Yerramsetti, Srinivas. “Public sector digitalisation and stealth intrusions upon individual freedoms and democratic accountability.” Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration (2022): 1-19.
Everyday administrative practices are relatively understudied in research on illiberalism and authoritarianism. This article addresses this gap to account for the neoliberalist and technopopulistic motivations that support illiberal and authoritarian practices in a weak rule of law context. Using narrative analysis, it interprets the role of beliefs and desires of politico-administrative actors in facilitating such actions in the context of India’s public sector digitalisation. This article elaborates how the instrumental rationalities embedded into the design of digitalised policies and their practices at various levels of analysis can erode voluntariness and privacy as well as undercut democratic accountability. This article makes a case for recentering the democratic ethos in designing and implementing digitalised policy regimes to ensure everyday administrative practices are aligned with the need to avoid the infringement of individual freedoms and democratic accountability.