One year of decentralisation and turf wars in Kenya

Ken Opalo has a great post on decentralisation in Kenya. He writes:Kenya’s new government structure has 47 capitals handling billions of shillings each year. If all else fails, the system will at least create strong politically autonomous regional elites with sufficient power to check Nairobi. And that is a fantastic thing. Already a few governors (including … Continue reading One year of decentralisation and turf wars in Kenya

The federal roll-back

In my latest column for livemint, I highlight what I think was the most significant aspect of the 2014-15 union budget presented by Finance Minister, P Chidambaram. By announcing the intention to increase the plan assistance to states almost three-fold, the Government of India has made a major move towards empowering state governments and also … Continue reading The federal roll-back

Competitive politics and local governments

Last month, we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the landmark legislation on Panchayati Raj Institutions in India. The sweeping reforms were commended for their scale of ambition. However, as with any other reform idea aimed at overhauling the political system, local governments should not be seen as a panacea. Implemented wrong, local governments can lead … Continue reading Competitive politics and local governments

Panchayati raj institutions and the burden of expectations

My latest livemint column is upIn my last column (Why the traditional model of NGO-led development must end), I argued that NGOs must cede the space for providing services to panchayati raj institutions (PRIs). Already, most of the government’s flagship schemes have roles for gram panchayats—to either manage funds or manage the implementation processes determining the … Continue reading Panchayati raj institutions and the burden of expectations

Local governance under attack

My latest livemint article is up - on how local governments are under attack - day in and day out from an entrenched bureaucracy -Recently a small news item mentioned a ruling by the Additional Collector, Yavatmal district, sacking 664 Gram Panchayat members from various Panchayats for failing to construct a toilet in their homes. … Continue reading Local governance under attack

Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan: beyond the hype

In my latest livemint article, I write about Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) which is the new avataar of the Total Sanitation Campaign...those who expected a clear expression of policy-intent and innovative implementation strategies are probably disappointed with the end-product. The new scheme does little by way of increasing the government’s financial commitment on the ground; … Continue reading Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan: beyond the hype