Sunday, 11 January 2015

Local Finality in the governance system

One of many factors that has driven me and keeps driving me to pursue civil service is the condition of poverty stricken compatriots. Nothing squeezes my soul more than the sight of homeless people, people with less than two sets of meal. Poverty is the sin that we have to live amidst, it showcases the hypocrisy of human race and of humanity as a virtue. If one wants to feel the pain of this then read the heart-wrenching depiction of poverty and human hypocrisy in the Late Shri K.V.Puttappa's poetry rendition Kalki.

The state of poverty is not new to India or to the entire world. The various governments of independent India have taken many measures to alleviate people from poverty. The definitions of poverty line have changed many times since it was first laid down in 1970s, yet the pain, the struggle remains for many people across the nation. Governments under the aegis of social justice has laid out many social welfare programmes like Integrated Rural Development Programme, Rural Employment Guarantee Schemes, Self Employment Programmes like National Rural Livelihood Mission yet more than 50% of our population lives with an income of less than 2 USD per day. The programmes do not have any problems per se but they have failed to deliver the required results. Why?

India is a nation with diverse population belonging to different races, ethnicity, religion etc. There is geographical diversity as well. The diversity reflects in the needs and requirements of the people as well. The requirements of people from Haryana are different from the requirements of the people from Kerala. Here in lies the problem, various schemes aka programmes have been designed in a uniform manner at a centralized pedestal known as Planning Commission. PC theoretically, gets inputs from Panchayats and other grass root organizations but when you plan for entire nation than in the adventure of looking at the big picture the reality fades away. The plans, though good, fail to accommodate the needs of the people. For instance, the NRLM strives to promote income generation especially in the female fraternity. It does so by setting up of Self Help Groups and by imparting skill training. The programme has failed to flourish and deliver the desired results as it employed uniform approach throughout the country devoid of the regional or local requirements or needs. It especially failed in tribal dominated region as the officials failed to understand the differing culture of tribal people. This is a clear indication that we need to develop a decentralized system of governance.

The concept of decentralized governance system is not new to India. Gandhiji preached about Sarvoday through Antyodaya which means welfare of all can only be achieved when it includes welfare of the most oppressed sections of society. To inculcate this inclusive approach there is urgent need to align the policies of the government with the needs of the people. One of the examples of this can be taken from the 70 point manifesto drawn by the Aam Aadmi Party. The party volunteers conducted mohalla sabhas in different constituencies and arrived at different plans for the different constituencies based on the needs of the locals.

If only two out of ten people are susceptible to contract a disease then it does not make sense to give preventive medicine to all 10 people. It is sheer wastage of resources. It is time to realize that local problems should be solved locally- this is called local finality. Local finality in the governance system is the need of the hour. It is high time the government attends to the needs of the poor and the needy, else the poor will manifest into Kalki and the fire of their hunger will burn everything to ashes.