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RESTRUCTURING LOCAL GOVERNANCE IN THE ERA OF GLOBALISATION

G. Palanithurai

The IUP Journal of Governance and Public Policy, 2008, vol. III, issue 1, 23-33

Abstract: Since the 1990s, globalisation and decentralisation are taking place simultaneously and also reinforcing each other. Local governments have been repositioned both in the industrialised and developing countries in tune with new requirements. Failures of the market and democracy eroded the trust of the people in the existing system of governance and leadership. The search is on for a new paradigm of governance. Devolution of powers seems to be the logical and natural answer to meet the extant crises of governance. However, devolution and decentralisation have to be processed and implemented only through the existing institutional arrangements. Hence, one finds a lot of bottlenecks in the process of devolution. Very often there is no correlation between the nature of devolution and its content. Different models have emerged with different perspectives in local governance. When power moves from the top to bottom, individuals and groups who enjoyed power hitherto will evolve strategies to retain their power. At the same time, the people hitherto marginalised mobilise themselves to get their due share in power. There are many players in this process and conflicts of interests become inevitable. These struggles for devolution of powers vary from country to country because the local bodies are viewed with different perspectives in different nations. A new brand of federalism and leadership could emerge throughout the world once self-governance at the grassroots level becomes functional. While the three layers of governance emerged in the framework of new federations, there will be clash of interests among the structures. Judiciary also differs in interpreting the status and position of local bodies within the framework of federal governance. The devolution of powers will have far-reaching implications on the society and governance.

Date: 2008
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