start with, the gram panchayat has to formulate and propose
a work scheme, which has to be forwarded to the Revenue
Divisional Officer (RDO), through the mandal officials for
sanction and approval. The RDO is in charge of 7-8 mandals
and has to process proposals from all the villages under
his jurisdiction. We know only too well how fast our civil
servants work. Moreover the newly appointed village secretary
who has to do all this paper work at the village level,
doesn't live in the village and takes his own sweet time
in attending to his official duties!
if this process is too simple and straightforward, the government
has added an additional condition to this scheme, that the
gram panchayats have to contribute matching grants from
their own funds! Excepting for a few major gram panchayats,
majority of the villages don't have revenues worth mentioning.
Then, how does the government expect them to come up with
the matching funds? No wonder, execution of schemes is tardy.
incident also throws up a more fundamental question. What
right does the government have to discipline an elected
gram sarpanch? Do they mean to say that a minister or chief
minister elected by the same people has more sanctity than
an elected gram sarpanch or Municipal Chairman? By the same
token will the state government subject itself to the authority
of the union government? The answer is an absolute NO. The
state government will be up in arms crying indignantly that
the union is trampling on the states' rights. The fact is
that the state is right in resisting bossism of the union.
But unfortunately the state does not view the relationship
with the local governments in a similar vein. The elected
local government leaders have as much responsibility towards
the well being of the people as the sate chief minister,
and even if they err, it is for the voters to punish them.
Only corruption or misappropriation can be punished by due
process of law.
notion that the government sitting in Hyderabad or Delhi
is bigger or more powerful than the local government is
not only utterly nonsensical but is also a sign of the skewed
nature of our governance structure. It is well understood
that in any federal structure the only differences between
various tiers of governments are their size and ability
to handle different functions. The question is not of a
higher and lower government but of nearer and farther government.
The government that is closest to the people should normally
be entrusted with most of the functions that affect the
citizens on a daily basis like education, health care, sanitation
etc. and only those functions, which cannot be handled by
them, should go to a larger government.
is high time that the governments and parties recognized
the fact that the local governments have as much legitimacy
as any other tier of government and treated their leaders
with the respect they deserve. Only then will good governance
become a reality and the citizen will see a link between
his well being and vote. The ministers and CM will do well
to desist from their rhetoric of blaming some one else for
their own failures.