Thiruvananthapuram

Plan Campaign review may address systemic shortfalls

Need to revire the campaign included in the Budget announcement

As the government gears up for a review of the People’s Plan Campaign that heralded conspicuous changes in decentralised planning, governance and development, the scrutiny is likely to evolve a system for addressing its systemic shortcomings too.

The Budget announcement that the campaign needs to be reviewed in its silver jubilee year has evoked much curiosity. For, it comes at a time when local self-government institutions are playing a pivotal role in delivering key services at the regional level and also handling a lion’s share of the Plan funds for development and other purposes.

The Kerala model in devolution of funds, functions and functionaries to the LSGIs has been hailed as the best model worth emulating. But a course correction has become imperative considering the dwindling mass participation in the programmes and projects worked out as part of the campaign. This is more obvious in the urban local bodies where local participation is rather nil in ward sabhas that form the base for shaping up projects in tune with the local needs.

The poor stakeholder participation in the planning process was the first lacuna that cries for urgent attention, sources akin to the process said.

Earlier attempts made by various agencies for training elected members and others for increasing the mass base do not seem to have yielded the desired results. A drastic increase in public participation in each locale is key to making the planning process a success.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, in his Budget speech, had said each local body would have to prepare a comprehensive progress report as envisaged in the Development Report of 1996 that laid the rules of the game before launching the campaign. He also proposed to constitute working groups for preparing the report in May.

Other than mass participation, absorption of funds, quality of projects prepared and executed by LSGIs during the past 25 years, functioning of elected members and such other issues should come up for review.

Since local body elections are round the corner, whether the incumbents would have the time and enthusiasm for taking up such a daunting task is what remains to be seen.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 7:48:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/plan-campaign-review-may-address-systemic-shortfalls/article30776358.ece

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