Learner’s Submission: Case Study on Decentralization in Karnataka (India)

“It was introduced by Janta Dal which won the 1983 elections and gained the control of the State government. The elected councils were created at two levels, viz. the District and the Mandal. The Mandal Council covered a group of adjacent villages with a population of between 8 and 12 thousand and consisted of around 30 members directly elected. In all, 2536 Mandals were established. The size of the Mandals was very small in relation to the much larger and far more powerful District Councils. There were in all 19 District Councils consisting of members between 23 and 64 all directly elected by territorial constituencies with an average population of 28,000. The District Councilors elected a President and a Vice-President, the former with a status of a junior minister and the latter that of a deputy minister in the state government. They controlled a sizable staff of senior administration headed by a Chief Secretary belonging to the IAS, all deputies by the State government. The District Councils were responsible for every field of development. The substantial funds related to theses programmes of development were transferred to the district councils.

In April 1982, the Union Government deposed the State government and imposed direct rule from New Delhi. The December 1989 elections brought Congress party to power. The Congress

Government was hostile to the scheme of decentralization introduced by the Janta Dal Government. It lost no time in undermining the powers of councils and imposing cuts on the funds released to the District Councils. This was a sad end to a radical programme of democratic decentralization in Karnataka which had achieved considerable success.” – Vivek Kumar Singh – Bihar, India

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