The Gated Republic
Nominated | Book Awards 2021 |
The Gated Republic
Seventy years since it became a republic, India has come a long way. But it is still failing on some key fronts.
Piped drinking water for all continues to be a pipe dream; homes and businesses are haunted by power outages; the lack of proper primary health care renders the poorest more vulnerable; millions of children coming out of schools lack rudimentary skills; and the security of lives and enterprises, a source of great anxiety, depends on private contractors.
Indians are seceding from dependence on the government for these most basic of services and are investing in the pay-and-plug economy. They have internalized the incapacity of the state to deliver these and are opting for private providers despite the costs. But can India sustain private republics amidst public failures in a landscape scarred by social and economic fault lines? What are the possible solutions? Can government reinvent itself?
The Gated Republic presents an interrogative view of the history and future of private India.
SHANKKAR AIYAR is a prominent India-based political economy analyst, columnist and author. His path-breaking book Accidental India: A Nation's Passage Through Crisis and Change earned him acclaim as a public intellectual. His Aadhaar: A Biometric History of India's 12-Digit Revolution fetched him global recognition for this first comprehensive book which traces India's ambitious and controversial biometric identity platform. A journalist for over three decades, Aiyar has covered every parliamentary election since 1984. His 1991 expose on India pledging its gold reserves to the Bank of England drew international attention to the crisis in the economy, which consequently compelled liberalization. Aiyar has analysed every Budget since 1991. The recipient of several awards for excellence in journalism, he has been Managing Editor at India Today and Head of the Special Investigations Team at the Indian Express. Aiyar specializes in the interface between politics and economics and decodes the political economy for news publications and television channels. He has authored a study on India's socio-economic fault lines and its hundred worst districts. His investigation of twenty-five years of political corruption is part of an anthology. He has been a Wolfson Chevening Fellow at Cambridge University, where he studied the life cycles of emerging economies. He is a Visiting Fellow at the IDFC Institute. Aiyar is currently working on his fourth book and also conducting policy research on evolving demographics and their implications for the next economy.