Statehood and governance: challenges in South Asia

Statehood and governance: challenges in South Asia

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Kenneweg, Jochen
Briefing Paper 2/2008

Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

In contrast to some other regions, the long-term trend in South Asia – comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – since 1991 has not been towards more democracy. The significant exception is India, where democratic structures are holding their ground. Political instability and violent conflicts are frequent; achieving a complete monopoly of power poses problems for almost every country. Democratic legitimation is demanded by many people, but in fact democratic, religious and ideological forms of legitimacy as well as clientelism exist side by side. While competence for macroeconomic regulation is growing nearly everywhere, there are major deficiencies in the areas of security, the legal system and social welfare in most countries. Economic growth provides scope for policies of social adjustment and sustainable development, but they have yet to be adequately exploited.

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