Special Correspondent

“Top-down approach is wrong”

CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday called for a drastic recasting of the planning process in the country as the current “top-down approach” had led to not only slowing down of development but also misplaced growth priorities.

According to an official release here, Mr. Badal made the demand while addressing a gathering in Ludhiana where he administered the oath of office to nearly 6,000 newly elected members of 892 village panchayats. He said the planning processes must be in consonance with grassroots realities, especially when the country had suffered due to an ivory-tower approach to the issue, where planners decide the destiny of villages from air-conditioned rooms.

“The development process needs to be progressively decentralised, from the Centre to the State governments and from there on to the Panchayati Raj institutions and civic bodies,” the Chief Minister said underlining the need to strengthen these institutions to protect democracy at the grassroots from dictatorial tendencies.

‘Local Ministers’

Congratulating the newly-elected members of the PRIs, Mr. Badal said the State Government would treat these representatives of the people as “local” ministers and empower them to become active and effective partners in development process. He advised them to oversee the ongoing development activities in their respective villages and ensure time-bound completion of projects.