“Decentralization is the most revolutionary development in India because behind it are all the forces when released will change the structure of the country – Jawaharlal Nehru, Former Indian Prime Minister. This was the quote said my Indian Prime Minister while he introduced the Indian Parliament with the 73rd and 74th amendment of Indian Constitution in 1960 which marked as a pioneer stage of decentralization in India. Today has over 2.5 lakhs Panchayats in which there are over 32 lakhs of Grass-root leaders elected by the people of that village and out of it 12 lakhs are women. It is a mile stone of India and an excellent vehicle to drive decentralization at a very basic level. The main reason of decentralization is to give chance to people to govern themselves because consistent progress is what matters. Power to rule should not lie upwards with central officer but downwards with local authorities. Quantity of GDP generated is less important that quality of GDP.
Decentralization in Maharashtra started in 1961 and today there are 28,000 Gram panchayats, 350 Panchayat Samitis and 33 Zilla Parishads. But instead of this there were quarrels continuously going on in Maharashtra which we resulting in social tensions and hence the police complaints were increasing at a rapid pace ultimately creating a huge pile of court cases; Considering the huge pendency of cases in various Courts and the inevitable delays in delivering judgments, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is the need of the hour. In fact this was the reason for the formation of Loknyayalas and Fast Track Courts. Maharashtra Government made a plan called as Dispute-free village scheme also called as (Tanta Mukti Gaon Mohim).According to this Plan, a village with most number of points gained after solving the cases at village level were awarded with cash prizes hence disputes taking place within families or due to small reasons were not introduced in court and golden mean was found out by the Gram Panchayat (Village Authorities) only. It reduced the Police work to a great extent. The Maharashtra model is likely to be replicated in other developing countries, where logistics and infrastructure of the judicial machinery were weak, Mr. Dighavkar said. He will also spend time with social scientists, reformers and peace makers in various universities and share the model and his experiences with them. Speaking of the achievements of the scheme, he cited figures in Pune district where 790 out of 1,134 villages have become ‘dispute-free’ in the last two and a half years and hence the district received Rs. 19,31,000,00 ($4.4 million), as the prize money from the State government. Since October 2009, 36,294 conflicts at the village-level were resolved and now, 28,084 cases were awaiting resolution, he said.
The salient features of this mission are:
1. Formation of Tanta Mukt Samities at each and every village in the state.
2. Identification of existing disputes, classifying them into criminal, civil, revenue and noting
3. Them down in a register maintained by the Samitis.
4. Preventive schemes and measures to ensure that disputes do not occur.
5. Resolution of existing and new disputes in a democratic, fair and participative manner.
Decentralization is the backbone of democracy because it really proves the meaning of democracy- For the people; by the people.” - Ameya S. Kulkarni – Maharashtra, India