with governance at their level in such shambles and corruption
so rampant, they have no business to make such accusations
and withhold power on such grounds.
state governments are behaving like some Indian parents
with feudal mindset who think their children will listen
best if they do not give them any freedom, withhold all
power and control the purse strings. This centralization
of power and control of funds may make the parents secure
in the knowledge that their children will never rebel. Although
this does have its benefits the ultimate consequence can
be disastrous in terms of the child's future and parents
enlightened and educated parents we all know that unless
we give our children opportunities to learn, provide an
environment to grow and give them freedom to make choices,
they can never grow up to be independent, capable and responsible
centralization of power and control of funds may make the
states secure in the knowledge that the local governments
can never become powerful. But the fact that such centralized
control prevents the states from rising to the heights they
are capable of escapes these autocratic, self-important
bosses. Such centralized misgovernance eventually invites
rebellion of the local representatives and disaffection
among the citizens in some form or the other.
state governments believe that the Union should not be an
all-powerful bully dictating to them beyond what the constitution
mandates. And they demand more financial devolution. But
it is ironic that the same state government fails to recognize
that the local governments elected by the same people should
be given the funds, functions and functionaries to carry
out their responsibilities. Once such authority is transferred,
the people know how to hold local governments to account.
the world over has been that those countries whose local
governments are free and empowered have progressed more
rapidly than where the government has been centralized.
Even communist China achieved rapid growth because of local
autonomy and decentralization. In our country where local
governments haven't even reached the stage of autonomy -
many developed countries the world over are moving towards
the principle of subsidiarity. This principle of subsidiarity
is a complete reversal of our top down model. Here the citizen
is the focal point and that which she cannot do herself
will be taken on by the immediate family and anything beyond
the scope of the family will be taken care of the community.
Only those tasks which are beyond the community will be
delegated to the local government. And then, what the local
government cannot do should go to the state level, and what
the state cannot, should be handled by the Union. There
is no 'centre' apart from the citizen and her family in
a sane democracy. Nor can we accept hierarchies of government.
We only have smaller or bigger governments, and nearer or
farther governments. And the citizen is the sovereign. When
will our puffed up bureaucrats and self-important politicians
realize this simple truth about liberty and democracy?