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Title: Rural Fiscal Decentralisation: A Case Study of Selected Gram Panchayats in West Bengal
Authors: Chattopadhyay, Seemantini
Keywords: Fiscal Decentralisation
Own Source Revenue
Gram Panchayat
Issue Date: 1-Feb-2020
Publisher: Vidyasagar University , Midnapore , West Bengal , India
Series/Report no.: VUJE;2018-2019
Abstract: Using the primary survey data from eight selected Gram Panchayats of two districts in West Bengal, this paper evaluates the progress of rural decentralization in terms of financial health and democratic functioning of the surveyed panchayats along with their implications for accountability related to decentralized rural local governance in West Bengal. The finances of the panchayats are in a grossly unsatisfactory state as the panchayats depend mostly on transfer from higher levels of government. The percentage of untied fund received against the total fund for all the panchayats is not very significant which limits their financial autonomy. Peoples’ participation in the panchayats meetings is low with few exceptions. In most of the cases the gram sabhas are a mere formality where those who attend are either reduced to being spectators or consumers of beneficiary programmes. Panchayat system in West Bengal has emerged as an institution for distributing the personalised benefits. Therefore, this paper argues for strengthening the fiscal health of the panchayats through increase in own source revenue or restructuring the intergovernmental transfer. Further, for making the institutions of rural local governance more accountable and transparent, this paper argues for creating awareness about the beneficiary programmes among the whole population and strict adherence to constitutional provisions for linking people with the government and their office bearers.
ISSN: 0975-8003
Appears in Collections:Vidyasagar University Journal of Economics Vol. XXIII [2018-19]

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