Pradip N. Khandwalla. Revitalising the State: A Menu ofOptions. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1999. Indian Rs 250.00.304 pages.

Publication Year : 1999

In recent years discussions about the role of the state have been intense. Some argue in favour of an increased role of the state in the life of the people; others argue for a lesser and diminished role. Whatever the arguments, it is generally felt that the role of the state has been de-emphasised in recent years thereby making it unable to sustain the economic well-being of the people. This book, by presenting a number of suggestions, is an attempt to reinvigorate the state to make it more in tune with the requirements of the people. Using history as a guide, the author identifies four main models of the state that have developed in the twentieth century. These can be categorised as (i) the interventionist welfare state; (ii) the developmental state; (iii) the ‘reinvented’ entrepreneurial state, and (iv) the World Bank model of the humane market-friendly state. After categorising these different types of states he proceeds to analyse the reasons behind the decay of the state. These include their growing size and complexity, corruption, poor governance, weak political structures etc. to mention a few. At the same time, he also examines same success stories from the Commonwealth and East Asian countries. These include Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore to name a few. From these success stories the author puts forward what, in his view, are steps aimed at revitalising the state, particularly in developing countries.