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Since India’s 2005 SEZ Act, policymakers have emphasised the role of large, Chinese-style SEZs in facilitating structural change by inducing workers to move from agriculture to manufacturing and services. As in China, large-scale in-migration has occurred. Unlike in China though, little is known about impacts for local villagers after SEZ establishment. This paper focuses on three cases of Indian “city-style” SEZs, examining impacts for local livelihoods and social relations. It identifies three approaches towards incorporating villages around new urban boundaries, which lead to varied outcomes. In the first approach, villages are physically encircled and lose rural governance mechanisms, but remain administratively separate from the new city. In the second, villages are again swallowed by the SEZ, but retain rural governance structures. In the third, zonal boundaries are carefully drawn to exclude local villages, though farmland is absorbed. The paper argues that the model of village incorporation, itself a function of local land politics, is critical in shaping outcomes; but that in all three cases, it is far from clear that Indian SEZs are effective instruments for local development as in China.
About the speaker
Dr Charlotte Goodburn
Charlotte is a Reader in Chinese Politics and Development. Before coming to King's, Charlotte was a post-doctoral researcher in Development Studies at the University of Cambridge. She completed her PhD in the Department of Land Economy at Cambridge, and holds a BA (in History) and an MPhil (in Contemporary Chinese Studies), also from Cambridge. Charlotte studied Mandarin at Peking University and at Taiwan Normal University, and has spent several years working, studying and conducting fieldwork in China. She was appointed as Deputy Director of the Lau China Institute in 2016. She is also teaches in the Department of International Development.