ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Underbelly of Decentralisation

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The process of decentralisation, especially in Karnataka, is looked upon as a pioneering effort that is quite innovative. These days, we talk of the “bottom up” approach instead of a “top down” one to realise the goals of growth and development. Panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) have been functioning to cater to the needs of rural masses and to foster inclusive growth. The novel idea of placing people around the development process rather than insulating it around them underlies this experiment in decentralised governance. The major criticism as far as financing development schemes in such a set-up was the basket approach. In this approach, programmes/schemes were designed either at the state or the union level and the PRIs were required to pick and choose those which were suitable to them. However, the financial decentralisation was still a mirage and many studies did recommend the direct funding of gram panchayats to spend the money as per their needs without adhering to the basket approach. The idea was good and there is a move to transfer funds directly to the gram panchayats.

We had a chance to learn from different stakeholders at the grass-roots level about the dark side of the direct funding of gram panchayats. The new method of funding has only brought corruption with elected members of gram panchayats busy in all sorts of dealings, wherein money provided for development works is reaching their pockets instead. The presidents and other members who have little expertise and exposure in managing the schemes to fulfil desired goals are utilising the money provided for their personal gain. Malpractices can be traced in areas like identification of beneficiaries, assigning contracts, appointments in various departments, and transfer of the officials. One also sees elected representatives of gram panchayats locking horns with Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and Members of Parliament (MPs) for obvious reasons, which would further affect the serious implementation of development schemes.

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Updated On : 24th Feb, 2017

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