The District As A Development Unit of The State: An Exploration

This course tries to outline the roles and structure of the District to the Village/​Ward panchayats, from Municipal Corporations to Nagar Panchayats, and open up the classroom to the reality of how administration, programmes, politics and issues play out with each other, and what are the ways and manner in which groups, and individuals impact, shape and influence lives.

From the 1950s, districts have become the main unit of implementation of the development policies and programmes of the state. Ranging from livelihoods promotion, rural housing, MNREGA, to Agri-horticulture, water and sanitation, roads and others, it is in the districts where development policies are put on the ground, real actions take place, and lead to (or not) intended and unintended consequences in people’s lives. The political economy of the district currently revolves round these developmental projects of the state, where people’s voices and concerns, and interests of the local elite intersect and lead to the consequences that shape development trajectories and outcomes.

For understanding the structure of governance of the district and the vigorously
contested political economy associated with it, both in regulation and in development, it
is crucial that we study the administration and its life at the district to the gram sabha.