Gandhian Concept of Village Development & India’s Development Policy

  • Gandhi made it very dear that concentration of either economic or political power would violate all the essential principles of participatory democracy. To check centralization, Gandhi suggested the institution of village republics both as institutions of parallel polities and as units of economic autonomy.
  • Political and economic decentralisation: Politically a village must be small enough to permit everyone to participate directly in the decision-making process. It is the basic institution of participatory democracy. The technical skills of the villages will be fully developed; there will be no dearth of men with a high degree of skill and artistic talent. There will be village poets, village artists, village architects, linguists, and research workers.
  • Concept of Decentralization: Gandhian decentralization means creation of parallel politics in which people’s power is institutionalized to counter the centralizing and alienating forces of modem state.
  • According to him, utilization of local resources is fundamental to development of Panchayat Raj system. Panchayats with Gram Sabhas should be so organized as to identify resources locally available for development in agricultural and industrial sectors.
  • Role of Panchayati Raj: Each village is a little republic, self-sufficient, enjoying maximum freedom for deciding the affairs of the locality. These villages should not only be self-sufficient but also capable of defending themselves, even, if necessary, against the whole world.
  • Gandhi said, “Panchayat Raj represents true democracy realized. We would regard the humblest and the lowest Indian as being equally the ruler of India with the tallest in the land”.
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