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Oral Democracy studies citizens’ voices in civic and political deliberations in India’s gram sabhas (village assemblies), the largest deliberative institution in human history. It analyses nearly three hundred transcripts of gram sabhas, sampled within the framework of a natural experiment, allowing the authors to study how state policy affects the quality of discourse, citizens’ discursive performances and state enactments embodied by elected leaders and public officials. By drawing out the varieties of speech apparent in citizen and state interactions, their analysis shows that citizens’ oral participation in development and governance can be improved by strengthening deliberative spaces through policy. Even in conditions of high inequality and illiteracy, gram sabhas can create discursive equality by developing the ‘oral competence’ of citizens and establishing a space in which they can articulate their interests. The authors develop the concept of ‘oral democracy‘ to aid the understanding of deliberative systems in non-Western and developing countries. This title is also available as Open Access – https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/oral-democracy/1389E93F8F69AA1AB07B434124CE7582
Vijayendra (Biju) Rao, a Lead Economist in the Development Research Group of the World Bank, integrates his training in economics with theories and methods from anthropology, sociology and political science to study the social, cultural, and political context of extreme poverty in developing countries.
He leads the Social Observatory, an inter-disciplinary effort to improve the conversation between citizens and governments.
He is the editor of the Political Economy, Markets and Institutions section of Global Perspectives a new inter-disciplinary journal from the University of California Press.
His research has spanned a wide variety of subjects including participatory development, deliberative democracy, the rise in dowries in India, the determinants and consequences of domestic violence, the economics of sex work, public celebrations, and culture and development policy.
Vijendra Rao’s detailed bio here – http://www.vijayendrarao.org/
Krishna Byre Gowda
Krishna Byre Gowda is the current Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Law & Parliamentary Affairs in Karnataka.
Born in Bangalore, Krishna is a graduate from the American University in Washington and Christ College in Bangalore. He was a project associate at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington before earning his M.A. degree. He then worked as an agriculturalist at his family-owned farm in Kolar district between 2000 and 2002. In 2003, he again worked as a project associate at Development Alternatives, Inc.
From 2013 to 2018, as the Minister for agriculture, he sought greater adoption of technology in agriculture. He pushed for mechanisation to overcome high labour cost and labour shortage, rainwater harvesting through ponds to bring stability and productivity gains in rain-fed agriculture, Micro irrigation to efficiently use scarce water resources and the promotion of health foods like millets.
He has served three times as an MLA.in the Karnataka legislature, twice from Vemegal in Kolar district and currently from Byatarayanapura Constituency in Bengaluru.
He has also served as the President of the Karnataka Pradesh Youth Congress between 2007 and 2010, and was the General Secretary of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee between 2012 and 2014.
Srikanth is Chief Executive Officer of Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy. Srikanth joined Janaagraha in 2011.
Srikanth is a practitioner of city governance reforms and municipal finance reforms in India, particularly on the application of systems thinking to reform agendas in cities. He works closely with the senior leadership in central and state governments to shape and implement long-term reforms to city governance. He also engages closely with civil society organisations and governments on citizen participation in cities.
He has been an Associate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India for over sixteen years and prior to joining Janaagraha worked in banking and audit.