Chirashree Das Gupta of the Asian Development Research Institute addresses a range of governance issues on the reform agenda of the Nitish Kumar government that came to power in India's Bihar state in 2005. In particular, she talks about the administrative reforms that were necessary after years of curtailed expenditures and reduced functioning of basic governance. She details the importance of coalition-building and incentive-based ownership of programs by the bureaucracy, while recognizing the issue of brokerage that exists in areas of deprivation with a limited number of positions available. She highlights the recruitment of 100,000 teachers as both a success and a failure. She also shares thoughts on integration of different segments of society in a place where the caste system so clearly divides political support.
At the time of this interview, Chirashree Das Gupta was associate professor at the Centre for Economic Policy and Public Finance of the Asian Development Research Institute, in Patna, the capital of Bihar state, India. She worked on the political economy of state-society relations.