‘Centralisation of power has led to decline in governance’

Centralisation of power and over-structured, under-powered and inconsequential local self-governance have led to a decline in governance in the country, Jayaprakash Narayan, president, Lok Satta Party, has said.

He was speaking on ‘Politicians: villains or victims?’, a lecture series organised by the International Centre Goa (ICG), here on Wednesday.

The country got universal franchise when there was abject poverty and illiteracy and we had a legacy of colonial rule where even simple services were beyond the reach of the poor, Mr. Narayan said.

In a centralised system, growth opportunities were open only for the rich and powerful. “Unless people are made partners in governance through decentralisation of power, there cannot be true democracy,” he said.

“Local governments are structurally strong going by the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution. But they are functionally feeble,” Mr. Narayan said.

Corruption was one of the natural consequences of centralisation of power and good people were marginalised in politics as they find it difficult to survive in this situation, he said.

Mr. Narayan spoke about the need for a space for rational politics and rational policies.

He also spoke of how criminalisation of politics, freebees, division in society, identity politics and money power that had become the currency of today’s politics and advocated a shift to proportional representation which could reduce the dependence of politicians and political parties on “marginal and extra votes” through vote banks.

Mr. Narayan advocated a strong local self-governance system through decentralisation of power to bring in sensible and pragmatic changes.

“However, the people and the political parties must manifest their will power. Because of the present electoral system, the country’s two main national parties have become inconsequential in most of the big States,” he added.

Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly Pratapsing Rane, who is also the president of ICG and Nandini Sahai, director, ICG, were present.

  • ‘In a centralised system, growth opportunities are open only for the rich and powerful’

  • ‘Unless people are made partners in governance, there cannot be true democracy’