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Shanti Gupta Blog…

Kerala: An Effective Model of Local Self Governance

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I have exposure of ten states of India including kerala. Kerala has some historical importance in Indian politics. After independence Communist party of India has its strong feet in this state. I got opportunity to see the effectiveness of local governance in Kerala. In Tata-Dhan Academy I have a course Legal Environment for Development which is facilitated by Mr. Jankiraman. He facilitated us to go Wyanad district of Kerala where I saw Panchayat office which was like a corporate office. The next interesting thing was enterprises of self-help groups which has been facilitated by local governance. A next interesting thing was process of social audit. I have come across this term many times but I have not seen the live process of social audit. Here is detail information of  Kerela visit.

An Introduction

Tata-Dhan Academy is an excellence in providing development education for grass root action. This development institute offers Post Graduate Diploma in Development Management , it is a two year residential programme where students get experiential learning at major. Tata-Dhan Academy offers fellowship to selected students as a return students serve development sector minimum three year. Students are offered various community and management based courses where Legal Environment for Development (LEAD) is one of the course which given exposure of legal aspects and government facilities. Mr. Jankiraman is a faculty of this course and as a part of this LEAD we decided to visit Kereal as it is known in India for the best model for democratic model of local self governance.

We selected Wayanad district for visiting the model of local self governance. The Waynad visit has been scheduled for two days where we have seen the functioning of local self government.

Structure of Panchayat

Kerela has historical background in India too, since post independence to present Communist Party of India (CPI -M) has been elected by local people. Even though after independence all state had the congress government but kerala had CPI-M government but unfortunately central government of India do not accept. CPI-M learnt lesson and strength the local governance. In 1994 constitution of India has passed the 73th and 74th amendment and after this amendments first election were held in 1995. These two amendments were introduced to ensure (1) Ensuring social justice and (2) Local economic development .

First of all we went to visit Panchayat office where we amazed to see the office of Panchayat. We all students had exposure of other states of India but if we compare the office set up of Panchayat it is far better than other states Panchayat offices. The office setup was similar to corporate office and all the wards members and other staff were working like professionals. We saw the active meeting of Panchayat where all 19 ward members were present. The interesting thing was all ward members were proposing development plan for villages. The women ward members were also participating actively in discussion and in planning too. In the meeting we came to know that there were two ST members which was one of the sign of equality in participation in local self governance. The unique thing which we came to know that development plan are evolved by participation of village people and after this participatory process panchayat used to submit proposal for funding to respective government department.

Among the all ward members of Panchayat has formed various committees for effective functioning of all projects and intervention at the same time ensures the active participation of community. We found the following committee

  1. Panchayat Committee
  2. Steering Committee
  3. Working Group
  4. Ward Committee
  5. Sub Committee

Intervention of Panchayats

We all have studied that there are lesser non-government organizations as government it self is doing many development works efficiently. Kerela Panchayats has promoted self-help groups for intervention of development projects. We visited two project areas where we saw (1) Umbrella making units of tribal girls, (2) Development of Nursery for poor old age people.

These both units are enterprise where Panchayat has ensure availability of raw material to marketing of products. The members of self-help groups belongs to socio-economically backward community. These two enterprises has logic to start as these both are demand base projects. Community themselves asked for these enterprise for instance ‘Development of Nursery for Old Age People’ . The old age people do not haave much strength and power to do the work which need physical work. Nursery development is a work which do not require much physical work so this enterprise has been initiated to give a financial support to old age people. This type of enterprise shows the development approach rather charity. These two enterprises reflects the ideology and strategies to bring development in society.

Process of Social Audit

Social Audit is a process in which, details of the resource, both financial

and non-financial, used by public agencies for development initiatives are shared with the

people, often through a public platform. Social Audits allow people to enforce

accountability and transparency, providing the ultimate users an opportunity to scrutinize

development initiatives.” (Planning Commission of India)1

We saw the process of social audit in one of the village where all village people were available in the meeting. The report of social audit has been prepared by the selected members by village people. By mistake some of the village people failed to get the social audit report so in between the meeting one of the member asked for providing report first. We all students feel proud to see the awareness of village people.

The process of social audit was interactive and selected committee of social audit answered all questions raised by the village people.

At last we all student thanked all village people and Panchayt president including all ward members for providing us platform to see the effectiveness of local self governance.

Lesson from Wayanad Visit

Wayanad visit is an important visit of all exposure visits in Tata-Dhan Academy. This visit sensitized us that participation of people in the process of development. People who are the real owner of governance can run an effective governance. Within a couple of weeks we all students are going to work in one of the development organization in India so we can take the Kereal Panchayati Rak institutions as a model and try to get acceptance of all stakeholders for local participatory, democratic governance.

We have also seen the principles of decentralized power in practice which has been decided at the time of implementation of decentralized government which are autonomy, transparency, accountability and role clarity among the elected members and at the same time people have awareness of their roles, right and responsibilities.

1Social Audit, Gram Sabha and Panchayti Raj accessed by http://planningcommission.nic.in/reports/sereport/ser/stdy_sagspr.pdf

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Filed under: Experience, Exposure Visits

2 Responses

  1. Shanthi, the photo album is very nice!

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