Democracy in Transition?


India After the General Election

Indian elections

© McKay Savage

The last two decades, India experienced exorbitant economic growth and profound societal transformations. From 2004 to 2013, India enjoyed the fastest economic expansion in its history with an average growth rate of more than 8% a year. Yet, large parts of society still live in extreme poverty; social and economic reforms prove difficult.

In the last five years, Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) enjoyed a rare single-party parliamentary majority. This year, the world’s biggest democracy goes to the polls. From April 11 to May 19 the election is held and on May 23 the results will be published. Despite a mixed record, Modi is likely to win a second term, but he might has to agree to a coalition government. What do the results mean for India with regard to its capacity to change?

James Crabtree, author of the bestseller «The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India's New Gilded Age» and former Mumbai bureau chief of the Financial Times, will have a conversation with Shaila Seshia Galvin from the Graduate Institute. In view of India’s most pressing issues, such as unemployment, especially amongst the ever-growing youth, or the ongoing agrarian crisis they will discuss the implications of the election. How can economic growth be maintained at a high level and how can it be more inclusive? And how can the much-needed transition away from patronage driven politics be achieved and social mobility be increased?

James Crabtree

James Crabtree is a Singapore-based author and journalist, and an Associate Professor of Practice at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. His best-selling book, «The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age», was released in mid-2018. It was short-listed for the FT / McKinsey book of the year. James is a columnist for Nikkei Asian Review and a non-resident fellow at the Asia-Pacific programme at Chatham House. Between 2011 and 2016, James was Mumbai bureau chief for the Financial Times leading coverage of Indian business. Before joining the FT, James was a senior editor at Prospect, Britain’s leading monthly magazine of politics and ideas. He has written for a range of global publications, including the New York Times, the Economist, and Foreign Policy. Before working as a journalist, James was a senior policy advisor in the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit under Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. 

Shaila Galvin

Shaila Seshia Galvin is Assistant Professor in anthropology and sociology at the Graduate Institute. She conducts research at the intersection of environmental, political, and economic anthropology. Shaila holds a PhD in Anthropology and Forestry and Environmental Studies from Yale University. Her recent research focuses on processes of agrarian change, particularly in India, and has addressed issues related to sustainable agriculture as well as agricultural biodiversity and intellectual property.  Professor Seshia Galvin is currently completing a book manuscript, based on her doctoral research in northern India, which explores the rise of commercial organic agriculture, and along with it third-party certification, standardisation processes, and contract farming, in the first decades of the 21st century.  

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Event Details

Tue 28 May 2019
6:15 - 7:45 p.m.


Maison de la Paix

Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2

1202 Gèneve


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Price: Free of charge
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