions were replaced by technical professionals: engineers, business managers, and consultants. As an alternative to intellectual and insular elites, this group of professionals projects itself as politically agnostic, rational, and a practical source of business-minded knowledge. This group, however, is no less insular or exclusionary: one set of intellectual experts has merely been replaced by a more elite, deracinated group of professional consultants situated in global management consulting firms.

Type
Chapter
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The New Experts
Populist Elites and Technocratic Promises in Modi's India
, pp. 94 - 132
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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