Development in an Era of Economic Reform in India


  • Dolly Daftary

  • Fieldwork and data analysis for this article were supported by grants from the Brown School at Washington University, the Center for New Institutional Social Sciences and the Taraknath Das Foundation at the Southern Asia Institute at Columbia University. I am grateful to three anonymous referees and the editorial board of Development and Change for useful comments and feedback on revisions.


This article explores transformations of development practice after economic reforms, through an empirical account from Gujarat, western India — the country's poster-state of neoliberal reforms. It draws upon ethnographic fieldwork on the Hariyali watershed development intervention and the delivery of state-sponsored microcredit through the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana programme in Dahod district, eastern Gujarat. This study of development practice reveals the ascendancy of market rationalities in development agencies; the rise of contracting and subcontracting by a restructured rural bureaucracy; the state's devolution of policy implementation to local political actors; and the deployment of self-governance techniques, specifically notation and inscription technologies, to create self-regulating development subjects. Springing from transformations within the state itself, these changes constitute fundamental shifts in the governance of development.