Monday, October 1, 2007

Notes on fedralism ch-2

Decentralisation—When power is taken away from central & state govt. and given to local govt. it is called decentralization.
Why decentralization is required in India?
A vast country like India can not run only through two-tiers.
--States in India are as large as independent countries of Eroupe.
--In terms of population , UP is bigger than Russia and Maharashtra is about as big as Germany.
--Many of these states are internally very diverse .Therefore with this rationale power has to be decentralized and therefore we have third-tier of govt. ie., local govt.

Q. What has been the basic idea behind decentralization in India?
The basic idea behind decentralization in India is that ,
--there are a large number of problems and issues that can be solved best at the local level.
--people have a better knowledge of problems in their localities.
--they also have better ideas on the issues where to spend money & how to manage things more efficiently.
--at the local level it is possible for people to directly participate in decision making.
--local govt. is the best way to realize an important principle of democracy—self govt.

The need for the decentralization was recognized in our constitution and since then there have been several attempts to decentralize power to the level of villages and towns.
--Panchayats in villages & municipalities in the urban areas were setup in all the states,
but were under the direct control of the state govt.
--Elections to these local govts. were not held regularly.
--Local govts. did not have any power or resources of their own.
--The decentralization was not very effective.
AFTER 1992….
A major step towards decentralization was taken in 1992. The constitution was amended to make third-tier of the govt. more powerful & effective.
--now it was constitutionally mandatory to hold regular elections to the local bodies.
--seats will be reserved for SC,ST,& OBC’S in the elected bodies & the executive heads of these institutions.
--at least one-third of all the seats will be reserved for women.
--an independent institution called state election commission has been created in each state to conduct panchayat and municipal elections.
--the state govt. is required to share some of its powers and revenue with the local bodies.
The nature of sharing varies from state to state.

In the villages: each village or group of villages have a GRAM PANCHAYAT.
--this is a council consisting of members called Panchs & a president called Sarpanch.
--they are directly elected by the adult population of the village.
--it is the decision making body for the entire village.
--it works under the supervision of the Gram sabha.
--all the voters in the village are its members.
--it has to meet twice or thrice in the year to approve annual budget of Gram panchayat.
--It reviews the performance of Gram panchayat
At the block level: A few of Gram panchayats are grouprd together to form PACHAYAT SAMITI /BLOCK /MANDAL.
--the members of this representative body are elected by all the panchayat members in that area.
At District level: All the Panchayat Samitis or Mandals together constute the ZILLA PARISHAD.
--most of its members are elected.
--members of the Loksabha, & MLAs of that district and some other officials of other districts level bodies are also its members.
--Zilla Parishad chairman is the political head of the Zilla Parishad.

MUNICIPALITIES—are set up in the towns.
--big cities are constituted into municipal corporations.
--both municipalities and municipal corporations are controlled by the elected bodies consisting of the people’s representatives.
--Municipal Chair man is the political head of the municipality.
--Mayor is the head of the municipal corporation.

This new system of the local govt. in India is the largest and an innovative experiment in democracy conducted anywhere in the world. Comment.
We can say so because,
There are 36 lakhs elected representatives in the Panchayayts and Municipalities etc., all over the country.
--this number is bigger than the population of many countries of the world.
--constitutional status for the local govt. has helped deepen our democracy in our country.
--it has also increased the women participation , representation & voice in our democracy.

We are still a long way from realizing the ideal of self govt. as there are many drawbacks in the functioning of the system such as,
--while the elections are held regularly, Gram Sabhas are not held regularly.
--most states govts. have not transferred significant powers to the the local govts.
--state govts. have also not given adequate resources to the local govts.


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