Territorial Infrastructure and Techno-Managerial Faith: The Case of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor

Authors: Swarnabh Ghosh*, Harvard University
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Development, Third World
Keywords: global infrastructure, techno-managerialism, corridor urbanization, India, Delhi, Mumbai
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Diplomat Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) is the largest and most expensive infrastructure project ever undertaken in the Indian subcontinent. Stretching more than 1500 kilometers between New Delhi and Mumbai, it is projected to cost over $100 billion. Envisioned by its stewards as an archetypal project of corridor urbanization, the DMIC will consist of 24 ‘investment regions’ and ‘industrial areas’ organized along a freight-rail corridor. At the same, the production of the DMIC – its conceptualization, construction, and management – involves a vast constellation of experts including management consultants, financial consultants, risk managers, software corporations, energy corporations, telecommunications firms, and urban planners. The types of expert-practice mobilized by the DMIC can be categorized into: (i) the producers of ‘knowledge-structures’ in the form of demographic projections, fiscal policy recommendations, and data analytics that legitimate the existence of the DMIC by lending it the appearance of a result of calculations; and (ii) the producers of plans or ‘protocols’ for the purposes of construction and ‘operations-management’. This convention of global consultants is managed by the DMIC Development Corporation (DMICDC), a state agency staffed by a team of bureaucrats who faithfully invoke the calculations of ‘outside experts’ in investor presentations, media reports, and publicity materials. In this presentation, I will discuss the transforming role of the Indian State in infrastructure and urban development from a regime of centralized planning to a practice of managerial coordination; and the role of techno-managerial consultants as urbanists of the neoliberal city through the concept of 'techno-managerial faith'.

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