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A Duplicitous Revolution? Maoists’ Armed Conflict and Public Goods Provisioning in Rural India

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Document pages: 42 pages

Abstract: The Maoists claim that they are fighting for the cause of the rural poor languishing under extreme poverty and impoverish conditions – a claim also acknowledged by the expert committee of Indian Planning Commission (2008). On the other hand, the government of India dubs the Maoists revolution as duplicitous. According to them, the armed struggle is doing more harm than good to the rural poor. We examine the influence of Maoists armed struggle ideology on the availability of public goods (access to education, health, water, roads, bus services, communication facilities) in rural India. Using district-level data (151 districts) on public goods from six states under Maoists influence, we find that districts with high intensity of conflict have lower access to these public goods. Our results contradict the Maoists armed struggle ideology as a way forward. In fact, the opposite seems to be true, supporting those who argue that welfare spending with decent governance, not armed struggle, can improve access to public goods.

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