Panchayats in India and Public Service Delivery N irvikar Singh University of California, Santa Cruz & Santa Cruz Center for International Economics FDRI / Berkeley Seminar Series on Indian Democracy Local Governance and Empowerment May 24-25, 2007 University of California, Berkeley. Outline.
Panchayats in India andPublic Service Delivery Nirvikar SinghUniversity of California, Santa Cruz& Santa Cruz Center for International EconomicsFDRI / Berkeley Seminar Series on Indian DemocracyLocal Governance and EmpowermentMay 24-25, 2007University of California, Berkeley
2006-07: 6% of GDP, 35% of total states’ expenditure
One of the major factors responsible for poor performance in hospitals is the absence of personnel of all categories who are posted there. It is essential that there is appropriate delegation of powers to Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) so that there is local accountability of the public health care providers, and problems relating to poor performance can be sorted out locally.
The 10th Plan aimed at providing essential primary health care, particularly to the underprivileged and underserved segments of our population. It also sought to devolve responsibilities and funds for health care to PRIs. However, progress towards these objectives has been slow and the 10th Plan targets … have been missed. Rural health care in most states is marked by absenteeism of doctors/health providers, low levels of skills, shortage of medicines, inadequate supervision/monitoring, and callous attitudes. There are neither rewards for service providers nor punishments to defaulters.
To improve the primary health care system, the Eleventh Plan will initially lay emphasis on integrated district health plans and later on block specific health plans. Those plans will ensure involvement of all health related sectors and emphasise partnership with NGOs.
“Our attention has been drawn to the shortfall in the release of grants recommended by the EFC to the states. This is due to (a) non-utilization/ underutilization of the amounts already released and (b) the inability of the state/local bodies to raise matching contributions. The condition regarding matching contribution was not imposed by the EFC.”
“Finance commission grants sometimes take a long time to reach the local bodies even after the central government has released the grants to the states. Often, the state governments were found to use them for their ways and means comfort and show no sense of urgency in passing them on to the rightful recipients. This results in withholding of further releases by the centre and the local bodies suffer the consequences for no fault of theirs.”
“The EFC allocated money for creation of a database by local bodies and for maintenance of accounts, but only 30 per cent of the allocation had been utilized after five years.”