Kerala carves its own space in Central planning drive

Kerala is carving a space of its own and playing a pivotal role in the Grama Panchayat Development Plan Campaign for 2018-19 executed by the Centre for local self-government institutions all over the country. The Central government that recently decided to emulate the Kerala model in local governance across the country had built up its own data collection, infusion and development models accented on grama panchayats.

This planning system was modelled on the People’s Plan Campaign that the State had successfully implemented three decades ago.

Official sources told The Hindu that the Plan guidelines and modules for various activities were modelled for the grama panchayats in North India and were not conducive for the local governments in the State. For instance, panchayats and villages are co-terminus in North Indian States, unlike in Kerala.

Also the grama panchayats there are relatively smaller in size and holding only one grama sabha for a grama panchayat. The panchayats in the State are larger in size and hence have to conduct a number of grama sabhas.

Local governments in the State have more activities like development seminar and working groups that most other States have not conceived so far.

Hence, the entire planning process of the Centre was deemed to be redundant for the State that was much more evolved and advanced in decentralised planning and development and did not evince much interest to join the new process set in motion, reportedly by the National Democratic Alliance government with an eye on the Lok Sabha elections.

Recently, the Centre had pointed out that the data regarding the State’s performance in this score had not been furnished for an evaluation.

Impact on allocations

This was also reported to have an impact on the allocations, mainly the Union Finance Commission award for local bodies in future and a political decision was made to join the process. With that, the data regarding the projects taken up by the local bodies in the State, fund absorption and development initiatives in panchayats and such others were being provided regularly.

Sooner or later, the Centre may take a cue from such inputs and rework its planning process to make more relevant and contextual, sources said.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 2:08:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/races/kerala-carves-its-own-space-in-central-planning-drive/article26043259.ece

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