An Assessment of Needs of Rural People for Economic Development and Social Justice: A Case Study on the Role of Gram Sabha in Nellore District of Andhra Pradesh
Keywords:Gram Sabha, Local Self Governments, Local Administration.
The 73rd Constitutional Amendment provision empowers the gram sabha to function as a key institution of local self-governance, particularly significant for the economic development and social justice of its members. The gram sabha is the fulcrum for the local self-governance and devolution of the finances, functions, and functionaries is vital for the empowerment of people.
In this backdrop, this paper documents the outcome of the gram sabhas held in the coastal district, Nellore, covering 932 Gram Panchayats offers a baseline for implementation, planning and strategic changes for effective local self-governance. The study offers few policy suggestions including bringing all the grassroots level functionaries and elected representatives under the direct control of gram sabhas in addition to delegation of law enforcement functions to the gram sabhas to improve accountability. The paper lays a key emphasis on the need for increasing the territorial and demographic jurisdiction of local self-government institutions to make them financially sustainable to fulfill the constitutional intent for effective local self-governance. However, empowering the people through gram sabhas is not possible unless the existing both defacto and dejure challenges to strengthen the local governance units are not addressed.
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