The "New Welfarism," Good Governance, and Electoral Success in Modi's India

Shalendra SHARMA, Anjali KANOJIA

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


According to a number of recent reports, India has been successful in reducing multidimensional poverty levels over the past two decades. This trend is evident under the Modi Era due to successful introduction and implementation of various welfare reforms since 2014. Robust economic growth has been a necessary but insufficient condition to explain this observed phenomenon. Rather, over two decades of structural changes and the shifting calculus of electoral politics have transformed the nature of principal-agent relations in Indian democracy. Political elites are now proactively addressing the principals’ concerns on “good governance.” Access to information and greater public awareness of the availability of services seem to have contributed to holding the principal accountable and thereby rewarding the principal during election(s). The shifting of voters’ demand for good governance (a) underscores the erosion of electoral salience of traditional cleavages with voters’ concerns centering on economic issues—growth, delivery of services, and job creation; and (b) provides insights into the quotidian ways in which the state has responded to the demand of those governed—the principal.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2240001
Number of pages28
JournalThe Journal of Indian and Asian Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • India
  • principal-agent
  • Multidimensional poverty index
  • Prime Minister Modi
  • Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)


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