Local Self-Governance

At present, there are 1200 local governments in Kerala, which includes 941 Grama Panchayats, 152 Block Panchayats, 14 District Panchayats, 87 Municipalities and 6 Municipal Corporations.  Kerala's experience with local self-government has been distinct in three important ways. First, financial devolution is more important in Kerala than elsewhere. Secondly, the part played by local bodies in formulating and implementing Plans is greater in Kerala than elsewhere. Thirdly, the extent of people's participation in development planning is greater than elsewhere. 
 
The first people's plan campaign broadened and deepened the process of democratic decentralization in the State. Subsequently, however, there has been criticism that people's participation has declined. The decentralization experiment has also been criticised for not having made a significant impact in the sphere of production, and for not effectively having drafted Five-Year Plans and basing annual plans on the larger view taken in five-year plans.
 
The State Government has now inaugurated the second People's Plan campaign. The XIII Five-Year Plan period will thus coincide with this important campaign. The State Planning Board will provide all support to local governments in the course of this campaign.
 
An important goal of the second campaign is to enhance production, particularly by means of nature-friendly agriculture and agro- and food-based manufacturing. Other leading areas in the present campaign, as mentioned elsewhere, are waste management and the restoration and revitalization of water-bodies.
 
During the period of the XIII Plan, local governments will take a watershed based approach to addressing problems related to agriculture, drinking water, and management of natural resources.
 
The State Planning Board emphasises the need for restoration of District Planning Committees to their rightful place in the process of planning and in drafting District Plans.
 
The second campaign will ensure that Five-Year Plans on decentralization are prepared. The new campaign proposes new methods of intervention in priority areas, making the expertise of different technical and professional agencies and individuals available to local bodies.
 
The XIII Plan will aim for a significant improvement in local resource mobilisation and will recommend combination of incentives to achieve the goals of people's planning. 
 
The XIII Plan will place high priority on the problems of urbanisation and urban planning and work towards a comprehensive action plan for urban development.
 
A combined effort involving local governments, the Kudumbashree mission, departments of the State Government, people's organisations, and individuals will take on the task of eliminating absolute poverty in the State.
 
The XIII Plan will support local governments' efforts in their core areas of activity, including housing, sanitation, electrification, access to food, healthcare, and insurance, access to school education, employment guarantee, welfare pensions and special care for the disabled, aged and infirm.
 
During the XIII Plan period, ISO certification will be sought for local self-government institutions.
 
Source: 13th Five Year Plan (2017-2022) Approach Paper
For more information, visit:  spb.kerala.gov.in