Essay on the Need for Decentralisation

It is here that the legislature meets and laws are passed, the High Court decides all points in the interpretation of laws, and rules and regulations are framed by the superior officials in the executive departments. The whole governmental life of a province or a state, in brief, is centralised at one place.

The position is similar to one which necessitates the territorial division of the country into major political divisions and distribution of governmental powers between the central government and the provincial or state governments.

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Such are the amount and variety of work to be done that it is impossible for a single authority directly to undertake the performance of all those duties adequately, effectively and efficiently.

In fact, the provincial government has neither the time nor the requisite knowledge of all the diverse problems which are peculiar to different areas.

“We cannot realise the full benefit of democratic government,” says Laski, “unless we begin by the admission that all problems are not central problems, and that the result of problems in their incidence require decision at the place, and by the persons, where and by whom the incidence is most deeply felt.”

This constitutes the real problem of local government and from this problem emerges the need for decentralisation. Decentralisation means distribution of governmental powers and responsibilities between the Centre and the local areas in which the country, if it is small in size like Britain, or the provinces of a big unitary State, or the states of a federation, are divided for administrative convenience.

The provincial or state government is the central government for all local areas within its jurisdiction. Decentralisation is, thus, a centrifugal movement which aims at entrusting local organs created in local areas with powers local in character, the presumption being that people belonging to the locality can know best and appreciate their own problems and needs and can solve them best.

The entire problem of local government is the problem of personal touch with the affairs concerning the locality and their solution. If the local people are denied association with local life, they would not only stultify their talent, energy, initiative and enterprise, but they lose all sense of responsibility.


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