Saturday, June 1, 2013

Self-governance imperative for development: Dr.JP

Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today thrashed the contention of Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor that Mahatma Gandhi's concept of a village-centric development model is an "unrealistic" goal in the current age of globalization and communication.

In a media statement, Dr. JP pointed out that Mr. Shashi Tharoor was blurring the distinction between economic self-reliance and self-governance. In the contemporary globalized world, no nation, leave alone a village. can be self-reliant. Despite their technological prowess, even highly developed countries like the U. S., Germany and China are dependent on countries around the world for raw materials, products and services. Such interdependence enables every nation to reap the benefits of comparative advantage.

Economic interdependence is, however, different from self-governance, Dr. JP said, and added that local governments not only in countries like the U. S. and Germany but even in China are all powerful. Even in India, villages and municipalities when armed with powers, resources and personnel have recorded spectacular development. Visionary leadership in Alandur, a small town in Tamil Nadu, pioneered a local sewerage system and transformed people’s lives. Similarly, Dr. Verghese Kurien unleashed a white revolution in the country through cooperative dairies which blended the concepts of both economic interdependence and self-governance.

Dr. JP said that decentralization of powers and devolution of resources on local communities and making them accountable will contribute to the country’s progress, prosperity and peace.

It will lead to the emergence of a crop of new leaders and not necessarily the sons and daughters of present politicians.

Violence and naxalism will disappear. Naxalites, after all are disgruntled young Indians and not some alien creatures. If given resources and opportunities, they will become part of a solution and not a problem. From naxalism to secessionism – all can be curbed when people have greater measure of control over their lives through local governments. When they have control over resources, local communities can prioritize works depending local needs. In contrast, when power is centralized, those at the helm throw priorities to winds and focus on schemes that fetch them votes. Decentralization will thus put an end to fiscal profligacy too, Dr. JP said.

Local governments, if they are properly empowered, establish clear links between the citizens’ vote and public good, and ensure fusion of authority with accountability. “We need recognition of economic inter-dependence, as well as empowered and accountable local governments, if we are to prosper as a nation and find our due place in global community” Dr JP said.

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