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

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Changes in Planning Methodology

Impact on Local Self-government Institutions in Kerala

The trends in the utilisation of plan funds by the local self-government institutions in Kerala from 2012–13 to 2020–21 are analysed. Changes in the participatory planning methodology in 2016 have resulted in better utilisation of the funds after 2017–18.


Kerala will celebrate 25 years of decentralised planning in 2022. It launched the People’s Plan in 1997 by introducing a new approach for decentralised planning with the active participation of the people, especially the women and marginalised population, in developing programmes (Issac et al 1997; Mohanakumar 2002). The plan model was a unique one; it involved peoples’ participation in all aspects, starting from identifying the development issues to implementing and monitoring of the projects. The Kerala State Planning Board had allocated 35% to 40% of the state’s plan funds to the local self-government institutions (LSGIs) for the implementation of projects. This campaign also aimed at representing all the muffled voices of the numerically larger sections of the people (Bandyopadhyay 1997; Mohanakumar 2002).

However, the participatory plan was not devoid of criticisms. Das (2000) and Kannan (2000) pointed out some issues in the Kerala plan model as it was initiated without any proper transfer of powers and adequate description of the rules of authority—both administrative and operational. Despite this, all the exercises to prepare the plans were transferred to the hands of people who had no experience in the planning process. Though 35% to 40% of funds were allocated to the LSGIs, they could not spend the allocated amounts in the initial years (1997 to 2000). But this did not prevent the state government from increasing the allocation of funds in the following years. Moreover, the government never took any substantial steps to assess how well the money was spent by the local bodies.

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Updated On : 18th Oct, 2021
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