Effective public service delivery through innovative governance knowledge exchange
Effective public service delivery through innovative governance knowledge exchange
Member login
Click to reload image


Decentralization/ Local Governance

"...each village a complete republic...independent for its vital wants and yet interdependent for many others in which dependence is necessity."-Gandhi's vision of Village Governance.

The impulse for decentralization is traced to the recognition of the failure of centralized mode of decision-making and the top down processes of development. It is a fact that the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution followed immediately upon the macro-economic crises of 1990-91 and the stabilization and structural adjustments, packages administered by the IMF and the World Bank. However, as Amartaya Sen has noted, the failures, in the development of educational facilities, health care provisions, and environmental protection cannot be ascribed to "overactive" government alone. The errors of commission (state led allocation of resources, public investment in manufacturing and services) are to be viewed together with the errors of omission (under investments in health, nutrition and education).


The basic issue therefore, is not that of 'over governance' or 'under governance' but that of the quality of governance. Three arguments in favour of decentralised governance are:

  • Centralised governance stifled local initiative and participation
  • Top down planning led to a dependency amongst the citizens
  • Good governance (accountable, transparent, corruption free) is only possible when citizens have opportunities to participate in and practice democratic decision making in so far as such decisions affect the quality of their lives.

In this context, Governance Knowledge Centre (GKC) has identified and documented good governance practices that is replicable, adaptable and provides sustainable solutions.

  • SMS based monitoring system
  • Sulekha
Best Practices on decentralization and local governance