Roundtable on local government in India’s federal system

A gathering of 20 Indian experts – scholars and practitioners of federalism – met recently at the Institute of Social Sciences in New Delhi to discuss the relevance of local governments within the context of India’s federal system.

The country roundtable was part of the Forum of Federation’s Global Dialogue programm’s Theme 6 on local government and metropolitan regions.

The roundtable was co-chaired by the country coordinators Dr.George Mathew and Dr.Rakesh Hooja, of the Indian Administrative Service. The roundtable was attended by participants from several states. These included experts such as B.K.Chandrashekar, ex-Minister of Rural Development in Karnataka; S.S. Meenakshisundara, ex-Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Rural Development.

Also participaing in the roundtable were Dr.Mahipla from Harayana, Principal Secretary in the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj; Mr. Sreenivasa Murthy; B.N.Singh from the Dept of Urban Affairs in Uttar Pradesh; Professor Akhtar Majeed from the Hamdard University; and K.C.Sivaramakrishnan, ex-Secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development for the Government of India. The workshop was held on Dec. 9, 2006.

India is one of a few federations to recognise local governments in its constitution. The discussions centred around the trends, effectiveness and reforms in local governments in both rural and urban settings.

Other Global Dialogue roundtables on the same theme will be held in Bern, Switzerland on Dec. 21; in Madrid, Spain on Jan. 26; and in Sydney, Australia on Feb. 9. Other roundtables were held in London, Canada on Oct. 16 and in Jos, Nigeria on Nov. 1. Others are planned for Austria, Germany, Mexico and the United States.

In November 2007, an international roundtable will be held in South Africa, followed by the publication of a book. The local government theme is the Forum’s sixth in the Global Dialogue series.

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