Globalisation cripples decentralisation concept

Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: Though a constitutional amendment, way back in 1992, empowered panchayati raj institutions to have full say over local governance, the concept of decentralisation does not seem to have worked out very well as a result of globalisation, according to the 40-odd panchayat presidents from across Tamil Nadu who participated in a seminar to validate the research studies by Gandhigram Rural University on ‘Globalisation and Decentralisation’ held at the M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation here on Saturday.

T.Tamizhinian, president of Mathur village panchayat in Tiruvannamalai district, said 2,300 acres of agricultural land was being acquired for the Cheyyar Special Economic Zone (SEZ) near their village, but none of the local persons were employed in the manufacturing units set up there. R.Parthasarathy, head of Vavipalayam village panchayat from Tirupur, said that 60 windmills were put up by various private companies in the locality but none of them paid any profession tax to the local body.

“These companies deprive the panchayat of their lands, bypass the need to seek clearances by obtaining political favours and deprive the villagers of much needed resources like water,” he said. P.V.Tharmalingam, president of Keeranur village panchayat in Madurai district said a number of illegal granite quarries were operating in his village without obtaining any permission whatsoever from him.

G.Palanithurai, coordinator, Rajiv Gandhi Chair for Panchayati Raj Studies, said the studies released by them had documented various instances of traditional livelihoods facing challenges in the event of globalisation and associated policies brought in by the government.

Emphasising the need to develop local economies, he said the recent Nobel prize-winning work of Elinor Ostrom had also touched upon the concept of decentralised development of the economy and the importance of common property resources as suggested by Mahatma Gandhi.

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