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MPA-016: Decentralization and Local Governance

MPA-016: Decentralization and Local Governance

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: MPA-016/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: MPA-016

Assignment Name: Decentralisation and Local Governance

Year: 2022 - 2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


This Assignment consists of Section-I and Section-II. There are five questions in each Section. You have to answer a total of five questions in about 500 words each. It is necessary to attempt at least two questions from each section. Each question carries 20 marks.




Q1) Discuss the importance of decentralisation and suggest necessary measures for strengthening decentralised development in India.

Ans) The primary goal of development administration is quick socioeconomic change. As a result, there is a widespread concern in the developing world today to establish new types of administration to meet the needs of development. Decentralization has taken centre stage in development discourse as a result of the realisation that the centralised, bureaucracy-dependent system of planning and implementation has failed to deliver for much of the developing world as well as the fact that ordinary citizens should have a say in decisions that affect their lives.


Decentralization has been viewed as a particularly helpful method of administration for providing public services from practical local locations near to the clients' neighbourhoods. Decentralization in the majority of developing nations has been fueled by the desire to bring administration to the doorstep of the citizen and create a direct line of communication between the client and the government. Decentralization promises both increased efficiency and a more responsive government based on more accurate information by moving governance, decision-making, and the provision of fundamental services closer to the people.


Suggestions for Strengthening Decentralised Development

As local self-government organisations have sprouted up around the nation, questions have been raised about how well they operate. Slowly but surely, a favourable environment is developing for bringing governance to the doorsteps of the populace. There is still a lot to be done, though. The following sections offer some recommendations for enhancing decentralised development in light of this. Only if devolution is based on a nexus between the three Fs—functions, functionaries, and finances can Panchayats and Municipalities fulfil their role as institutions of self-government. The line departments should be shut down, and the workers should be moved under the administrative and disciplinary supervision of the panchayats and municipalities.


The Panchayati Raj system in India is built on the foundation of the Gram Sabhas. The Gram Sabha meeting should receive widespread awareness using local media and local communication techniques, such as announcements over loudspeakers, drumming, handing out leaflets, etc. It is important to promote free speech during the Gram Sabha sessions so that no one group has a monopoly on the discussion. People should be made aware of the Gram Sabha's authority and responsibilities. It is important to support the NGOs working on rural development in educating the populace so they can actively participate in Gram Sabha sessions.


NGOs active in the relevant Gram Panchayat regions must be involved to ensure transparency. Every time a new programme or scheme is established, authorities from the block and district levels should go to the village and inform the residents about the program's goals, implementation process, and potential benefits. When obtaining and providing information, the functionaries should speak with the locals directly. This will encourage contact between individuals and raise knowledge of rural development programmes. Finally, it is important to improve the Gram Panchayat's overall responsiveness and accountability to the relevant Gram Sabha. All of these will result in the Gram Panchayats operating transparently.


The DPC's main objective should be to assist municipalities and panchayats in creating their plans. In order to ensure the best possible usage and exploitation of the local natural, human, and other resources, it should also decide on policies, priorities, programmes, and strategies for the district's overall development. For the plan to receive the proper consideration in the planning process at higher levels, the DPC should call a general body meeting of all panchayat and municipal representatives of the district. The DPC's growth plan shouldn't be sent to the State Government until after this.


Q2) Describe the administrative decentralisation in contemporary scenario.

Ans) It entails giving local bodies control over planning and implementation while distributing the duties and responsibilities among elected officials and staff. Participatory planning, institutional mechanisms for planning, implementation, coordination, monitoring, transparency, support systems, and other issues are studied under this. Examining the performance component


Coordination at all the Three-Levels Required

The issue of coordination between the three levels of PRIs and urban local bodies on the one hand and bureaucracy, NGO's, etc. on the other has come to our attention as one of the limitations of decentralisation over the past 10 years. The following issues arise when we examine the coordination issue:

  1. Uncertainty regarding the allocation of authority and responsibilities among the three tiers of urban local government entities stated in the Eleventh and Twelfth Schedules.

  2. It is unclear from the Panchayati Raj and Municipal Acts of different States whether urban local governments and pris are planning only or both planning and implementing agencies for development programmes.

  3. The relationships between the pris, urban municipal bodies, and local level bureaucracy are likewise not clearly spelled out in the Acts.

  4. The issue of open competition between NGOs, local government entities, and the pris.


The District Planning Committees bee made Effective

The 74th Constitutional Amendment Act granted the DPCs under Article 243 Z(d) constitutional status for the first time. Unfortunately, this has rendered the DPC useless. DPC is in the process of being formed in the states of Orissa and Haryana, although it has not yet been established in a number of states. Surprisingly, there is no provision for DPC formation under the Gujarat State Panchayati Raj Act. Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal are the states where the DPC has been established.


It has been a point of contention as to who should serve as the Chairman of the DPC, whether it be the Chairman of the Zilla Panchayat, the Minister-in-Charge of the district, or the collector of the district. The district minister in certain states, like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh, is also the chairperson of the DPC. While in some states, including Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, and West Bengal, the chairman of the zilla parishad also serves as the head of the district planning commission.


In Tamil Nadu, the district collector serves as the chairperson, while the state government of Haryana selects the chairperson from among the members who have been nominated. MLAs and MPs are either DPC members or special invitees in all states other than Kerala. They now have the ability to vote in the states of Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh. For West Bengal, a special government order allows Panchayat Samiti chairpersons, MLAs, and MPs to join the DPC and receive voting privileges. As a result, the creation of DPC varies greatly.


Dominance of Bureaucracy

It becomes crucial to establish a facilitative functional relationship in terms of coordination and cooperation between elected representatives and official functionaries in order to ensure the proper operation of decentralisation. The state Acts have kept the bureaucracy in charge of handling rural and urban local affairs and have given state governments plenty of room to exercise control, monitoring, dissolution, and annulment resolution powers. The Zilla Parishads' chief executive officers have a great deal of authority.


Posting of Field Staff at Gram Panchayats

It has been noted that most states, with the exception of Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh, have not created any provisions for the postings of field workers from line departments at the gramme panchayat level. Field employees from several departments, including agriculture, animal husbandry, health, ICDS, etc., have been posted to gramme panchayats in Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. Except for the states of Karnataka, Kerala, and West Bengal, many states have gramme panchayats with little or no employees. When compared to other states, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh have one secretary for every three to five Gram Panchayats.


Q 3) “The Bhagidari programme of Delhi Government has promoted the Government-Citizens partnership”. Comment.

Ans) The Delhi Government has launched a partnership initiative with its inhabitants in order to uphold the principles of democratic citizenship, organisational humanism, and community engagement. The Delhi Government launched the Bhagidari programme, which means partnership, in late 1999 or early 2000 with the goal of fostering cooperation, shared responsibility, and joint ownership between the people and the government in governance.


The necessity to give people a clear role in local governance led to the development of Gandhi's self-governance and decentralisation philosophy. People are viewed as equal partners in development in a participative and collaborative environment. The four fundamental Bhagidari components are:

  1. Partnership and Participation

  2. Governance

  3. Citizens /Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs); and

  4. Public Utility Departments and Civic Service Agencies, which impact citizens’ lives most at the day-to-day ground level. These departments and agencies are BSES and NDPL, DJB, MCD, NDMC, DOEF, DDA and DP.


Working Process

The entire Bhagidari procedure is coordinated by the CMO's Bhagidari Cell. It regularly checks in on and evaluates how the promises made by the PUD authorities and RWAs in the Large Group Interactive Workshops are being carried out. Each of the nine DC Revenues is given complete responsibility for planning and organising LGIWs. They are in charge of planning the workshops in the districts that fall under their jurisdiction. The nodal officers for their district and area, respectively, are the district and area officials. They take part in the LGIWs as representatives of their departments or agencies and their corresponding regions.


Implementation, Monitoring and Review

Following the training, the departments, DC Revenue offices, and CMO receive the list of solutions. The head of each participating PUD's or civic agency's department receives a letter from the Principal Secretary to the CM outlining the requirements for designating nodal officials, holding monthly meetings with the RWAs, and sending monitoring reports to the CMO. The chief nodal officers are the department leaders, and they choose their district nodal officials to carry out the solutions in their region. The district official maintains communication with the chief nodal officer and the DC Revenue and oversees the district's area nodal officials' follow-up activities.


A collection of RWAs is assigned an area nodal officer. The district nodal officers are in charge of supervising them during work. Meetings are held with those named.


RWAs within a period of ten days following the workshop's end. In consultation with the RWAs, they develop an action plan to carry out the decisions made in the workshop regarding solutions and activities.


The district nodal officials receive the action plans and, after consulting with the chief nodal officers, finalise them. The plan is next to be put into action within the annual financial limits by the local government working with the RWAs.


Following that, the area nodal officers meet monthly with RWAs to continue carrying out the action plans. Every two months, the chief nodal officer may meet with the district nodal officers to review the programme in accordance with the action plan.


In addition to the aforementioned, the DC Revenue of each district holds a review meeting with RWAs and district nodal offices on the last Friday of each month, and by the fifth of the following month, it sends the status report to the CM and the Divisional Commissioner.


The authorities who play a part in the Bhagidari Programme's implementation must account for their participation in the self-appraisal in order to properly recognise them for their contributions and involvement. The involvement and competence of the officer in carrying out the Program will be specifically mentioned by the reporting and evaluating officers. He or she is also credited with significant innovations.





Q1) “Owing to the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992, the PRIs are functioning as effective institutions of local self-governance at the grassroots level”. Examine.

Ans) Only general guidelines for the successful and efficient operation of panchayat raj institutions in India were provided by the 73rd Amendment Act, 1992. To list just a few of its major contributions, it has given the PRIs constitutional status, some degree of uniformity by making the three-tier system a permanent feature, regularity by making elections mandatory following the termination of the PRIs after every five years and by establishing the State Election Commission to oversee and conduct the elections and increased financial independence through the establishment of the State Finance Commission.


First, until recently, constitutional recognition of the PRIs was the issue that received the greatest attention. Scholars have frequently noted that despite including democratic decentralisation in Article 40 of the Constitution's Directive Principles of State Policy, the Constitution's forefathers only paid lip service to the idea. However, the PRIs now have constitutional legitimacy as a result of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act. Indian federalism has advanced because instead of having just two recognised levels of government as there had been in the past, there would now be three.


Second, while the current amendment does address the issue of structural homogeneity across the nation, it leaves critical decisions, like the size of a panchayat at a level, up to the state governments.


Thirdly, irregular elections, frequent suppression, and suspension were the main reasons why PRIs, on the whole, had failed. The recent revision has correctly addressed the long-standing issue.


Fourthly, the Gram Sabha is a structure that offers everyone who wants to and is able to take part in the development process the chance to participate actively in governance. Gram Sabha creation is mandated by the 73rd Constitutional Amendment.


Fifthly, the love-hate relationship between the local level bureaucracies and the elected representatives of PRIs has been yet another issue with the operation of local bodies. Due to the lack of clearly defined roles for the two, neither has been able to work together in harmony as needed.


Last but not least, other issues with PRIs over the past three decades have included the status of Panchayat Samitis and Zilla Parishads, the lack of adequate funding, and PRIs' lack of participation in planning for rural development. By adding them to the statute book, the amendment aims to address each of these issues.


Discretionary Provisions

Discretionary clauses provide state governments a lot of freedom to do as they choose. In addition to some less important matters, like the nomenclature of panchayats, etc., some crucial matters have also been made discretionary, like the calculation of size in terms of population and area, the method of electing the chairperson, the powers and duties of the Gram Sabha, the transfer of power and authority to institutions of local self-governance, and local accounting and auditing, which, if not attended to or handled properly, in a sincere manner, could negatively impact there are already indications. West Bengal and Kerela have significantly larger village panchayats than other states. Although it may be argued that this has been properly left to each state's historical legacy and administrative convenience, the fact remains that this does not bring administration to the doorstep of the people, as is the basic premise of the proposed reform.

Q2) Explain the organisational structure of Urban Local Government.

Ans) Only 88 years after the East India Company was founded, with Madras as its honorary capital, the first government in India was established in 1868. However, it cannot be argued that India's municipal and urban government has achieved remarkable success. This is made even more surprising when one considers that notable nationalist figures like Dadabhai Naoroji, Ferozeshah Mehta, Balgangadhar Tilak, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, C.R. Das, Subhash Chandra Bose, and Jawaharlal Nehru served in the municipal government at various points in their careers.


The Administration of India Act, 1935, which established provincial autonomy, significantly fueled the growth of municipal government in India. The Act established popular government in the provinces and eliminated the diarchy system. The Indian Constitution has given the State Governments responsibility for topics relating to housing and urban development after independence in the federal framework of the Indian polity. Many of these responsibilities have also been granted to urban local governments by the Constitutions Act. Only Delhi and other Union Territories fall under the constitutional and legal purview of the Indian government, as well as any issues on which the State Legislatures have granted the Union Parliament legislative jurisdiction.


At the national level, the Ministry of Urban Development is the highest authority of the Government of India and is responsible for formulating policies, sponsoring, and supporting programmes, coordinating the efforts of numerous central ministries, state governments, and other nodal agencies, as well as overseeing all programmes pertaining to housing and urban development in the nation. Regarding urban local bodies, the Ministry of Urban Development is responsible for the following areas:

  1. Excluding Panchayati Raj Institutions, the structure and authority of Municipal Corporations, Municipalities, and other local self-government administrations.

  2. Urban regions' water supply, sewage, drainage, and sanitation, as well as their connections to allotted water resources. In this area, there is international collaboration and technical support.

  3. The Local Self-Government Central Council.

  4. Issues with urban infrastructure that are the responsibility of the Housing and Urban Development Corporation.

  5. Information gathering and compiling about the metropolitan municipal governments in the states.

  6. Urban Neighbourhood Development.

  7. Betterment Trusts.

  8. People in local government are being trained.

  9. Mayors' Conference of India.

  10. Giving advice to the ministry of home affairs regarding local government issues in the union territories.


The character, size, and importance of various towns and cities determine the many types of municipal bodies that make up metropolitan regions. In addition to the interaction between the political and socio-economic systems, philosophical formulations and styles of communal living have a significant impact on how municipal organisations operate. The typical types of municipal bodies include Municipal Corporations, Municipalities, Notified Area Committees, Town Area Committees, and Cantonment Boards. While the first four types of municipal bodies were established under State Municipal Laws, the Cantonment Boards were established under a Central Act known as the Cantonments Acts, 1924.


The regulation of local concerns, such as water supply, drainage, primary education, road maintenance, etc., is implied by the term local self-government. The welfare or improvement of every citizen should be the target. A system known as local self-government gives local residents a certain amount of control over public affairs and the collection of funds to cover their expenses. The interaction of numerous factors historical, ideological, and administrative led to the formation of urban government as a separate government entity.


Local self-governance had historically come before the national government. In terms of administration, it is crucial that the public services that any community would require be planned, programmable, and integrated in terms of the area that they would occupy. It offers a wide range of services to the populace and carries out several tasks of a variety and scope.

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