The study investigates the effects of mandatory political representation of women and non-forward castes in India (73rd Constitutional Amendment) on development preferences and social equity. We used systematic content analysis of proceedings from meetings of 155 rural village assemblies. The study revealed overemphasis on physical infrastructure, relative neglect of health and education, influence of state government directives and marginalization of gender issues. However, there was higher likelihood of articulation of non forward caste-related issues by non-forward caste chairpersons. A paradigm shift in the development perspective of local governments, stressing investments in leadership development is needed.
Journal of International Development (2009). Publ. online 1 July 2009. [DOI: 10.1002/jid.1566]