People’s Empowerment through Democratic Decentralization in India

There is substantial evidence that basic public services and programs function inefficiently in India especially in the poorer states. The paper, “People’s Empowerment through Democratic Decentralization in India” (N.C. Saxena, 2010) examines the obstacles in the functioning of Indian panchayats (a political system of local government created in 1993) and makes recommendations for more effective…

Right to Participation in Local Democratic Governance

The formulation of a “Global Charter on Right to Participation in Local Democratic Governance” was initiated by the Learning Initiative on Citizen Participation in Local Governance (Logo Link) to deepen citizen participation in local democracy by scaling-up, mainstreaming and institutionalizing citizen participation in all spheres of democratic governance. Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) organized consultations…

Local Leaders Transforming Chinese Provinces and Indian States

In an essay published by the Brookings Institution, William J. Antholis highlights the role of local leadership in China and India in transforming the economic development of the two countries. Antholis and his family traveled through China and India for five months, interviewing local and national political leaders and ordinary citizens, from corporate executives to slum dwellers, asking them…

Book Review: Local Democracy and Development: The Kerala People’s Compaign for Decentralized Planning

The People’s Campaign for Democratic Decentralization mobilized over three million of Kerala’s people as the largest experiment in local democracy in the world when it was launched in 1996 under the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government. The pro-active methodology offered by the Campaign involved empowerment for elected local bodies to work out their own planning…

The Political Component of Participatory Democracy

We’re holding consultations around the world to create a scorecard to evaluate the State of Participatory Democracy. Over the next month we’ll outline each of the components of the scorecard— why it is important in a participatory democracy, why we are including it in the scorecard, and some of the feedback we’ve heard around the…

National Democratic Institute (NDI)

For more than 20 years, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) has conducted programs to activate and empower citizens and civic groups, has established strong civic cultures, and has achieved an appropriate balance of power between citizens and government. The NDI works throughout the world creating safe spaces for citizens to learn, train and engage on…

George Mathew

The Founder of India’s Institute of Social Sciences and a lifelong-champion of decentralization discusses the importance of participatory local democracy, and its progress in India over the past 20 years since the historic passage of the 73rd amendment to India’s constitution.