Executive Summary- DARPG-LSGD Project

In the 21st Century, there is growing interest more than ever before on issues related to democracy, service delivery and good governance around the world. The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts laid foundation to the new Panchayat Raj Institution (PRI) system, where in, greater power was given to the local bodies, with more power came greater responsibilities, which aimed at creating effective service delivery at grassroots level. Various policies, programmes, schemes and capacity development plans were developed by the Central as well as the state governments with a view to ensure citizen-centric governance especially for the functionaries of Local Self Government Institutions (LSGIs). The impact and extent to which these policies, programmes and capacity development initiatives including trainings have percolated and been of use to the public is highly debatable, and has not been professionally studied. In this context, an evaluation study was carried out by Institute of Management in Government (IMG), Kerala with the support of Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Government of India.

The main objective of the study was to identify the factors facilitating the enabling environment for effective service delivery in rural and urban local self government institutions in Kerala. The study also proposed to document the Best Practices of effective service delivery from the selected Local Governments for adopting and replicating these practices / models to other Local Governments.

Twelve Grama Panchayats and seven Municipalities were selected for the study based on a systematic and well validated methodology, which integrated both qualitative and quantitative approaches. They were selected based on the awards won by them and diversity in their area of excellence in service delivery, as these awards were closely related to the different aspects of service delivery in local bodies.

The study revealed the fact that award winning Local Self Government Institutions are more efficient, transparent, welfare oriented, beneficiary friendly in fulfilling the roles and functions envisaged, which depended much on the initiatives and strategies adopted by the Local Bodies.

An integration of enabling framework with proper coordination, management and convergence of support services with three levels of governance - Central, State and at Local Governments level is essential for enhancing effective service delivery. The study also recommended that need based training, orientation and awareness creation about the services available at LSG level to all sections of the stakeholders and partners are necessary for the smooth functioning of the LSGIs which can facilitate enabling environment for effective service delivery.

 The documented case studies in this study are models of innovative practices that can be replicated elsewhere in the country.