The Broken Ladder

The Broken Ladder

The Paradox and the Potential of India’s One Billion


"In contrast to other investigations, which have taken a top-down view of the developments in the country, Krishna presents a ground-up perspective, delving into the lives of ordinary individuals. Through decades-long research conducted on the ground, living in villages and studying slum communities, he reveals the heartbreaking and eye-opening details of missed opportunities and immense, but untapped, talent which, if honed, can have a significant impact on both growth and equity.

From presenting possible solutions to the problems of neediness and inequity to mulling over ways of fixing inequalities of opportunity, The Broken Ladder is a comprehensive account of India’s development strategies."

‘A masterly work grounded in decades of methodical research combined with unusual personal commitment and experience . . . reminiscent of Naipaul’s India: A Million Mutinies Now’ - Rakesh Mohan

‘This is not an ordinary book, another one celebrating India’s emergence on the global scene or lamenting about its uneven growth story. This is a serious engagement with some of the most compelling questions confronting the ordinary Indian living in its diverse social and demographic locations. Based on a close observation of ground realities, a “worms’ eye view” of someone who besides being an academic of considerable repute has also had the experience of administration and recognizes the critical significance of state policy, the book provides a perspective and a guide to what needs to be done to take a billion plus Indians ahead’ - Surinder S. Jodhka

Media Coverage

Financial Express: Anirudh Krishna’s ‘The Broken Ladder: The Paradox and the Potential of India’s One Billion’, a poignant narrative of the extremes in India
“Brilliantly researched and poignantly narrated … Krishna has turned familiar chiasmic stories of prosperity and poverty into such scheming and conniving possible-impossible aporias that you are left wonderstruck.” — Ashwani Kumar

OPEN Magazine: Divided Destiny
“A nuanced and empathetic exposition on the pathologies of development in one of the world’s most populous and complex nations” — Soutik Biswas

Times of India:
How to fix India’s broken ladder to growth
“The Broken Ladder is a must-read for India’s leaders in every sphere and, especially, for our PM.” – John Cheeran

Business Today:
Worm’s Eye View
“Compels you to look for answers with a different perspective… With PM Modi talking about eliminating poverty by 2032, doubling farmers’ incomes, bringing in social equality among all sections of the society, the book has come at the right time.” — Anilesh S. Mahajan

The Tribune:
No Support, No Information . . . No Opportunities for Poor
“This interesting book makes the point that bureaucrats are not heartless... they have managed to create a governmental system in which no one has any stake in achieving any outcome.” — M. Rajivlochan

Business Standard:
Fixing the Ladder of Opportunity
“Krishna presents detailed case studies of people he lives around, and this closeness keeps him from making glib judgements.” — Vikram Johri

Anirudh Krishna
Anirudh Krishna
Anirudh Krishna is the Edgar T. Thompson Professor of Public Policy and professor of political science at Duke University, USA. Before taking up academic life, he spent fifteen years in the Indian Administrative Service. Krishna has made a home in a village in central India, to which he returns for a few months every year.
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