You are here

Grassroots Democracy in India & China: The Right to Participate

A book talk with Richard Baum and Manoranjan Mohanty

September 12, 2007 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Manoranjan Mohanty (University of Delhi) and Richard Baum (Political Science, UCLA), co-editors -- together with Rong Ma (Peking University) and George Mathew (Institute of Social Sciences, Delhi -- discuss Grassroots Democracy in India and China (Sage, 2007).

This anthology explores significant new parallel developments in rural governance in India and China.

In China, rural reforms have created conditions for rising prosperity, mainly in the coastal provinces. The emergence of multiple forms of enterprise ownership and the accompanying diversification of the rural economy have given rise to a variety of new social forces. In this environment, the introduction of competitive elections in rural China over the past fifteen years has created a new institution of rural empowerment and a set of political dynamics in the countryside.

In India too, local rural governance has undergone fundamental change. Following the 73rd Amendment of the Indian constitution, representative institutions have been constituted by mandatory elections. At least one-third of the seats in these local bodies have been reserved for women. In addition, seats have been proportionally reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and, at least in some states, for Backward Classes. The new Panchayats (village councils) have new powers both to carry out development and to manage local resources.