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Electrifying IndiaRegional Political Economies of Development$
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Sunila S. Kale

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804787963

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804787963.001.0001

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Electricity as New India's “Strategic Railway”

Electricity as New India's “Strategic Railway”

(p.24) 2 Electricity as New India's “Strategic Railway”
Electrifying India

Sunila S. Kale

Stanford University Press

This chapter examines the institutions and ideologies that emerged from New Delhi. Emboldened and inspired by Lenin's Russia, Nehru, Ambedkar, and others believed that state-financed electrification would be the means of transforming the productive capacities of the country. Although there were prominent supporters of a centralized system, the electric grid was organized along federal boundaries. The late 1950s through the 1980s represent the heyday of provincial public utilities, although throughout this period, the central government gradually wrested authority for energy and electricity from the states, first to stimulate more rural electrification and later to augment generation supplies and interconnect the various state and regional grids. Starting in the early 1990s, as part of a larger turn toward the market, New Delhi created rules to facilitate the entry of private capital into a sector that hitherto had been the purview of the state.

Keywords:   Nehru, Ambedkar, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Lenin, modernization, Electricity Act of 1948, federalism, center-state conflicts, rural electrification, Electricity Act of 2003

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