The functioning of multiparty democracy and nation building process after 1990 is plagued by decade long conflict, by political or governmental instability, a lack of effective governance, the erosion of norms and values, and pervasive corruption. The Local Self-Governance Act, 1999 determines the relation of the central government with the local government bodies. Though democracy and decentralization should be complementary, Nepal's political culture and the attitudes and behaviour of the leaders remain authoritarian. As Dev Raj Dahal observed (1996), the critical problem of developing countries is that their democratic institutions are yet to be institutionalized. The society is doomed to continue waiting for a comprehensive fundamental change in governing structure.
A number of problems hinder widespread devolution. The local bodies claim that the legal provisions that govern them and the administrative rights and duties they are inadequate to bring about real devolution of authority from the centre to the districts and to the grassroots level. Similarly, the local government institution lack technical and financial resources. Their continued dependence on the central government and government line agencies obstruct their ability to develop policies, implement, and formulate programmes. Although the local self-governance act has many provision for the local bodies to generate income, the amount generated in this way been insufficient to cover cost of development works.
The policy makers have understood decentralized governance system as an attempt to make the centre powerless while empowering the local level, which, however, is not the case. Decentralization, in fact means defining and ensuring responsibilities at each level. For example, local would require high-level technical input from the centre, when authorities relating health, education, transport, revenue generation etc. are devolved to them.
The organizational structure of local bodies is unresponsive and unaccountable to the voters and most of them function on an undemocratic manner. For instance, DDC plays very important role in resource mobilization allocation and program management at the district level and its officials are elected from the electoral college of a district (President and Vice-President from whole district and member are from Ilaka). However, there is no institutional mechanism for the voters to monitor the activities of their leaders, question, and expel them. Likewise, the central government employs personnel in DDC and they are responsible to the central.
Resource allocation through "Tok Adesh
" is another concern in this regard. One may find appropriately following all procedures in the file, but in reality appointment/transfer, resource allocation, location of the project and the approval of the contracts are done through "Tok Adesh
" of key person. In the process, the person neither follows any procedure nor is accountable to anybody. In fact, such practice was originated during Panchayat
period, which, however, is continuing. The report of the 'Local Bodies Financial Commission 2000' has reported that the allocation of the resources by the local bodies in health care support, teaching materials, tea parties and financial support to various clubs on the basis of personal application is non-transparent and used for political purpose directly or indirectly. Thus, the report was recommended prohibiting such practices. In fact, "Tok Adesh
" is more rampant at the centre level. One can imagine that long -term implication of over four thousands of Technical Assistants by the then Minister for Local Development or tens of thousands of school teachers hired by the then Minister for Education on an ad hoc manner. Such examples are ubiquitous. If Tok Adesh
is so useful and convenient to everybody, why do we need the decentralized development process and the self-governance approach? In such situation this programme was started in Nepal since 2008 with the support of major donors and development partners of Nepal and Social Welfare Resource Development Centre also associated to this project to implement in 5 VDCs of Parbat district.
The main aim of the programme is to improve the democratic norms and values at grass-root through the inclusive, responsive and accountable local government body in Nepal is the general objective of the project but its specific objective are:
- To enhance the democratic norms at grass-root through participatory community development measures; and
- To increase level of participation of local people through participatory planning process with the active participation of local development stakeholders.
More than 2200 household will be benefited from this project. It is tried to rebuild the motivation of local people in community development through social mobilization. One of the beauties of this project is to maximum mobilization of civil society organization in local development.