[CSH Seminar #ONLINE] Beyond Access: Digital governance and implications for accountability in post-Pandemic India (A. Khan)

[CSH Seminar #ONLINE] Beyond Access: Digital governance and implications for accountability in post-Pandemic India (A. Khan)

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The Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH) is pleased to invite you to the Online Session
of the CSH Seminar Series with:

Dr. Aasim KHAN
(IIIT Delhi and Associate Researcher of CSH)

Beyond Access:

Digital governance and implications for accountability in post-Pandemic India

Discussant: Khaliq Parkar, PhD scholar (IRD-ARTS fellow, CESSMA, University of Paris)


Monday. 15th November 2021, 05:00 pm onwards

via Zoom:

To get priority access in case of large affluence, kindly register to:

Abstract: In the course of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, public discourse around digital initiatives has focused either on the lack of access to the internet or the need to enhance the IT skills of citizens. But democratic governance isn’t simply an exercise in making governments and officials more accessible, but in making the state accountable to the governed. This means ensuring that the voice of the most marginalized is heard in decision-making, and also protecting it from surveillance capitalism. Addressing this challenge requires us to think beyond problems of access, and frame the issues in relation to the historical institutions that organize and help us respond to the emergent risks that accompany technological changes.  In this paper, I place the digital governance initiatives in India within such a framework and evaluate the public response in terms of its inclusivity as well as in terms of empowering the civil society vis a vis private interests that increasingly mediate on behalf of the state.

For its analysis, the article takes an in-depth view of the discourse and practice of digital governance across four Indian states and draws a comparison not only in terms of the economic and IT resources but also their institutional contexts. The first comparison is between Rajasthan and Karnataka which have similar historical contexts, particularly in terms of the nature of the party system and the civil society but are dissimilar in terms of availability of IT capabilities. The second comparison is between Delhi and Telangana and once again we find a variance in terms of provisioning of social support for digital access as well as in terms of protection from private intermediaries who seek to commodify citizens’ participation for profit. Through these comparisons, develop an original framework to show how ideas and historical institutions interact to give rise to divergent outcomes, both in terms of empowering civil society as well as in terms of regulating private intermediaries. This framework allows us to analyze the implications of the push towards digital governance as it is taking shape at the sub-national level and also in identifying pathways that can enhance democratic accountability in post-Pandemic India.

Aasim Khan has a PhD in Politics and Public Policy (Contemporary India) and is currently Head and Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, IIIT- Delhi. As a social scientist, he has cross-disciplinary interests in theories of social media, social networks and Big Data. In political theory, he has a keen interest in comparative politics of the Internet, new media and their implications for governance, policy and more broadly democracy in the contemporary world. He was educated in Delhi (St. Stephen’s College and Jamia Millia Islamia) and London (SOAS and King’s College London). Besides academia, he was worked in broadcast journalism and international development. Website: https://www.iiitd.ac.in/aasim

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