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

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Development and Accountability in Urban India

Party Workers, Citizens and Public Services

Demanding Development: The Politics of Public Goods Provision in India’s Urban Slums by Adam Michael Auerbach, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019; pp 304, 649.

After years of looking the other way, the COVID-19 pandemic and the national lockdown for­ced middle-class urban Indians to directly confront the realities of their working-class fellow residents. Their gaze (even if temporarily) turned to the extreme precarity of the urban workforce and to the densely populated, informal urban settlements—the “COVID-19 hotspots.” The persistent threat of eviction, precarious livelihoods, poor health and sanitation facilities, absence of piped water and reli­able electricity supply in informal settlements are well documented. However, the pandemic and the lockdown raised new questions around the quality of life in these urban settlements, who its temporary and settled residents turn to in times of distress and how they demand and secure access to basic public services from the government in the absence of formal rights. Adam Michael Auerbach’s book, Demanding Development: The Politics of Public Goods Provision in India’s Urban Slums, is a timely and compelling account of life in these urban informal settlements, that sets out to ­understand the conditions under which residents in these settlements organise and demand public services, and why some are more successful than others.

Party Workers as Agents

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Updated On : 23rd May, 2021
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