This book provides a vantage point of comparison, of the actual reality of decentralisation in India with Gandhi’s vision of decentralised democracy, or what he referred to as Gram Swaraj. It looks at the historical evolution of panchayats from ancient times to India’s independence, and critically discusses the developments after. It examines the functioning of the present Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and the performances of urban local bodies. The basic thrust of this work is the need for constitutional reforms meant to strengthen and deepen democracy.
The book will be useful to those in political studies, policy studies, public administration and development studies.
‘Relevant for contemporary times, this book raises a fundamental question: Are we sincere about realizing Gandhi’s vision of Gram Swaraj? Based on in-depth research through an excellent socio-political and economic analysis of the last 67 years of our independence, the authors have brought to the centre-stage the failures and successes of our grassroots democracy. This deeply analytical volume is a must for our policy makers, academics, scholars and young researchers, and a valuable addition to the libraries.’
George Mathew, Chairman, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, India
List of Tables. Foreword byP. R. Panchamukhi. Preface. List of Abbreviations. 1. Introduction 2. Gandhi’s Attitude to the State and Keeping it in Check 3. Democratising the Polity through Decentralisation in Gandhi’s Vision 4. Decentralised Democracy in India’s History till Independence 5. After Independence 6. A Critical Review of the Present Panchayati Raj-I: Deepening Democracy and Development Outcomes 7. A Critical Review of the Present Panchayati Raj-II: Inclusiveness and Environmental Orientation 8. Panchayati Raj System in Karnataka: Evolution and Performance 9. Local Democracy and Gram Panchayats in Karnataka: Field Insights 10. Decentralised Democracy in an Urban Setting 11. Towards a Deeper Democracy. Annexure 1 : State Panchayati Raj Legislations since Independence till 1992. Annexure 2: Laws on Panchayati Raj Passed by the States after 1992. References. Index