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Monday, Dec 06, 2021
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panchayati Raj

The Best PR Exercise

Where it's allowed to, Panchayati Raj is governing better than the Centre or states

The Best PR Exercise
The Best PR Exercise
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Many believed it was the perfect set-up to shift power to the people, a third tier in the system of governance. The panchayati raj institution (PRI) was believed to be a radical solution to reduce the importance of the political elite at the central and state levels. Fifteen years on, the successful PRIs have emerged as rival power centres to the Centre and states.

"All states have passed strong laws, but people aren’t fully aware of them. Where there is greater awareness, the PRIs are taking over and grabbing administrative powers," says a candid official in Karnataka. Adds Shashanka Bhide of the National Council for Applied Economic Research, which studied the extent of devolution of powers to local self-governments, "We found an uneven outcome of decentralisation across states." Admits Union panchayati raj minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, "The progress is extremely uneven. Where it’s not effective, the PRIs are reduced to being the implementers of one or two rural development ministry programmes." Like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, which has to be executed through the panchayats.

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