The rural-urban divide in India is stark when it comes to standards of living such as education, healthcare, sanitation and drinking water. To what extent, the anomaly in distribution of powers between centre and states is responsible for this? Analyze.

Published: April 21, 2018

The rural-urban divide is a challenging scenario for India. The division of powers has led to fragmented approach towards rural development.
73rd Amendment
The 73rd constitutional amendment gave a new vigor to the rural governance by ushering the democratic decentralisation. But the tussle between the central and state government led to dilution of provisions. As a result the local government has failed in effectively delivering its stated objectives.
Three tier governance
The tussle between the centre and state has resulted in the third tier of government the panchayats heavily dependent on the centre and state for funds. The urban centres which are economic powerhouses provide alternate finances but no such avenues exist for rural panchayats. As a result the drift between the rural and urban areas is widening.
Duplication of efforts
India lives in its villages. The competition between the state and central governments has often resulted in duplication of efforts and lack of focused approach.    
Distribution of subjects under 7th schedule
Vital subjects like public health are under state list. The states lack capacity and resources to cater to the needs efficiently. On the contrary the urban areas which offer economy of scale with relatively better infrastructure witnesses private sector filling the gap. The profit motive driven private sector is not ready to fill the gaps in rural areas as they do in urban areas. As a result the gap is increasing.
The separation of powers is not an end it itself. It is meant to serve the people in a better way. But this has led to a tussle adversely affecting the governance and the worst hit are rural areas which lack sufficient economic opportunities.

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