Decentralized local governance and citizen participation in South Asia

Publication Type:

Working Papers


National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, Volume No.WP3-2012, Number 978-81-87663-54-6, Bangalore (2012)



This paper encompasses two major themes - local governance and citizens' participation in five neighbouring countries in South Asia, their trials, achievements and failures. Whether their experiences can help the international community in drawing useful conclusions on these two themes is what this paper proposes to explore. Citizen participation is the essence of democracy. An ordinary local citizen should feel that he is not just an inert subject of an arbitrary government far removed from him, but a person whose views must be considered since the government belongs to him and the ruler exists for his benefit and not the other way round. This can be best achieved only through an elected local government, since the people are likely to choose the ones who care for their interests most. The local rulers will also have to be sensitive to the needs of the people, if they wish to get continued support from them. Citizen participation and democratic local governance are thus closely inter-linked and a discussion on one will necessarily lead to the other.


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