Local Governance: Rural and Urban Decentralisation

Since its inception, democratic decentralisation has been a major area of research of the Institute. It includes the studies of the growth, development and performance of Panchayati Raj institutions (PRIs) and urban local bodies, which have been constitutionally designated as ‘institutions of self-government.’ The Institute has conducted studies on devolution of powers and finances to the elected bodies in several States. The Institute also monitors changes in State legislations following the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution as well as the conduct of Panchayat elections, and has filed public interest litigations on non-holding of PRI elections against defaulting States. At regular intervals the Institute publishes status of Panchayats in the States of India. Current research activities include evaluations of Panchayat training programmes in three States, an action research project on development and decentralisation in Madhya Pradesh, an all-India study on inclusion of socially and historically excluded groups in governance. Devolution of finance to the local bodies and decentralised planning is another.