decentralised planning

Topics: Local government, Management, Plan Pages: 8 (3072 words) Published: October 28, 2014

With the decentralisation of powers to Local self-government Institutions, Local administration department has an important role to play in the formulation of policy and implementation of developmental works at the grass roots level. Director of Panchayat and Director of Municipal Administration form the two field departments.

Consequent to the 74th Amendment to the Constitution of India, the Local self-government Institutions (LSGIs) are to function as the third tier of Government. In Kerala, LSGIs have been meaningfully empowered through massive transfer of resources as well as administrative powers. Coupled with a grassroots level approach of Participatory Planning whereby the developmental programmes are identified and implemented through Grama Sabhas, the LSGIs have emerged as effective agencies for the implementation of developmental programmes.


The People's Campaign for Decentralised Planning was formally inaugurated on the first day of the Malayalam year, 17th August 1996. The Campaign was organised in a phased manner with clearly defined objectives for each phase. Each of the six phases had a nodal event and involved a separate round of training at state, district and local level. Extensive environment creation activities were also undertaken. A High Level Guidance Council was formed comprising of eminent personalities in the state. The council was also intended to assure the highest possible degree of consensus around the Campaign. Apart from representatives of all political parties and major mass organisations, the council also included vice-chancellors of universities, heads of centres of excellence and cultural leaders.

Phase I: Grama Sabha

Identification of the felt needs of the people is the first step in the decentralised planning exercise. It is accomplished by convening the Grama Sabhas, ensuring maximum participation of people, especially, women and other weaker sections of the society in order to discuss the local development problems. In the urban areas Ward Conventions are organised for the purpose. Squads of volunteers visit households and explained the programme. Preparatory meetings of mass organisation are held. It is estimated that nearly 2.5 million persons participated in these grama sabhas/ward conventions. Of the participants about 27 per cent were women.



One of the major achievements of the People's Campaign has been in dispelling the general attitude of skepticism towards the grama sabhas. It was generally feared that, given the settlement pattern in Kerala, absence of strong tradition of village assembly and large size of an average Grama sabha in the State, the effective functioning of these bodies as instruments of participatory planning might not be feasible. But the first phase of the Campaign, thanks to careful preparation, mass enthusiasms and organisational innovations, proved in practice the viability of the grama sabhas. The discussions in the grama sabhas were organised in groups of 25-50, one for each development sector in addition to one group for SC/ST development and one for women's development. Given the large size of grama sabhas in the State, the organisation of sector-wise group discussion made it possible for maximum number of people to participate in the deliberations in a meaningful manner. Around one lakh resource persons at the local level were mobilised and given training to act as facilitators in the discussion groups.

The major advantages of the plan preparation grama sabha meetings are the following: 1. The felt needs, priorities and development perceptions of the people in every locality were listed.
2. A general awareness is created among various sections of people regarding the decentralisation programme....
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