This paper analyzes India’s recent enactment of universal primary education. Given the clientelistic features of Indian democracy, this programmatic policy change presents a puzzle. Drawing on interviews and official documents, I find that committed state elites introduced gradual changes to the education system over three decades. To put their ideas into practice, they used administrative mechanisms, layering small-scale reforms on top of the larger education system. As India embraced globalization in the 1990s, officials drew on World Bank resources to implement larger programs in underperforming regions, progressively extending them across the country. These incremental reforms supplied the institutional blueprint for India’s universal primary education program in 2000. As policies were introduced from above, civil society mobilized from below, using the judiciary to hold the state liable for implementing primary education. While reforms helped expand bureaucratic authority, they also generated new public demands for state accountability.
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Anjali Raina is the Executive Director of the Harvard Business School India Research Centre. In her leadership role at the IRC, Anjali focuses on building and maintaining relationships with senior business leaders in the region to facilitate the work of the center in research, educational programs, community building and faculty development.
Under Anjali’s leadership, the HBS IRC has facilitated the writing of over 168 case studies on Indian Business Practice and supported half a dozen research projects. Anjali has co-authored several case studies such as Aadhaar: India’s ‘Unique Identification’ System, TeamLease: Putting India to Work (II) Legally; Pratham – Every Child in School and Learning Well; Naina Lal Kidwai: Investing in Her Country; Tech Mahindra and the Acquisition of Satyam Computers (A); HN Agri Serve : Growing Prosperity as well as an HBR Article on The Ordinary Heroes of the Taj.
Anjali wears several additional hats. She is a Director on the Board of Harvard Business Publishing, India, the Regional President (Western Region) of NHRDN, an Advisor to The Akanksha Foundation, Trustee to LIFE Trust, an Advisory Member on the Board of HBS Club of India, and on the Advisory Board of the Indian Business School.
Prior to joining HBS IRC Anjali spent 15 years with Citigroup India, most recently as Country Director, before which she worked for more than a decade with ANZ Grindlays Bank PLC. Anjali holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, a bachelor's degree (Eng. Hons) from Loreto College and is an alumnus of HBS having completed the Advanced Management Program.
HBS IRC - Conducting Research, Fostering Dialogue, Building Community