Decentralization in Rural West Bengal – Reflections on Functioning, Governance and Election Outcome
23 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2015
Date Written: July 31, 2015
The paper attempts to analyse the nature and extent of decentralization in the Gram Panchayats, lowest tier of the local level governance in the rural areas of West Bengal. On the basis of the results of a large scale survey conducted across all the districts the paper highlights the fact that the so called success stories of decentralization of West Bengal, the pioneer in the country, has remained limited more to a political movement than translating into part of the system in the sense of administrative set up. In terms of fiscal and administrative variables GPs are by and large dependent on the government machinery. However, it is also revealed that some indicators pertaining to broader measure of decentralization as well as service delivery have stronger role in explaining variations across the local level governments than conventional indicators as extension of public finance or public policy. This has strong policy implications.
Keywords: Decentralization, Governance, Electoral outcome, West Bengal Panchayat
JEL Classification: C83, H70, H71, H72
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