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

A+| A| A-

Strengthening Democratic Decentralisation and Participatory Democracy in Maharashtra

The ultimate objective of the decentralisation of power and participatory democracy is to build a society wherein the governed people are not just passive voters, but active decision-makers and stakeholders in local self-governance. In 2015, the Government of Maharashtra took a decision to devolve 5% of the Tribal Sub-Plan funds to gram panchayats in districts under the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act. This initiative allowed communities to make informed decisions regarding various local matters pertaining to electrification, sanitation, building of roads, schools, etc, and in turn improve the responsiveness of the government in bringing accountability, efficiency and equity.

In the past few decadesspecifically from the 1970sthere has been an increased interest in the decentralisation of power from national and state levels to local governance. The decentralisation of power with participatory democracy is seen as a positively-related determinant of putting a society on the path of a more equitable and humane future (Hilmer 2010). Participatory democracy is seen as characteristic of a society in which every member has a direct responsibility for decisions (Kaufmann 1960), justifying its function of the contribution it can make to the development of human powers of thought, feeling and action and not only of protecting or stabilising a community (Miller 1987).

Institutions play a critical role in structuring social and political behaviour across societies, which in turn affects their participatory decision-making. Douglass C North (1990: 97) defines institutions as the humanly devised constraints that shape human interaction, consisting of both informal constraints (sanctions, taboos, customs, traditions, and codes of conduct), and formal rules (constitutions, laws, property rights). However, in recent years, research suggests that there is no one optimal institutional design that can be applied across structures. Institutions are highly context dependent and time sensitive and they are required to be tailored to local conditions (Dinello and Popov 2007).

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

INR 236

(Readers in India)

$ 12

(Readers outside India)

Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.