5.32          ndian      onom
     (i.e., development) cannot be solved. Finally, once             same coalition (i.e., the NDA) did not come to
     the PRIs were given the constitutional status, first            power in the forthcoming general elections. But
     time planning became a constitutional excercise at              the UPA Government did not look less serious on
     any level, i.e., at the panchayat level.                        the issue of participatory development. By mid-
           Though the planning at the central and the                2006, the Planning Commission wrote letters to
     state levels are still extra-constitutional activities,         every Chief Minister of each state that before the
     it has become constitutional at the level of local              Eleventh Plan commences it wants that all the
     bodies. Kerala has shown some pathbreaking                      PRIs are duly delegated their functional powers
     good works via local body planning.93 But still                 of planning from the concerned states. Otherwise,
     there are many hurdles to be solved before the                  the funds kept for local development would not
     local bodies are really able to plan for their proper           flow to the states. This shows the seriousness of the
     development. These hurdles as per the experts are               Central Government.
     as under:                                                            Meanwhile, the Central government is
           (i) The financial status of the PRIs is still not         aimed at redrawing the contours of decentralised
                stabilised.                                          planning in the country. The new development
          (ii) Which taxes the PRIs can impose are still             ‘think tank’—NITI Aayog—has a completely new
                not clear.                                           orientation towards decentralised planning:
         (iii) The state assemblies have been                                 The body has to design the development
                procrastinating in delegating timely and                      policies keeping in mind the needs of
                needful powers to the PRIs.                                   nation, states and the PRIs. This will be
         (iv) Low level of awareness among the                                one of its kind—a fully ‘integrated’
                local people regarding their Right to                         planning process.
                Information and the right functioning of                      It has to use the ‘bottom-up’ approach
                the PRIs                                                      unlike the one-size-fits-all (‘Top-down’)
          (v) Use of money and muscle power in the                            approach of the past.
                PRI elections in some states                                  To the extent the finalisation of plans
           By mid-2002, there took place an all                               and required funds are concerned, all
     India Panchayat Adhyaksha Sammelan in                                    stakeholders will be having their says
     New Delhi. At the end of the conference , the                            (through the Governing Council which
     Panchayat Adhyakshas handed over a ‘21 Point                             is composed of the CMs of states and the
     Memorandum’ to the government which specially                            Chiefs of UTs).
     dealt with the financial status of the PRIs. In July
                                                                              Promoting the idea of ‘Team India’ which
     2002, while the then PM was addressing the
                                                                              will be working on a common ‘National
     annual meet of the District Rural Development
     Agency (DRDA), he announced that the PRIs
     will be given ‘financial autonomy’ very soon.                            It has to promote the idea of co-
     He further added that once there is a political                          operative federalism, which is in itself a
     consensus, the government might go in for further                        highly decentralised style of promoting
     constitutional amendment. Unfortunately, the                             development planning.
                                                                          By early 2015, we saw a change in the
       93.    Jose George, ‘Panchayats and Participatory Planning in
              Kerala’, The Indian Journal of Public Administration,  Central government’s outlook towards the fund
              Vol. XLIII, No.1, January–March 1997.                  requirements by the states, viz.,