Transforming Development with Grassroots Planning in Madhya Pradesh, India

Yogesh Mahor, Ram Gopal Singh


There is growing acknowledgment that state interactions must take place in a democratic context. This has been accompanied by attempts to foster forms of democratic governance that provide scope for citizen participation in the development process. However, due to vast inter- and intra-country differences, no single model has emerged for countries to follow, even if each effort has contributed to further deliberation and discussion.

A major challenge to successful implementation has been the absence of an effective and practical framework to ensure decentralization. In the state Madhya Pradesh of India, the democratic reform has progressed from conceptualization to mobilization to institutionalization. For the first time in Madhya Pradesh's development history, state government has shown the courage to interact with communities in making village-level development plans. The Madhya Pradesh Planning Commission has created a tangible plan for working more closely with communities.

This paper outlines the nature of this initiative and analyses the adequacy of the framework for decentralizsation and the mechanism of governance adopted by the Madhya Pradesh government for achieving the goal of participatory democracy. In particular, the paper assesses the state model of decentralized planning, its operational framework, and ongoing efforts. It also presents the status of village-level planning in the state, including how villages are interacting with one another and with government entities outside the state.

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