The Local Administrative System in India

  • Jitendra G. Wasnik


The local administrative system in India is divided into rural governance (panchayati raj) and urban governance. The 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments have changed this system significantly, enabling rural and urban governance to function more effectively. Local government, however, has been criticized for its inefficiency, poor service delivery, and mismanagement. Fortunately, scholars have overwhelmingly advocated for an efficient democratic local government as a tool for socio-economic development in India, as it has been widely argued that local people understand their particular problems more than do others and are thus better positioned to address their problems in substantial ways. To this end, local government should improve its functioning and efficiency. In India, the conditions of service of local government employees are established through acts passed by the state legislatures, constitutional provisions, and the relevant ministries or departments. The interpretation and implementation of these conditions of service are left to the state government and local government authorities as per the respective acts and laws. Local governance needs to step up its activity to ensure improved service delivery, taking into consideration the local needs and demands.


Decentralization Local democracy Local government Panchayats India 


  1. Allen, Hubert J. B. (1990). Cultivating the Grass Roots: Why Local Government Matters. Bombay: All India Institute of Local Self Government.Google Scholar
  2. Annual Report. (2011–2012). Ministry of Panchayati Raj. Government of India, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  3. Chakrabarty, B., & Chand, P. (2016). Indian Administration: Evolution and Practice. New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  4. Chandrashekhar, L. (2011). Undermining Local Democracy: Parallel Governance in Contemporary South India. New Delhi: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Chaudhari, S. (2007). What Difference Does a Constitutional Amendment Make? The 1994 Panchayati Raj Act and the Attempt to Revitalize Rural Local Government in India. In P. Bhardhan & D. Mookherjee (Eds.), Decentralization and Local Governance in Developing Countries: A Comparative Perspective (pp. 153–201). New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Crook, R. C., & Manor, J. (1998). Democracy and Decentralization in South Asia and West Africa: Participation, Accountability and Performance. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Datta, P. (1999, July 30). The Gram Sabha Experience. Front Line.Google Scholar
  8. Ghatak, M., & Ghatak, M. (2002). Recent Reforms in the Panchayat System in West Bengal: Toward Greater Participatory Governance? Economic and Political Weekly, 37(1), 45–58. Google Scholar
  9. George, G. M. (2007). Dalits, Panchayat Raj and Power Equations. Accessed 24 Aug 2017.
  10. Government of India. (2004, July–August). A Compendium of Resolutions of the Seven Round Tables of Ministers In-charge of Panchayati Raj. New Delhi: Ministry of Panchayati Raj.Google Scholar
  11. Government of India. (2010). Compilation of Important Correspondence and Minutes of Major Meetings (April 2008–March 2010). New Delhi: Ministry of Panchayati Raj.Google Scholar
  12. Government of Kerala. (1996). Committee on Decentralization (Chairman S. B. Sen), Second Interim Report: 19–20.Google Scholar
  13. Indian Express. (2016, May 28). Dalit Group Seeks Changes in State’s Panchayats. Accessed 24 Aug 2017.
  14. Jayal, N. G. (2007). Introduction. In N. G Jayal, A. Prakash, & P. K. Sharma (Eds.), Local Governance in India: Decentralization and Beyond (pp. 1–26). New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Mathew, G. (2004). Ministry of Local Government: Need of the Hour. Employment News, 29(20), 14–20.Google Scholar
  16. Misra, S. (2005). E-Governance: Responsive and Transparent Service Delivery Mechanism. In A. Singh (Ed.), Administrative Reforms: Towards Sustainable Practices (pp. 283–302). New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Raghunandan, T. R. (2013). Introduction. In T. R. Raghunandan (Ed.), Decentralization and Local Governments: The Indian Experience (pp. 1–23). New Delhi: Orient Blackswan.Google Scholar
  18. Sen, A. (2009). The Idea of Justice. London: Allen Lane and Penguin Group.Google Scholar
  19. Smith, B. (2004). Local and National Democracy: Lessons from the ‘Third Wave’ of Democratization. In M. Barlow & D. Wastl-Walter (Eds.), New Challenges in Local and Regional Administration (pp. 3–18). Farnham, UK: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  20. Srivastava, T. N. (2002). Local ‘Self’ Government and the Constitution. Economic and Political Weekly, 37(30), 3190–3198.Google Scholar
  21. Tiwari, N. (2012). Women in Panchayati Raj. Yojana (June), 36–40.Google Scholar
  22. Tiwari, N. (2015). The Dependency Syndrome of Inclusion: Women in Panchayats: Evidence from a Randomized Survey of Bihar. Indian Journal of Public Administration, 61(4), 658–669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Trivedi, V. (2015). Enhance Service Delivery in Urban Local Government: A Case Study of Surat Municipal Corporation. Nagarlok, 47(1), 50–57. Google Scholar
  24. Waghmore, S. (2002). Rural Development-Role of State. Economic and Political Weekly, 37(29), 3001–3003. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jitendra G. Wasnik
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public Administration and Local Self GovernmentRTM Nagpur UniversityNagpurIndia

Personalised recommendations