The Impact of Corruption on Women’s Political Participation at the Local Government Level: The Case of Sri Lanka

This paper analyzes how different manifestations of corruption hinder women’s political participation at the local level of governance in Sri Lanka. The study is based on a field survey, which monitored and reviewed 79 women aspirants of political office as they navigated the local government or Pradeshiya Sabha electoral process of 2011 in Sri Lanka. While women find it hard to break through the patriarchal dominance in politics, the gendered impact of corruption makes the struggle even more difficult. The study demonstrates that open competition in the electoral process and the proportional representation system of elections do not help advance women’s political representation.
Md. Shahriar Islam's picture

Good Democratic Local Governance in Bangladesh: Ramification of Upazila Parishad in Accelerating Local Development

The objective of the paper is to look at the various governance and democratic aspects such as participation, accountability, transparency, rule of law etc. at the Upazila level in Bangladesh and to what extent the indicators portray good democratic local governance at the Upazila level. This paper examines to what extent the aspects of governance and democracy is being channeled to ensure that the needs and wants of the local people are met and alleviate poverty towards local development. Our paper would discuss whether the Upazila Parishad in Bangladesh is ensuring good democratic local governance to expedite the development process at the local level.

An Analysis of the State of Rule of Law during Assam Movement in Assam, India

Youth movement is a prominent feature of politics of Assam viewed as the most disruptive area of North-East India. Youth participation in various mass movements and their initiation of such struggles has been significant here. It has been viewed that every democratic movement in Assam seemed to be initiated by youth, which is evident from the colonial period. In the post independent era, youths are making a determined bid to change the existing society and polity of the state. Such movements have also toppled the state governments and at times forced governments to negotiate on issues involving policies affecting governance of the state. Such occurrences of youth movements in contemporary Assam center round democratic politics of India. Democratic politics involves a process of decision making that again involves popular participation. Participation of this kind would, of course, involve the principles of civil liberties and rule of law. Since youth movements have been a fact of history of the politics of Assam, there is a possibility that such movements might have affected the essential norms of democratic politics of the state. If we define democracy to include political participation, civil liberties and rule of law, it is necessary to examine how these features of democracy are affected by youth movement. This paper aims at examining how youth movement influences the democratic politics of Assam, particularly in the matter of rule of law. The researchable question we intend to examine is – does youth movement affect rule of law, the basic norm of democratic politics of the state? To facilitate the above, we plan to analyze the politics of the “Assam Movement” (1979-85) led by All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), the leading student union of Assam, for an enhanced understanding of consequences of youth movement for norms of democratic politics of the state.

Who Rules Whom? Structural Instability and Governance Patterns in Bangladesh

The contest for power between ruling political parties and the governing administration shapes the governance pattern of Bangladesh. It is a contest marked by structural instability. Structural instability occurs when the formal governance structure produces its own anti-form, bringing about organizational erosion stretching from the central bureaucracy to local government. Politicians have developed a mechanism to subjugate and control bureaucrats. Since 1990 the two ruling parties, Awami League (AL) and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) with their respective tribunes, have alternately shared political power. The domination of political parties by tribunes, their kin and primordial loyalists, transform them into extended political families and dynasties. This dynastic formation of ruling political parties has deep implications for the administration of government. Politicians demand that public servants express loyalty to the kin and families of tribunes. It is the loyalty rather than the professional expertise and skills of public servants which results in career advancement. Over the years, political interference in bureaucracy has contributed to a polarization of the administration towards partisan politics. The political maneuvering of the administration often creates a condition of structural instability with twin manifestations. Firstly, a formation of an unstable factionalism within the administration may lead to revolts against the ruling parties in favor of opposition parties. Secondly, there is a tendency within the extended political families to produce opposing factions which result in a dysfunctional state that is unaccountable to its people. The instability of the administration can also be partly attributed to the reproduction within the formal administration of the use of traditional culture to define norms and nuances.
Ishtiaq Jamil's picture

Policy Making in Urban Bangladesh: Whose Domination?

The main purpose of this paper is to identify actors involved in the process of policy formulation in urban governance in Bangladesh and analyze the roles of dominant actors in the process of policy formulation. The study employed a case-oriented qualitative research method. Rajshahi City Corporation was selected as the unit of analysis. The available data substantiates that among three actors i.e. state, society and corporation council (parishad), the council is playing the dominant role in policy making. It has also found that the Mayor is the most dominant actor in the council as he draws support from the majority of ward commissioners in his favor. This informal network of relationship that the mayor nurtures resembles patron-client relationship where the mayor dominates by dint of his political linkages and administrative position, and acts as patron to dispense favor and reward to ward commissioners and other members in the network.
Shree Krishna Shrestha's picture

NGO Governance in Nepal: Convoluted Exercise for Ideal Desire

The notion of good governance is viewed as an important component for the effective service delivery. Good governance with moral conduct and ethical behavior is tied up with the accountability. This paper, owing to this fact, attempts to see the trends of NGO accountability for establishing good governance in Nepal. Furthermore, this paper sketches briefly the emergence and the growth of CSOs and NGOs in Nepal and their pursuance to achieve good governance by being accountable and responsible entities. It also assesses the legal background for the support of NGOs activities. The paper discusses the practice followed by the surveyed NGOs in major activities like planning, financial management, operation programming, staffing, board management and community relationship of the Nepalese NGOs. A total of 93 NGOs were selected on the basis of purposive sampling. Attention was paid to include NGOs operating in different parts of the country, and carrying out various activities ranging from advocacy to community development and human rights. The respondents were mainly the board members of the sample NGOs.

Youth Activism and Challenges of Democratic Governance in Assam, India

The state politics of Assam, the most conflict-ridden area of North-East India, reflects increasing youth activism. The official records of the All Assam Students’ Union, the biggest student organization of North-East region, and government reports on those as well as other material evidences show that youth activism has toppled the state governments, and also, at times forced governments to negotiate on issues involving policies affecting polity and society of all the states in North-East India. We also see youth making a determined bid to change the existing socio-political processes of the state. Such activism could be summarized as the engagement of youths in organizing people for some aspects of social action. It is also found that contrary to the Western societies, the hegemonic role played by both the youths and middle classes has been instrumental in achieving the unity of the community involving all segments of the greater Assamese community. Such activism in contemporary Assam is taking place in a political reality which centers round democratic governance of the state of India. Therefore, there is a possibility that the political attitude and the behavior of the youth might have challenged the democratic governance of the state affecting the process of development. This paper aims at examining how youth activism as a social phenomenon influences the democratic governance in Assam, particularly in the matter of popular participation. The researchable question we intend to examine is – does youth activism motivate people to participate in democratic politics? There is an urgent need to examine this aspect so that we can arrive at a better understanding of youth activism and its consequences for democratic governance of the state.

Fiscal Decentralization and Local Resource Mobilization in Nepal : The Case of District Development Committees and Village Development Committees

Resource mobilization refers to the collection and utilization of resources in an organized way to produce results according to the given system of governance. It is based on a flow concept in which the inflow and outflow of resources are the concerns of "who gets what and how much from whom". Basically, the flow of local resource is the concern of fiscal issue of the local government which focuses on how the local government generates the revenue measured in monetary unit to meet the level of expenditure incurred to provide services for the benefit of the local people. Therefore, the fiscal decentralization in relation to the local government is considered as an important means of the system of governance. The critical issues of governance in the context of local resource mobilization are: Who controls? Who decides? And how optimally resources are collected and distributed to use? and so on. Fiscal decentralization refers to the process of granting autonomy to the local self government to mobilize financial resources which shows how much central government cedes fiscal impact to sub-national governments. It is a bottom up planning approach with the aim of converging the people's participation. Nepal is a country rich in diverse resources. Considering the eminent role to be played by local institution to mobilize these resources, Nepal has adopted the principle of decentralization since 1960 and various acts and laws were enacted since then to strengthen the efforts. According to the present Local-Self Governance Act (LSGA)-1999, local resources consisting of the grants provided by the central government (matching and non-matching grant), local revenue (tax and non-tax) and loan (internal and external) could have been implemented by the respective local bodies. This paper, therefore, has attempted to analyze the present status of revenue collection and expenditure practices as well as its scope and challenges of Village Development Committees (VDCs) and District Development Committees (DDCs).

Responsive Governance and Decentralized Participatory Institutions An Analytical Study in Indian State of Andhra Pradesh

The concept of (good) governance has emerged as the essential part of sustainable development. Experience from different countries has shown that while good governance can help secure human well-being and sustained development, it is equally important to recognize that poor governance could erode individual capabilities as well as institutions and community capabilities to meet even the basic needs of sustenance for large segments of the population, particularly the poor, the disadvantaged and the marginalized sections. Democratic decentralization is considered vital for overall development. It is argued that decentralization leads to improved governance and better delivery, hence improving livelihoods and alleviating poverty. The relationship between decentralization and governance are manifold. Decentralization leads to transparency in policies, responsiveness of the policy makers, accountability of implementers, openness and enhanced flow of information, and hence reduces corruption. The state of Andhra Pradesh stood second while introducing the Panchayati Raj system in India in order to establish democratic institutions at the grassroots level. In the recent past, however, Andhra Pradesh had adopted different institutional arrangements in the name of participatory institutions as decentralized delivery systems. These emerging institutions effectively by-passed the democratic institutions and are also known as parallel institutions or community based organizations (CBOs) or user committees. Financially these institutions are much stronger than the PRIs. Important issues addressed in the paper include: how do the parallel institutions function and perform in achieving the stated program objectives? Have these institutions improved the delivery of pro-poor policies? What are the linkages between the participatory and the democratic institutions? The basic thrust of my empirical study done in the state of Andhra Pradesh is on accountability of institutions in fostering responsive governance.

Innovations in Public Service Delivery for Ordinary Citizens

Innovations have become key players in defining pro-poor governance. While this provides visibility to a good work of an administrator it also raises many perplexing questions. Their need, appropriateness and impact has challenged traditional bureaucracy and by doing so has brought a refreshing change in society. Interestingly, they are reified as something existing outside the bureaucracy and beyond administrative capacities. They have become the fly wheel of governance even though they tend to do what bureaucracy should be doing but fails to do. The instrumentalist state relies on innovations in service delivery and democratization of society becomes inadvertent fallout of its implementation process. New partnerships and private networks come to occupy the space where bureaucracy withdraws but their interaction is largely guided and premeditated by the state politics. The paper attempts to understand and analyze the nature and role of innovations in pro-poor governance.
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