Cities of Delhi: Differentiated Citizenship in the Capital City

Cities of Delhi: Differentiated Citizenship in the Capital City


it’s my great pleasure to welcome
Patrick Heller to the University of Chicago Patrick Heller is Lyn Crost
professor of social sciences and professor of sociology and International
Studies at Brown University he is the director of the development research
project at the Watson Institute of International Studies and public affairs
its main area of research is the comparative study of social inequality
and democratic deeply he is authored a number of books in labor democracy and
developments in the global south particularly India and Brazil his most
recent book is called deliberation and development rethinking the role of
voices at the factory you can hear me right Thank You Marco thank you Maggie
I’m thrilled to be here because I talk to you about Delhi and this work that
you should do but I also throw here and Marco didn’t say this but we’re having
workshops on his book which is about and it’s called the patch for a city and
I wish he hadn’t taken that title because it had been the perfect title
for my talk and the the the points of comparison are really uncanny and people
come to understand a little disturbing and the QA department other than your
manuscript I know makes good money filming so alright so this is a the
origins of this project this is a project that started in 2012 I spent the
year the Center for Policy Research in Delhi some of you it’s one of them I
think – research slash big things in India and working with our third eye and
a whole team of quite extraordinary young researchers we’ve put this project
together and the project was inspired by a fairly simple questions which we have
now really complicated answers I think and the question was how our Indian
cities governed this is actually a question that once put the former
Minister of Urban Affairs initial car hire whose mother is the author of a key
constitutional amendment in the early 1990s that sought to give cities greater
autonomy greater capacity for self governance etc and I pose this question
however in cities covered to him about a decade ago and his response was they are
not and of course that’s not true they are government I mean I you know people
do stuff and things happen but it turns out it’s a complicated story and so this
project was motivated by a hope that we might be able to bring some answers to
that question and the first thing we realize is that even though there is a
rich literature on Indian cities there’s not a lot of bottom-up stuff or when
there is it’s not very systematic it’s single case studies etcetera so we
really wanted to try to understand out of the cities the city is governed from
from the bottom up and we spent three years involved doing research in 16
different sites and I’ll tell you a little bit more about it but I first
want to give you for those of you are not familiar with India a sense of why
this question of how cities are governed is so is so crucial a tool colleague the
political scientists who in his most recent book has summarized the challenge
I think very succinctly he says India is an extraordinarily vibrant democracy
that is really badly governed I was at a conference a year ago with
all the sort of leading lights of of unique Atomics of Adi and said and
company and it was quite extraordinary because they spent two days looking at
the data and it making all sorts of claims about world
the possibilities for maintaining current levels of growth and whether or
not it’s actually going to be inclusive and generate some jobs etc and they all
came to the conclusion that the problem is bad governance but that had nothing
to say about the problem of bad governance and it turns out a lot of the
problems back cover consent to do with cities and here’s the challenge so in
2011 and is only 31 percent urban which is really low I mean China is probably
twice as much there’s obvious problems and comparison but Brazil’s eighty-five
percent urban he’s only 31 percent but that’s 370 million people which is
amalfi people of course amy has been growing very dramatically ah quite as
fast as China but almost as fast as China over the last two almost three
decades now but that growth has been incredibly metro centric when you look
at the geographical dispersion of growth in China started rural areas the TVs etc
there’s none of that in India all the growth is and by metro I mean the big
net travels right the Bangalore is the Hyderabad nataly’s and Center and and a
lot of the universe for urbanization has also been in the big metros 62 percent
of GDP now comes from the million-plus cities which is enormous right and much
higher than it was in 93 and yet at the same time what we’re seeing is an
increasing what I call rural scoop squeeze so my average landholding size
and really small to begin with fragmentation is extreme productivity
has been stagnant for twenty years so the idea that agriculture can continue
to sustain two thirds of Union likelihood doesn’t take a lot of
analysis to figure out that’s not going to work and so the migration to cities
is bound to increase if you simply extrapolate the the increases over the
last decade by 2031 there’ll be 600 million people in cities
but it’s probably gonna be higher because of the rules for these problems
so the question is what are you gonna do with all these new these surplus urban
populations and this is I promise you my only theory slide and the rest is just
walking you through the Delhi story I just want very briefly talk about
cities in a sociological sense so a lot of the literature on cities in economics
and in geography basically thinks of cities as these extraordinary force
multipliers no this is where the division of labor gets concentrated
weary of innovation where you have what a common is called the agglomeration
effects of you know this is why cities often drive activity it’s also true that
cities attract people because there are new kinds of opportunities a higher
standard of living the economies of scale for delivering basic services are
obviously much much bigger than the cities and so if you’re talking in an
artisan sense of how to promote development one answer might be to get
people into cities because it’s easier to develop basic capabilities and cities
that it is rural areas etc and especially the basic public service is
electricity water and sewage which turns out it really the keys services that you
need to get going to start improving yourself
development indicators it’s a lot easier to do this in cities so those are all
them as it were the pull factors the factors that pull people in the city but
by the same token because these are desirable because there’s a premium on
having access to the city there’s a long history of cities being rationing spaces
if you think back to Labor’s original famous essays on the city of the
medieval city the whole construct that the medieval city was a closure how do
you keep people out and how do you he didn’t use the word different shapes at
essentia but for all intents and purposes his analysis was one was
focused on Fenian through the ways in which the incumbents of the city ration
access to the city right so you know the problem for ad over the next two decades
is three to four hundred million people are going to be pouring into cities and
will they be pouring these cities of citizens or something else now under you
know in South Africa or in China where China of the who says from South Africa
had apartheid rationing was explicit it was it was legalized it was enforced by
the state and India people have constitutional rights and you can go
live wherever you want and yet Arjun Appadurai and I think it’s a great for
hate he says of the urban poor and Mumbai they are citizens without a city
and exactly what that means I think will become clearer as I go along in this
analysis but this is a reminder and again was and I started this is the last
time I’ll reference sociology when we take a citizenship we often think of a
bundle of status you have a bundle of Rights etc sociologists have argued we
have to think of citizenship in more relational terms right so this is
Margaret summers that it’s a bit like what you know Marx once said property is
not a thing it’s a relationship citizenship is not a thing it’s a
relationship and if we really want to understand whether or not citizenship is
effective that do people have the ability to use their formal Civic and
political rights to actually get the things they want to get social rights if
you will to acquire basic capabilities that’s that’s a power dynamic it’s a
relational dynamic and that’s what I want to try to unpack and just talk the
last point is the neighborhood effects literature for those of you you know now
that an economist has it has has built a dataset and demonstrated that
neighborhoods matter everyone’s talking about it but sociologists have been
making this point for four decades neighborhoods really matter it turns out
when you even in the US if you control for race education income the
neighborhood you’re born into still has a huge impact on your life chances and
in India we have there’s no literature on this when people talk about
inequality they talk about caste it’s of about class it’s about income all the
usual indicators but there’s really very little work that’s being done on spatial
dynamics it’s coming now with GIS etc but it’s really new so where you live in
the city it turns out to be really important and that’s part of what we’re
trying to get at in this project very quickly to give you some background and
then the meet of the data I show you how our
Indian city is doing so they have been these dynamic drivers of the economic
takeoff of the last 20 years but many people have been pointing out that
there’s a there’s a deacceleration of growth so for those of you who know New
Delhi there’s no industry near Delhi all the
industry left it’s gone were gone it’s gone elsewhere Bangalore not so much
Mumbai textile industry and all industrial Pradhan
and in large part because they these cities just don’t have the
infrastructure to really sustain a high-end export-oriented
industrialization so increasingly there’s growth but the growth is rats
think it’s really speculation and financial speculation land speculation
etc and what growth is taking place in sheer demographic terms tends to outpace
infrastructure and this is a huge problem and along with my qualta
mandible but we’ve made we’ve written a piece where we argue that Indian city
it’s not a growth machine that’s the language used to describe American
cities so afraid to point buy a halogen it’s the idea that developers and this
politicians work together to maximize returns to land and that’s a growth
machine and Indian cities definitely growing that respect but it’s not a
machine machine implies coordination machine implies a regime of some kind we
argue it’s more of a cabal and again on the social side there’s good video that
shows that poverty reduction which has been quite significant in the last two
decades is actually accelerating now the HDI for Delhi Human Development Index
actually got worse in the last decade which is quite extraordinary when you
think about it and what concerns me the most is just very clear evidence of
increased socio spatial segregation the patchwork city the boundaries
between neighborhoods are being enforced we’re seeing more and more enclaves more
and more social ghettos and people are being walked in these poverty traps that
are associated with neighborhood effects so very briefly just a zero in on what
it is I want to focus on today services and this is bait and the reason we chose
services as basic services as opposed to education or health is that this is a
lot easier to measure and when you’re trying to measure quality of education
or quality of health it’s different levels of the state are delivering it
and there’s obvious quality issues that are hard to capture these successes are
much simpler this way and so this just quickly summarizes the current state of
basic services in Indian cities so infrastructure you know core
infrastructure is clearly fallen line and this is something the Indian
government recognizes and they’re trying to find a little money into it they’ve
had a little bit of success but there’s the cities are still not keeping up
public transport systems and even cities there are some exceptions Kochi and
Kerala for example is a great public transport system but the big mega cities
have really poor transport systems compared to their Brazilian counterparts
for example sewage is a huge problem the CAG which is the control of auditor of a
general lavinia estimates that on the half of the sewage and deadly as being
the Delhi is the city of 18 million people right so half of the sewage not
being processed you know the dress yourself where’s that sewage going and
the answer is the almond right and that’s not a good thing because they’re
people who live off the UH Manoa agriculture etc and then when you when
you cover look at this kind of data and you talk to
in officials well you know we’re poor we don’t have the resources infrastructure
is expensive clearly it’s not about resources Delhi is the richest city in
India it’s $9,000 per capita in PPP terms which is pretty good and the Delhi
gets the lion’s share of central government resources it has incredible
Metro it has some of you’ve been to the airport it has all this world-class
infrastructure etc in the last decade Delhi spent a ton of money on flyovers
for the middle class right so they can zoom around the city and put nothing
into sewage systems and one one one really nice little measure of the
redistributed or the allocated inch of resource expenditure in Delhi is this
calculation what I did the middle class in Delhi parts their cars in the streets
because houses were not built for the most part of the driveways a garage
parking the street is illegal you’re not supposed to park in the street but no
one gets ticketed right so it’s an implicit subsidy so the middle of this
aren’t you getting free parking for your car if you add up all the cars in Delhi
you just calculate the area they occupy that area is greater than the area
occupied by all the slums of Delhi all right so the middle class car subsidy is
greater than all right so I what I what I want to
argue is that there there is tremendous socio-economic segregation in Delhi that
it’s largely spatially organized that in the current literature on cities the
there’s one of two dominant arguments when it comes to explaining one is its
globalization neoliberalism etc and that’s a bit problematic because a lot
of the patterns that I’m going to show you predate neoliberalism in India and
it’s all but it’s also in my view overly structural it doesn’t really get to the
mechanisms that work and then the other set of arguments and they have some
validity is just looking at class dynamics but the problem with class
dynamics is you have to you have to define the class and most of the
literature on Indian cities says well the problems the middle class but the
middle you know what is the you know what’s middle and what makes them a
class and you’ll see there’s an entire neighborhoods in Delhi that are full
middle-class people that have no services so this can’t just be about the
middle class right so what is the class and what are these class practices so
instead I want to focus in it’s very close to what Marco’s been doing his
work on vanilla is on actual localized practices what were the local or do
clothes that the economy of practices that actually
hierarchies classification systems on equal distribution etc and I’m going to
argue the slide I really want to argue that there’s there’s three things going
on one there’s this differentiated citizenship regime which is itself is
the product of a long history of planning for exclusion and planning instruments and solutions within its
rule and then finally I want to talk about some of the reforms that have been
implemented to address some of these challenges and they’ve had the perverse
effect of reproducing variance inequalities that they were meant to
address so what are the origins of the quite extreme degrees of residential
differentiation that I’m about to show you many many people worked on this and
so I’m just summarizing the existing literature but it all goes back to these
master plans right so you know what planning departments do is basically
identify land for development they authorize plan that could be developed
where you could build housing etc all three of Delhi’s master plans 62 1990
and 2007 all put together by the DDA the Delhi Development Authority
systematically underestimate population growth and never allocate enough land
right so if you don’t allocate enough land you know people are still going to
pour it and they have rights they come into the city and of course they occupy
land legally and sort of classic story about
now one way to address that is through subsidized housing or public housing and
here again the DTA which is the authority responsible for public housing
in Delhi has just not delivered and has systematically under supply of housing
especially for what they mean they are called the economic ws sector middle
class housing is there but not so much for the poor and so you get as a result
of proliferation of slums and Broadus conferences and so this is what it looks
like and this is the this is the Indian government this is a state of Delhi Gate
and I’m just a little bit time on this because it’s a really interesting grid
of what we’re gonna call differentiated citizenship so what you have here are
settlement types so these are your plan colonies these are where you know upper
middle class lives most of us lived in applying calmly you get all the services
fully authorized it’s you know all the bourgeois freedoms
then you get these categories which are a little weird and I’m not going to go
into the four that I’m interested in these are all together what I call
excluded categories and it starts with Judy Joe Creek clusters which are
informal salaries these are impermanent forms of structure shacks etc you have
your slum designated areas so these are slums but they’re recognized as such by
the government so people there in principle a phrase and in Delhi that’s
pretty much Old Delhi so all of Old Delhi which really is old and densely
populated is a designated Sloane you have unauthorised colonies and it’s it’s
hard to unpack between unauthorised colonies and
informal settlements but not authorized colony a developer actually went in and
developed something but it turns out the life a develops is not land that they
owned or have a right to right so it’s government land or someone else’s land
etc and then they sells so people have bought property but they’re not legally
there and so the government says they’re unauthorized ok and then only in India
could the bureaucracy ever come over the category can regularized unauthorized
colleges and and then finally you have resettlement colonies which are colonies
where people have been resettled after evictions and they’re usually on the
periphery of the city except and then you have you know you have these numbers
and you have these percentages and here we just summarize the legal status of
these different categories and you know these are just degrees of legality right
so this is full board lot of legalities and this is complete illegality the
courts even ruled that people who live in jjcc’s and this is to mass million
people are quote pickpockets don’t have a right to be there any citizens then
they have a right to move and to peace somewhere but they don’t have a right to
be cleaning the neighborhoods that they’re located so they have no right to
water and some designated areas they have a right to water but it’s so
densely packed that they can’t really get the infrastructure in there
unauthorised colonies again no right to water because it’s unauthorized
resettlement colonies we discovered have a right to water but again it’s not
delivered alright so this is the hierarchy and this is what I mean when I
talk about differentiated citizenship now you probably weren’t that close
attention to the numbers but it turns out that this is some this is some
bureaucrats fantasy of the city because if you look carefully it turns out these
numbers are identical and you probably life
estimate the probability that these numbers would be identical across
completely different categories is zero right and we also know that unauthorised
colonies another government agency puts the number of 4 million not 800,000 so
these these numbers were probably cooked up someone had to meet a deadline get
this before but this table has been reproduced in at least 15 different
government documents and I’ve seen it at least four published papers and no one
no one ever discovered that now he said this it’s still a great this is how the
city sees the city and we call the project cities of Delhi because when you
talk to officials need different service delivery departments and you ask them
you know what are you going to do for this neighborhood this is what they
refer to this is the classifications right so this is the grid if you will
differentiate a good citizenship so these are the areas where we do the
research and you know to make this as as real as possible this is an electricity
bill this gentleman has lived in this you can see the category or informal
settlement so this is how the state the state sees this gentleman you’ve been
here 35 years of the the colony itself is about 50 years old and again this is
you know only something only be any bureaucracy to come up with it
if you if you can if you can’t read this I’ll get it for you purely temporary
arrangement without confirming any legal right all right so this gentleman pays
his electricity bill is a good citizen but he has no right because he’s in at
JJC so he’s a Jesus
without a city and this is the status of these populations and I just want to
illustrate the variance but also what it means in terms of people’s daily lives
so this is a JJ c and JJ sees and unauthorised colonies which are probably
a third of the population of Delhi’s six million people do not have a right to
water now these people vote so the politicians want to make sure they
actually kept water so they don’t have a right so they don’t get piped water but
they do get tanker trucks right so the city of Delhi has thousands of tanker
trucks that ply their growth every day and bring drinkable water into the JJ’s
easily unauthorised colonies this is a very well-organized informal settlement
they have an elected leader there an association they have a very good
relationship to the water board and so the trucks Commodore honest on schedule
there’s plenty of water and so people just leave their hamsters here and they
know when to show up now the girls still have to stay home from school because if
they don’t say oh those are going to pick up you know so this is one of the
side effects of poor delivery right the girls are absent from school but this is
a pretty organized colony this is the last organized one this is
one of new plan settlements in here nobody
knows when the tanker trucks coming so people just wait around all day and this
is even through the summer when it’s 43 centigrade and when the trucks come of
course it’s it’s a bit ok cetera and just a completely different political
arrangement and here you know they have a different relationship to the city and
as a result they have a different level of service delivery but again they’re in
the same quote legal category right and yet the arrangements
this is a place called sundown VR which is an unauthorized area we think it’s a
seven to eight hundred thousand people and each one of these pipes is a
different piped water system so what’s happening here is they sink more wells
so they’re not linked to the grid but they do sink more Wells and the ground
table in Delhi is is collapsing you know but there’s still water it’s not very
good you can’t drink it but please wash and clean with it and the more wells
were set up by the Delhi Jal Board which is the official public agency that
delivers water which subsequently just abandoned Borland’s and left it to local
management and local management is basically local politicians so local
politicians run the different war Wells and charge
eight times the normal price for access to water and you get this proliferation
because you know every politician is controlling the different war so you
know three different settlements three different regimes for delivering water
and let you see there’s differences across that one type so there’s even
differences what we find in the 16 errors where we
did research is it’s impossible to say this is how the city is governed because
each settlement and we think there’s about two thousand in Delhi is literally
a different political set a different set of arrangements mediated by
sometimes by politicians sometimes my local strongmen but different
relationships to different agencies different departments that deliver
different levels of services right and of course on the one hand people are
quite active so people do mobilize and you see a lot of localized protest
activity and people vote eighty-five percent of Delhi I took over the polls
and there’s elections but this is all framed within these 2000 political
settlements right and obviously it’s incredibly fragmented and which makes it
very difficult to develop any kind of programmatic approach to serve the
school great so everyone’s fighting over who’s going to get the water tankers and
when they’re gonna arrive but none of the politicians are busy trying to
extend pipe water systems you know which aren’t that complicated but you do have
to have a policy and you have to connect resources and this at the end of the day
is a really low model iquilibrium and and I mention this because there’s quite
a bit of work being done by political scientists now on these urban questions
in India and they look at this and so do the economists and they say look how
creative this is 2,000 political settlements so people are getting things
and they’re using their political power to get things but the problem of course
is that this is a like Liberty right I mean her stock from
this really low level of service delivery and there’s very little room
for any kind of public action developing a programmatic policies etc so I’m gonna
turn now to so you have you know the puzzle here and it very similar to
market was puzzle with with vanilla although some of the dynamics are
different you know we shouldn’t be surprised that in in a city of any city
in this day and age that there’s tremendous inequality it’s a bit
surprising that that inequality is so deep that even dictates basic service
delivery which at some level is not that difficult to develop and you could you
could point to old set of factors but what’s really surprising meaning context
of course is that Indian cities aren’t democratic cities and people do vote
people are mobilized and they have associations and it’s a competitive
political system so Delhi and the last three election cycles has been ruled by
three different parties Congress BJP and now a party called and you would say to
that kind of electoral pressure would would make the politicians in the
bureaucracy more accountable and clearly there is accountability because there
are constant reform sending a state of Delhi or the city of Delhi is constantly
introducing reforms and this is in response to popular pressure and what I
want to argue is that the reforms invariably end up reproducing the
exclusions and this is a little play on this term original suspended rights and
I’ll give you an example so resettlement Congress so the victims have them all
the time there’s only one department that’s supposed to do evictions do sit
by law all evictions and it’s similar to the vanilla there’s legislation that
says you cannot evict people without due process and without compensation and
departments of different departments public courts Department the DDA
evict people all the time they don’t get corridors they the bulldozers just show
up and this is what happens and you know gets up and then eventually they do get
moved to a planned settlement right because again there’s political pressure
emla as the representatives put a pressure on the DDA and so this is a
planned settlements clubs have to get over at City almost in haryana so it’s
two hours north of the city that the the area that was evicted was in the center
of the city like all slums you know people want to be there because it’s
closer to jobs etc so now there are two hours away this is a settlement of
40,000 people it has one access road alright so all the traffic in this area
goes through one road and this was built by the DDA its deviated line you can see
the grid and the electricity went in and people built like crazy people there’s
money in it right there the economy is growing so people build all of this is
built illegally nothing is to cover right and so you use or worry about it
earthquake Sunday because there’s no rebar but the point I want underscore is
that there’s no sewage system so they they built the colony they allocated
plots they planned for a sewage system to datum coordinate so this is what
happens to your sewage right and this is just a classic governance probably have
one agency doing land allocation rule and development and other agents and
that’s responsible for water and sewage but they don’t coordinate and I’ll get
to this coordination possible later so what you’ve done is produced a new swamp
it’s a newly developed area before intents and purposes that’s a new slide
unauthorised colonies again this is this highbreed weird category people have
moved in they built something they bought something they think they own
something but again land was not authorized for development so as a
result they are not entitled to basic services before every election in Delhi
the party in power says we’re going to regularize and they go through this
incredibly elaborate process of asking every settlement
put together a plan and you see these plans and it’s heartbreaking because
these things are three four hundred pages long
there’s mapping there’s data there’s pictures there’s petitions there’s
everyone’s signatures it’s it’s really extraordinary I said it’s an incredible
trove of data by the way if anyone was looking for a great dissertation project
I mean it’s a it’s like D in the French Revolution the famines today you can get
good ants you know the complaints from the peasants that all went to Paris this
is sort of similar you read these things that it’s just kind of a litany of
complaints but this is what they have to do to quote get regularization status
and it turns out you know a thousand six hundred and thirty nine settlements
applied for authorization it took four or five years everyone was confused
about what was going on eventually 583 were approved but then there was a
dispute about who would pay for the land that had now been authorized
etc and then a new government came into power and said we’re starting all over
again and this is now the fifth or sixth cycle and basically no unauthorised
colony has been regularized since 1991 and it’s just this continuous cycle of
reform that we really just reproduces this regime of suspended rights so a
long time I have two more slides and I want to try to get to an explanation
right so that the two obvious problems are fragmentation within the city itself
this is the patchwork problem right so you have all these neighborhoods
settlements that have their own modalities of engaging
the local state which makes it really difficult to have any kind of
programmatic approach to these policy challenges and then on the other hand
you have these massive coordination failures that even when there is an
effort at reform the existing agencies the existing institutional structures
just can’t coordinated in a way that they can actually deliver the services
so what’s the larger problem here and again I present this as a not as a
counter to the bigger structural arguments about neoliberalism or
property or a counter to the class story but as a compliment because class
practices or structural forces have to be played out through institutional
mechanisms and so the the question that the case of daily raises is what is that
that set of institutional or political mechanisms that creates these kind of
outcomes and at heart at the heart of the problem is this is a complicated way
of saying there hasn’t been enough decentralization so if you think about
it in a country the size of India or China or Brazil large federal federal
systems you by definition have multi-layered governments so different
levels do different things and there’s usually some principle by which you
allocate services some kind of idea of subsidary all right and so the local
level local institutions local bureaucracies local agencies should do
the things that local bureaucracies and agencies they’re better at doing that
compared to land use management is an obvious one water delivery is another
and the key is that you want to then align political authorisation with
institutional power right so the people who are delivering water at the local
level have to answer to voters at the local level at the state level you do
together and then at the national the problem in India is that there’s a
complete misalignment of institutional power
authorization the people were responsible for water delivery and land
use management in Mumbai or in Bangalore or in Chennai are not local authorities
there in the capital cities and there their vote base is rural and they don’t
answer to the citizens of the cities there’s no direct local political
authorization of the agencies that are responsible for basic service delivery
in Indian cities these are Lyon departments that come down from the
provincial level or in the case of Delhi the DDA is actually run by the national
government the police in Delhi are run by the national government it’s not a
local police right so you have this misalignment and what this essentially
amounts to is that you have cities without a local state there is no local
state and as you know I always ask Union friends you know can you name the mayor
of Delhi or the mayor of Mumbai or the mayor of Chennai and nobody committed no
because the mayor has no power Chennai hasn’t had city councilors for two years
there’s no political representatives to go through each other they haven’t held
elections they dismiss the local council two years ago so there’s really no
political sovereignty and if the local arena is not a genuine political space
you’re not going to get any coalition’s at the local level how you gonna develop
the regimes that would produce grubs without the produce inclusion at the
local level when there’s no political space for those regimes to form in in
the first place and as a result you get this extreme fragmentation of authority
you know every bureaucracy is answering to some different political master and
then on top of that you have this huge problem of local citizenship so one of
the things that struck us the most our fieldwork in Delhi is we would always
ask people where is the state it’s our car and the answer was they don’t know
it’s so far away it’s in some faraway bureaucracy it’s
it’s so okay that for them when they do have problems they always go through
intermediaries no-one goes directly to the job or all the media and of course
then it becomes incredibly dependent form of political engagement and this in
turn and now I just want to get to the coordination problem that I’ve been
eluding to throughout why did these agencies so terrible of delivering
things in a coordinated fashion and I think there’s really three problems here
so in this political context all these agencies are incentivized to as Chuck
Billy used to put a horn opportunity there number one organizational priority
is to make sure they hold on to the resources they have the biggest
resources urban land so all these are agencies have urban land none of them
want to give it up this is a source of obviously grants and power and they
don’t want to have to answer to the politicians so they’re really busy just
maintaining balance and preserving the resources they have and there’s very
little incentive to actually go out and deliver as a result there’s a tremendous
that these are just the colloquial Indian terms for bureaucrats and
politicians they don’t cooperate you know the politicians are trying to win
elections they got to deliver patronage goods the bureaucracies are awarding
these scarce resources and there’s no cooperation and it’s just a constant
battle but the politicians are pretty good at finding gaps in the system so
you know we call this corruption but I hate that word because this is
completely systemic it’s completely strategic it’s
how the system is organized I just call it institutional arbitrage so and I just
want give you a perfect example you go to the deli job work which is
responsible for distributing these tanker trucks and you ask them how are
the tanker trucks distributed and they show you a map and a schedule and they
claim it’s all GIS and tract etc it’s a very vague bearing right it’s completely
rationalized and on the ground everyone knows this is non something’s right
because no one follows the schedule and we were actually interviewing the CEO of
the deli job or the interviewed her for three hours she must have taken 20 phone
calls why we interview why we were interviewing every phone quote was a
politician calling up saying I want a tanker truck so that’s the distribution
system and that’s what I call you know institutional arbitrage I mean it’s
supposed to be a programmatic delivery but what the politicians are doing they
can’t change the water policy because they don’t have any power but they can
use their connections to get at least one tanker truck into there for their
constituents so this just creates a lot of perverse incentives everyone is
incentivized to deliver patronage goods no one has an incentives to organize
public goods right and so politicians aren’t advocating for extending the
water system the pipe water system if they can’t take credit for that a tanker
truck on the other hand you can put your name on it you can deliver it you can
say it came through you know my interventions etc and it does can’t use
some political points if it does get water into the colony but it makes it
very difficult in the long term to do any kind of a strategic policy
intervention so that’s generally the story and again I want to bring this
back to Marcos patchwork City for me this is there’s a field the fuel is is
what I just briefly characterized as fragmented
field and thus misalignment of political institutional power you know you have
these actors who are all from the slum dwellers to the death of the Baba’s very
good at playing the field through this institutional arbitrage and figuring out
the guiness etc it’s an economy of practices as Bordeaux would put it but
in the aggregate of course this fragments the city this doesn’t unify
the city and it makes any kind of effective governance really really
difficult there are some exceptions in India and maybe in Q&A and talk about it
and make the comparison no but that’s the Delhi story thank you yes I keep
moving here because but there’s been literature that shows
that one there has been a certain kind of decentralization that’s happened for
certain communities in Delhi like the bhagavati system and the resident
Welfare Association right which is planned college right at the same time
it also says that decentralization has the pernicious effects in a certain
situation like for example with the water case so to find these work on this
slide of era which is like right to water stuff you know the local power
structures can also kind of compete with this decentralization well as wondering
what kind of decentralization imagine yeah but but you know the local
corruption argument this is what the politicians and the bureaucrats have
been saying for 60 years we can’t evolve to the local level because at the local
level there’s corruption as if there wasn’t corruption at the Senate level
and at the state level I you know of course there’s corruption at the local
level but it’s much easier to monitor corruption at the local level if you
have a local state if you don’t have a local state monitoring and corruption is
really complicated and you know the idea behind decentralization was always not
only to realign institutional and and and political power but was to actually
give people an opportunity to use their citizenship so we’ve been comparing
Chennai and and coaching and it’s really interesting because in Chennai the water
delivery is always a problem in the slums it’s the women who deal with of
course and they they have two ways of dealing it with it one is they go
straight to the bureaucracy and they don’t even go to the politicians they go
to the bureaucracy and you know there’s caste differences and these are
state-level bureaucrats and if they don’t have to do that sometimes they get
what they want oftentimes they don’t then they go they
go blockade a street you know and they stop traffic and then they get their
tanker trucks right so you could say it works but this is pretty inefficient in
Kochi even the poorest slums have regular water supply and in every slum
there’s a political representative and you know they have a local office than
when there’s a problem the citizens use their citizenship and they go straight
to the politicians and the politicians actually have leverage over the
bureaucracy because in Kerala they decentralized in 95 and the budget
now goes through the local council and the bureaucrats can’t touch the budget
and so the council has voted on it so now you have local accountability and
and the differences are stark right the International comparison is simple of
each Chinese cities and Brazilian cities are much much more decentralized to have
way more Authority way more autonomy and way more local resources and of course
you know they have much better service yes of course Delhi does have a lot more
power than same of my angle because it is the natural capital region that has
mentioned this very moment yes so my first question is why don’t receive and
that Delhi has much better delivery yeah say Bangalore would like Wright brothers
I my second question again about Delhi is how do you explain decisions where
both politicians and Babu’s seem to be trying at hand so I’m thinking there’s a
lot of talk about electricity right which was privatized yes electricity
back you know I figure it’s a cookie but it definitely drop through six
absolutely yeah so how do we explain when we get this decision to
so the two great questions so yeah it’s so most Indian cities it’s a three level
game there’s the national there’s the provincial and then there’s the city
that the city and Delhi state are the same roughly they actually have
different elections of different representatives but they more or less
coincide and that’s important because the vote the vote base in Delhi is
purely urban the vote basin in from Mumbai is rural right then and so if
Mumbai or Bangalore don’t get resources that’s hardly surprise it because the
politicians and control it have rural vote bank so they extract rents from the
city to support them or a moment so you’re right that Lee should work better
the problem is and we know this now in a spectacular fashion
ops the aam aadmi party which is the first political party in India that’s
urban there’s one other the shoe sent on one by but that’s a long story end but
every other political party in India is a rural party with an urban presence up
was created in the city and in the last city elections they wanted what is it 67
out of 70 seeds to make this has never happened before and it was this and
Marco’s not going to believe this this was an alliance of the progressive
middle class and the urban poor it happens it happens in Brazil it happened
in Delhi up comes to power and you know that Kent
led by a charismatic politician capture all of who I’m from Switzerland and and
he spread some book on decentralization and democracy in Switzerland then he
said oh we’re gonna be the next foot so and I once said to him just try to be
Kerala don’t worry about so long there’s minimum okay anyway and you know they
talked the right talk because we got a decentralized as we got to get citizens
involved we got to bring the state into the salon we have to do five water
except what happened the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi took away all his
ministers took away his budget opened corruption
rgeous left it right he has no control he doesn’t control anything it’s all
controlled by the central ministers and the central ministries as soon as they
saw it saw that up with maybe getting some traction and just cut them off and
so in Delhi the problem is even more acute in some sense because then you
have you know an upper-middle-class bureaucratic elite that makes its money
essentially through brokerage right if you’ve ever been to a you know a
cocktail party or a reception with well-to-do in Delhi
it’s amazing because they live in this extraordinary wealth and you can never
figure out what it is they do for a living because you know Delhi is the
most polluted city in the world but unlike Beijing which is the second most
polluted city in the world that doesn’t make anything there’s no industry
there’s some industry don’t but it’s not Beijing right what Delhi does is
brokerage functions the rich in Delhi are lawyers and what they’re brokering
is global capital and real estate and you know financial transactions etc and
that elite takes care of it part of the city China Kapur we’re in a nice
neighborhood but it basically has an alliance with the state to hoard
resources in the nice parts of Delhi and to you know basically start the rest of
it I solely I love metros and I love the Delhi Metro but they built the Delhi
Metro Delhi Metro was almost half of the India’s total national capital budget
for almost a decade to build a Metro in Delhi and and only half the population
can afford the Metro and in the ten years that they built the Metro they
took twenty thousand buses off the streets of Delhi out of nickel
to not investing people use buses the poor use buses they don’t use the petrol
so those are the kind of you know political dynamics and your second
question was you know so the electricity is really interesting there is a
technical dimension I distribute electricity if you have the energy
distribution is actually quite easy and that’s why it’s so easy to steal right
people just run wires etc you need a few generators sewage is much more
complicated in the water is much more complicated so part of it’s a technical
question but we’ve been asking ourselves the same questions and if anyone’s
looking for a great PhD research puzzle this is an interesting one because
across Indian cities electrification is almost on a person so you can go into
slums that people have you know they have TVs and satellite dishes and
electricity and it’s 70% malnutrition that’s there were a bunch of hands other
make sure more about the empirical star that’s your next book no I I you know
that civilian daughter question so the first observation one of the most
striking things and those of you know in you might argue with me but I’m always
stunned by how few urban social movements there are there’s the Sheep
set up you know which is a very sort of reactionary move there’s off which
started as the anti-corruption movement but it’s not clear was a urban movement
per se unlike Brazil or South Africa where there’s a long history of urban
mobilization and protest and ongoing contentious politics Indian cities are
not terribly mobilized the big mobilizations tend to be rural you know
when you think of all the great movements including you know all these
constitutional amendments of andraka the National Rural Employment Guarantee
Scheme the the right to information the right to food these are all rural
movements the urban space is not terribly mobilized and I think the
reason is because there’s 2,000 settlements that people are quite
mobilized within their patchwork neighborhoods but there’s no horizontal
ties and in that sense there is a civil society but if it gets very much the
kind of school site you talk about in your
it’s well-heeled middle-class people with I guess it’s not a fax machine
website etc but you don’t have the equivalent of some of the you know Salwa
self-employed women’s associated there’s nothing like that in urban area so I
would say it’s a very weeks of the society and then because there aren’t
these regular Democratic mechanisms of accountability because of this
misalignment even the politicians aren’t responsive Brazil on the other hand of
course because of the democracy movement has incredibly well and very Network to
civil society structures and that’s been a big part of the story China you know I
have to tell me I mean I I always say the you know the the Indian government
is accountable but not respond you know responsive and the Chinese government is
not accountable but it is responsive and and ding Jian has a book you know is it
2,000 years of empire and Confucian I don’t be able to tell me but clearly
Chinese cities are boring responses yeah yes oh no they so so the tanker trucks
in principle it’s free and in the well-organized communities they don’t
pay in the less well organized communities some DDA agent shows up with
a police officer and they make them pay so this again this is this institutional
arbitrage and I was talking about the piped water that comes from war wells
we estimate is about ten times more expensive than regular piped water so
people are definitely in the end their pain and the poor pay much higher prices
than the people who live in plant colors yes
oh yeah and I think I wonder if that has to do with you know the city of the
difference in sizes because I was the Omnibus Fedorovich and they are trying
to create his cross up yeah Federation so I think that can’t break the
lower-level liver there yeah after you know a systematic programmatic approach
citizen elect service delivery so under non-state actors or civil society are
not showing significant impact a valley whatever it has to do with the city size
because I’ll devise definitely smaller than dolly
you know scale so I have a colleague at Brandeis are sparse me and this is the
question we’re trying to answer so we’re we we have a survey instrument
that we’re now using in 15 different cities and you know four thousand
households that we ask all these questions about membership
Association and then we also measure a service delivery and hopefully if the
data is good we’ll be able to test that and I think you’re right
we we already found that in Shimoga Mysore which are two smaller cities in
Karnataka there’s much more citizen engagement and service delivery is much
better in Bangalore nobody engages service delivery despite
the fact that it’s a very wealthy prosperous City service delivery was
pretty bad so there may be a scale question for sure yes I was on this
question of the Delhi Metro and buses yeah and the what specifically I was I
mean I was struck by this example from I guess it was again I guess planned
during the first term of Sheila Dikshit in 2004 a banner oh no this is this
particular example of the bus rapid transit oh yes which became a huge ooh
very vexed vexed issue and I remember that it was I think the first stretch
was 19 kilometers somewhere around I’ve lived in Delhi for a long time
yeah and I was wondering how this sort of animates the kind of misalignment and
fragmentation that you’re speaking of because in this case the petitioners
against the BRT as it was Korea for this organisation called in the I who mean if
I’m remembering them right and they were a bunch of I mean informal informal sort
of organization of a bunch of middle class people yeah and the petitioners
who were against it apart from the state organization which was I think the I MDS
yeah but also an informal organization of probably lower middle class cities
rice in a sense right so I’m wondering here you know and of course the
government gets involved and this was I think a project of the Delhi government
here 100 di MTS and so but this was so much about claiming space and all that
and and in EM d’Ivoire because and our BRT works quite well so I was wondering how you would sort of
characterize this that’s great right I think that’s a great example and I was
also thinking of something that part o is I think called Sebastian or the rover
yeah it’s a bolter in urban it ya know it that’s a great question but I I think
that’s another perfect illustration of what I’m trying to argue all I do not
have articulated it very well I mean the whole point of a local Democratic space
is an authorized setting where you can deliberate and if
you can’t deliberate your way through you it’s the rule of the majority and
you make public decisions why are the courts deciding this this is not
something courts should be deciding this is something that the elected council of
Delhi as a matter of its formal democratic duties should be doing the
problem is the elected council of Delhi I forget what year this was but some
journalists actually tracked that they met for a grand total 70 minutes okay
you don’t make policy for a city of making people a min 70 minutes right so
the point is there so of course it’s just all these fragmented interests I
can organized in civil society no so-called civil society and depending on
what connections they have it apparently I was told that the the judges who ruled
against BRT because the argument against BRT is an infringement on the rights of
those who drive yeah because you’re now taking a lane and dedicating it to bus
services okay only one in four households in Delhi has a goddamn car
right so the vast majority have a stake in BRT it turns out the judges all lived
in a neighborhood that was right I don’t know one of them said that I believe
Doom was my inner ego so that’s the triumph of particularism and and the
whole point of having democratic spaces is to overcome particularism
but you don’t have a democratic space yes because I come from China and I’m
very curious about the problem of labor mobility yes because I was just
wondering that for the people who come to
you walk is it possible for them to move between myself but the fit is with the
easier really India that’s what happy child if they say they’s not responsive
they just move to another city to walk they may not necessarily become a local
signal on local residents but did I just move to another city which could
motivate like local authorities to provide activities just secure their
local economy right I would definitely what the KC media that’s the famous tipo
re The Economist yeah hey you know I mean logically like everything to be
economics it makes sense and then when you get into the real world that doesn’t
really work that way right so yeah technically yes Indians could go
anywhere and when you look at the migration of figures we have data for
Bangalore for example 50 percent of all the migrants in Bangalore and crap are
half college education and their upper caste so they’re coming for an ite etc
and then others are coming from menial but there’s a tremendous migration
there’s no doubt and you’d think that yes people could pick one city over
another city and one of the things that to me is really alarming about this kind
of analysis is you know India’s incredibly diverse right it’s 26 states
and they’re not there are different political regimes right whether whether
it’s Dravidian ism or the Communist Party or the BJP or someone so you’d
think that the political space really quite ferrites and one of the things
that striking is I think there’s less variation amongst Indian cities than
there are across the Chinese or Brazilian cities and apart part of that
is because the central government and the states there’s a pact between EMS
Namboodiripad he was the famous theoretician of the Communist Party in
Carolyn 2:56 once once wrote and i think this is
exactly right the ending Constitution gave us democracy between the center and
the states and he gave us authoritarianism between the state and
the city and that’s sort of the pact right the center agreed to decentralize
the state level but then it allowed the local state bosses to sort of rule their
states and of course they want to centralize resources and all the big
money’s and the cities and they don’t want to devolve and in that sense I
think India’s the least decentralized democracy in there now China again you
know you know they decentralized and it’s kind of competitive
decentralization is quite amazing story yes who shared like the lights of like
bringing infrastructure services to slums for example and they have this
kind of relationship with the state there’s a lot of look I never made the
case that this is this is in fact a triumph of the slums that really thing
formal accommodation exists or there is decentralization that’s not legitimate
but it exists so then how do you where does that split ya know so have an hour
bucks been doing some phenomenal work on cities at Rajasthan on exactly this
point and you can actually show that slums that have more active party
members get more stuff and that’s sort of you know quantitative proof of the
argument you just made right and I think it works terrific and I think he’s
totally right the the neighborhoods that are more organized that have more
political intermediaries get more stuff bus stops thing but they’re getting
crumbs this is my point they’re great you know the middle class gets flyovers
the urban poor don’t get sewage right so yeah they’re getting stuff and that’s
what quote maintains the legitimacy so this is you know Chatterjee’s are
ignorant about the politics of the government they use political society to
get stuff but they’re not getting much at all and and I would argue in Kerala
when they did dissent wise they’re getting a lot more because if they can
have programmatic politics and not just this kind of you know it’s kind of
weapons of the weak politics right yeah you got a bus stop you know but what am
I going to get my sewage I think we get the boy okay yeah what
happens in the other it seems like it’s a strong case for an unwieldy
disorganized fragmented state but presumably there are people who are
extremely privileged to manage tea for citizens who managed to get access to
all the services in our home how do they do that given what you just said long
yeah so here and this comes back to your question so a part of Chatterjee has the
famous argument on this and he argues political siding you have civil society
and some signage for the bourgeoisie they have nice rights and they get all
this stuff and the poor just have politics and in my story that’s roughly
what’s going on right they the people who live in the quote plan colonies
that’s your upper class they they have a right to services and it gets delivered
and the poor don’t have rights and so they have to use politics and and inform
voting blocks etc etc so I think that at a very crude level that’s true it’s all
its but it’s still really problematic and it’s really problematic because
first of all not every city is Calcutta because you know chatter as brilliant as
he is he’s always studying the same city that there are sometimes horizontal
organizations that emerge and again there’s the story of Kerala and there’s
some other examples and sometimes the poor do use their rights I mean that
rights in India do matter it’s more of a collective action problem than a legal
problem per se and so this idea that the poor don’t have don’t use that riot sale
use one he you know we got what we the movements
did Ken and Rekha which is the largest anti-poverty scheme in Indian history
and they did it entirely through civil society it wasn’t through a competitive
party politics they did get the right to transparency which is a major
constitutional reform you know makes government more accountable transparent
and again that came in tirely through rights and civil society and on the
other side of the equation even though the well-to-do in cities get things as a
matter of quote rights because they’re in the right neighborhood and
essentially it’s property rights right because they have property they get a
right to public goods the way they maintain their privileges is not through
voting it is through connections it is and it is through a different kind of
politics and again there’s parallels here with with vanilla so this you know
the civil society little sign a distinction is sort of useful but it’s a
little crude and and it has to be Mike is probably wondering to what degree for
example what degree on play is wealth the only place for example track the
engine to spare in the place of state happen actually providing said yeah yeah
yeah and provide your own so it’s not the same level of opt out that you get
into vanilla IV vanilla is unbelievable that’s all you know about Europe there
are some areas like that identity there’s a famous area where everything’s
been privatized but most the the government has largely subsidized the
upper classes and this is still an egg legacy of nerubian socialism the DDA the
Delhi Development Authority owns a third of the city and and it has it manages
golf clubs and sports facilities and all sorts of venues that the middle class
enjoys and so it’s it’s it’s not vanilla yeah but
it’s probably a headed in that direction for sure i enclaves as you described
them with gates etc are still illegal in Delhi but towers are not and of
course that’s another motive an organization sighs all right well I
wanted to figure out they’re coming and I want to think that presser how they’re
forgiving such a fantastic insightful and intriguing lecture there’s food and
drinks in the back so

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