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The potential of civil society in interfacing with the government for ensuring good governance has gained currency in academic and policy debates in the recent times. This becomes particularly relevant in an old democracy like India where the State has not been able to meet the need for basic things. However, the State provides space and freedom for people to engage in collective action, to critically evaluate the State’s policies and demand a revision in policy for effective implementation of the laws that are elaborately codified in the Constitution and also to improve the functioning of its institutions.
This book studies the level of participation of tribal communities in the new Panchayat Raj dispensation introduced in Andhra Pradesh since the PESA Act. It specifically analyses how much the community has achieved or benefited after the introduction of Panchayat Raj. The objective is to determine how the power structures of tribal communities have been influenced by the socio-political changes and institutional innovations, like the extension of representative democracy at the grassroots level; what kind of changes have taken place in the study area with the institutionalization of Panchayats; and the politicization of the tribal people by the different parties. This book also throws light on the role of civil society actors in influencing governance positively as well as the limitations that have inhibited the impact of their influence.
The empirical research highlights that the institution of Gram Sabha has been instrumental in bringing transparency and accountability in the working of local bodies. The author has rightly emphasized the need for an attitudinal change both in the political and administrative machinery at State, district and village level. The inter-relationship of the three Ds, i.e. Democracy, Decentralisation and Development, has been brought out beautifully with the support of field study. While the 73rd amendment and PESA Act of the Constitution has mandated the democratization of local self-governments, the process of decentralisation is yet to take concrete shape through real devolution from Lok Sabha to Gram Sabha.
Aruna Kumar Monditoka teaches Development Studies at Dr B. R. Ambedkar University, New Delhi, India. He was Visiting Fellow at CESS, Hyderabad, and worked on Forest Governance in Andhra Pradesh. He obtained his PhD from the Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad. His doctoral thesis wass on Local Governance in Scheduled Areas in Andhra Pradesh, and his MPhil thesis was on Land Disputes Between Tribals and Non-Tribals in Andhra Pradesh. His areas of interest include decentralisation, tribal rights, NGOs, rural development, and natural resource management.He was Country Director for India on a project titled Labour Migration in India, with the City University of New York, USA, and also Programme Manager for the Byrraju foundation, Andhra Pradesh.Aruna Kumar Monditoka has been working on tribal issues in India in general and Andhra Pradesh in particular. He has published various articles on tribal land rights and tribal governance. Two of his books—one from Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK, and another from the Cambridge Foundation—on tribal land alienation in Andhra Pradesh, are forthcoming.
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