Last mile steps for self-governance
Institutional re-engineering in local governance is very relevant in the context of 833 million people who continue to live in the rural hinterlands and a very large proportion of whom are either wholly or significantly still dependent for their livelihood on farm as well as non-farm activities.
by Abhilaksh Likhi
Schedule 11 of the Constitution of India mentions 29 subjects wherein Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) can be endowed with such power and authority that enables them to function as genuine institutions of self-governance. The inclusion of subjects ranging from sectors as diverse as agriculture, health, education, social development to industries and infrastructure underlines the fundamental belief of the Constitution makers in fostering greater control of village communities over natural resources. They also envisioned village communities to be locally able to identify synergies for effective implementation of rural development programmes.
Consequent to the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution in 1993, the Central Government, in unison with the States, have unleashed the process of ‘activity mapping’ in the 29 subjects based on the principle of subsidiarity – what can be best done at lower levels of the government should not be centralised at higher levels. Empowering PRIs with funds, functions and functionaries (3Fs) is a critical incentive to build the institutional capacity of these bodies for community-driven service delivery. One cannot, however, deny that the pattern of assignment of subjects as well as their coverage along with the 3Fs differs from State to State, fuelled also at times by political resistance.Read More