ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Cooperatising Medical Care

Andhra Pradesh government's move to transfer the running of government hospitals to cooperative societies is not based on the actual experience of the working of medical cooperatives in India. The sustainability and cost-effectiveness of health cooperatives are yet to be studied systematically. Kerala's experience at any rate is distinctly discouraging.

Madhya Pradesh: Experiment with Direct Democracy

The potential space for change provided by gram swaraj remains underutilised and the new system has languished, partly because of inconsistent support from the state government.

Education Guarantee Scheme and Primary Schooling in Madhya Pradesh

This paper presents the results of a field study of public schools in Betul and Dewas districts of Madhya Pradesh. The study aims to document the functioning of public schools, whether created by the Education Guarantee Scheme or not and to understand the consequences of the reforms on the links between education and rural society and on the development of private schools. While the results may not be representative of all of rural Madhya Pradesh, they provide an accurate picture of the situation in two areas atypical of the settings targeted by EGS, viz, adivasi villages and dalit hamlets.

Taxation and Poverty Eradication

Development, Poverty and Fiscal Policy: Decentralisation of Institutions edited by M Govinda Rao; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2002; pp xvi+358, Rs 595 .

Comparative Panchayat Systems

State Politics and Panchayats in India by Buddhadeb Ghosh and Girish Kumar; Manohar Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, 2003; pp 243, Rs 475

Five Years of Participatory Planning in Kerala

Kerala's uniquely successful experiment in participatory planning has seen the mobilisation of several thousands of people in the implementation of the Ninth Five-Year Plan. The process had its problems that arose essentially from the absence of a clear perspective about decentralisation. The impact of changing policies following a change of government also has its effect on decentralised planning. An objective assessment of the plan campaign is hampered if viewed through the prism of partisan politics. This paper is also an attempt to look at the plan process from the perspective of decentralisation, rather than from the perspective of planning.

Challenges of Rural-Urban Classification for Decentralised Governance

Rural and urban areas under the new panchayat raj amendments will not only have to make their own plans but also generate some resources locally. This brings into sharp focus the many problems thrown up by the existing definitions of rural and urban areas which impinge on effective local governance.

Empowering Local Government

This paper examines the literature on the evolution of local government in eight western European countries in an attempt to find clues to what makes for successful devolution of power to local governments. It appears likely that rising incomes led to a greater demand for local public goods and also helped the citizenry to articulate this demand in a politically effective way. History may have played an important role by delaying, though not halting, the devolution of power to the local level in states which inherited centralised bureaucracies. While some of the pattern of evolution seems explicable, much remains to be understood, in particular why centralised absolutist states evolved so differently in Scandinavia as compared to France, Spain, and Italy.

Decentralisation and Local Accumulation

In China the phase of rapid growth was based on agriculture and other on-farm production which both reduced rural poverty and provided surpluses for industrial investment. But agriculture quickly came up against the barrier of diminishing returns - in the absence of technological change - and capital began to be diverted to other, more profitable investment activities. How has this drain of savings from rural to urban areas been reversed?

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