Out of Reach: Local Politics and the Distribution of Development Funds in Madhya Pradesh


This paper examines two development programmes in Madhya Pradesh, India, that have been transferred to elected representatives at the district, block and constituency levels: the MLA Area Development Scheme (referred to here as the ADS) and the Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS). The case study areas are two clusters of villages, each representing a ward of a block in a western district of Madhya Pradesh. The village case studies are analysed in the context of the politics at the district, block and assembly-constituency levels.

The paper investigates the degree to which the deprived sections – the intended recipients – have been able to access the development funds compared to the political and economic élites. It unravels the allocation and use of funds, the inclusion and exclusion of actors and the role of the bureaucracy from whom power over these funds has recently been transferred.

The paper begins with a brief overview of the arguments for and against democratic decentralisation in the use of redistributive, pro-poor development programmes, focusing on local politics and élite capture where accountability systems and citizen voices are weak (Section Two). It goes on to summarise the broad structure of newly decentralised government in MP and how this affects the implementation of its poverty schemes, placing the two case study schemes in context and describing the sample and methodology (Section Three). After describing the politics of district and sample areas in detail (Section Four) it reports on the results for each scheme (Sections Five and Six), offering discussion (Section Seven) and concluding with suggestions for policy (Section Eight).


Singh, V.; Bhupendra Gehlot; Start, D.; Johnson, C. Out of Reach: Local Politics and the Distribution ofDevelopment Funds in Madhya Pradesh. Overseas Development Institute, London, UK (2003) 43 pp. ISBN 0 85003 644 5 [Working Paper 200]

Out of Reach: Local Politics and the Distribution of Development Funds in Madhya Pradesh

Published 1 January 2003