Leveraging illiberal policy instruments in the name of globalized urban development in Hyderabad, Telangana (India)

Authors: Ashima Sood*, Indian School of Business, Loraine Kennedy, Senior Research Fellow, CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique)
Topics: Urban Geography, Asia, Development
Keywords: Urban governance, urban development, India, Global South
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Studio 3, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The early 1990s in India set into motion two contradictory trends in urban governance. On the one hand, the passage of the 74th Constitutional Amendment inaugurated an era of increased democratization and devolution of power to city governments. On the other hand, the increasing integration of the Indian economy into global capital circuits translated into greater inter-state competition for footloose capital (Kennedy 2014). “Premium spaces” and area development polices emerged as favored tools for state governments to attract and concentrate investments. Such city-centric growth strategies in settings such as HITEC City in Hyderabad also represented the instrumentalisation of urban governance (Kennedy and Zérah 2008). Focusing on the Industrial Area Local Authority (IALA), a governance regime applicable in the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, this paper examines this decentralization paradox. We argue that the movement towards representative government at the city scale was subverted at its very origins by the insertion of exceptions into the legislations that purported to establish and empower urban government (Sood 2015). Tracing the career of the IALA from its beginnings in 1994, we show how the state government promoted non-representative forms of governance while weakening the statutory powers of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. The trajectory of the IALA illustrates the unfolding of entrepreneurialism in the governance of Indian cities (Kennedy 2014) and highlights the use of exception as a form of “informality from above” (Roy 2009; Sood 2016). This paper thus examines pathways to illiberal governance within ostensibly liberal democratic contexts.

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