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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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Social Movements and Electric Populism in Andhra Pradesh

Social Movements and Electric Populism in Andhra Pradesh

(p.136) 5 Social Movements and Electric Populism in Andhra Pradesh
Electrifying India

Sunila S. Kale

Stanford University Press

This chapter focuses on Andhra Pradesh. Thanks to colonial-era policies, some parts of Andhra Pradesh started with relatively higher rates of rural electrification than the rest of the country. However, the provision of electricity to the rural sectors made the greatest gains when the political landscape in the state became more competitive starting in the late 1970s. Throughout the 1980s, populist promises made in the context of newly competitive party politics continued to spur electrification and reduce electricity tariffs for farmers. By the 1990s, although the state's chief minister, Chandra Babu Naidu, was widely hailed as India's most private-investor-friendly and reformist political chief, an active farm sector ultimately forced the state to adopt backdoor market reforms. Naidu wagered his political capital on utility privatization, only to have it opposed by the state's influential farming communities that benefited from subsidized electricity.

Keywords:   Andhra Pradesh, rural electrification, Andhra Pradesh State Electricity Board (APSEB), Chandra Babu Naidu, privatization, populism

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