Decentralization is a fundamental objective within India’s democratic framework, manifesting through the establishment of Panchayats and Municipalities as part of local self-governance under the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments. However, its effective implementation remains a challenge.

Main Body

Drawbacks of the Local Self-Government System in India

Dependency on States:
Functions: The devolution of powers and responsibilities to local governments is inconsistent and inadequate.
Funds: Local bodies lack access to tax revenues since they are integrated into the State’s Consolidated Fund.
Functionaries: Insufficient capacity among personnel and elected officials due to inadequate capacity building efforts.

Limited Powers:
Deficient allocation of powers at various levels.

Financial Dependency:
Taxation Powers: Local bodies possess limited authority to levy taxes.
Funding Dependency: High reliance on state legislature for financial support.
Inadequate Funds: Local bodies often face resource scarcity.

Unfair Election Practices:
Prevalence of unfair methods during elections.

Advantages of the Local Self-Government System

Ground-Level Implementation:
Enables tailored solutions to local challenges.

Democratic Decentralization:
Empowers approximately 30 lakh representatives in panchayats (according to the Devolution Index Report 2013-14 of IIPA).

Empowerment of Marginalized:
Reservations for women, SCs, and STs ensure representation for vulnerable sections.

Effective Public Services:
Responsive service delivery meeting local needs, exemplified by MGNREGA.

Measures for Improvement

2nd ARC Recommendations:
Clearly define functions for each local government level and subject matter.
State Finance Commissions to establish transparent norms for fund allocation.
Enhance capacity building, both organizationally and individually.
Implement comprehensive activity mapping for LSGs.

Enhanced Autonomy:
Extend autonomy provisions to states beyond the 5th and 6th schedules, ensuring greater accountability.

Curbing Dummy Candidacy:
Counteract the use of dummy candidates, which undermines the purpose of reservations in local governance.


Significance of Local Self-Governance:
Although local self-governance has not realized its full potential, it remains a crucial mechanism for expanding administrative reach, particularly in rural India.

Continuous Evolution:
Acknowledging the shortcomings, a steadfast commitment to refining and enhancing the local self-governm

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish August 23, 2023