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Decentralisation in India

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When the power from the Central and State governments, when given to the local government, it is called decentralisation. The basic idea behind decentralisation is that a huge number of issues and problems are best settled only at the local level. It is also easier for people to directly participate in the decision-making process at the local level. Democratic participation is possible through decentralisation.

A major step towards decentralisation was taken in 1992 and rural local government came to be known as Panchayati Raj. The local government structure is present at the district level.

Decentralisation in India

Decentralisation in India

Decentralisation in India

The need for decentralisation in India was first recognized by the Constitution of India. Several attempts have been made to decentralize the powers to the levels of towns and villages. Panchayats were set up at the village level and municipalities were set up in the urban areas but were directly under the control of the state governments. Elections to these local governments were not held on a regular basis and local governments did not have their own resources. Thus the effectiveness of decentralization in India was very less.

Major Step Towards Decentralisation

A major step towards decentralisation was taken in the year 1922 and amendments were made to the constitution for three-tier democracy, to make it more powerful and effective. Some of the important changes are listed below:

  1. Constitutionally mandatory for holding regular elections for local government bodies.
  2. Seats reserved in the elected bodies and executive heads of the institutions for Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes, and Other Backward Classes.
  3. One-third of all the positions were reserved for women.
  4. An independent institution was known as State Election Commission in each State to conduct panchayat and municipal elections.
  5. The state government had to share certain powers and revenue with the local government bodies. The nature and scope of sharing vary from state to state.

Gram Panchayat

The rural local government bodies came to be known as gram panchayati raj. Each village or group of villages has a gram panchayat and which refers to a council that consists of several ward members, known as panch and the president as sarpanch. The panchayat works under the overall supervision of gram sabha.

The local government structure goes up to the district level and a few gram panchayats are grouped together to be known as panchayat samiti or block or Mandal. All the panchayats together are known as zilla (district) parishad. 

Municipal Corporations

Municipalities are set up in towns. Big cities are constituted by what is known as municipal corporations, which are controlled by elected bodies consisting of people’s representatives. The municipal chairperson is the political head of the municipality and the officer is called the mayor.

These bodies of local governance are the largest experiment of democracy and have around 36 lakh elected representatives in the panchayat and municipalities. Constitutional status for the local government has helped to deepen democracy and also increase women’s participation and voice in a democracy. However, gram sabhas are not held regularly and many states have not given enough power to local governance. We are still a long way toward the ideal of self-government.

Importance of Decentralisation

  • Quick Navigation: Most of the choices are taken on the spot, and endorsement from the more significant position isn’t needed. The capacity to settle on a brief choice permits an association to work its activity rapidly and really.
  • Managerial turn of events: The decentralization interaction questions the director’s judgment and procedures when obligations and difficulties to foster arrangements are given to them. This scrutinizing strategy develops certainty, empowers independence, and settles on them a decent choice producer bringing about the advancement of the association.
  • Advancement of chief abilities: It permits the representative to perform tasks independently, giving them significant openness. This singular presentation establishes a climate where an individual can improve their aptitude, take proprietorship and more huge obligations, and be appropriate for advancement.
  • Advances development: Decentralization additionally permits the tops of the division to freely work. This autonomy assists the division with developing and having a solid contest between different offices. At last, the opposition will prompt an improvement and upgrade in efficiency.
  • Higher control: It additionally assesses and surveys the exhibitions of every office and provides them with an extensive point of view of their work. Nonetheless, controlling is the greatest test of decentralization, and balanced-out administration and scorecards are being created.

FAQs on Decentralisation in India

Question 1: What is decentralisation of India?


Decentralisation of India refers to the process where power is taken away from Central and State governments and given to the local bodies.

Question 2: What are the steps taken for decentralisation in India?


Major step was taken in 1992 and the constitution was amended to make third tier democracy more effective and to hold regular elections to local government bodies.

Question 3: Give a reason for decentralisation in India.


One of the main reasons for decentralisation in India is to reduce conflict when the power is shared between the centre, states and local government.

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Last Updated : 24 Mar, 2023
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