Democratic Decentralization in India: Experiences, issues and challenges, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Democratic Decentralization in India

Experiences, issues and challenges, 1st Edition

Edited by E. Venkatesu

Routledge India

270 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

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This book explores experiences, issues and challenges which have emerged since Constitutional status was granted to the local bodies at grassroots level in India in the early 1990s. Among other issues, it focuses on:

  • the contrasting political ideas of Mahatma Gandhi and B. R. Ambedkar on Panchayati Raj Institutions
  • the legal and constitutional provisions which were introduced through the 73rd and 74th Amendment Acts
  • the devolution process, status and challenges of democracy for local governmental bodies
  • empowerment of the women and lower castes through reservations in the local bodies
  • governance in Schedule V and VI tribal areas

Based on extensive fieldwork across India, this volume will be useful to scholars and researchers of political science, sociology, public administration as well as policymakers and civil society activists.


One of India’s remarkable experiments after independence has been the mode of institutionalization of power to subserve self-rule at various levels of the polity. Concerns such as fairness, diversity and difference have been add-ons to it. There are many flaws in this endeavour but there are few today who deny its need. This volume documents this great experiment through specific case studies of many states, communities and concerns in India.

Valerian Rodrigues, National Fellow, ICSSR and Professor (Retired), Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

This book brings together critical evaluations of the various contemporary issues and aspects of decentralized governance in India. This is particularly welcome as many of the authors are young and upcoming researchers in the field. Various chapters of the book throw light on the evolution of the institutions of democratic decentralization, recent legislation, and problems in making such institutions work by situating them in the actual social structures and political practice.

K.C. Suri, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad, India

Table of Contents

List of Figures List of Tables List of Abbreviations Foreword Contributors Acknowledgements Introduction 1. Local Self Government thought in India: Some Reflections on Gandhi and Ambedkar 2. Committee System and Its Functioning in Panchayati Raj Institutions of India 3. Democratic Decentralization in West Bengal— A Devolution perspective 4. Issues in Devolution of Functions, Functionaries and Funds to PRIs: A Comparative Assessment of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Kerala 5. Reservation in the Panchayati Raj Institutions and Empowerment of the Dalit in Uttar Pradesh: Achievements and Limitations 6. Panchayat Extension to Schedule Areas (PESA) Act and Empowerment of Adivasis in Undivided Andhra Pradesh 7. Political Representation for Empowerment of Women and Constraints 8. The status of forest rights and self-governance among the tribes in the protected areas of Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Wildlife Sanctuary in Telengana State 9. Decentralized Governance in North-East India: A Comparative study of Bodoland Territorial Council and Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council 10. Decentralisation and Civil Society: Elementary Education Management in Madhya Pradesh 11. Understanding Nestedness in Democratic Decentralisation through the Lens of Forest Resource Governance in Tamil Nadu 12. Emerging Conflicts between Panchayati Raj Institutions and Khap Panchayats in Haryana 13. Parallel Organizations and Subversion of the Grassroots Democracy in Andhra Pradesh 14. Decentralized Governance, Conflict Resolution and Functioning of Panchayat Raj Institutions in Jammu and Kashmir 15. Local Governance, Changing Profile of Elected Public Representatives and Efforts for Capacity Development in India EIndex

About the Editor

E. Venkatesu teaches in the Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad, India. He was member of faculty at the National Institute of Rural Development (2004–11) and was Research and Training Coordinator at the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (2000– 2004). He has published several books including Panchayats and Building of Model Villages (2013), Grassroots Politics in India (2008) and Democracy and Development: A Backward Classes Perspective (in Telugu, 2004).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Local
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General