Q. 145.0( 3 Votes )

Give two arguments in favour of decentralisation of power to local governments. What are the two provision under the amendment of 1992 which empower Local Governments in India?

Answer :

Decentralisation is the process through which the decision-making processes and powers regarding the governance of the country are distributed between several branches of the government with the aim of better efficiency in administration. It follows a tiered system where the topmost authority is the central authority and retains the power to make the final decision. But the lower tiers also enjoy exclusive legislative, administrative and juridical powers which are outlined by a constitution. The best illustration of decentralisation is a federal system. At present decentralisation in India , is a legal and constitutional system and in the normal course, this decentralisation or division of power cannot be altered whimsically. Decentralisation has been strongly supported on the specific idea that with the change of time and progress of society the responsibilities and functions of public administration have enormously increased. Two arguments in favour of decentralisation of power to local governments have been listed below:

a) Reduces the burden on top executives: Decentralisation relieves the top executives of the burden of performing various functions. The centralisation of authority puts the whole responsibility on the shoulders of an executive and his immediate group. This reduces the time at the disposal of top executives who should concentrate on other important managerial functions. So, the only way to lessen their burden is to decentralise the decision-making power to the subordinates.

b) Better control and supervision: Decentralisation ensure better control and supervision as the subordinates at the lowest levels will have the authority to make independent decisions. As a result, they have a thorough knowledge of every assignment under their control and are in a position to make amendments and take corrective action.

Thus, decentralisation can be extremely beneficial. But it can be dangerous unless it is carefully constructed and constantly monitored for the good of the country as a whole.

A major step towards decentralisation in India was taken in 1992 when the Constitution was amended to make the third-tier of democracy more powerful and effective. The 74th Amendment Act 1992, relating to Municipalities (Urban local Government) was passed by the parliament in 1992. The Act seeks to provide a common framework for the structure and mandate of urban and rural local bodies to enable them to function as effective democratic units of local Self Government. The two main provisions of 1992 Constitutional amendment that strengthen the third tier of government of India were as follows.

a) Now it has become constitutionally mandatory to hold regular elections to local bodies.

b) After the implementation of this amendment it became necessary to reserve seats in the elected bodies and the executive heads of these institutions for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes along with reservations of at least one-third of the total seats for women.

In many states local bodies had become weak and ineffective on account of a variety of reasons, including the failure to hold regular elections, prolonged super-sessions and inadequate devolution of powers and functions. As a result, Urban Local Bodies are not able to perform effectively as vibrant democratic units of self-government. These provisions have gone a long way to correct some of these issues and aid in the development of the local bodies as a whole.

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