• 10th
  • Feb
10:00 AM
The Grammar of Gram Sabhas: Understanding the Anatomy of Deliberative Democracy in Rural India

Conference Room, Centre For Policy Reseach, Dharam Marg, Chanakypuri

By Dr. Vijayendra Rao, Lead Economist, Development Research Group, The World Bank 

Discussant: Professor Niraja Gopal Jayal, Chairperson, Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, JNU

Venue of the Event : 

Conference Room II, Centre for Policy Research, Dharam Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021

Date: 10th February, 2009

Time: 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM


Every gram panchayat has regularly held gram sabhas (open village meetings) where important decisions are made - such as budgetary allocations and the selection of beneficiaries for anti-poverty programs. Thus, there are now over two million little village democracies that function under a mix of electoral and deliberative modalities that govern the lives of 700 million rural residents.This talk will present some results from an analysis of transcriptions of 300 gram sabhas held from 2004-2006 in South India. The transcriptions have been coded and are econometrically analyzed to understand broad patterns - such as whether they are dominated by a sub-group, and the impact of literacy and political reservations. They are also qualitatively analyzed as text to understand the new deliberative culture that is emerging in this unique "state-sponsored" public sphere.