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Process, People, Power and Conflict: Some Lessons from a Participatory Policy Process in Andhra Pradesh, India

Vinod Ahuja (), Gustafson Daniel J and Joachim Otte

No WP2008-05-02, IIMA Working Papers from Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department

Abstract: A large body of empirical literature highlights the need for stakeholder participation within the context of policy change and democratic governance. This makes intuitive sense and may appear to be a straightforward process of managing conflicting interests, building consensus, and lining up support. The reality, however, is often much more complicated and conflictive, even where there is general agreement on the policy objectives. The present paper examines these issues in the context of participatory policy development for the delivery of veterinary services by para-professionals in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It illustrates the challenges inherent in the politics of participatory policy processes and the potential of ‘agenda hijack’ by influential partners, resulting in missed learning opportunities. It also offers insights on practical steps to counter these dangers, as potential lessons for practitioners and project managers engaged in participatory policy reform processes.

Date: 2008-05-02
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