(Sample Material) Gist of IIPA Journal: People’s Participation in Governance E. Vayunandan and Dolly Mathew

(Sample Material) Gist of Important Articles from IIPA Journal

Topic: People’s Participation in Governance E. Vayunandan and Dolly Mathew

Peoples Participation—Meaning and Prerequisites

Participation here is referred to the consultation, involvement, and empowerment of the people. It implies that people participate in decision-making, design, formulation, implementation, evaluation and monitoring of various programmes and development projects concerning them. People works patterns with the government projects concerning them. People work as partners with the government and various other agencies in initiation and fulfillment of goals. It further connotes the control an managements of the resources. It manifests equity, as there as complete involvement of each and every individual, including women. If reflects the attainment of skills and capacity building of the community. It means discipline and self-control. There is accessibility to services and the people bear the onus to ensure proper functioning and accountability. Participation signifies cost sharing and resource mobilisation. It works towards sustainable development and reliance on the local knowledge. It takes place in a number of areas, such as, community resources management, environmental sustain polity through social forestry and alternative energy, social and gender equity issues pertaining to child labour and women development, livelihood generation, infrastructure development, self finance and micro-finance and sustainability of institutions of self-governance.

According to Cohen and Uphoff, participation is the involvement of the people in the decision-making processes, in implementing the development programme, sharing the benefits and evaluating such programmes.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) consider people’s participation not just the process of involvement of people in project activities but rather it is the process by which rural people are able to organise themselves, an are able to identify their own needs, share in design, implementation and evaluation of participatory action.

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The ACC Task Force and Working Group on Rural Development Programme Harmonization, Rome (as quoted by Somesh Kumar) say that what gives real meaning to popular participation is the collective effort by the people concerned to pool their effort and resources and attain objectives thy set for themselves. In this regard, participation viewed as an active process in which the participants take initiatives actions that are stimulated by their own thinking and by deliberations of which they exert effective control. The idea of passive participation, what by others and controlled by others, is unacceptable.

Vigoda finds that participation is becoming the strategic modern democracies. It flows from partnership and collaboration between multiple actors, i.e., the citizens, governments and other social player a more active and bi-directional act of participation, involvement unification of forces between two or more parties. It is a means information, innovation, agreements based on compromises and understanding and a more equitable and redistribution of people and resources.

However, participation is possible only if the people have to inclination for the same. Also, it is necessary for the political atmosphere to be conducive. According to Verba et al., it is necessary for the pen to have the motivation, resources and networks of collective. They consider, motivation, skills and network connections are required for civic engagement, which can then be measured by behaviors activities such as voting, contacting elected representative persuading others to join in mobilizing resources to address a public issue. Secondly, people can participate only when there do exit point social, economic and cultural structures, which are participatory democratic in nature. The duos are must to enable participation.

Methods of People’s Participation

What means the people have by which they can decide the terms and nature of their-participation? This is discussed in the light of the means of voice, information and representation. According to Kaufman, participation is not just people participating in the decision-making but it is a question of whether the population has the means to define the terms and nature of its participation. The peoples must be bestowed with the economic, cultural, political and social process (means) to define what is desirable, what is good, and what is the nature of their involvement in reality. This will lead to individual and social empowerment, economic development, and socio-political transformation.

People’s participation in governance can be seen through four methods given by Martin Lodge, namely, voice, choice, information and representation. The people through methods, in a democracy individually or collectively decide things concerning them. However, there is a slight modification in this article what is originally dealt by Martin. Martin has put forward these mechanism in terms of a citizen consumer perspective of ensuring regulatory accountability in the light of the present day globalisation. The article has taken into consideration these four mechanism as applicable to the citizen-irrespective of being consumers of citizens-as a whole.
The four methods of participation are discussed as follows:

  • Voice: It refers to the people’s freedom to express their opinions, ideas, feelings and problems. The people have the right to seek information. They also have means and procedures for lodging complaints and mechanism for grievance handling. This methods will act as a device for regulation and control by the people. People express their voices through the courts, consumer forums, panchayats, community organisations, tribunals, media, etc.

  • Choice: People exercise their choice during elections. If they are dissatisfied they can throw their representatives out of power. Likewise, they can also from their own organisations and become members of different bodies. They also can decide the goods they required and choose and amount of the goods desired. They have the complete freedom to withdraw and choose another service provider. With large numbers of service providers they have the benefits of getting the desired services at a lower cost and with a wider choice. Martin says that the extent of choice cannot be just measured in terms of market shares or the availability of choice options, but requires the ability to choose easily. They can also choose among the various development programmes and organisations.

  • Representation: Representation can be understood in different ways. First, the concept of representative government whereby the representatives from the different segments of the society are represented. Here the people can choose their representative and get their needs fulfilled through them. Free and fair election assure such a representation. Second, there is a representative bureaucracy, where the civil services represent the different the different sections of the society. In addition, representation takes place with people directly or indirectly participating with the various community based and non-governmental organisations. According to Rousseau, representation is the direct rule of the citizen ensuring optimal involvement. Representation thus, helps the people to channelise their voices and choices. It becomes possible to exude accountability, transparency and responsiveness of the public officials. Regulation and control by the people becomes possible. The people can also render their opinions.

  • Information: Information about various services, rules and regulations, rights, entitlements helps the people to make right choices and voice their optinious and problems. Martin opines that information deficits are likely to limit the choices of the people, resulting in dissatisfaction and also in low trust…..Informed citizens make the service providers to offer decent services and motivate service competition. Accessibility to information from the media, public facilitation centers, Internet and web sites, government departments, institutions will render public participation and effective service delivery.

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