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Friday, August 17, 2007

State Governments are reluctant to share power with local governments

Opinion - Letters to the Editor The Hindu Friday, Aug 17, 2007 On federalism
The concept of Centre-State relations advocated in the article “Autonomy for the States, federalism at the Centre” (Aug. 15) needs to be revised in the present context to include local governments. Contrary to the view that there have been no major constitutional changes towards a more federal orientation, the 73rd and 74th amendments devolved significant power to local governments. The basic political issue, therefore, is whether the Union and State governments should share all the powers between them or should they share them with local governments too.
State Governments are reluctant to share power with local governments. Parties have not strengthened the panchayati raj institutions but have used them to strengthen their positions. Regional parties are against the use of Article 356. But heads of panchayats and municipalities are dismissed by the State governments at will on political grounds. The District Collector is empowered to dismiss the elected representatives of local governments, which is worse than the use of Article 356.
Enough has been said on the outdated concept of Centre-State relations. It is time to initiate a political debate on Centre-State-local relations.
V.A. Vasudevaraju,
Puducherry

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