Tuesday, February 5, 2013

7 February 2013: Can Panchayats Make Services Work for Poor People in Rural India?

Hari Nagarajan

Large segments of the rural Indian population, particularly those who are poor, still cannot effectively access public services for water, education and health. This problem is both one of difficult access as well as that of ineffective provision. For some time, attempts have been underway to enable Panchayats,India’s rural local government bodies enabled by the 73rd amendment to the Constitution, to more effectively provide and manage these services. While the conceptual case for more effective service provision through local government remains strong, the judgment is still out on whether Panchayats are in fact able to deliver services, particularly to poor people.

Using a unique, large-scale rural panel data set at NCAER (the Rural Economic and Demographic Survey) this pioneering work explores service provision by Panchayats through the lens of the outcomes in health, education, and infrastructure that should accompany the effective provision of such services. For example, if Panchayats are able to provide drinking water effectively, how does that affect household economic outcomes? Do increases in Panchayat expenditures on health reduce the need for private expenditures by households? If institutions like Village Education Committees (ordained by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan) are active in villages, do Panchayat schools perform more effectively? Does the individual and political empowerment of women through reservations in Panchayat leadership lead to better health outcomes? Does the improved provision of water have significant labor market implications—especially for women?  Is it the quality of school management or the availability of additional resources that seem to be more important for the performance of Panchayat schools?

Date: February 7, 2013
Time: 04:00 P.M.

NCAER Conference Room
National Council of Applied Economic Research
Parisila Bhawan, 11, Indraprastha Estate
New Delhi-110002(INDIA)

Please join us for tea after the seminar. For queries, please contact Ms Sudesh Bala at sbala@ncaer.org or on 011-2345-2669.


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