DECENTRALISATION AND LOCAL GOVERNANCE
MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment July 2021 & Jan 2022
1) Discuss the evolution and significance of democratic decentralisation in India.
Ans. EVOLUTION OF DEMOCRATIC DECENTRALISATION :
After Second World War, the newly – formed nation-states adopted the growth-centered model for development. In this model, the state assured the moral and political responsibilities for the development of the society.
It became gradually evident that the growth-centred model for development aimed only at economic growth and increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
But, it could achieve these at great social and environmental costs. This development model had bypassed large sections of the society, leading to a greater disparity, further marginalizing the deprived sections.
The special programme Initiate for the vulnerable sections failed to make an impact because the people were treated as mere ‘beneficiaries’ and objects of development.
World-wide discontent and disillusionment generated by this dominant model for development led to its severe criticism.MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
A crucial debate is on in developing countries regarding the degree of control that central governments, should exercise over development planning and administration.
The past experience of planned development for the last 50 years in India and the results thereof have raised doubts regarding achievement of the welfare objectives, removal of poverty and regarding achievement of the welfare objectives, removal of poverty and social inequalities, economic growth with social justice, etc.
There was disillusionment with the results of highly centralized planning. It resulted in economic inequalities, regional disparities and increased absolute poverty.
Therefore, the basic premises of development theory came into question during the 1970s.
The growing realization among policy analaysts that as government activities expand, it is increasingly difficult to plan and administer all development activities effectively and efficiently from the centre.
Hence, local autonomy in making decisions of primary concern to the locality and greater responsibility for designing and implementing development programmes became a necessity.
This revived interest in the notion of decentralization. Participatory development has emerged as an alternative paradigm over the past two decades as a result of the criticism of the dominant model for development. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
Development would mean a process of change from the present situation to a better one, with deliberative interventions by citizens and institutions.
New perspective of development stressed that along with economic growth, development of the quality of life of individuals, families and community should also be ensured.
SIGNIFICANCE OF DEMOCRATIC DECENTRALISATION :
Today democratic decentralization is a global phenomenon. Decentralization should be seen as a theory of development, which requires a variety of institutions for empowering and uplifting the marginalized and the poor.
It is expected to work for the building up of an administrative space at the cutting edge level where the felt needs of the poor could be ventilated.
Decentralization is a prime mechanism through which democracy becomes truly representative and responsive.
G.Shabbir Cheema and Dennis A.Rondinelli, in their book Decentralization and Development, have enumerated the following advantages of decentralization:
1) Tailor-made plans as per the needs of heterogeneous regions and groups are possible.
2) It can cut red-tape. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
3) Closer contact between government officials and local population is possible.
4) It can allow better penetration of national policies to areas remote from the national capital.
5) It will ensure greater representation of political, religious, ethnic and tribal groups in development decision-making that could lead to greater equity in allocation of resources.
6) Capacity of local institutions and their managerial and technical skills will develop.
7) Top management would be relieved of routine jobs and devote time to more important jobs.
8) It will ensure better coordination.
9) It will institutionalize the participation of the citizens and exchange of information.
10) It will offset the influence of the elite people.
11) It will lead to a more flexible, innovative and creative administration
12) Local people can execute, monitor and evaluate better than the central agencies.
13) Increased political stability will be ensured by increasing the participation of the local people in decision-making.
14) It will also reduce the cost of planning and increase the number of public goods. A new framework of decentralized governance for the society can be laid down by taking the following measures.
i) Providing people the opportunities and the forums to articulate their views and perceptions;
ii) Taking the points of service delivery closer to the peoples;
iii) Strengthening the local bodies as self-government institutions.
Decentralization leads to the empowerment of the local people through deconcentration and devolution. Decentralized governance seeks to tap local initiatives and practices by involving gross roots organizations such as selfhelp groups.
Representative democracy and participatory democracy both help groups. Representative democracy and participatory democracy both become possible through decentralized governance. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
Another important feature of decentralized governance is interactive policy making which leads to decentralized decision-making.
Interactive policy is a process where government and non-governmental secctors such as private sector, non-governmental organizations, communities, gross roots organizations, pressure groups all participate in decision-making so as to influence issues and suggest alternatives.
Therefore, decentralized governance is an alternative strategy of development, which is people-centered, participatory and bottomup development mechanism decentralised governance is good for the people.
The people will have a better understanding of what the government does. It is a concept based on the right of the people to initiative and executes policy decisions in an autonomous manner.
It is a more effective way meeting local needs. It also provides a mechanism responsive to the variety of circumstances encountered from place to place.
Decentralize governance enable poor people to take part in politics, which is necessary for successful implementation of antipoverty prorammes.
2) Explain the concept of empowerment by highlighting the problems in achieving empowerment.
ANS: CONCEPT OF EMPOWERMENT Empowerment is the degree of autonomy and self-determination in people and in communities.
This enables them to represent their interests in a responsible and self-determined way, acting on their own authority. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
It is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights
Empowerment as action refers both to the process of self-empowerment and to professional support of people, which enables them to overcome their sense of powerlessness and lack of influence, and to recognize and use their resources.
As a term, empowerment originates from American community psychology and is associated with the social scientist Julian Rappaport (1981).
However, the roots of empowerment theory extend further into history and are linked to Marxist sociological theory.
These sociological ideas have continued to be developed and refined through Neo-Marxist Theory (also known as Critical Theory).
In social work, empowerment forms a practical approach of resource-oriented intervention. In the field of citizenship education and democratic education, empowerment is seen as a tool to increase the responsibility of the citizen.
Empowerment is a key concept in the discourse on promoting civic engagement.
Empowerment as a concept, which is characterized by a move away from a deficit-oriented towards a more strength-oriented perception, can increasingly be found in management concepts, as well as in the areas of continuing education and self-help problems in achieving empowerment
Mere legislative enactments do not ensure effectiveness and viability of the empowerment process. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
What is more important is their operationalization. The functioning of the new system of PRIs and ULBs reveal the fact that initially there were many complex problems and constraints coming in the way of empowerment of women, SCs/STs and OBCs.
One of the constraints which was witnessed was that initially the women, SCs/STs and OBCs were hesitant to come forward and contest the elections.
These classes, after all, had been subjected to exploitation for ages and thus could not break the shackle of illiteracy, poverty and tradition overnight.
As a result, at the initial stages the politically powerful made them contest elections for their own political gains (Mishra, Sweta; 2002:40).
After getting elected, they worked under the command and guidance of the males, as proxies, signing or stamping on the dotted lines.
In the elections, proxy battle for ballot was evident as there was noteworthy reservation for women candidates any many fielded their wives, daughter in laws daughters, nieces, etc., to fulfill their own political ambitions (The Hindustan Times; 1995:3).
Apart from these, the manipulations by local power-brokers made reservations for women, initially, ineffective for the most part.
In some of the villages in Haryana, it was observed that women representatives belonged to the family of the male Panchayat leaders. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
It was also observed in some places a woman leader was so old that she could hardly move around. In most cases, the reservation merely strengthened the grip of the rural/city elite.
The funds meant for women’s welfare were not used for the right purpose.
Because of ignorance on the part of women about the functional procedures and their rights, coupled with improper methods of identifying and nominating women Panchayat/Municipally members, they were not accepted as equals in local bodies by men (Jhamtani; 1995:63).
The electoral outcome also showed a few instances of violence against women. While inquiring about a land deal in Kachranli village near Panipat in Haryana, an incumbent Dalit woman member, Jindan Bai, was beaten up and abused by the police.
In Madhya Pradesh, in the Harpura village of Bhind district, both the hands of a woman were broken (Kaushik, 1995:85).
Tapati Sarkar, a Forward Bloc member of the Chandpara Gram Panchayat in the Gaighata Thana area in West Bengal, was assaulted with an iron rod (The Hindustan Times; 1994).
Women belonging to the traditionally marginalized groups were at the receiving end because of upper caste atrocities. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
Instances of such caste and gender-based atrocities can be cited from many states in the country.
For example, in Madhya Pradesh, the aftermath of elections to the Panchayats, held in 2001-2002 in four of its districts – Raigarh, Chhatarpur, Raisen and East Nimar, saw blatant abuses of authority.
Reports such as a lady sarpanch being paraded naked, another lady sarpanch being gang raped, an upsarpanch being tortured; and a dalit panchayat member being beaten up, have come into limelight (Mathew, George; 2003: 155-162).
Apart from these, there are some other cases of sexual harassment against them.
Bhanwari, the ‘Saathin’ from Bassi Block in Jaipur district of Rajasthan, was gang-raped for fighting against the evil practice of child marriage (Panchayati Raj Update June 1995:2).
Draupadi Bai, a woman Panchayat member of Salheona village, was reportedly stripped naked in front of the Sariya Block Development Officer, Raigarh District (Mathew and Nayak 1996: 1765).
In another incident, a woman Sarpanch of Gujarkhedi in Khandwa district was subjected to gang-rape (Panchayati Raj Update November 1995:4).
In Orissa, an Up-Sarpanch, Basmati Bara, Kutra Panchayat of Sundergarh district complained of sexual harassment by the Minister for Panchayats (Kaushik 1995: 86).
Another problem coming in the way of empowerment was that women were not permitted to enter the unreserved constituencies. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
This was revealed by one of the elected women in Andhra Pradesh. She said “the quota system for women has become a policy of reservation for men” (Quoted in Palanithurai, G., 2004: 52).
She further said that beyond the onethird reservation, all other spaces are reserved”, i.e. held on for and by men.
Similarly, women leaders have complained about the roster system for reservation. The vice-president of the Zila Panchayat, Tumkur district (Karnataka), whose five-year term was over, said that “Five years ago I was in the kitchen, today I am able to chair a meeting and know how to handle administration and the public.
Tomorrow I will be back in the kitchen for the rest of my life” – because the system devised for reservation namely the roster is such that she cannot be renominated to the same constituency (Ibid.).
Another major problem read caste clashes witnessed during elections. For example, these clashes were witnessed in many districts of Tamil Nadu during the elections.
There were instances of physical assault of dalit representatives in some cases. This hampered the representation of weaker section in the PRIs and ULBs.
The powerful rural groups have not been able to come to terms with the shift in the local power structure towards depressed castes and perceive the new system as a threat to their traditional dominance and influence (Chandrashekar, B.K.; 2000: 216).
In case of Bihar, it was noticed that although, the upper backwards have extended their political support base, the upper castes or the traditional elites still retain a substantial part of the social and political power at the grassroots level (Gupta, Shaibal; 2001: 2742).
Moreover, representatives of SCS/STs found it difficult to mix up with general category representatives. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
One of the hurdles in the way of empowerment is the dominating attitude of the malc collcagucs.
According to Ms. Sonkamble, the Corporator of Pune Municipal Corporation, one of the hurdles she faced in discharging her duty was the attitude of her male colleagues who expected the women to listen to them in all matters.
A comparison is always made between the performance of men and women and there also exists, a fear amongst the men that women may become more powerful, or go way ahead of men (IAWS; 2002:89).
Yet another constraint is the untrained nature of the representatives.
As a result, after getting elected, practically half the term goes by only trying to understand the job and all that goes with it.
Hence, they are not able to perform well and justify their position as clccted representatives of the people.
6) Discuss the impact of decentralised development
The impact of direct election of the chairperson of the Gram Panchayat was good. It has been observed that such a chairman is a strong executive head and at the same time is also directly accountable to the people. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
The field experiences from Andhra Pradesh and other states reveal that the direct election of the chairpersons, i.e. the Sarpanch, of the Gram Panchayat tends to promote the emergence of the people not only for his actions but also for performance of the Gram Panchayat as a whole Reservation
Another area of decentralization, where its impact can be assessed, is the participation of SC/ST’s, OBCs and women in PRIs and ULBs.
Some three million people have been elected to local councils at all three levels of local government, including one million women and a large number of SCs and STs.
The very presence of large numbers of poor people in local councils, mainly on account of seat reservations, is a very significant development in the local political landscape of most parts of rural India where they were previously excluded from public life and political participation (Robinson, Mark; 2005:17).
Vastly increased numbers of elected representatives have provided new opportunities for political representation at the local level, especially for women and marginalized social groups.
The reservations have provided under-privileged groups with increased visibility and an opportunity to influence local affairs. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
There are many instances where women have managed to generate modest local development dividends by marshalling financial resources and lobbying bureaucrats and politicians at higher levels.
Role of Gram Sabha :
The Gram Sabha, corner stone of the entire scheme of democratic decentralization, was non functional prior to the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act.
Even after the Amendment, it has not been activated to the desired extent. Realizing the importance of this institution at the local level,the Government declared the year 1999-2000 as the “Year of Gram Sabha”.
As a result, thic Gram Sabhas started mecting on specificd dates (26th January, ist May, 15th August and 2nd October) and the local people came in large numbers to attend the meetings in States like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, ctc.
Role of the Ward Committees :
The provision for ward committees was made to ensure some proximity between citizens and their elected representatives.
Since many aspects of day-to-day civic life could be addressed in a better way at the neighbourhood level, it was necessary to have the ward committees, which could serve as effective forums for interaction with elected ward councilors.
Accountability of local institutions is a precondition for creating trust in the minds of the people. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
The expectations of the people from the government in general and the PRIS/ ULBs in particular do not remain confined only to the prevention of abuse of power or dishonesty in the use of public resources.
Rather they expect their government to be responsive to their needs, wishes, and preferences.
As such, the public agencies in general and the local government institutions in particular must remain accountable for being responsive to the needs of the citizens they serve
Transfer of Functions :
The full transfer of functions under 29 and 18 subjects have not taken place in almost all the States.
Even, in the functional terms, the subjects under basic needs (like primary education, health, agriculture, veterinary, irrigation ctc.) have not been transferred.
Also inter-tier demarcation of functions has not been carried out resulting, into overlapping of functions and conflicts in certain cases. Similarly, subject-specific responsibilities have not been assigned to each tier
Devolution of Funds :
Like devolution of functions, the devolution of funds too has not taken place in most of the States. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
Tinancial decentralisation has progressed to a very limited extent as resource flows are determined by the implementation guidelines for state and central government anti-poverty schemes.
Hence, financial autonomy to the PRls and the ULBs have been granted in very few States. Despite that, the impact of decentralisation can be seen on the financial health of the local bodies.
The constitution of State Finance Commission (SFC) and provision for effective local tax administration in the Act, have no doubt improved the financial health of the local bodies.
9) Examine the structure, powers and functions of local government.
ANS: Local Government is the lowest and third level of the government in every Federal Structure. Each Local Government looks after the interest of the people in the particular Local Government Area.
In Nigeria, the Local Government area is headed by a Chairman. The Socio-economic and political department of a local government area is headed by Supervising Councils is pre-dominantly elected either by direct or indirect elections.
Following 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments a three-tier structure has been envisaged for urban and local bodies. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
Rural local bodies would in ascending order be, Gram Sabha(village level), Panchayat Samiti (block level), and the Zilla Parishad (district level).
The Gram Sabha is meant to impart a social base for grass roots democracy. The executive body of the gram sabha is the Gram Panchayat.
Earlier the gram sabha used to be a body corporate with perpetual succession and common seal, of suing or being sued In its corporate name, of acquiring, holding or transferring property and of entering into contracts.
The Municipal Corporation groups wards into boroughs with each one having a committee consisting of the councillors elected from the respective wards of the borough.
The councillors elect one among themselves as the chairperson of the borough.
The borough committees are subject to general supervision of the Mayor-in-Council, and look after sub local functions such as water supply, drainage, collection and removal of solid waste, disinfection and health services, housing services, lighting, repairs of certain categories of roads, maintenance of parks, and drains.
Federalism is considered a good system of government because of the sharing of powers between the Federal, State and Local Government in the system.
The advantage of this is that; there is usually equitable development, political participation and effectiveness of the government in a federal structure.
Lach government has its specific functions or duties, so the workload is not too much as it it in a unitary system of government where there is no such power sharing.
Municipal level governments include cities, counties, towns, and town ships. Some municipal governments are very small while others (like Atlanta and Seattle) are very large.
The municipal government usually oversees necessary services to people who live within municipal boundaries. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
Most municipalitics are lcd by clected officials, including a mayor and city or town council. State and local governments fulfill many roles and have a number of responsibilities on behalf of the citizens who live within their jurisdictions.
Functions of the Local government
Control and provision of Markets and motor packs: This is one of the most important functions of the Local government.
In rural areas where there is hardly good motor packs or large market for the people, the local government is expected to provide and control markets and motor parks.
Collection and disposition of refuse: As it is always said, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”.
No society car survey in a dirty environment and that is why the local government has this function. They collect and dispose refuse in the community
Making recommendations: Local government is also given the obligation of making recommendation to state/federal government on issues and problems of rural communities that cannot be solved by the local government.
Provision and control of cemeteries and slaughter houses: In cases where the local government docs not exist, it is usually difficult to control the way people use cemeteries.
However, with local government, rules are given on how the local people use cemeteries and slaughter houses. This brings about development in the nation and makes the local government organized.
Regulation and issuing of birth, death and marriage certificates: When someone dies or gives birth in the local community, it is the job of the local government to issue certificates for that. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
Even after marriage ceremonies the local government gives marriage certificates to the celebrants.
They issue and regulate various types of licenses: Since there is no federal or state body that gives licenses at the local level, the local government is given that function.
They are responsible for issuing different types of licenses; such as: drivers license, gun ownership licenses etc.
Naming of streets: In order to bring development to the local level, as it is at the federal and state level, the local government is giving this function. They name streets and number plots of land in the community
Collection of various rates and taxes: At the local level, the local government is responsible for collecting taxes and rates.
They can also impose fines on the people for different reasons. All this is to ensure development of the nation.
Building and maintaining of schools and colleges: It is also the fundamental duty of the local government the provide and maintain primary, adult and vocational education. This, in turn, helps to bring about equitable development in the country.
Awarding of bursaries and scholarships: The local government also has the function of awarding bursaries and scholarships for people at the local level.
This is so because, in most cases, scholarships given by the federal or local government can be limited to certain communities. Thus, Awards given by the local government ensures fairness and equity. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
10) a) Modalities for people’s participation
ANS: In spite of 74th Amendment visualizes the people’s participation’ as one of the main objectives, the people’s actual participation in the Municipal affairs of the city is still limited, Major cause of this attitude is that the people look towards
the Municipal bodies with inherent suspicion and take it for granted that their problems and grievances will not be taken care of ‘democratic decentralization’ is an extension of the democratic principle aims at widening the area of the people’s participation,
authority and autonomy through disperson or devolution of powers to people’s representative organizations from the top levels to the lowest levels in all the three dimensions of political decision-making, financial control and administrative management with least interference and control from higher levels.
Mahatma Gandhi, in 1946 had rightly remarked that the Indian independence must begin at the bottom and every village ought to be a Republic of Panchayat having powers.
It is a welcome phenomenon that scvcral cconomists have started discovering a new virtuc in the concept of political decentralisation to ensure people’s participation at the grassroots level so as to allow the gains of development to reach them.
Assuring that people’s participation involvement and ultimate taking over the Community Development programmes by the local institutions was the heart of the message.
The Committee was faced with the puzzle of exploring the low level of activity in terms of people’s participation in post -intensive phase, the entire objective of transforming the programme from a “Government Programme with people’s participation” would be defeated
b) Sustainable development and governance.
ANS: The National Human Development Report (2001) states that governance for human development relates to the management of all such processes that, in any society, define the environment which permits and enables individuals to raise their capacity levels, on one hand, and provide opportunities to realise their potential and enlarge the set of available choices, on the other’.
The Report also reiterates that the State is responsible for creating a favourable political, legal and economic environment for building individual capabilities and encouraging private initiative. MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
Governance, therefore, requires the states to exercise their power through
various designated bodies and pursue the said goals through an equitable, socially sensitive, non-discriminatory and participatory approach involving people at large.
The most important factor is the accountability of the state in governance.
The governance for sustainable governance should include an integrated approach of economic and environmental concerns in the development strategy, keeping in view not only the quality of life that has to be offered to its citizens but also an equal distribution of it with ‘social equity’ as its goal.
Governance should also safe guard citizen’s right to develop, simultaneously holding the environmental concerns at a high pedestal.
The prerequisites towards achieving this goal include democracy, autonomy, fairness, interdependence, responsibility and accountability (Integrated Environmental Management, IGNOU, New Delhi, 2005).
A government should incorporate these qualities before it formulates its policies and programmes for the betterment of a society. There are many virtues related to the abovementioned prerequisites: MPA 16 Free Solved Assignment
(1) A democratic government has various mechanisms and institutions that confer certain fundamental rights to the citizens to participate in the system;
(2) The development choices should be determined by the people and government together with a certain degree of autonomy;
(3) the resources of the planet need to be sustained and shared in an equitable manner. The disparities that are in vogue need to be reduced by taking up anti-poverty measures and educating people.
A considerable degree of fairness should operate where the resources can be left un-utilised for the future generation with an increasing level of globalisation,
there should be interdependence between the nations in terms of technology transfer, providing assistance towards development projects and also extending cooperation.
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