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& Local Governance
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Q. 2. Describe the legislature framework and functioning of Decentralisation in
the context of 73rd Constitutional Amendement Act.
Ans. While distributing powers between the Union and the States, the Constitution of
India in Article 40 (Directive Principles of State Policy) vested local bodies and Panchayati
Raj as a subject with the States but did not further elaborate on the relations between the
States and this third tier of Government. Panchayati Raj was given another lease of life in the
context of community development projects launched in 1952. The Balwantrai Mehta Com-
mittee Report in 1957 underlined the role of elected Panchayat Samitis at the community
development block/tehsil level as the basic unit of democratic decentralisation. Only an advi-
sory role was contemplated for the Zila Parishads constituted of panchayat samiti heads
chaired by the Collector. However, the legislation that followed the Committees Report basi-
cally continued the earlier enactments of Provincial Governments to re-iterate the three-tier
structure and provide for over-riding powers of the State Government acting through the Col-
lector. The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments in 1992-93 have ushered in the present
phase where panchayats are described as institutions of local self-government, and are ex-
pected to prepare plans for economic development and social justice. There are now ap-
proximately 250,000 Gram Panchayats, 6500 Panchayat Samitis and 500 Zila Parishads
duly elected and governed by State legislation. To function effectively, these require
rationalisation of the district and sub-district administrative apparatus consistent with the
State level Conformity Acts.
The Amendments inserted Parts IX relating to panchayats and IX A relating to municipalities
in the Constitution. Articles 243-243O and 243P - 243ZG of the Constitution are in the nature
of basic provisions supplemented by laws of the respective States, which define the details
as to the powers and functions of the various organs. All States have enacted new Acts or
incorporated changes in their existing Acts in conformity with the 73rd and 74th Amendments.
Although expectations have been raised by providing Constitutional status to the PRIs, in
actual practice, at the operational level, they appear to have been saddled with a variety of
problems. There are many impediments affecting the functioning of the PRIs in several States
with regard to structural pattern, composition of Panchayats, organic linkages between PRIs,
electoral process, concept of rotation in the case of reserved seats, devolution of powers and
functions, bureaucratic control over local bodies etc. It is useful to analyse some of the legal
issues surrounding the implementation of the Act and examine the need to have a further
amendment to revitalise PRIs so as to make them vibrant. The constitution of Panchayats as
mandated under the Act has also posed problems in some States. Under Article 243C (2), all
the seats in a panchayat shall be filled by persons chosen by direct election from territorial
constituencies in the panchayat area. Prior to the Act, some States had intermediate level
panchayats consisting only of the elected representatives representing that area in the village
as well as district panchayats. While the Chairman of this panchayat was directly elected in
some States, in some other States the chairperson of this intermediate panchayat was either
elected from among the members or nominated by the State government. There is debate
regarding whether direct elections should be held to constitute the panchayats at all the three
levels or whether the intermediate panchayat at least can be constituted by nomination of the
concerned elected members belonging to the other two tiers. A related issue rose in a recent
Constitutional Amendment proposal is whether we could restrict direct elections to the village
level only and have the village and intermediate panchayats elect members who will represent
them in the next higher level panchayats. While this may provide an organic linkage between
the different tiers of the system, it may not perhaps satisfy the democratic norms for
decentralisation, by diluting the element of direct democracy at the district level.
Q. 3. Discuss the concept of empowerment. Also examine the problems and
constraints in achieving empowerment.
Ans. How empowerment is understood varies among these perspectives. In recent
empowerment literature, the meaning of the term empowerment is often assumed rather than
explained or defined. As a general definition, however, we can suggest that empowerment is
a multi-dimensional social process that helps people gain control over their own lives. It is a
process that fosters power (that is, the capacity to implement) in people, for use in their own
lives, their communities, and in their society, by acting on issues that they define as important.
The Government of India in its country report presented at Fourth World Conference on Women
at Beijing defined empowerment as working from a portion of enforced powerlessness to
one of power. It explained that it would promote womens inherent strength and positive self-
image. According to Promila Kapur, empowerment is a process in which women gain greater
share of control over resources. Keller and Mbewe define empowerment as a process in
which women are able to assert their independent right to make choice, to organize themselves
to increase their own self-reliance, and to control resources which will assist in challenging
and eliminating their own subordination. Empowerment makes people free to explore the
best way of doing things.
Need for Empowerment
Studies of decentralisation have shown that devolution of authority can enhance systems
of local governance in a number of ways. First, the establishment and empowerment of local
resource user groups (delegation or privatization) can improve the ways in which local people
manage and use natural resources, thereby improving the resource base on which poor people
are often disproportionately dependent. Such arguments are generally made in relation to
the provision of local public goods, such as common pool resources or local credit
organizations. Second, and related to this, collaboration between public agencies and local
resource users can produce synergistic outcomes, in which citizens and civil servants
cooperate to provide goods that would be unobtainable they were acting alone. Classic
examples of this would include joint forest management, fisheries co-management and
participatory watershed management.The democratization and empowerment of local
administrative bodies can enhance participation in decision-making fora, particularly among
groups that have traditionally been marginalized by local political processes. The reduction
of poverty and the empowerment of poor and politically marginal groups in India have been
strongly associated with each other.
Empowerment: National Attempts
Since independence, several legal measures were taken in India, which improved the
status of women, SCs/STs and OBCs in India. The Indian Constitution guaranteed them equal
rights of participation in the political process (Arts, 325 and 326) as well as equal opportunity
and rights in education and employment (Arts, 14,15,16 (2) and 17). Moreover, the Directive
Principles of State Policy has set special provisions for improving womens status in our
country (Articles 39(a), 39(d), 39(c) and 42). These provide reservations in jobs and admission
to educational institutions. An exclusive Department of Women and Child Development was
set up for this purpose in 1983; as well as Women Development Corporations in 1986-87;
Support to Training and Employment Programme was launched in 1987; National
Commission for women was established in 1990; Rashtriya Mahila Kosh in 1993 was set up
to meet the credit needs of poor women; etc. moreover, a National Commission for SCs and
STs has been established to investigate and monitor all matters relating to their safeguards
as well as a National Commission for Backward Classes has also been set up.
Empowerment: Grassroots Initiatives
The 73rd and 74th Constitution Amendment Acts, 1992 are the most important initiatives
in this direction. They provided one-third reservation of seats for women in the Panchayati
Raj Institutions and municipal bodies of our country [(Arts 243 d(3) and 243 t(3)]. Moreover,
these Acts also provide that not less than one-third of such reserved seats shall be reserved
for SC and ST women as the case may be. Apart from this, seats are also reserved for the
office of the Chairpersons in the rural as well as urban bodies. However, reservation for OBC
has not yet been mandated by the Act. In this case, the States have been given discretion.
Empowerment: Operational Framework
One of the most important aims of the third generation of panchayats in India is
empowerment. Debal K. Singharoy notes that this process gives an opportunity for a
transformation in the pre-existing structural arrangements of society that legitimize the structure
of subordination of women and the marginalized groups. At present, both the Panchayati Raj
Institutions (PRIs) and the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) have taken intensive and extensive
experimentation in this direction. The process has shown that the participation of women,
SCs/STs and OBCs in these bodies is considered essential not only for ensuring their political
participation in the democratic process but also for realizing the developmental goals for
them in our country. George Mathew asserts that the 73rd and 74th Amendment Acts do
provide psychological empowerment but a constitutional provision is only a necessary and
enabling step which should be followed by effective measures for their upliftment. The electoral
results in terms of womens participation has been very encouraging in certain cases. It has
been observed that in many cases, the percentage of women who got elected to the PRIs
exceeded the reserved quota. In February 2006, the NDA government in Bihar made a
provision by an ordinance to reserve 50 per cent seats for women and also OBCs in proportion
to their population. The participation of women in the ULBs is more or less show similar
trends. For example, a study on empowerment of women in Punjab indicates that womens
participation in the three corporations, viz., Jalandhar, Amritsar and Ludhiana, had been quite
impressive. In the 1997 elections, 63 women had been elected as Municipal Councillors in
these three corporations. In 2002, the elections to the urban local bodies of Kerala proved
that given an opportunity, women are capable of assuming powerful positions and making
meaningful decisions and implementing them too.
The 73rd Amendment, which is based on one of the major directive principles of the State
policy enshrined in the Article 40 of the Constitution the States shall take steps to organise
panchayats and vest them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable
them to function as units of self-government; the spirit behind this measure is to instal effective
institutions of self-government at the local level. Article 243(g) widely empowers these bodies
to enjoy devolution of powers and responsibilities with regard to (a) preparation of plans for
economic development and social justice (b) implementation of schemes for the above relating
to matters listed in the 11th Schedule. The implicit requirement is that most of the functions/
activities now being performed by the state government agencies at the local level have to be
withdrawn from them and handed over to the panchayats together with functional autonomy
and adequate resources in discharging those activities. But, in most of the states this has not
happened. Often, there is a tendency to look at panchayats as another extension of the field
machinery of the state government.
Urban local bodies/municipalities play an important role in the planning and development
of urban areas. However, most studies undertaken to assess the functioning of municipalities
in India point out that the performance of municipalities in the discharge of their duties has
continued to deteriorate over time. It is noted that municipalities in India are confronted with a
number of problems, such as inefficiency in the conduct of business, ineffective participation
by the weaker sections of the population in local governance, weak financial condition, lack
of transparency in the planning and implementation of projects, etc. which affect their
performance adversely. It is also learnt that the municipalities are confronted with a number of
problems, despite the amendments in the State Municipal Acts and the implementation of the
74th Constitutional Amendment Act provisions. For instance, in several States, there exists a
problem of ineffective participation in the decision-making process despite adoption of the
policy of reservation, delays in the transfer of funds to the municipalities despite constitution
of State Finance Commissions, poor recovery from various tax and non-tax sources despite
devolution of powers, etc. It is further learnt that there is an influence of various social, economic
and political factors on the functioning of municipalities in India. Considering these local-level
issues of governance as relevant, it is essential to examine the impact of the Constitution
(74th Amendment) Act in different states of India.
In this study, the impact of the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act is assessed for a total
of twenty-seven States and one Union Territory (UT) of India. The state of Jammu and Kashmir
was not included in the study. The National Capital Territory of Delhi, which is classified as a
Union Territory by the 2001 Census of India, has been covered in this study. The main problem
faced in assessing the impact of the 74th Amendment Act was the non-availability of data on
some aspects of the 74th Amendment Act provisions. This problem was noted especially in
the case of most north-eastern states and the newly created states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand
and Uttarakhand. There are a number of states where desegregated data on the number of
male and female councilors/chairpersons belonging to SC, ST, BC and general category are
not maintained properly. Similarly, adequate information is not maintained on the devolution
of functional responsibilities and financial powers to ULBs.
Q. 4. Examine the factors influencing peoples preferences for distribution of
Ans. Fairness is a normative issue, which means that it involves judgements about what
is good and what is bad. As a result, economists cannot claim special expertise on this issue.
They often rely on arguments from philosophers when they discuss fairness, and they hold
widely diverse beliefs. Economic analysis suggests that people earn different amounts of
income both because they have different goals and different abilities. One view is that fairness
means everyone should have an equal opportunity to succeed. In this view, process matters-
-not results. This position sees economic life as a race. In any race, some people are faster
than others. As long as all contestants face the same rules, the race is fair even though some
win and others lose. Some people fail in the economic game and have low incomes because
they made mistakes or were unlucky or did not have enough ability. Yet their failure does not
mean that the system is unfair, provided that no one erected obstacles in their path.
A completely different view is the egalitarian position, which judges results--not process.
It argues that more equality of income is always better than less, and that the best of all
possible worlds is one of complete equality. John Rawls has developed an influential
justification of egalitarian positions using the notion of the social contract, an idea that Thomas
Hobbes and John Locke made famous in the 17th century.
A third view-point suggests that income should be determined on the basis of need. To
implement the need approach there must be some way of measuring need. This measurement
is most practical in small-group situations, that is, within groups where members know each
other well and where members have the same goals. It is hard to implement in large groups of
strangers who do not know each other well and who may disagree radically about which
goals are worth attaining.
In a British survey around 95 per cent believe the fairness ideology it means that they work
hard to earn more and generally they dont work without getting extra perks. Even in Swedish
survey also confirm this opportunity based economic criteria. Americans believe that if you
give the salaries according to their need only then it become disastrous for the work because
then people generally will not work hard. In survey, one thing becomes obvious that most of
the people believe in income inequality. They believe that they have different ability to work so
that they have right to gain unequal amount. And thus these economic inequalities that serve
to reward and motivate people and that recognize skill and training.
Results of the Finding
In a market economy the ability of people to obtain goods and services depends, with
some exceptions, on the marginal productivity of the resources they hold. The most important
resource is a persons ability to work (human capital) but others are ownership of natural
resources and capital. Those who hold resources that are highly valued will earn large incomes,
whereas those who hold no valuable resources earn little or no income.
Modern societies have taken aspects of all three viewpoints and established them as
public policy. Income taxes are progressive; that is, they take greater percentages of income
from those with big incomes than from those with small incomes. This policy can be justified
from an equal results point of view. Two Employment laws require equal pays for equal work.
The employer is prohibited from taking factors such as personal need of an employee into
account in establishing pay. These laws make sense from an equal opportunity point of view.
Finally, tax laws and some transfer payments favour families with more children and higher
medical bills. The need view-point can justify this aspect of taxes.
Adam SwiftEquality Index
In discussions of inequality by philosophers and social scientists, a distinction is commonly
made between two kinds of equality: equality of outcomes (or condition) and equality of
opportunity. When we turn to the question of the distribution of rewards in society at large, we
find that people in developed societies have a strong preference for equality of opportunity
over equality of outcome. When they are asked, the great majority of people disagree with a
statement like: The fairest way of distributing wealth and income would be to give everyone
equal shares. But when given the statement: Its fair if people have more money or wealth,
but only if there are equal opportunities many more people agree than disagree. In Britain,
the USA, and Germany, over 70 per cent more people agree than disagree with that statement
(Marshall, Swift and Roberts 1999: 246).
The idea of social mobility is closely linked to the concept of equality of opportunity: it is
widely held that if there were greater equality of opportunity there would be more social mobility
and, conversely, that more social mobility indicates greater equality of opportunity.
What we mean by equality of opportunity depends on which opportunities we are thinking
about and what we understand by equality. As social scientists the opportunities that most
often concern us relate to income or earnings or occupational status or social class. But in
any case, strictly equalizing opportunities for these, or any other relevant outcome, is a stringent
requirement because it seeks to enact the principle that inequalities resulting from responsible
choices are just, while those due to factors beyond peoples control are not.
Equality of opportunity Swift writes, does not require us to compensate for differential
luck of the kind that is constitutive of who people are. It requires only the removal of the social
barriers and silver spoons that prevent people from competing on level terms with those
constituted like them. He continues: The distinction that mattersare between those
mechanisms that, although a matter of differential luck, are constitutive of the individual and
those that are not.
Indian Scenario
On 15 August, 1947, India woke to a new dawn of freedom: finally we were masters of our
own destiny after some two hundred years of British rule. The leaders of independent India
had to decide, among other things, the type of economic system most suitable for our nation,
a system which would promote the welfare of all rather than a few. There are different types of
economic systems and among them, socialism appealed to Jawaharlal Nehru the most.
However, he was not in favour of the kind of socialism established in the former Soviet Union
where all the means of production, were owned by the government. There was no private
property. It is not possible in a democracy like India for the government to change the ownership
pattern of land and other properties of its citizens in the way that it was done in the former
Soviet Union.
Nehru, and many other leaders and thinkers of the newly independent India, sought an
alternative to the extreme versions of capitalism and socialism. Basically sympathising with
the socialist outlook, they found the answer in an economic system which, in their view,
combined the best features of socialism without its drawbacks. In this view, India would be a
socialist society with a strong public sector but also with private property and democracy;
the government would plan for the economy with the private sector being encouraged to be
part of the plan effort. The Industrial Policy Resolution of 1948 and the Directive Principles of
the Indian Constitution reflected this outlook. In 1950, the Planning Commission was set up
with the Prime Minister as its Chairperson. The era of five year plans had begun.
A plan should have some clearly specified goals. The goals of the five year plans are:
growth, modernisation, self-reliance and equity. This does not mean that all the plans have
given equal importance to all these goals. Due to limited resources, a choice has to be made
in each plan about which of the goals is to be given primary importance. Nevertheless, the
planners have to ensure that, as far as possible, the policies of the plans do not contradict
these four goals.
Now growth, modernization and self-reliance, by themselves, may not improve the kind of
life which people are living. A country can have high growth; the most modern technology
developed in the country itself, and also have most of its people living in poverty. It is important
to ensure that the benefits of economic prosperity reach the poor sections as well instead of
being enjoyed only by the rich. So, in addition to growth, modernisation and self-reliance,
equity is also important: every Indian should be able to meet his or her basic needs such as
food, a decent house, education and health care and inequality in the distribution of wealth
should be reduced.
In 1991, a crisis in the balance of payments led to the introduction of economic reforms in
the country. Economic liberalization in India in the 1990s and first decade of the 21st century
led to large changes in the economy.
Q. 7. Disucss Intra-governmental tier responsibilities as per the 11th Schedule of
the Constitution.
Ans. At local level, decentralised planning is being carried out by Institutions of Self-gov-
ernance (ISGs) which are known locally as Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI). The main re-
sponsibility of these PRIs is to accelerate the pace of development and involve all people in
this process so that the felt needs of the people and their development aspirations are ful-
filled. The constitution and functions of these PRIs at different levels are as follows:
At Village Level: To prepare Village Data Inventory (VDI), convene Gram Sabha
(Elected body of cluster of 1/5 villages having 700-1200 adult population) meetings,
list out the felt needs of the village, prioritise the needs on the basis of resources available
and prepare a village plan to be submitted to Panchayat Samiti (Elected body at Block
At Block Level: To prepare Block Data Inventory (BDI), aggregate all village plans,
identifying activities covering more than one Gram Panchayat (Elected body of cluster
of 10-15 Gram Sabhas) and prepare block level plan to be submitted to the District
At District Level: To consolidate all block plans, disaggregate them by item, year and
cost (according to their link with rural development programmes and sectoral
programmes of the State and Federal Governments), distribute the activities to different
local governmental departments sector wise and finally prepare the district plan to be
presented before the district planning committee for finalization and approval for both
Perspective plan and Annual Action plan.
The Local Government Departments work as executives to the Institutions of Self-
governance at different levels. Tasks to be accomplished by rural local bodies (i.e. panchayat)
under 73rd Amendments Acts are given below:
Agriculture, including agriculture extension.
Land improvement, implementation of land reforms, land consolidation and soil
Minor irrigation, water management watershed development.
Animal husbandry, dairying and poultry.
Social forestry and farm forestry.
Minor forest produce.
Small scale industries, including food processing industries.
Khadi, village and collage industries.
Rural Housing.
Drinking water.
Fuel and fodder.
Roads, culverts, brides, ferries, waterways, and other means of communication.
Rural electrification including distribution of electricity.
Non-conventional energy sources.
Poverty alleviation programme.
Education, including primary and secondary schools.
Adult and non-formal education.
Cultural activities.
Markets and fairs.
Health and sanitation, including hospitals, primary health centers and dispensaries.
Family welfare.
Woman and child development.
Social welfare including welfare of the handicapped and mentally retarded.
Welfare of the weaker sections, and in particular, of the Scheduled castes and the
Scheduled tribes.
Public distribution system.
Maintenance of community assets.
Q. 8. Briefly highlight the different requirements in Development Planning.
Ans. Since the 1970s the Indian government has made poverty reduction a priority in its
development planning. Policies have focused on improving the poor standard of living by
ensuring food security, promoting self-employment through greater access to assets, increasing
wage employment and improving access to basic social services. Launched in 1965, Indias
Public Distribution System has helped meet peoples basic food needs by providing rations
at subsidized prices. Although it has affected less than 20% of the poors food purchases, the
system has been important in sustaining peoples consumption of cereals, especially in periods
of drought. It has provided women and girls with better access to food and helped overcome the
widespread discrimination against female consumption within households. It has also reduced
the burden of women, who are responsible for providing food for the household.
Issues in Rural Development: Rural Development in India is an important segment of
economic development. Rural India is real India. Over 76 per cent of the total population of
India lives in villages. Rural India still contributes about half of the national income. Agriculture
is the basic occupation which sustains the rural areas. Rural development is not simply an
economic proposition; it has social, psychological and cultural dimensions as well. It is a
multi-dimensional as well as multi-directional concept. To be precise, rural development is a
programme designed to improve the socio-economic living conditions o the rural poor. It
aims also at raising their cultural level and reorienting their rich traditions. It seeks to achieve
increase rural production and productivity, greater socio-economic equity and a higher standard
of living for the rural poor. It is partly ameliorative and partly development-oriented. Development
is interlinked with motivation, innovation and the active participation of the beneficiaries, inter
alia, this calls for organization and management. Rural development rcognises the importance
of improved food supplies and nutrition, as well as the importance of such basic services as
health, housing, education and expanded communications, which will go a long way in
enhancing the productivity of the rural poor. Moreover, it aims at providing gainful employment,
so that the rural people too may contribute their mite to the national product. Rural development
implies a fuller development of existing resources, including the construction of infrastructure,
such as roads and irrigation works, the introduction of new production technology, the revival
of traditional arts and crafts, and the creation of new types of institutions and organizations.
Agriculture: The government has initiated, sustained, and refined many programmes
since independence to help the poor attain self-sufficiency in food production. Probably the
most important initiative has been the supply of basic commodities, particularly food at
controlled prices, available throughout the country. The poor spend about 80 per cent of their
income on food while the rest of the population spends more than 60 per cent. The price of
food is a major determinant of wage scales. Often when food prices rise sharply, rioting and
looting follow. Until the late 1970s, the government frequently had difficulty obtaining adequate
grain supplies in years of poor harvests. During those times, states with surpluses of grain
were cordoned off to force partial sales to public agencies and to keep private traders from
shipping grain to deficit areas to secure very high prices; state governments in surplus-grain
areas were often less than cooperative. After the late 1970s, the central government, by holding
reserve stocks and importing grain adequately and early, maintained sufficient supplies to
meet the increased demand during drought years. It also provided more remunerative prices
to farmers.
Employment Generation: In rural areas, the government has undertaken programmes
to mitigate the worst effects of adverse monsoon rainfall, which affects not only farmers but
village artisans and traders when the price of grain rises. The government has supplied water
by financing well digging and, since the early 1980s, by power-assisted well drilling; rescinded
land taxes for drought areas; tried to maintain stable food prices; and provided food through
a food-for-work programme. The actual work accomplished through food-for-work
programmes is often a secondary consideration, but useful projects sometimes result.
Employment is offered at a low daily wage, usually paid in grain, the rationale being that only
the truly needy will take jobs at such low pay.
Human Resource Development: In our search for greater efficiency for setting and
pursuing developmental goals, training of manpower becomes an important working tool. In
the context of decentralized planning in particular, a well conceived capacitation programme
assumes greater significance. There are certain subject areas: concepts, methods and
techniques, institutional framework, general planning procedures, basic exercises and case
studies, which may be deemed as the essential knowledge and skills that have to be
disseminated catering to the target groups. To increase the production of goods and services
the producers have to adopt new technology.
Rural Credit: A major change occurred after 1969 when India adopted social banking
and multiagency approach to adequately meet the needs of rural credit. Later, the National
Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NBARD) was set up in 1982 as an apex body to
coordinate the activities of all institutions involved in the rural financing system. The Green
Revolution was a harbinger of major changes in the credit system as it led to the diversification
of the portfolio of rural credit towards production-oriented lending.
The largest credit-based government poverty reduction programme in the world, the
Integrated Rural Development Programme provides rural households below the poverty line
with credit to purchase income-generating assets. Launched in 1979, the programme has
supplied subsidized credit to such groups as small and marginalized farmers, agricultural
labourers, rural artisans, the physically handicapped, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
Within this target population, 40% of the beneficiaries are supposed to be women. Although
the programme has reached 51 million families, only 27% of the borrowers have been women.
The programme has significantly increased the income of 57% of assisted families.
Public Administration: It is now realised that no planning process could hope to succeed
purely on bureaucratic lines. It is essential to associate the people with the planning process
at all levels. Even though there are problems never the less there is very little doubt that the
planning process must be sustained by the fullest possible participation of the people. Public
participation in planning depends upon several conditions. First of all, the people should be
aware of the functioning of the process. In other words information is essential if people are to
participate. Secondly, there must be a machinery which enables people to participate
meaningfully in the planning process. Thirdly, people must feel that their participation is not a
formality but that they have the ability to influence the functioning of the process. These three
conditions can be met only when there is a reasonable degree of decentralization of the
planning process, it is most unlikely that people will participate.
Issues in Urban Planning: Urban Planning is a discipline which syntheses inputs from
various disciplines into an integrated plan of action for integrating and shaping the natural
and built environment to achieve a desirable quality of life in urban areas, keeping in view
resource constraints. Urban Planning can be defined as the design and regulation of the
uses of space that focus on the physical form, economic functions, and social impacts of the
urban environment and on the location of different activities within it. The heavy shifts of
population are the result of the lack of adequate employment opportunities in the villages and
the attraction of relatively high wages and amenities in the towns. Unemployment and particularly
underemployment in agriculture stimulates this tendency. In the federal structure of the Indian
polity, the matters pertaining to the housing and urban development have been assigned by
the Constitution of India to the State Governments. The Constitution (74th Amendment) Act
have further delegated many of these functions to the urban local bodies. The constitutional
and legal authority of the Government of India is limited only to Delhi and other Union Territories
and to the subject which State Legislatures authorise the Union Parliament to legislate. However,
the provisions of the Constitution notwithstanding, the Government of India plays a much
more important role and exercise a larger influence to shape the policies and programmes of
the country as a whole. The national policy issues are decided by the Government of India
which also allocates resources to the State Governments through various centrally sponsored
schemes, provides finances through national financial institutions and supports various external
assistance programmes for housing and urban development in the country as a whole. Policies
and programme contents are decided at the time of formulation of Five Year Plans. The
indirect effect of the fiscal, economic and industrial location decisions of the Government of
India exercise a far more dominant influence on the pattern of urbanization and real estate
investment in the country. The goal of any Perspective Plan is to guide towards achievement
of a better quality of human life for the urban population as well as the population residing in
adjoining hinterland subject to resource constraints. Quality of human life is a derivative of
several complex functions, therefore, a set of desired objectives need to be formulated for
accomplishment of the broad goal. Urban Development Strategies already outlined in the
10th Plan stresses on improved quality of life in urban areas with particular focus on the poor
and other under-privileged section of the population. It also stresses towards meeting these
ends within an environmentally sustainable framework. This planning initiative will endeavour
to provide a sustainable and operational framework for suitable strategies, policies, and
priorities for resource planning to achieve the desired objective of socio-economic and physical
development of the people through enhancement of quality of life by providing equal access
to improved social and physical infrastructure and proper planning and management of the
development process by ensuring proper conservation of environment heritage and culture.
Environmental Protection: As per 12th Schedule (Article 243 W) Clause 8 of the
Constitution of India, it is mandatory for all Municipal Corporations to protect the environment
and promotion of ecological aspects. Thus, as a regulatory and controlling authority for the
development of the cities, the municipal corporations have to play major role in this scenario.
Indias goal is the protection of Indias ecological security through the following broad
programme objectives:
Ensuring conservation of the countrys bio-diversity, major eco-systems and critical
Minimising wasteful consumption and promotion of sustainable and wise use of natural
resources by all sectors of society.
Promoting the active involvement of rural and traditional communities in the sustainable
management and conservation of natural resources.
Working towards reduction in the sources and impacts of climate change.
Minimising pollution, reducing the use of toxic chemicals and ensuring improved
management of toxic waste.
Enhancing active participation of all sections of society in nature conservation and
environmental protection through environmental education, awareness raising and capacity
Ensuring that environmental principles are integrated into development planning, policy
and practices.
Promoting environmental governance through legiglation, policy and advocacy.
In India, the promotion of environmental quality and management began with the Fourth
Five Year Plan in 1969. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, (1974) and Air
(Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, (1981) were meant to restore and maintain the
environment. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the State pollution control
boards were established by these acts to implement their provisions. Spurred by declining
environmental quality and the Bhopal Gas Disaster, the Environment (Protection) Act, (1986)
was enacted to empower the Central Government to take necessary measures to preserve
and improve the environment. Subsequently, the 1948 Factories Act was amended with a
new chapter on regulating hazardous industrial processes. Amendments were made to the
Air Act and Water Act which further empowered environmental agencies and strengthened
penal provisions. A host of legislative, administrative and judicial initiatives have since been
launched to protect the environment. Despite the progress made under the Command and
Control Regulations, the environment is rapidly degrading. A recent World Bank Study
estimates that environmental damage in India amounts to US $ 9.7 billion (Rs. 34 million
crore) per year or 4.5 per cent of Indias Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The 1995 Economic
Survey indicates that 90 per cent of water in 241 large cities is polluted. Moreover, 54 per
cent of the urban and 97 per cent of the rural population has no sanitation facilities.
Disaster Management: Five Year Plan documents have, historically, not included
consideration of issues relating to the management and mitigation of natural disasters. The
traditional perception has been limited to the idea of Calamity relief, which is seen essentially
as a non-plan item of expenditure. However, the impact of major disasters cannot be mitigated
by the provision of immediate relief alone, which is the primary focus of calamity relief efforts.
Disasters can have devastating effects on the economy; they cause huge human and economic
losses, and can significantly set-back development efforts of a region or a State. Two recent
disasters, the Orissa Cyclone and the Gujarat Earthquake, are cases in point. With the kind
of economic losses and developmental setbacks that the country has been suffering year
after year, the development process needs to be sensitive towards disaster prevention and
mitigation aspects. There is thus need to look at disasters from a development perspective
as well Further, although disaster management is not generally associated with plan financing,
there are in fact a number of plan schemes in operation, such as for drought proofing,
afforestation, drinking water, etc. which deal with the prevention and mitigation of the impact
of natural disasters. External assistance for post-disaster reconstruction and streamlining of
management structures also is a part of the Plan. A specific, centrally sponsored scheme on
disaster management also exists. The plan thus already has a defined role in dealing with the