In the current edition of Economic & Political Weekly, Anand Sahasranaman of IFMR Finance Foundation has published a paper on Panchayat Finances based on an analysis of three villages – Pallavapuram, Pandiyapuram and Cholapuram in rural Tamil Nadu. The paper outlines the different aspects concerning their finances and infrastructure and argues that with judicious increases in their tax and fee regimes, all three will be in a position to self-finance a substantial portion of their infrastructure and service needs, resulting in improved local governance and quality of life of local citizens.
Abstract from the paper below:
One of the key tests to real empowerment of panchayats lies in the ability of local self-governing institutions to finance their own expenditures through internal generation of resources. Based on an analysis of three villages in Tamil Nadu, this paper argues that many gram panchayats are today in a position to substantially finance themselves and build a culture of self-sufficiency, independence and accountability to their citizens, reducing their dependence on devolutions from state governments. It concludes that by incentivising competition among panchayats and instituting a rural development fund to enable them to access debt capital, the perverse incentives they now face can be mitigated to a large extent, leading to several significant positive outcomes.
To read the full paper click here.