Decentralization and the Saga of Corruption
The growth of democracy and parliamentary institutions in India are legacies of the British rule. This is not to say that participatory government was unknown to India. We are aware of the existence of many bodies which aided and advised the King on several aspects of the State. But the idea of elections and the prominence of elected bodies in the governance of the State is undoubtedly an adapted Western concept. It need not hurt our patriotic pride to accept the fact that the democratic ideals and institutions in India were borrowed from the West. But implementation of such ideals in order to be effective must take into account the indigenous conditions – the vast social, cultural and religious diversity of the country. The growth of democratic institutions in India saw the recommendations of the Commission and the consequent 73rd and 74th Amendment Acts ushering in an era of decentralization through a three tier Raj system. Decentralization process in India has gone a long way but the process is not complete, in the sense, that the participation of the poor and the disadvantaged sections of the society in local democracy (PRI and ULB) is yet to be institutionalized. The merits and demerits of the decentralization process continue to be a red hot topic in various forums. One demerit pointed out is the prevalence of corruption. Has decentralization made corruption broad-based in the country? Has the tentacles of corruption permeated from the elite to the poor? The paper attempts to examine the various facets of corruption vis-à-vis the decentralization process.
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