Demanding speedy implementation of the of Path to Grama Swaraj in Karnataka Report by Committee Chaired by Sri Ramesh Kumar

Posted on January 17, 2015

Press Release

The Gram Panchayat Hakotaya Andolana (GPHA) has repeatedly seen the usurping of powers of the local governments by the bureaucracy which curtails the local governments in a grave manner. This has been the reason for frequent conflicts between the elected member of the gram panchayats and the PDOs. This has also hampered the harmonized functioning of the Village, Taluk and Zilla panchayats. It was in this backdrop that the Government of Karnataka set up a committee under the chairmanship of Sri Ramesh Kumar to carry out a comprehensive situation analysis of the manner in which the 73rd amendment was being implemented in Karnataka. The Committee has carried out in-depth reviews, travelled extensively within Karnataka to gather views of members of panchyats and of grama sabhas, shared detailed analysis through media and received inputs from representatives from multiple sectors (close to 1000 people were consulted)in order to come up with their Report and Recommendations. Based on its caliber and the democratic process it followed, the work of the Committee has been hailed and its Report has received excellent commendation from all. One of the core recommendations of the Committee is that the power of the bureaucracy has to be reduced within the local governance system and the elected representatives should be given more responsibilities and powers as well as be subjected to enhanced accountability. The Committee also provides detailed recommendations to enable the smooth coordination between various levels of governance.

The Committee has discussed the matter with various groups of people’s representatives (over 1000 consulted), MLAs, MLCs and has received extensive supportive comments related to the implementation of its recommendations.

We have also noted that in the recently held Congress Legislative Party meeting, recommendations of the Committee received unanimous support of the Legislators. During the Belgaum session of the Legislative Assembly the representatives of the GPHA  met more than 100 Legislators with whom the Report was discussed. All of them have expressed support to its recommendations.

But strangely, there are no steps being taken by the Ministry of the Panchayti Raj to implement the recommendations of the Committee. Instead, it appears that moves to strengthen the bureaucracy and to enhance the control of the officials over the gram panchayat right up to the State level is presently underway. The appointment of a Regional Development Officer (RDO) for every Hobli is a decision that is highly detrimental to democracy because it will immediately strengthen bureaucracy. At a time when the appointment of PDOs is already a big problem, to have Hobli level officials is an attempt to trample the core principle of democracy. The GPHA demand that the Minister of Panchayti Raj, instead of strengthening bureaucracy in the State, should implement the recommendations of the Committee chaired by Sri. Ramesh Kumar on an urgent footing. If not, we will begin to witness the demolition of the panchyat raj system in Kartataka which used to be role model for the entire country. So, we demand that the Ministry takes into consideration the recommendations of the Committee which uphold the 73rd Amendment in word and spirit. If the State does not do so, on the contrary if it veers towards only strengthening bureaucracy, the GPHA will launch its State level People’s Campaign against such moves.

Find details of the Report, Draft of the Bill, Unique Features and Highlights of the proposed Gram Swaraj Bill, etc here: