Decentralisation in India

Meaning and importance

Decentralisation means taking away all power from the Central and State government and delegating it to a third level i.e. local government.

  1. The fundamental idea of decentralisation is that many issues and problems are best resolved locally.
  2. People are more aware of the issues in their own local communities.
  3. Additionally, they are more knowledgeable about how to manage things effectively and where to spend money .
  4. The general public can take part in decision-making directly at the municipal level. This fosters the practise of democratic engagement.
  5. One crucial democratic concept, local self-governance , can best be realised through local government.

Major problems before 1992

A need for decentralisation was recognised in the constitution but before 1992, the local government faced a lot of problems-

  1. The panchayats in the villages and municipalities in urban settlements were directly under the control of State govt. 
  2. This meant that the State govt did not share powers and revenues resources with the local govt. 
  3. The local govt did not have any financial autonomy , power or resources of it's own as a result.
  4. Elections to these local governments were not conducted regularly.
  5. Minimal or no seats were reserved for women.

Constitutional amendment in 1992

A series of major steps were taken in light of the above problems in 1992 to make the third tier of the government more effective and powerful-

  1. Regular elections for local government bodies are now required by the constitution.
  2. Reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs.
  3. One third of all positions are reserved for the women.
  4. Each state has established a separate organisation called the State Election Commission (SEC) to oversee panchayat and municipal elections.
  5. The state government now is required to allocate its resources and authority to the local governments.
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Davneet Singh

Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 14 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.