Panchayati Raj, Participation and Decentralization
Perhaps the most significant characteristic of India's parliamentary democracy is its vigorous grassroots structure. Local level participatory and democratic institutions, sprawling throughout the country, have not only brought authenticity to the democratic spirit, but have also made the whole process of governance increasingly effective and responsive. Following the 73rd and 74th amendments to India's Constitution, the decentralized governance framework has introduced a new dynamism into the overall process of participatory democracy. Even though the constitutional amendments have not been implemented in totality, the process of democratization has become irreversible and it can be hoped, therefore, that in years to come, India could boast of a vibrant responsible democracy that reaches every community, group, and territory of the country. This anthology discusses some of the most significant and critical issues pertaining to the impact of Panchayati Raj community institutions, the framework of participatory democracy, and the design of decentralized governance in India. Throughout the volume, the emphasis is on highlighting some of the more prominent features of India's participatory democracy and on a few noticeable lacunae that need to be overcome through institutional devices. The volume is descriptive, empirical, and instrumental in its perspective, and it will be of enormous benefit to students, teachers, and policy-makers interested in the crucial problem areas of governance at the grass-roots level.
Publication Date: 12/1/2009