The Way Forward: Public Policy to Address Regional Imbalances in India, Process and Outcome
Chapter ten emphasizes an alternative approach in policy making for regional development from conventional ‘top-down’ to a joint effort of concerned stakeholders involved in public and private domains. As economic regions are not recognized with their potentials and endowments, development performance at regional levels therefore tends to remain lopsided, arbitrary and under-utilised with political and administrative boundaries. Some such regions may require a real competitive edge by finding niches or by mainstreaming endogenous ideas and knowledge. Many a time such economic differences are deeply linked with longstanding unequal power relations between leading and backward regions. Political representation from advanced Indian regions along with strong central intervention continued to dominate in the decision-making and policy formation process, which has aggravated growth-gaps and uneven development outcomes, eventually made it difficult for backward regions to ‘catch-up’ and many have manifested with social unrest and conflicts. Therefore, by assessing all economic, social and political context of regional development, a knowledge-based policy intervention in the low-performing regions is extremely crucial. An optimum choice of policy strategy connecting potentialities, linkages, political voice and various other dynamics that influence both the pattern of growth and social justice across the regions, needs to be found out. Thus, political sensitization, democratization, awakening and analyses of regional development in India need to be prioritized in policy recommendation to redress the imbalance between the strong and weak regions. Therefore along with decentralized governance, a multi-level federalism, by transferring power to the local, regional and territorial levels, may be an important tool as local political institutions can better understand the aspirations and uniqueness of the local situations and can represent and respond adequately to their needs and demands.
KeywordsRegional Development Political Representation Regional Imbalance Performance Grant Multilevel Governance
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