Decentralized Planning and Local Governance in India

E. M. Thomas

The decentralization and devolution of powers and functions, to the grassroots level of organizations was a dream of Mahatma Gandhi, who ardently believed in the concept of Gram Swaraj. Even though the self-governing village committees existed in India from the earliest times of the Rigveda (1200 BC), the British transformed them to the present type of accountable, representative institutions (George, 2000). Sir Charles Metcalf, the Provisional Governor General of India (1835–36) called the Indian village committees as ‘the little republics’. Moreover, the term ‘self-government’ had begun to gain currency in the country, with the famous 1882 resolution of Lord Rippon, which ...

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