-The Times of India
RANCHI: Decentralisation is the need of the hour but what are the limitations in its implementation and how the media can be roped in this whole process to create an awareness among the common masses were some of the areas where speakers delved in the two-day programme.
The workshop called "Media capacity building workshop" was organized by the Centre and UN joint programme on convergence concluded here on Monday here.
T R Raghunandan, former IAS officer of Karnataka cadre talked about the faults in the decentralized planning process and the reality where the concept is facing problems at implementation level.
"Decentralized planning is a constant battle inside. At times there is wrong publicity given to Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI's) and there is conspiracy of silence regarding good PRI work. Its here where the media can be an effective mirror in creating awareness."
Adding further to the problem area he said, "Most funds are tied to programmes with rigid conditions with little scope for inclusion of local issues. The priorities in budget allocation are like wish lists as most plans are just put together hurriedly.Decentralization is a bad political strategy, the evidence is Madhya Pradesh where Digvijay Singh tried to implement and it it turned to be a big failure for him. The Jharkhand state has Jharkhand Panchayati Raj Act 2001.The need here is just to build the foundation."
As far as foundation is concerned the vision will need assessment of social inclusion. "Local priorities and perspectives should be included in various socio economic schemes and annual schemes," said Sundar N Mishra, decentralization expert at joint UN planning commission project.
Professor Ramesh Sharan from Ranchi University, who is also, an economist, said "There is problem of institutional overcrowding but we need changes like in money lending and excise. A struggle is needed for our rights. There are many laws but the need is to implement them properly."
Reiterating the demand of people's involvement Vipul Mudgal, director of inclusive media project said "Its time that we move to participative governance where people are involved equally in the planning process. People should have some mechanism to intervene in the wrong doings and decentralization is one of those mechanisms with tools like public hearing and social audit."