The implementation of decentralization reform as embodied in the 73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution has suffered from complete negligence. Critically discuss.

The 73rd and 74th amendments had made provisions for voluntary and mandatory subjects to be transferred to the local bodies. Most of the state government failed to transfer voluntary subjects to the local governments. Providing financial autonomy to local governments is one of the completely neglected factor by the states and it directly affected the implementation of decentralization in a proper way. Today, most panchayats continue to be treated as agencies of the State for implementation of prescribed schemes, even though essential services such as provision of drinking water, rural sanitation, preventive health and primary education are accepted as their legitimate core functions. They enjoy limited autonomy to perform the functions assigned to them. Due to these issues, the formation of local bodies has not changed the way decisions are taken at the central and the state level. Thus there has been little effective decentralization. The State Governments have created a large number of functional bodies in the form of development authorities, housing boards, slum development agencies and water and sanitation boards. The growth of these specialized agencies has weakened the authority of municipal bodies though it has constitutional backing.
As a result, local governments exist as over-structured but under-empowered organisations; suffering from lack of effective devolution of powers and functions from the State Governments which makes implementation of decentralization is a difficult task.

Question for UPSC Mains:
"The implementation of decentralization reform as embodied in the 73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution has suffered from complete negligence." Critically discuss.

Published: September 24, 2017 | Modified:October 15, 2020

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