Local Government should be strengthened
Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Local government is one of the elements of good governance and honest local government reaches development benefits to the grass-roots. Strengthening the local government bodies and ensuring participation of people in the democratic process of the country are essential for overall development of a country. Besides, it is equally important to separate the Election Commission from the Prime Minister’s Office to facilitate working of the EC as an independent body in the election process. Unfortunately,  a number of regulations relating to the local government which are the main characteristics of the country’s constitution were not implemented during the last 37 years since the country’s independence in 1971. But too much centralization and the overwhelming influence of MPs and bureaucrats is negating the effects of strong local government that is necessary for poverty eradication and uplift of rural people. The local government is at present in a sorry state held in the grips of the Members of Parliament and bureaucrats. Most of the laws related to local government are inconsistent with the constitution and curb the power of the democratic institutions at the grassroots level.  The local government institutions are actually held hostage to the national government and bureaucracy. The local government is fully dependent on the MPs and ministers and in some cases, representatives have also been threatened of being ousted from their elected posts, which is totally humiliating. All these practices must be abolished and one-third of the budgetary allocation should be provided directly to the UPs in order to reach out the benefits of development to the rural poor.

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