This paper provides a theoretically informed empirical analysis of how Narendra Modi’s claim of ‘more governance, less government’ is felt in practice in India. It does so through a qualitative case study of the Smart Cities Mission and its implementation in four cities, applying multilevel governance theorizing. It finds centralizing dynamics at play through the use of ‘special purpose vehicles’, which bypass local-level institutions. The paper highlights how multilevel governance dynamics can be shaped through institutional design, a point overlooked in the literature. It also raises questions about the risks of such arrangements for long-term, democratic development.
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© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- multilevel governance
- urban governance
- Smart Cities
- urban development
- special purpose bodies
- public policy