Skip to main content

Roads to corruption


Mohit M Rao27 FEBRUARY 2018 00:15 IST
UPDATED: 27 FEBRUARY 2018 00:18 IST

Is political interference the reason why roads are missing?

Politicians are likely to dole out road-building contracts to people from their own caste and this could affect the quality of infrastructure, according to a new study. ‘Building connections: Political corruption and road construction in India’, which will be published in the March issue of the Journal of Development Economics, shows how political interference may be why India’s largest rural connectivity scheme could have led to at least 497 “all-weather roads” being “built” only on paper, depriving 8.57 lakh villagers from connection to the road network.

Using statistical tools of regression discontinuity, which allows the quantification of ‘interference’ in datasets, researchers from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and Paris School of Economics linked corruption in road building under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana to the probability of contractors connected to local MLAs.


 

Further, to establish a link with the local political ecosystem, researchers looked at road agreements signed after an election victory. They compared “close elections” — which suggest that both candidates could in theory have similar influence — in 2,632 constituencies across 24 States between 2001 and 2013. Would contractors with the same surnames as newly elected MLAs be more likely to bag road contracts, and, in some way, funnel money out of the programme and into the political system? There is an 83% increase in the share of roads allocated to contractors who have the same surname as the winning MLAs as compared to the level of matches found pre-election.

And consequently, does this apparent political affiliation affect the quality of work? Researchers matched the agreements of 88,000 rural roads built under the scheme since 2001 and cross-referenced that with village amenities listed in the 2011 Census to correlate whether these roads have been built. Using extrapolation models, the researchers found that the likelihood for an all-weather road missing goes up by 86% under these kinds of contracts, and has lead to an additional 497 all-weather roads being present on paper but missing from the ground. Jacob N. Shapiro, professor at the Wilson School and the lead author of the paper, suggests that MLAs “game the system” by having connections within regional bureaucracy to tilt the favour to their preferred contractor

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Menon meets Karzai, discusses security of Indians

Kabul/New Delhi/Washington, March 5 (IANS) India Friday said that the Feb 26 terror attack in Kabul will not deter it from helping rebuild Afghanistan as National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon met Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul to review the security of around 4,000 Indians working in that country. Menon, who arrived here Friday morning on a two-day visit, discussed with Karzai some proposals to bolster security of Indians engaged in a wide array of reconstruction activities, ranging from building roads, bridges and power stations to social sector projects. The Indian government is contemplating a slew of steps to secure Indians in Afghanistan, including setting up protected venues where the Indians working on various reconstruction projects will be based. Deploying dedicated security personnel at places where Indians work is also being considered. Menon also met his Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta and enquired about the progress in the probe into the Kabul atta

Iran is losing the game to regional actors in its strategic depth

Rethink before It’s Too Late http://www.irdiplomacy.ir/index.php?Lang=en&Page=21&TypeId=15&ArticleId=7108&BranchId=19&Action=ArticleBodyView Iran is losing the game to regional actors in its strategic depth –Afghanistan. By Houman Dolati It is no more a surprise to see Iran absent in Afghanistan affairs. Nowadays, the Bonn Conference and Iran’s contributions to Afghanistan look more like a fading memory. Iran, which had promised of loans and credit worth five-hundred million dollars for Afghanistan, and tried to serve a key role, more than many other countries, for reconstruction and stabilization of Afghanistan, is now trying to efface that memory, saying it is a wrong path, even for the international community. Iran’s empty seat in the Rome Conference was another step backward for Afghanistan’s influential neighbor. Many other countries were surprised with Iran’s absence. Finding out the vanity of its efforts to justify absence in Rome, Iran tried to start its

Pakistani firm whose chemicals were used to kill US troops seeks subsidy for Indiana plant

By Jennifer Griffin, Justin Fishel Published March 22, 2013   A Pakistani fertilizer maker whose chemicals have been used in 80 percent of the roadside bombs that have killed and maimed American troops in Afghanistan is now seeking U.S. taxpayer subsidies in order to open a factory in Indiana.  The request appears to be on hold pending further review, but the situation has stirred outrage in Congress, where some accuse the Pakistani government of halting efforts to clamp down on the bomb-making.  For the past seven years, the U.S. government has known that the raw material calcium ammonium nitrate, or CAN, is making its way across the border into Afghanistan where the Taliban use it to fuel their most deadly weapons, namely the improvised explosive device. IEDs have long been the number one killer of U.S. and coalition troops.  The material largely comes from Pakistani fertilizer maker the Fatima Group. But the Pakistani government has stymied attempts by the Pentagon to stop the