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'Strengthening democracy at grassroot level vital'

Strengthening democracy at grassroot level vital

Thiruvananthapuram: Emphasising the role of participatory governance in the present economy, Planning Commission member Mihir Shah Sunday said deepening of democracy and inclusive growth should go hand-in-hand to achieve quality in delivery of services at the grassroot level.

Inaugurating a three-day international conference on 'Deepening Democracy', organised by the state Department of Local Self Government here, he said all development programmes in the 12th Five Year Plan were envisaged in a participatory mode and women had a significant role to play in it.

"All projects will be in a participatory mode in the 12th Five Year Plan. Both deepening of democracy and inclusive growth should go hand in hand. When people are engaged in participatory democracy at the grassroot level, the outcome will be radically different," Shah said.

The quality of outcome in all sectors, including health and education, would be improved by developing democracy, he said, adding the Planning Commission's role would be re-defined to deepen democracy.

"Not just the passing of legislation, but a strong social and financial backing from the government is necessary for the success of any development initiative," he said.

Shah said the country has witnessed many developmental programmes in the last decade under the UPA government like RTI Act, food security act, rural employment guarantee act and so on.

People should feel part of the development process of the country if the desired results are to be achieved, Shah added.

Meanwhile M K Muneer, state Minister for Panchayat and Social Justice, said Kerala leads in decentralisation, and financial freedom to local bodies had become a boon for poor and marginalised sections of society.

State Planning Board vice-chairman K M Chandrasekhar and former state Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac were also among the participants at the conference.


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