ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Historic Farmers’ Referendum on Special Economic Zone

Participative Governance in District Administration: Memoirs of Collector, Raigad— Farmers’ Successful ‘Referendum’ against the Reliance Maha SEZ by Nipun Vinayak; New Delhi: Authorspress, 2016; pp 163, $39.95.

The largest special economic zone (SEZ) in the country proposed by one of the biggest industrial houses, Reliance Industries, in Raigad district near Mumbai, Maharashtra was shelved after farmers refused to part with their land. It was a historic referendum which manifested participative governance in the world’s largest democracy.

The book under review is based on the experiences of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Nipun Vinayak who was the collector of Raigad district, during the historic referendum. The documentation provides an insight into the process of conducting the referendum from an administrator’s viewpoint. The book has its limitations, considering that it is authored by a government officer. It reveals the complicated process involving one of the largest industrial houses in the country, governmental machinery, farmers, political parties and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It also indicates the slyness with which the profit-driven private sector negotiates, as well as the ambiguities with which government policies are formulated.

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