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Mapping PowerThe Political Economy of Electricity in India's States$
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Navroz K. Dubash, Sunila S. Kale, and Ranjit Bharvirkar

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199487820

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199487820.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 November 2020

Stalled Reform in the Face of Electoral Fears

Stalled Reform in the Face of Electoral Fears

Uttar Pradesh’s Electricity Distribution Sector

(p.274) 13 Stalled Reform in the Face of Electoral Fears
Mapping Power

Jonathan Balls

Oxford University Press

One of the largest states in India in terms of population and political influence, UP is also one of the poorest, with a very large rural population and low levels of electricity access. UP has seen a highly competitive political environment over the last couple of decades, with intense jockeying for power among three major parties—SP, BSP, and BJP. The bifurcation of the state in 2000 led to UP losing access to significant cheap hydro power, thereby raising its overall cost of power procurement. The relatively high shares of domestic, rural, and agricultural consumption coupled with high levels of poverty has made it politically challenging to sustain reforms (e.g. privatization has been attempted several times and failed on each occasion, efforts to reduce AT&C losses, improving bill recovery, raising tariffs, etc.). With high levels of political competition, successive UP governments have been unable to incur the political costs of reducing rampant theft and electricity misgovernance; this also makes it challenging to credibly offer enhanced electricity access as a political strategy, locking the state into a vicious cycle at low levels of electricity access.

Keywords:   electricity, politics, Uttar Pradesh, India, power, reform, political economy, regulation, governance, renewable energy, access

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