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

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Decentralised Governance in Madhya Pradesh

The Madhya Pradesh Panchayat Raj Adhiniyam, 1997 was enacted by the state assembly, delineating the powers and functions of panchayat raj institutions in scheduled areas. Four years on, this article looks at the effectiveness of the new system, and attempts to shed light on the working of the gram sabha in scheduled areas.

Convergence of Programmes by Empowering SHGs and PRIs

The effectiveness of self-help groups (SHGs) would be considerably enhanced if a symbiosis could be worked out between them and panchayati raj institutions (PRIs). The key to this is the integration of SHGs with the democratically elected and empowered panchayats when the requisite devolution of powers, functions and authority to the latter takes place. A proposed scheme which will allow SHGs and PRIs to work in tandem and reinforce each other's work.

Strengthening Local Governments

This paper evaluates the fiscal success of recent efforts towards reforming and strengthening rural governments in India through the process of rural decentralisation initiated with the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1992. It measures the extent of fiscal decentralisation that has taken place in order to evaluate how far the rural governments have effective control over expenditure decision-making. The analysis is based on budget data of rural governments in seven Indian states for the decade of the 1990s and presents recommendations to make fiscal decentralisation more effective.

Challenges of Rural-Urban Classification for Decentralised Governance

Rural and urban areas under the new panchayat raj amendments will not only have to make their own plans but also generate some resources locally. This brings into sharp focus the many problems thrown up by the existing definitions of rural and urban areas which impinge on effective local governance.

Panchayati Raj : Unnecessary Confusion

Out of plan funds devolved to panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) in Kerala some amounts have been found to have been deposited with certain government institutions for works which the PRIs want them to take up in their areas. These institutions are government bodies such as the electricity board or the water authority. The PRIs in Kerala were doing this under direction from the state government. Now the making of these deposits has been objected to as a financial irregularity by the audit department.

Impact of Grants on Tax Effort of Local Government

that higher grants are given to more populous, and hence, more needy panchayats. Impact of Grants on Tax That is as it should be and there is certainly nothing wrong with such a design. The negative relationship between un- Effort of Local Government GR An important prerequisite of fiscal empowerment of local bodies is to design and implement a formula-based, equitable and efficient transfer system. Unfortunately, despite the constitutional amendment to empower rural local bodies, designing an appropriate fiscal transfer system has not received the attention it deserves. The reason for this has to be found in the paucity of systematic analysis of the impact of the transfers from states to local bodies. From this perspective, the study by Rajaraman and Vashishta (RV) on

Food-For-Work : Role for Panchayats

Two questions need to be sorted out with regard to the organisation of the food-for-work programme announced by the centre. One, financial and the other, administrative. Obviously the central government has made up its mind to bear the full cost of releasing food stocks for the programme. Under the Sampoorn Gramin Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) 50 lakh tons of foodgrains worth Rs 5,000 crore are to be made available to the states annually. Whether or not the distribution, free of cost, of 50 lakh tons of foodgrains to the states would be shown by the centre as part of its budget has not been made clear. The question whether it should be shown as such is itself open to some dispute, for the reason that the foodgrains to be distributed will be part of the food stocks already held by the Food Corporation of India (FCI). The question would arise only with regard to the cash component of Rs 5,000 crore to be handed over to the states for implementing the scheme.

Bihar

The panchayat elections, held after 20 years and a long court battle, may not immediately make a difference to the quality or nature of governance in the rural areas of the state. But in the interim there has been a change in the way people perceive developmental issues and most importantly, for the first time, people will be able to directly confront those who hold power. This will pave the way for effective people-friendly governance.

Madhya Pradesh Experiments with Direct Democracy

The Madhya Pradesh government has decided to transfer nearly all the powers previously exercised by gram panchayats to gram sabhas or periodic village mass meetings. This experiment may work well or prove a disappointment - but there is no doubting its audacity and its broader significance.
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