How grassroots democracy can end rural poverty at a rapid pace
BY: JAVED AHMED MALIK
The book advance argument for treating villages as institutions through the creation of village level permanent democratic body called village social and legal linking it with the executive branch of the state in order to deliver development at a rapid pace.
Poverty is essentially rural in Pakistan. There is 79 million poor in Pakistan, 71 million out of them live in rural areas and face multiple levels of deprivation on a daily basis. The book argues that this is the direct result of not only the wrong policy choice but more importantly states ability to function at the village level effectively. Its present structure is not tailored to serve villages.
The book agrees that effective local bodies could have been the solution to this problem but shows that local government will remain fragile in most parts of Pakistan in near future because it is not in the interest of three key players in the political and bureaucrats system chief minister, chief secretary, and District MNA\MPA to let go few power in favors of village and they will remain against it at all cost as they did in the past seventy years.
Building upon Pakistan’s successful participatory development a volunteer work experience and backed by evidence from China and Korea, the book proposes a permanent village level participatory democratic institution link with restructured state structure where the executive branch of the state will have an effective outreach function at Tehsil /District and Provincial level.
Treating villagers as partners and not as passive receipt and giving them control over funds will jump-start human development in rural areas, improve the local economy and will make state’s fiscal policy more effective and turn to improve GDP growth and will transform villages at a rapid pace.