RURAL DECENTRALIZATION IN INDIA AT THE CROSS- ROADS: THE CONTEXT, CHALLENGES AND CONSEQUENCES

Prabhat Kumar Datta

Abstract


This article attempts to make a critical evaluation of the working of the institutional system of democratic decentralization in rural India against the backdrop of its historical development. It has been argued that although it is not difficult to trace the roots of decentralized government in ancient India it hardly resembles the modern model of decentralization conceived and developed by a host of the Western scholars. The colonial rulers introduced decentralized governance in India to promote colonial objectives and to help perpetuate the British rule. The post- colonial state took steps to initiate the process of rural decentralization in 1950s but it went out of steam soon. In 1990s there was a paradigm shift in India’s policy. And in 1992 the Constitution was amended to pave the road for democratic decentralization but currently it seems to be in the cross-roads. This paper seeks to capture the historical development of the journey of decentralization and identify the roadblocks and the takeaways from the experience of working of the institutions of rural decentralization in India.


Keywords


Decentralization; Self-government; Constitutional amendment; Political will; Funds and functionaries; Parallel bodies

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