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Decentralised planning has failed to deliver: study

Staff Reporter

Study was undertaken in 36 grama panchayats in 10 districts

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The decentralised planning, introduced in Kerala a decade ago, has not delivered the goods, with the local bodies faltering at each stage of its implementation, according to a study conducted by the Department of Economics of the University of Kerala.

The study undertaken by B. A. Prakash, the Head of the Department of Economics of the university, in 36 grama panchayats in 10 districts of the State, has revealed that the development projects were done in a haphazard manner without a sense of purpose.

There was lack of proper planning in the implementation of developmental works and a strict time schedule was seldom adhered to. Rather than initiating the works at the commencement of a fiscal year, the entire exercise of execution was rushed through towards the fag end with the result that their very purpose was defeated in most cases. Since the development schemes were not drawn up well in advance and the works not completed in a time-bound fashion, the projects usually spilled over to the following year. Further, there was no prioritisation of such works and the needs of the people were hardly met. The emphasis mostly had been on works benefiting individuals rather than the community in general, the study revealed.

Even though the process of decentralisation had thrust a heavy burden on the local bodies, they had not been restructured functionally nor had adequate workforce assigned to them. Lack of adequate financial support from the Government and factors such as treasury ban imposed from time to time, have hampered the execution of projects. Over-politicisation of schemes has been highly detrimental to development at the local body level, Dr. Prakash's study said.

The study has also recommended that the local bodies should be made to confine themselves to discharging their primary responsibilities concerned with the development of basic infrastructure.

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