Occasional Paper / Social Classes and Participation in Local Planning in Kerala

List Editor Ashok R Chandran05/04/2016

P. Mohanan Pillai and C. Prakash. (2016, February). Social classes and participation in local planning in Kerala: A micro level study (Research Unit on Local Self Governments Occasional Paper No. 2016:1). Thiruvananthapuram: Centre for Development Studies.

All Working/Occasional/Discussion papers of the Centre for Development Studies and its research units are peer reviewed.

Abstract: The people’s participation in the decentralised planning process at the panchayat level is witnessing a steady decline in the State. What is significant is that the participation comes only from the poor and the lower middle class people. The growing tendency of the middle classes and the relatively better off sections of the people to keep away from participation in the grama sabha meetings is obvious. With increasing levels of education and affluence their lack of interest for participation was also found rising. It appears that the educated and the articulate middle class, which is expected to contribute significantly to the planning process, is increasingly giving up its social role. It is the poor and the lower sections of the middle class who appreciate the empowering potential of the grama sabha. They are also found holding a more serious attitude towards political and democratic causes as judged from their involvement in various social activities. The growing environment of neo-liberal policies is a disincentive for the privileged sections of the middle classes who benefit from such policies to join collective social action. This at least partially explains the lower participation levels of the middle classes in social and political activities. However, the declining participation is not exclusively the result of class behaviour. There are inherent problems in the methodology of planning which needs to be addressed to ensure better administrative co-ordination and co-operation in decentralised planning

Full text (OA): http://cds.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/RULSG2016_1.pdf

V. Sriram
Chief Librarian, KN Raj Library, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram

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