1st Five Year Plan
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Introduction || APPENDIX (CH-4) || APPENDIX (CH-9) || ANNEXURE (CH-12) || APPENDIX (CH-14) || APPENDIX (CH-24) || APPENDIX (CH-29) || Conclusion
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Chapter 7:
ADMINISTRATION OF DISTRICT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES

Effect OF Recent Changes

The structure of administration developed during the past century was based upon th district as the principal unit with the district officer as the government's principal representative in touch with the people. Besides being in control of the administration of law and order and revenue in the district,-the district officer held a coordinating responsibility for the activities of all departmental agencies within the district. In the heirarchy of administration, he enjoyed status and powers which gave him considerable influence over the local population. In the Indian States also, the administration was organised through the district, but in the majority of States there were no stable public services and personal rule prevailed, so that the position of the district officer was generally much less important than in the provinces.

2. The district is still the most important single unit of administration. As before, the maintenance of law and order and the collection of land revenue remain the district officer's primary duties. Recent developments have, however, altered his position and emphasised the need for giving an altogether fresh orientation to district administration. The maintenance of law and order must always be an important obligation, but increasingly district administration derives its significance from its role in developing the resources and raising the standard of living of the people of the district. The district officer's position is intermediate between the State Government, whose policy is determined mainly by a political executive responsible to a legislature elected by the people, and local self-governing bodies which are also elected by the people. For many years district boards, municipalities and town committees have existed as institutions of local self government in most of the States, but their development programmes have now to be linked up with those of the district and the States. In the past, for the limited functions with which the district officer was especially concerned, a democratic village agency was scarcely necessary. In different ways the administration was supported in rural areas by influential persons such as zamindars, zaildars, village headmen and the like. These non-officials helped police and revenue administration in the district, but there was not much call on them for creating enthusiasm for development programmes, which were then extremely restricted in scope. Though they had some local influence of their own, they were largely dependent on the authority which the administration conferred on them and invariably they had to reckon with local rivals for power and official favour. In the closing years of British rule this system no longer served the purpose for which it was created and was seen to be breaking down almost everywhere.

3. Certain other tendencies were also in evidence in the field of district administration. Over many years, for fields of activity such as agriculture, co-operation, animal husbandry, forests, industries, etc., separate departments had grown up and established their own separate agencies for work in the districts. To the extent to which these departments had functions of a technical character, they were certainly necessary. In rural areas, however, a situation developed in wliich each department attempted to reach the cultivator through its own personnel. As a rule, the staff was thinly spread and, at the lowest levels, it was poorly paid and equipped. On account of the limited character of the development which was aimed at, there was not much in the work of these officials to inspire them with enthusiasm. The development departments did not maintain sufficient liaison between their various activities and their officials frequently confessed failure either by pleading for more punitive powers or for greater assistance from the revenue administration. Although some useful results were secured here and there, and those who were progressive or influential took advantage of the services provided by the government, development activities in the district lacked unity of approach and were always hampered for want of sufficient field staff for carrying out their extension work.

4. During the past decade the machinery of administration in the district has been severely tested in another direction also, namely, the procurement and distribution offoodgrains and the distribution of civil supplies. When the war ended, the district administration over the larger part of the country, was well attuned to the discharge of these responsibilities. With the decontrol of food in 1948, the grip of the administration over the problems of supply weakened and, although controls were reimposed subsequently, their administration has been distinctly less satisfactory than before. Frequent changes in the administration of food control have been a disorganising factor in district administration. Operations which should become matters of routine, in whose performance there should be a steady increase in efficiency, have suffered from the ad hoc character of changes which have sometimes been instituted without sufficient regard to administrative implications. In such circumstances, a difficult food situation may divert the attention of the entire district administration and affect both public relations and the execution of development programmes.

5. Another set of problems which the district administration faces fall within the field of land reform, a subject which is discussed at some length in a later chapter. Wherever zamindari has been abolished, it is necessary to create a new system of village administration and, frequently also, to prepare a new system of village records. This presents an immense administrative task. Elsewhere, when new restrictions and limitations are imposed upon the larger holders of land and new rights conferred upon tenants and workers, their implementation calls for sustained administrative action at various levels reaching down to the village and, what is not less important, they call for close control and supervision. When administrative arrangements are not adequate, measures of land reform do not fulfil their real purpose.

6. To the factors which have been described, one more may be added. The quality of personnel charged with administrative duties in the districts varies greatly. While examples of initiative and independence of judgment are by no means wanting, it will be correct to say that in common with other spheres of administration, the majority of districts are now administered less adequately than before. Many experienced persons—their number was always limited and was further reduced' on account of the Partition of the country—have moved to secretariats and to the headquarters of departments. The burden of duties falling upon State Governments has increased to such an extent and so many new functions have had to be assumed that the districts seldom secure at the higher levels the quality of personnel which their problems call for. Yet, it is on the record of service which the administration can render to the people in villages and towns that governments have to justify themselves. The institution of the Indian Administrative Service in succession to the Indian Civil Service is an important step in the direction of providing in the districts a sufficient number of well-rained and well-equipped officers who can offer requisite leadership in district administration.

7. In brief, from now on, the primary emphasis in district administration has to be on the implementation of development programmes in close co-operation and with the active support of the people. Apart from the problem of finding personnel for the higher positions in the district and the problem of adapting the administrative system to the temper of democratic government, the reorganisation of district administration has to provide for—

  1. strengthening and improvement of the machinery of general administration ;
  2. establishment of an appropriate agency for development at the village level which derives its authority from the village community ;
  3. integration of activities of various development departments in the district and the provision of a common extension organisation ;
  4. linking up, in relation to all development work, of local self-governing institutions with the administrative agencies of the State Government ; and
  5. regional coordination and supervision of district development programmes.

If it were a matter only of machinery and structure, the reorganisation of the district administration would remain incomplete and the results would fall short of expectations. In the implementation of development programmes, as indeed in other spheres, public co-operation has a vital part to play. The subject is considered more fully in the following chapter. We may mention here one aspect of it, namely, the need to ensure that in the scheme of reorganisation of administration in the district, there is a field for recognised social service agencies for participating in development programmes.

Strengthening The General Administration

8. The general administrative machinery of government constitutes, as before, the backbone of the entire structure of administration. The quality of the general administration has a bearing on the lives of large numbers of persons. In the measure in which the elementary obligations of government are discharged efficiently and justly, the government becomes more capable of undertaking economic and social development and of securing the willing co-operation and support of the people. The need for an adequate administrative service to provide personnel for positions carrying higher responsibilities is now being met through the Indian Administrative Service and the State administrative services. In the course of a few years, ic may be expected that the existing deficiencies of personnel for these positions will be removed.

There are, however, three directions in which the general administrative organisation of the district needs to be strengthened urgently. A word may be added here about the position of the district officer in the scheme of administration. In the past few years the work of the district has expanded considerably and has also become more complex than before. The first effect of proposals to strengthen and reorganise the administration of the district, especially from the aspect of development, will be to increase the district officer's work and responsibility still further. It is, therefore, important to give him the assistance of a senior officer to enable him to devote attention to development. Secondly, care should be taken to see that too much of the district officer's time is not taken up in matters such as formal attendance on higher authorities and submission of reports. In the third place, if additional work has to be undertaken in a district over a period, for instance, in connection with a famine, or a land reform measure, instead of relying too much on the normal machinery of the administration, adequate assistance should be afforded.

9. In several States, there is an administrative cadre, commonly described as the State Civil Service or the Provincial Civil Service, which provides personnel for senior district posts involving revenue, executive or magisterial duties. It would assist the growth of efficient administration if there were liberal opportunities for the best among the personnel of the State services to enter the all-India service. Further the training of the personnel of the State administrative services should receive no less emphasis and attention than the training of those who enter the all-India services. A major share of the responsible but detailed administrative work in the district is done by members of the State administrative services, and it falls mainly to them to coordinate the activities of different branches of the administration and to win the co-operation of the people in carrying out development programmes.

10. In ryotwari and temporarily settled areas, the district administration has been held gene ally to be stronger, better organised and more capable of undertaking new responsibilities than, for instance, in the permanently settled areas. The difference is due, mainly, to the existence of village revenue officials described variously as patwari, talati or karnam. In the permanently settled and jagirdari areas, the implementation of development programmes as v ell as of measures of land reform is frequently impeded for want of village revenue officials. It is, therefore, a task of the first importance to recruit and train personnel in these areas for village revenue establishments. Many States are already taking steps in this direction, but these need greater emphasis and the process has to be hastened.

11. The third direction in which the general administration of the district has to be strengthened relates to the territorial units through which district work is now organised. In ryotwari areas, between the village patwari and the district officer, it is common to have a revenue inspector in charge of a circle, a tahsildar or mamlatdar in charge of the tahsil or the taluk, and a sub-divisional officer (or other revenue officer) in charge of more than one tahsil or taluk. In some permanently settled areas, there is no revenue machinery below the sub-division and the line of communication from the government to the people beyond the sub-divisional officer passes through the local police station. In certain other permanently resettled areas, below the subdivision, there is a union representating a group of villages. With the abolition of zamindari the entire structure below the level of sub-divisional officer has to be completed. Some districts are so large that in the interest of efficient organisation they need to be further divided. As the Bengal Administration Enquiry Committee pointed out, there is no fixed formula for the ideal size of a district and much depends on the density of the population, the topography of the area and the nature and state of its communications. It might be useful for State Governments now to review the size of their existing districts from the point of view of efficient implementation of development programmes. Where no change in the size of the district is considered necessary, they might examine the possibility of establishing more sub-divisions. As a unit in district administration the sub-division is valuable from several points of view. The district officer is relieved of much routine work. For a great many transactions, the people are spared the trouble of travelling to district head-quarters. Junior officers holding charge of sub-divisions secure training in the exercise of responsibility and initiative. During their touring and field work they are also able to acquire intimate knowledge of the people. The creation of a more adequate number of sub-divisions is also Justified by the need to link up local self-governing institutions with the administrative and development machinery of the State Government, on which subject some suggestions are offered in this chapter.

12. Training programmes for executive officials are organised with reference to the duties which they are expected to perform. Such training is, of course, always essential. In the re-orientation of the administration which is now called for, it is also necessary that, at an early stage in their careers, all revenue officials should receive special training in rural development work. In other words, just as members of the Indian Administrative Service or the State administrative services have to learn the work of the patwari, the circle revenue officer and the tahsildar in the course of their training, they should also learn the work of the village-level worker and of officers in charge of larger development units. Such training will enable the general administrative machinery of government in the district to assume the role in development work which we envisage for them under the Five Year Plan. In this connection, it may be suggested that since many district officers are new to their responsibilities in the field of development, it may be useful to give them a measure of guidance" and orientation through occasional conferences, seminars and demonstrations.

Village Agency For Development

13. For many decades the village has been the primary unit for revenue and police administration but, as a social and economic organisation, it became weaker under British rule. As settled conditions developed, the village community became increasingly dependent on the administration and less able to manage its own affairs. Even in work undertaken by development departments the approach was nearly always to the individual, not to the village community, so that thirty years of development activity have influenced only a fraction of the population.

14. Legislation for setting up village panchayats exists in most of the States. Since independence, several States have revised their earlier enactments with the object of promoting the quicker development of panchayats and of giving to them a larger role than before. In some of the newly merged territories similar action needs to be taken. Taking a general view, it may be said that pahchayat legislation in India is marked by considerable boldness of thought and an earnest desire to make the village panchayat a vital base in the national structure. The legislation seeks to translate into action the directive principle in the Constitution that the States should take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as might be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government. In the practical implementation of this principle some States have made considerable progress, but in the country as a whole much remains to be done. We suggest that each State should have a programme for establishing over a period of years panchayats for villages or groups of villages.

15. The functions of panchayats are conceived widely enough to permit them to comprehend most of the civic and economic activities of a village community. In addition, panchayats also have judicial functions. In practice, few panchayats discharge all the functions entrusted to them, and the activities of many of them suffer from local faction, lack of resources and want of guidance. Panchayats have helped social awakening, but they have not had the same success in raising the level of village life or in fostering self-help in the improvement of village conditions. In other words, although there are exceptions, the panchayat as an institution has not yet become the instrument of village reconstruction and development which it was intended to be. We believe that the panchayat will be able to perform its civic functions satisfactorily only if these are associated with an active process of development in which the village panchayat is itself given an effective part. Unless a village agency can assume responsibility and initiative for developing the resources of the village, it will be difficult to make a marked impression on rural life, for, only a village organisation representing the community as a whole can provide the necessary leadership. As the agencies of the State Government cannot easily approach each individual villager separately, progress depends largely on the existence of an active organisation in the village which can bring the people into common programmes ^o be carried out with the assistance of the administration.

16. Where both panchayats and co-operative societies exist, it is necessary to distinguish their respective functions in village life. Many co-operative credit societies are now being converted into multi-purpose societies, but multi-purpose operations are not yet widely spread. The functions of a co-operative society are governed by the objects for which it is constituted and are limited to the interest of its members. As co-operation develops, the movement will become increasingly representative of the village community. On the other hand, the panchayat is already intended to represent the entire village community, including those who are landless or are not engaged in cultivation, and has to meet pressures from all sections of the population. Secondly, a panchayat has a larger authority, both in tradition and in law, over the affairs of a village than any other organisation could have. If, by linking up the village panchayat closely with development programmes, village leadership can be successfully developed, co-operative activity will also be strengthened.

17. Under the existing legislation panchayats are already vested with many of the functions and powers which they need in order to play their part in organising village development programmes. State Governments may consider any amendments that may be required in panchayat legislation to enable panchayats to assume responsibility for such functions as :—

  1. framing programmes of production for the village ;
  2. framing budgets of requirements for supplies and finance needed for carrying out the programmes ;
  3. acting as the channel through which, increasingly, government's assistance other than assistance which is given through agencies like co-operatives reaches the village ;
  4. securing minimum standards of cultivation to be observed in the village with a view to increasing production ;
  5. bringing waste land under cultivation ;
  6. arranging for the cultivation of land not cultivated or managed by the owners ;
  7. organising voluntary labour for community works ;
  8. making arrangements for co-operative management of land and other resources in the village according to the terms of the prevailing land management legislation ;and
  9. assisting in the implementation of land reform measures in the village.

These and other similar tasks can be carried out with enthusiasm in the measure in which a village community becomes aware of its problems and of the power of its members, through mutual aid and co-operation, to solve them. The first aim of village leaders and of extension workers is, therefore, to stimulate an understanding of what needs to be done and of the means that lie at hand as well as a growing sense of common interest and responsibility for the welfare of every section of the village community.

18. The process of election by which panchayats are constituted may not always throw up a sufficient number of persons with qualities most needed in village reconstruction, such as good farmers engaged in improving agricultural practice, enthusiastic workers of the co-operative movement and persons whose main interest lies in constructive social work. We, therefore, suggest that for village development programmes there should be provision for a small number of additional members to be appointed by the State Government or on its behalf, so that the panchayats enlarged in this manner function as village development agencies largely on the basis of consent and constructive leadership within the village. We expect that this village agency will gradually be able to draw up production plans for the village as a whole on the basis of programmes accepted by individual farmers and local co-operatives, and will thus become the effective base for planning on a national scale in the field of agriculture and rural development. These suggestions have been made in general terms because the organisation which will serve best at the village level is necessarily a matter of local adaptation. Conditions vary in different parts of the country and even the term ' village ' has several different connotations. The points which may be emphasised are (i) the need for an appropriate agency in the village or as 'near the village as may be possible (2) the desirability of having as members of the village body concerned with various aspects of village development a few persons in addition to those who may be elected by vote, and (3) the need to use the village body as an effective agency for development in the village and in relation to programmes sponsored by the government.

19. The resources of village, panchayats have been recently reviewed by the Local Finance Inquiry Committee. Legislation in different States provides for various forms of taxation by village panchayats, such as taxation of land and house property, profession tax, vehicle tax, fee on transfer of land and other moveable property, reimbursement of recoveries on account of judicial fines, fees, etc., and licence fees of different kinds. There is provision also for grants and contributions by the District Board and the State Government. In some States, village panchayats are entitled to cs-'l for contribution in labour which, according to the .legislation, could amount in the course of a year, in the Punjab, for hi tance, to about 48 man-hours, ir Orissa to 4 days' work, in Madhya Pradesh to 15 days' work, and in Assam to 36 days' work. Frequently, there is a provision that those who are unable to contribute labour may make an equivalent contribution in money. These legislative provisions are not yet effective on any significant scale. Whether legis' ..in formally provides for contributions m labour or not, it is of the utmost importance that v.nage panchayats should find ways of utilising the available manpower for works in the village or even outside, for instance, by forming lal ; ir co-operatives. Legislative provisions may undoubtedly be helpful, but it is by arousing 1 'al enthusiasm for improving village conditions and promoting common effort that village panchayats can secure the largest measure of participation by the people in various programmes of development. The Five Year Plan includes proposals for financial and technical assistance to rural areas designed specially to draw out substantial contributions in labour and money arę • ,o stimulate local effort in the villages.

20. In some States the practice of making over a share of the land revenue to the village panchayat has been recently adopted. The Local Finance Inquiry Committee recommends that 15 per cent. of the land revenue should be given to the village panchayat. We recognise the advantage of giving to each village panchayat a nucleus fund around which it can organise further effort in the village and attempt to provide the minimum services needed to raise the level of village life. It is necessary, however, to point out that in the estimates of resources on whicli State Plans are based. State Governments have, as a rule, taken credit for the full proceeds.of land revenue. If a portion of the existing income from this source is diverted-to village panchayats, to that extent the State Plans will be affected. The more appropriate course r'ight, therefore, be fortheS "e Governments to impose a suitable surcharge with reference to the land revenue is nd to make over the proceeds of this surcharge to the village panchayat. In addition to the pi ('vision of resources, we suggest that State Governments should take special steps to train members and officials of village panchayats and to use village pancha'. ins as focal points in schemes of social education. The results of experiments in the development of panchayats which have been undertaken in different States need to be studied catcfully,, so that,States can benefit from one another's experience.

Rural Extension And The Integration Of Development Activities

21. Within the district, development programmes of different departments have to be coordinated into area programmes at the following levels:

  1. for a village or a group of villages which have a common panchayat ;
  2. for a group of villages intermediate between the panchayat area and the development block, such as, the area entrusted to a village level worker or, as in West Bengal, the area served by a union board ;
  3. for a development block which, according to the practice now adopted for community projects and intensive area development scliemes, might represent an area of about loo villages with a population of about 50,000 to 60,000 and should correspond, as far as possible, to a recognised administrative area in the district such as one or two revenue circles, a taluk or a sub-tahsil ;
  4. a sub-division or an area within the district (which may comprise more than one tahsil') for which a revenue officer is placed in specific charge of development and other executive work ;
  5. towns and cities which have their own municipal bodies , and
  6. the district as a whole, the district programme being the sum of programmes drawn up, both on the urban and the rural side, for the different units mentioned above.

In virtue of his position as the head of the district, the Collector is the natural leader in development programmes undertaken or aided on behalf of the government. This has led the recent Grow More Food Enquiry Committee to describe the Collector as the Extension Officer of the district under whom all development activities are unified, with specialist officers working as members of a single team. In the area comprised in a sub-division, the Sub-Divisional Officer (or elsewhere, the senior revenue officer assisting the Collector) plays a similar role.

22. We have referred already to the growth of separate departments for different activities in the field of development. These departments have their own personnel for research and other technical work. They also endeavour to reach rural areas through their field staffs, but these arc usually small in number and are not too well equipped in practical knowledge. The villager finds himself approached through a number of channels on behalf of the government and receives advice which may be contradictory or ill-coordinated or even lacking in value for his day-to-day problems. Some States have been quick to recognise that the development effort which the government makes is weak, and frequently fails at the very point at which it touches the life of the people. Although large sums are spent and much useful research done, the impact on the village home and on the farm is not commensurate. • Intensive work in projects in Uttar Pradesh, Madras, Bombay and elsewhere has confirmed the view that village-level workers and a common extension machinery on behalf of the principal development departments of government are vital to the success of rural development programmes. These conclusions have been followed in the community projects and other intensive area schemes which have been recently introduced. The Grow More Food Enquiry Committee has recommended that within a period of ten years a rural extension organisation should be built up throughout the country. The Committee has proposed that at - the village level there should be one worker for five to ten villages who will be "the joint agent for all development activities and who will convey to the farmer the lessons of research and to the experts, the difficulties of the farmer, and arrange the supplies and services needed by the farmer, including rendering of first aid for animal and plant diseases." We are in agreement with these proposals and recommend their early acceptance by the Central and State Governments, so that the necessary administrative programmes can be drawn up and executed with speed.

23. While the village is the basic unit of community organisation over the greater part of the country, for particular purposes it may be found that a larger unit is needed. For instance, in employing paid staff for panchayats and co-operative societies, in arranging for supplies and credit or for providing amenities a larger area and population will frequently make for greater economy and efficiency. How large the area should be and what arrangements should be made for effecting the necessary co-ordination and economy in the provision of services and amenities must depend upon local conditions and requirements. The need for such arrangements, however, exists everywhere and has to be taken into consideration in planning the execution of rural schemes under the Five Year Plan.

24. For the area represented by a development bloek, a common agency for the agriculture, co-operative, panchayat and animal husbandry departments has to be created. In the organisation of community projects and in intensive area schemes as well as in the report of the Grow More Food Enquiry Committee, the view has been taken that for the development block what is required is an extension team rather than an extension officer. In this arrangement, officials representing the agriculture, animal husbandry, co-operative and panchayat departments as well as those concerned with cottage industries, health and education departments are expected to integrate their programmes as closely as possible in terms of the requirements of the local population and to work together as a team. The local representative of the revenue department has also to be closely associated with the work of this team. In some States, panchayat staffs have been placed recently under the Registrar of Co-operative Societies. There is considerable advantage in having common staff for co-operative and panchayat work, wherever this practice is considered feasible. This would be in line with the recommendations made earlier regarding the role of the panchayat in village development.

25. Each State has to work out a pattern for its extension organisation which is suited to its own needs and conditions. The essential points which need to be kept in view in making the detailed administrative arrangements are:- :

  1. a multi-purpose village worker who will be the agent of all the development departments and will represent them to the villager for all their activities ;
  2. at the level of the development block, development officers working as a team with the extension officer, who may be the Sub-collector or, where the sub-divisional system is not developed, other officer closely associated with the district administration ; and
  3. the position of the Collector as the head of the extension movement in the district, with the district officers of the development departments working with him as a team.

So long as these essential principles are observed, there must be considerable fk.'dbility and freedom in working out extension organisations adapted to local conditions and open to modification in the light of their practical working. The proposals which we have made will place heavy responsibilities on the Collector. It is, therefore, important, as has been already suggested, that he should have adequate assistance to enable him to devote the closest attention to his duties as the head of the development machinery in the district.

26. In the field of development and indeed of government as a whole, at every level, officials have to work in close co-operation with representative non-officials. This is an aspect of such importance that we refer to it later at some length in connection with our proposals for. integrating local self-governing institutions like district boards and municipal bodies with the development machinery and [ 'ogrammes of the State Government. We may add a word here about working relations between the various officials who are engaged in development work in the districts. Administrative changes in the field of development will succeed best if different grades of public servants engaged in formulating and executing programmes are guided by a sense of comradeship in a common enterprise undertaken in a spirit of co-operation and understanding t wards the people. It is of the utmost importance in development work in the district that all workers, from top to bottom, should have the opportunity of speaking their minds, of making their views and experiences heard when the targets are established, methods determined and priorities set. The feeling that they have shared in the decision which they are Uedupon to implement is itself a source of energy and initiative and an assurance that the .•grammes will be implemented. In this connection we may also refer to the need in development work for keeping the door open to men and women of different age-groups to come into the field of public service from other walks of life. This may be secured by throwing open appointments such as those of extension workers to persons wlio bring the requisite experience and enthusiasm to the task of development.

Role Of Local Bodies In Development Programmes

27. With the exception of corporations and a few large municipal bodies, local self-governing institutions have remained subordinate, though distinct, units of administration. Until recently there were few basic changes in their legal and financial structure. Their activities have not been integrated sufficiently with those of State Governments. At one stage. Collectors and other officials who presided over local bodies provided a way of coordinating their schemes with the schemes of the State Government. With the appointment of non-official chairmen, however, the gulf has widened.

28. During the past decade, the problems of local bodies have received even less attention than before and indeed, on the whole, the period has been one of retarded development in the field of local self-government. Generally speaking, during these years, local bodies have not expanded their resources to any great extent, and have found it difficult even to maintain the existing level of services. Although official chairmen and nominated members have largely disappeared, and the municipal franchise has been widened, in many local bodies the standards of efficiency have gone down and new tax obligations continue tu be avoided. In recent years, several State Governments have followed a policy of' provincialisation ' of schools, hospitals or veterinary centres, which were run by local bodies and, had their own financial resources permitted, many of the States would have carried this policy further than they have in fact done. Owing to unsatisfactory employment conditions in local bodies such action is often welcomed by their own employees. With the abolition of posts such as those of Commissioners, supervision over local bodies, which seldom went beyond the routine, has further diminished. In post-war development programmes no place was found for local bodies. In the Five Year Plan some of the more important programmes of local bodies are expected to receive assistance, but in the main the omission will have to be made good in practice by treating the programmes of local bodies as an essential part of district and State programmes.

29. The Constitution has provided for democratic'.institutidhs at the Centre and in the States, but so long as local self-governing, institutions are not 'conceived as parts of tlie same organic constitutional and administrative framework, the structure of democratic government will remain incomplete. The view is sometimes expressed that the creation of decentralized agences for functions now performed by State Governments may lead to the weakening of the administration and to lowering of the standards of performance. On the other hand, many in the administration realise that official machinery by itself cannot carry out those development programmes which call for a great deal of initiative and participation on the part of the people themselves. Represeiitatives elected to panchayats, local boards and municipal committees are certainly in a position to express local needs and to suggest programmes of work for their respective areas. The problems and needs of economic and social d- ^elopment in any area are, however, wider than the functions and the outlook of civic bodies like the panchayat, the local board and the municipal committee. At the stage of development which local self-governing institutions have reached, programmes for local development may be best conceived of as joint enterprises to be carried out in close co-operation by the agencies of the State Government and the representatives of the people elected to local self-governing institutions. For the execution of these programmes, however, it is not enough to rely only upon those who .are-chosen by popular vote. It is necessary to supplement their experience and 'by'bringing "in a few persons representing, for instance, the co-operative movement, -the field of constructive social work, technical knowledge and understanding of the relation between local programmes and the national plan of economic and social development.

30. Local self-governing bodies have thus a vital part to play in the field of development. We consider that the general direction of policy should be to encourage them and assist them in assuming responsibility for as large a portion of the administrative and social services within their areas as may be possible. It may also be necessary to work out suitable arrangements for linking local self-governing bodies at different levels with one another, for instance, village panehayats with district or sub-divisional local boards. The experience gained in some States in the field of local self-government could be of value to other States as well and needs to be studied. While the process that we envisage develops, close co-operation in the field of development between State Governments and local self-governing institutions could be established in directions such as the following :

  1. Programmes undertaken by local bodies, which are at present restricted by the resources available to them, should be carefully integrated with State programmes. Within the district and the State, they should be shown as part of the district and State plans respectively ;
  2. As far as may be practicable. State Governments should use the agency of local bodies for carrying out their social service programmes. That is to say, if the choice lies between a State Government establishing a primary school or a veterinary hospital with its own resources and assisting a local body in initiating such a development, in principle, the latter course should be preferred, steps necessary for ensuring standards of efficiency being taken simultaneously. It is a good general rule for any authority to try and pass the responsibility for a project to the authority immediately below it if, with a measure of help and guidance, the latter can do the job equally or nearly as well ;
  3. Institutions run by local bodies and the services provided by them should be inspected, supervised and guided by the technical and administrative personnel of the State Government on exactly the same lines and with the same rigour as may be adopted for the State Governments' own institutions and services. Since the majority of institutions run by local bodies receive grants or other assistance from the State Government, it is the responsibility of the State Government to ensure their efficient working by enforcing the necessary standards ,
  4. For carrying out development programmes in any area, it is essential to associate a number of non-officials. The nucleus of non-official representation should be provided by persons elected to local bodies. Members nominated by the district or taluka board may provide the nucleus for development committees set up for framing and watching the execution of district and taluka development programmes. In addition, as explained earlier, there will be other non-officials. The arrangements have to be flexible because conditions vary and new needs and situations have constantly to be met. The precise manner in which the co-operation and association of local bodies in development work are to be secured must, therefore, be left to the judgment and discretion of the authorities concerned ; and
  5. Wherever sub-divisional officers exist or are created in the future, the establishment of sub-divisional local boards should be considered.

31. It is of some importance that members of State Legislatures and of Parliament should be closely associated in framing and working out local development programmes. They are in a position, on the one hand, to bring their knowledge of local needs and problems to bear on the formulation and examination of State and national policy and, on the other, to carry into local programmes the larger perspective and the conception of priorities against which policies have to be worked out both by the Central and State Governments. This object may be achieved by appointing members of State legislatures and of Parliament, irrespective of their pa ty affiliation, to non-official development committees which are set up in their areas.

32. In view of the large and expanding role that has to be envisaged for local bodies in framing and imp.ementing State development programmes, the question of resources becomes extremely important, for, invariably local bodies are poor. The proposals recently made by the Local Finance Enquiry Committee might be examined by each state in relation to its Five Year Plan and the suggestions which we have made above for co-ordinating district programmes ofth; State Government and the programmes of local bodies, both urban and rural. The use which each local body makes of the sources of revenue assigned to it is, in the case of municipalities, for instance, as important a consideration as the character of those sources. A better understanding of social needs and of their own obligations is no doubt called for on the part of those elected to local bodies. At the same time, there is need for caution on the part of State Governments in accepting proposals for taking over from local bodies control of institutions like hospitals,; chools and veterinary centres. Such transfers do not relieve the local bodic; of their financial burdens, for, frequently, they are required to continue their normal con:i-ibutions to th; cost of maintaining the institutions. They do, however, impose additional burdens on the State Government's budget and, to that extent, come in the way of expansion in other fields. At the same time, they deprive the local bodies of the opportunity of gaining experience and restrict the field of local community effort.

Regional Co-Ordination And Supervision Of District Programmes

33. During the past few years, while the volume of work and responsibility falling upon the district organisation and the district officer has greatly increased, there has been a fairly general decline in standards of training, supervision and performance. If development programmes are to succeed and are to evoke popular support and co-operation, it is essential that the administrative machinery of the district should be made much more efficient than it is at present. In this chapter, a number of proposals have been made with this object. There are, however, two other aspects which need to be considered. Except in the smaller States, it is often desirable to prepare development programmes in terms of regions determined by physical, economic and administrative considerations. The needs and priorities of different regions as well as their potential for short-term and long-term development should be taken into account in drawing up and continually reviewing their development programmes. There is always a possibility that at the State headquarters, regional aspects may receive less consideration than they deserve. District plans are always essential, but they may gain in value if they are also part of well-considered regional plans. In the first stages of planning, embodied in the present plan, the regional aspect with its emphasis on the development of local resources has not been worked out sufficiently. It is, therefore, hoped that in the process of implementation from year to year, the Plan and the programmes of which it is composed will be continually adapted and adjusted to local and regional needs and conditions.

34. In the second place, with increase in district work and a falling off in the quality of the administration a great deal of inspection, supervision, guidance and attention to training has become an essential condition of efficiency. The need has, therefore, been felt for a senior regional officer Who is not himself involved in detailed administrative work and can give personal attention to all aspects of administration and development in his area. Whether Such an officer is located in the region, as Commissioners formerly were or, at the headquarters of the State Government, as members of a Board of Revenue are, for instance, is an aspect which has to be considered locally, and no set pattern can be proposed. The important point is that both for. securing regional co-ordination and for supervision of district work, in many States an authority between the secretariat departments and the district officer is necessary. We are aware of objections raised in the past to the office of Commissioner. What we have in view is, however, not the revival of the former role of the Commissioner, but adequate arrangements for territorial co-ordination in the field of development and for inspection and supervision over the entire range of work that now falls to the district. The need for arrangements is emphasised by the fact that many Collectors are relatively new total; responsibilities and if they have a measure of personal guidance at this stage, they will not only secure better results during the next few years, but will also ensure more adequate training for junior officers who will follow them.

35. While problems relating to law and order have frequently to be dealt with directly between the district and the State Government, from time to time there are special problems which need investigate speacil situations in which timely action on the basis of assesment and study by experience!! o'iidals may be of enormous advantage to their governments. Pressed as he is with much day-to-day work the district ( cer is frequently unable to do justice to important questions of policy such as land reform or to complex administrative and economic questions such as arise in connecti with food and supply problems. The presence of a senior regional officer can certainly make a difference in the handling of such problems. In this context, we conceive of the regional officer, not so much as one who formulates policy (although doubtless his advice will always be valuable) but as one who explains and interprets the letter and spirit of the policies to officials at various levels, watches closely over their implementation, and 'net officials to take whmcvor steps are necessarv for ensuring that the programmes and targets approved by the goveinmep, are fully achieved.

36. In the past social service agencies have played scarcely any part in administration. The subject is one of increasing mr ice and wili discussed There is no field of activity concerning district in which results cannot be secured by taking the maximum advantage of the co-operation and civics spirit of individual non-officials and of non-official agencies. In patticular, social service agencies can provide' workers who will help village panchayats and co-operative societies in discharging their manifold functions; Although iheir numbers are never large, there are always some individuals who desire serve the community with; more than a bare, for themselves. At present a good deal of potential idealism of this kind runs to waste and many social workers are frustrated for want of opportunity to work in a field in which their co-operation would help the people and be valued by the administration. When there are suitable social service organisations willing to train workers and take up programmes, their help could be availed of in specified areas. Suitable financial assistance could be afforded to such organisations to enable them to meet the expenses of training and to pay their workers. There exists already a long tradition of constructive social work of which advantage should be taken in the implementation of development programmes. Such co-operation with social service organisation may prove valuable in developing non-official leadership, especially in the rural areas.

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