roundtable was organized by the National Council of Applied Economic Research a
Roundtable on February 7, 2013 on the issue “Can Panchyats Make Services Work
for Poor People in Rural India?” Dr Hari Nagarajan, Senior Fellow, NCAER
presented the findings of his study.
Nagarajan spoke about panchayats’ role in delivering services like management
of water, health, education and the pathologies related to service delivery. In
his presentation he made an observation that the India’s model of
decentralization is different from those prevailing in other countries of the
world. He remarked that Panchayati Raj Institutions are having increasingly
positive impacts on services and there is need to devolve more powers to them.
that Gram Sabhas are an important tool for governance related services and must
Yamini Aiyar from Accountability Initiative, CPR noted that in India the issue
is not whether decentralization is good or bad, but that centralized
administration has clearly failed. She said that the present analysis offers an
opportunity to reorganize current institutions in a bottom-up manner. She
observed that panchayats need to be looked at not merely as institutions for
service delivery but rather as mechanisms of governance. Commenting on the 3Fs-
Funds, Functions and Functionaries formula of decentralization, she noted that
along with the devolution of money, functional responsibilities and
functionaries should also be devolved.
There was a brief question answer session after the
discussions and the roundtable ended with a vote of thanks.