My latest learning

“Traditional wisdom calls for capacity building of lower tiers and then giving power to them in degrees to match the improvements in capacity. But real and effective decentralisation probably calls for a big bang approach – functions, powers and resources are transferred at one go. If decentralisation is effected in one fell blow the suddenness would stun potential dissenters into silent acceptance; before people realize what they have lost, decentralization would have become a fait accompli. The ‘reversals’ – of giving responsibility and then building capacity, of giving powers and then creating procedures and systems, of giving funds and then setting up umpiring systems – help in another way. If an authority transfers a lot of responsibilities and funds considerable pressure would build on the establlishment from various sides to ensure that the responsibilities are carried out effectively and the funds are utilized properly. It would then become that very establishment’s responsibility to ensure that decentralization works.”

Studies say this worked in Kerala’s politics. It seems to have worked with Dhoni and Team India. Would some of the “banyan trees” of this world take notice?


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