DECENTRALIZATION COMMUNITY

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					                 Decentralization Community
                     Annual Forum 2009
                    Hotel Taj Residency
                  Lucknow, 22-24 October




Facilitated by                                Supported by




                                                             1
                                PROGRAMME OUTLINE
Decentralization Community, though an electronic platform, organizes occasional face-to-face meetings.
An important event among them is the Annual Forum. The first one was held in ---- as the Visioning
workshop in Delhi and we had the previous Annual Forum in September 2007 in Bhopal.

Objectives
Annual Forum 2009 is visualized to:
    Bring together a cross section of the members of Decentralization Community
    Strengthen their connections
    Build Community identity
    Reflect on the activities of the Community so far
    Pave the direction for future activities

Benefits for Participants
We have designed this Forum in such a way that it provides opportunities for members to:
    Share their experiences and learnings
    Receive new inputs and knowledge
    Connect with each other, and
    Work collaboratively

Theme of the Annual Forum
The theme of this Annual Forum is ‘Rights and Local Governance’. We zeroed in on this theme
taking into consideration the various new initiatives coming up in the country such as the Right to
information, Right to Employment, Right to Education, Right to Food Security and Access to Justice
through Gram Nyayalayas. It is important to note that all of them have direct implication for local
governance. Local governments have to play a major role in realizing the objectives of these rights
based governance initiatives.

Structure of the Annual Forum

I. Rights and Local Governance
There will be keynote presentations on Right to information, Right to Employment, Right to Education,
Right to Food Security and Access to Justice. Working groups on each topic formed from among the
members will come out with specific suggestions on how local governments could take up these issues as
part of their governance initiatives and on how the legislations could facilitate this process. Follow up of
the discussions in the working groups will be on the regular Decentralization Community platform, thus
setting the tone for future discussions on the Community as well as setting a new thinking on local
governance in the country.

II. Sharing of Experiences and Learnings
Members have the opportunity to share their learnings and experiences in three ways:

1. Presentations:      There will be parallel sessions for presentations by members. They have the
opportunity to make presentations on their experiences, research findings and case studies.       These
sessions will provide space for members from academic institutions, training institutes and development
activists.

2. Knowledge Mela:
Knowledge Mela is a variation of the seminar format, with far greater interaction. It is an opportunity for
members to walk around 6-10 tables and meet Resource Persons to network with and understand
themes/ topics the Resource Person is presenting. It provides an ideal opportunity for members to talk
about their passions and issues that they consider critical in the coming times. Through the Knowledge
Mela, we intend to provide opportunities for members who try to demonstrate various initiatives to
strengthen local government processes.



                                                                                                          2
3. Panchayat to Panchayat:
This is an opportunity for local government functionaries to share their experiences, learnings and
achievements. It will also provide an interface with development practitioners and local government
functionaries. We expect to have at least one Panchayat functionary each from most of the states.

III. Inputs and Knowledge
The Forum is also designed to have new inputs by way of keynote speakers on various topics in the panel
discussions and in the parallel sessions for presentations.

IV. Collaborative Action
We will also have discussions on collaborative actions under Action Groups. There will be presentations
on the status of on-going Action Groups and then there will be the finalization of the future strategies.

V. Decentralization Community – The Way Forward
During this year, we launched a few initiatives on a pilot mode like Notice Board versions of Consolidated
Replies, Links to magazines, e-Learning Circle and sub-group on Urban-Rural linkages. We are also
planning to launch Local governance discussion groups. However, we have a long way to go to make the
Community vibrant, meaningful and reach the unreached. Coverage, access and quality need to be
addressed. The Community itself has to be decentralized and owned by its members. The Annual Forum
intends to discuss all these and will set the define the roadmap for the way forward.

Outputs Expected
We expect a few specific outputs from Annual Forum.

    1.   Compilation of ideas and suggestions on Rights and local governments
    2.   Roadmaps for the three Action groups
    3.   Suggestive framework for future discussions on the Decentralization Community
    4.   Operational strategy for collective action to strengthen Decentralization Community
    5.   Operational strategy for Local governance discussion groups
    6.   Compilation of the experiences of local government functionaries
    7.   Roadmap for Decentralization Community




                                                                                                        3
                                       PROGRAMME BRIEF

                                                   DAY 1
                                              22 OCTOBER 2009

    1. Inaugural Session (1.00 Hrs) 10.00 – 11.00

Welcome                  : Ms. Sumeeta Banerji, Asst. Country Director (Governance), UNDP

Inauguration             : Ms. Deirdre Boyd, Country Director, UNDP

Chairperson              : Mr. A.N. P. Sinha, Secretary MoPR, Government of India

Felicitation 1           : Mr. R.K. Sharma, Principal Secretary, MoPR, GoUP (to be confirmed)

Felicitation 2           : Ms. Adele Khudr, Chief, Field Office, UNICEF, Uttar Pradesh

Vote of Thanks           : Mr. Anand Kumar, Coordinator, UN Solution Exchange

    2. Rights and Local Governance I (2.00Hrs) 11.15 – 13.15

Chairperson              : Dr. Meenakshisundaram (Former Secretary Ministry of Rural Development
                         Government of India)

Right to Information and Employment:
                        Mr. S.M. Vijayanand (Principal Secretary, Department of Local Self Governments,
                        Kerala)

Right to Education       : Dr. S.C. Behar (Former Chief Secretary, Government of Madhya Pradesh)

Right to Food Security   : Dr. N.C. Saxena (Former Secretary, Planning Commission)

Access to Justice        : Mr. Subash Mendhapurkar (Director, SUTRA)

    3. Working Groups on Rights and Local Governance (1.30 Hrs) 2.15 – 3.45

    1. Right to Information
Chairperson            : Mr. Banamali Dash

Convener                 : Ms. Yamini Aiyar

    2. Right to Employment
Chairperson           : Prof. Palanithurai

Convener                 : Dr. Jacob John

    3. Right to Education
Chairperson            : Mr. Manoj Rai

Convener                 : Mr. Harathi Vageeshan

    4. Right to Food Security
Chairperson            : Dr. P.P. Balan

Convener                 : Mr. Vinod Kumar


                                                                                                      4
    5. Access to Justice
Chairperson             : Dr. Debiprasad Mishra

Convener               : Mr. Farhad Vania

    4. Presentations by Members (2.00 Hrs.) 16.00 – 18.00

3 Parallel sessions

Parallel Session 1     :

Convener               : Ms. Vandana Tripathy

Chairperson            : Ms. Leena Singh

Presentations          :

Rapporteur             : Mr. Ashok Kumar Pathak


Parallel Session 2     :

Convener               : Mr. Ramit Basu

Chairperson            : Prof. Abhijit Datta

Presentations          :

Rapporteur             : Mr. Joshy Joseph


Parallel Session 3     :

Convener               : Dr. Hirannya Kalesh

Chairperson            : Dr. B.P. Syam Roy

Presentations          :

Rapporteur             :Mr. Ahmed Shahvez


CULTURAL PROGRAMMES 20.00 – 22.00

*************************************************************************************
                                        DAY 2
                                  23 OCTOBER 2009

    5. Decentralization Community and the Way Forward (1.30 Hrs) 08.30 – 10.30

Chairperson            : Mr. Anand Kumar

Presentation           : Dr. Joy Elamon and Ms. Tina Mathur

Discussion

Rapporteur             : Ms. Monika Khanna


                                                                                    5
    6. Action Groups (01.00 Hrs) 10.45 – 11.45

Chairperson              : Mr. Amitabh Singh

Presentations on status:
            a. Performance Indicators for states on devolution
            b. Wikipedia
            c. Resource mobilization by Panchayats

The way forward          : Ms. Tina Mathur

Rapporteur               : Ms. Gitanjali Sah

    7. Panel Discussions (1.30 Hrs) 12.00 – 13.30

2 Parallel Sessions

    i.         Training Institutes and Capacity Building for Strengthening Local Governments

Introduction             : Mr. Sanjeev Sharma

Chairperson              : Mr. Sudhir Krishna, Additional Secretary, MoPR, GoI

Panelists                : Mrs. Selvi Sivagnanam (ZP Chairperson, Tanjore), Mr. T. Gangadharan

Discussion               :

Rapporteur               : Ms. Seema Singh

    ii.        Decentralization, Convergence and District Planning

Introduction             : Mr. Zulfiquar Haider

Panelists                : Mr. Ashok Jaitly, Mr. Manoj Rai, Dr. Kajri Mishra

Discussion

Rapporteur               : Mr. Raj Kumar Pandey


    8. Knowledge Mela (2 Hrs)14.30 – 16.30

Introduction             : Mr. Anand Kumar

Facilitators             : Ms. Gitanjali Sah, Ms. Monika Khanna, Ms. Tina Mathur

Moderators               : Dr. Anil Roy, Dr. Jacob John, Dr. Sarumathy, Mr. Farhad Vania, Dr. Biswajit
                         Mohapatra


    9. Presentations by Members (1.30 Hrs.) 16.30 – 18.00

3 Parallel sessions

Parallel Session 1       :

Convener                 : Mr. Ahmed Shahvez
                                                                                                         6
Chairperson             : Dr. P.P Balan

Presentations           :

Rapporteur              : Mr. Devanshu Chakravarty


Parallel Session 2      :

Convener                : Mr. Kamleshwar Singh

Chairperson             : Mrs. Selvi Sivagnanam
Presentations           :

Rapporteur              : Mr. Pradeep Chaudhury


Parallel Session 3      :

Convener                : Mr. Ashok Kumar Pathak

Chairperson             : Mr. Ashok Singh

Presentations           :

Rapporteur              : Ms. Nirmala Pandey

*************************************************************************************

                                                 DAY 3
                                            24 OCTOBER 2009

    10. Panchayat to Panchayat (04.00 Hrs) 08.30 – 12.00

Introductory Session (01.00 Hrs) 08.30 – 09.30

Introduction            : Ms. Nirmala S. George

Chairperson             : Mr. T.R. Raghunandan

Chief Guest             : Shri. Mani Shankar Aiyar

Panchayat to Panchayat – Experiences: Mr. Ganesh Rai

Face to Face with Panchayat Leaders (03.00 Hrs) 09.30 – 12.30


Session 1: (00.50 Hrs) 09.30 – 10.20

Local government functionaries: TN, Kerala, AP, Orissa, Karnataka

Anchors: Prof. Palanithurai, Mr. Ashok Singh, Dr. Debiprasad Mishra

Convener: Ms. Avni Rawal

Rapporteur: Shalini Chaturvedi


                                                                                    7
Session 2: (00.50 Hrs) 10.30 – 11.20

Local government functionaries: WB, Sikkim, Manipur, Assam, A&N, Lakshadweep

Anchors: Mr. T.R. Raghunandan, Ms. Leena Singh

Convener: Ms. Arpita Chattopadhyay

Rapporteur: Mr. Amit Anand

Session 3: (00.50) 11.30 – 12.20

Local government functionaries: J&K, HP, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, MP, Chhattisgarh, UP

Anchors: Mr. T. Gangadharan, Mr. Subash Mendhapurkar, Dr. Kajri Mishra

Convener: Mr. Arun Jindal

Rapporteur: Mr. Rajasekharan

11.    Valedictory Session ( 0.30 Hrs) 12.30 – 13.00

Chairperson            : Mr. Anand Kumar

Outputs form the Annual Forum 2009     : Dr. Joy Elamon

Evaluation             : Evaluation Team

Vote of Thanks         : Ms. Tina Mathur




                                                                                                     8
                    PROGRAMME DETAILS WITH GUIDELINES
                                                  DAY 1
                                           22 OCTOBER 2009

Registration: 09.00 – 10.00

        Registration will be organized with tables for a set of states.
        State wise participants lists where the participants sign.
        Bag, guidelines, pen, note pad, CR CD and the two CR booklets are provided.

Briefing to conveners and rapporteurs: 09.30 – 09.45

Pre-inauguration: 09.50 – 10.00

        Before the function begins, the participants nominate a team for evaluation and a Timekeeper.
        A team for Daily reporting of the Forum is also selected /members may volunteer

    4. Inaugural Session (1.00 Hrs) 10.00 – 11.00

Welcome                  : Ms. Sumeeta Banerji, Asst. Country Director (Governance), UNDP

Chairperson              : Mr. A.N. P. Sinha, Secretary MoPR, Government of India

Inauguration             : Ms. Deirdre Boyd, Country Director, UNDP

        Lighting of the lamp by an elected representative followed by the dignitaries.

Felicitation 1           : Mr. R.K. Sharma, Principal Secretary, MoPR, GoUP (To be confirmed)

Felicitation 2           : Ms. Adele Khudr, Chief, Field Office, UNICEF, Uttar Pradesh

Vote of Thanks           : Mr. Anand Kumar, Coordinator, UN Solution Exchange

    5. Rights and Local Governance (2.00Hrs) 11.15 – 13.15

The proposed theme of this Annual Forum is ‘Rights and Local Governance’. We zeroed in on this
theme taking into consideration the various new initiatives coming up in the country such as the Right to
information, Right to Employment, Right to Education, Right to Food Security and Access to Justice
through Gram Nyayalayas. It is important to note that all of them have direct implication for local
governance. Local governments have to play a major role in realizing the objectives of these rights
based governance initiatives. Thus, the Decentralization Community is trying to introduce this theme
which has wider ramifications in the realm of governance.

        The keynote speakers will introduce the respective topics. This will set the tone for further
         deliberations on the topic in the concerned Working Groups.
        After every presentation, two minutes will be provided for brief translation at the tables.
        There will be specific language tables and those participants who require translation could sit in
         those specific groups.

Chairperson              : Dr. Meenakshisundaram (Former Secretary Ministry of Rural Development
                         Government of India)

Right to Information and Employment:
                        Mr. S.M. Vijayanand (Principal Secretary, Department of Local Self Governments,
                        Kerala)
                                                                                                         9
Right to Education       : Dr. S.C. Behar (Former Chief Secretary, Government of Madhya Pradesh)

Right to Food Security   : Dr. N.C. Saxena (Former Secretary, Planning Commission)

Access to Justice        : Mr. Subash Mendhapurkar (Director, SUTRA)

       Chairperson will talk for 10 minutes to introduce the topics in the local governance framework.

       Right to Information, Right to Employment and Local Governance: Mr. Vijayanand will talk for 30
        minutes introducing the two topics and also place local governance in a rights based perspective.

       Right to Education and Local Governance: 20 minutes

       Right to Access to Justice and Local Governance : 20 minutes

       Right to Food Security and Local Governance : 25 minutes. Dr. Saxena will introduce the topic
        and then conclude the session by placing the local governance in a rights based perspective.

       Since the session is followed up by specific working groups and the key note speakers will be
        there in the working groups, the participants may ask questions or seek clarifications in thos
        sessions.

       Rapporteurs              : Dr. Jos Chathukulam, Ms. Suchi
       At the end of the session, the announcement about the Working groups will be made so that
        immediately after lunch, members could go to the concerned Working groups.

    6. Working Groups on Rights and Local Governance (1.30 Hrs) 2.15 – 3.45

       There will be five Working Groups (WG) based on the topics discussed.
       Members will have the option to choose the WG of their interest.
       Each WG will have a Chairperson and a convener.
       Chairperson will chair the WG and moderate the discussion.
       Convener will organize the Working group and prepare the final report of the discussion.
       Participants of the session will automatically become the members of the WG and the convener
        has to get the list of members documented.
       WG begins with self-introduction.
       Each WG will come out with specific suggestions on how local governments could take up these
        issues as part of their governance initiatives and on how the legislations could facilitate this
        process.
       Follow up of the discussions in the working groups will be on the regular Decentralization
        Community platform, thus setting the tone for future discussions on the Community.
       The WG formed will continue to function until the final report is prepared after the discussions on
        the Community.

        Right to Information and Local Governance
Chairperson            : Mr. Banamali Dash

Convener                 : Ms. Yamini Aiyar

        Right to Employment and Local Governance
Chairperson           : Prof. Palanithurai

Convener                 : Dr. Jacob John

        Right to Education and Local Governance
Chairperson           : Mr. Manoj Rai


                                                                                                          10
Convener               : Mr. Harathi Vageeshan

        Right to Food Security and Local Governance
Chairperson           : Dr. P.P Balan

Convener               : Mr. Vinod Kumar

        Access to Justice and Local Governance
Chairperson            : Dr. Debiprasad Mishra

Convener               : Mr. Farhad Vania

   7. Presentations by Members (2.00 Hrs.) 16.00 – 18.00

3 Parallel sessions

      The session is for presentations by members who have already registered for presentations and
       abstracts sent.
      The list of presenters in each session is separately given.
      Copies of the abstracts/PowerPoint presentations are also given separately
      Others can choose the session of their choice.
      There will be a chairperson, convener and rapporteur for each session.
      Chairperson will chair and moderate the session. Finally, he/she will consolidate the discussions.
      Convener will welcome the participants and introduce the session. He/she may take not more
       than 2-3 minutes for this.
      The chairperson will announce objectives and outputs expected from the session.
      Each presentation is for 10 – 12 minutes.
      After all the presentations, there will be time for questions from the floor and the presenters will
       respond.
      Chairperson/convener may give the summary of the presentations in Hindi if there is need. They
       could also designate one of the participants to take up this task.
      LCD projectors for PowerPoint presentations will be provided.

Parallel Session 1     :

Convener               : Ms. Vandana Tripathy

Chairperson            : Ms. Leena Singh

Presentations          :

Rapporteur             : Mr. Ashok Kumar Pathak


Parallel Session 2     :

Convener               : Mr. Ramit Basu

Chairperson            : Prof. Abhijit Datta

Presentations          :

Rapporteur             : Mr. Joshy Joseph




                                                                                                         11
Parallel Session 3   :

Convener             : Dr. Hirannya Kalesh

Chairperson          : Dr. B.P. Syam Roy

Presentations        :

Rapporteur           :Mr. Ahmed Shahvez


CULTURAL PROGRAMMES 20.00 – 22.00




                                             12
                                                 DAY 2
                                          23 OCTOBER 2009

    8. Decentralization Community and the Way Forward (2.00 Hrs) 08.30 – 10.30

During this year, we launched a few initiatives on a pilot mode like Notice Board versions of Consolidated
Replies, Links to magazines, e-Learning Circle and sub-group on Urban-Rural linkages. We are also
planning to launch Local governance discussion groups. However, we have a long way to go to make the
Community vibrant, meaningful and reach the unreached. Coverage, access and quality need to be
addressed. The Community itself has to be decentralized and owned by its members. The Annual Forum
intends to discuss all these and will set the define the roadmap for the way forward.

       The Resource Team will give an outline of the status of the Community and will present a draft
        roadmap. Presentation will take 30 minutes. These are included in the Introduction to the
        Annual Forum booklet.
       Five Regional Groups will discuss the Roadmap.

North: J&K, HP, Haryana, UP, Uttaranchal, Bihar, MP, Punjab, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand
East: Sikkim, WB, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram
South: Orissa, AP, TN, Karnataka, A&N, Lakshadweep, Kerala, Pondicherry
West: Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan
Delhi:

       Members may select a chairperson and a rapporteur.
       There will be one hour for group discussion.
       Groups will give specific suggestions on the proposal.
       The list of members who would volunteer to take up various tasks will be prepared in the Groups.
       Coordination groups for each state will be formed with a core group of three members for each
        state.
       A brief plenary will follow the group discussions where the rapporteur from each of the Groups
        will present the summary of the suggestions and decisions.
       A board will be provided till the conclusion of the Forum where members can write their names
        as volunteers for each of the initiatives the Community is planning to take up in the coming
        years.

Chairperson             : Mr. Anand Kumar

Presentation              : Dr. Joy Elamon and Ms. Tina Mathur
            a.   Status and overview
            b.   Membership
            c.   Elected representatives
            d.   Community ownership
            e.   Local Governance Discussion Groups
            f.   Notice Board Versions
            g.   Links to Magazines
            h.   Regional Resource Points
            i.   e-Learning Circle
            j.   New look Update
            k.   Urban-Rural Linkages

Discussion in Regional Groups 09.00 – 10.00

Plenary Session 10.00 – 10.30

Group presentations in the plenary

Rapporteur              : Ms. Monika Khanna
                                                                                                         13
    9. Action Groups (01.00 Hrs) 10.45 – 11.45

         There are three Action Groups already functioning.
         There will be presentations on the status of these action groups.
         Tina will present the possible strategies for future.
         After the presentations, the members can seek clarifications and give suggestions.
         Finally, members are requested to join the Action groups forward.
         A board will be kept till the end of the Forum for members to join the Action Groups.

Chairperson                : Mr. Amitabh Singh

Presentations on status:
            a. Performance Indicators for states on devolution
            b. Wikipedia
            c. Resource mobilization by Panchayats

The way forward            : Ms. Tina Mathur

Rapporteur                 : Ms. Gitanjali Sah

    10. Panel Discussions (1.30 Hrs) 12.00 – 13.30

2 Parallel Sessions

    i.         Training Institutes and Capacity Building for Strengthening Local Governments

                  Objectives are to collect the existing issues and suggestions on possible solutions
                  The topic will be introduced followed by presentations by panelists
                  After the presentations, participants are requested to present their views
                  Participants may also use cards to write their views and hand over to the Convener.

Introduction               : Mr. Sanjeev Sharma

Chairperson                : Mr. Sudhir Krishna, Additional Secretary, MoPR, GoI

Panelists                  : Mrs. Selvi Sivagnanam (ZP Chairperson, Tanjore), Mr. T. Gangadharan

Discussion                 :

Rapporteur                 : Ms. Seema Singh

    ii.        Decentralization, Convergence and District Planning

                  Objectives are to collect the existing issues and suggestions on possible solutions
                  The topic will be introduced followed by presentations by panelists
                  After the presentations, participants are requested to present their views
                  Participants may also use cards to write their views and hand over to the Convener.

Introduction               : Mr. Zulfiquar Haider

Panelists                  : Mr. Ashok Jaitly, Mr. Manoj Rai, Dr. Kajri Mishra

Discussion

Rapporteur                 : Mr. Raj Kumar Pandey


                                                                                                         14
    11. Knowledge Mela (2 Hrs)14.30 – 16.30

Knowledge Mela is a variation of the seminar format, with far greater interaction. It is an opportunity for
members to walk around 6-10 tables and meet Resource Persons to network with and understand
themes/ topics the Resource Person is presenting. It provides an ideal opportunity for members to talk
about their passions and issues that they consider critical in the coming times. Through the Knowledge
Mela, we intend to provide opportunities for members who try to demonstrate various initiatives to
strengthen local government processes.


Introduction            : Mr. Anand Kumar

Facilitators            : Ms. Gitanjali Sah, Ms. Monika Khanna, Ms. Tina Mathur

Moderators              : Dr. Anil Roy, Dr. Jacob John, Dr. Sarumathy, Mr. Farhad Vania, Dr. Biswajit
                        Mohapatra


    12. Presentations by Members (1.30 Hrs.) 16.30 – 18.00

3 Parallel sessions
    The session is for presentations by members who have already registered for presentations and
       submitted the abstracts/PP.
    The list of presenters in each session is separately given.
    Copies of the abstracts/PowerPoint presentations are also given separately
    Others can choose the session of their choice.
    There will be a chairperson, convener and rapporteur for each session.
    Chairperson will chair and moderate the session. Finally, he/she will consolidate the discussions.
    Convener will welcome the participants and introduce the session. He/she may take not more
       than 2-3 minutes for this.
    The chairperson will announce objectives and outputs expected from the session.
    Each presentation is for 10 – 12 minutes.
    After all the presentations, there will be time for questions from the floor and the presenters will
       respond.
    Chairperson/convener may give the summary of the presentations in Hindi if there is need. They
       could also designate one of the participants to take up this task.
    LCD projectors for PowerPoint presentations will be provided.

Parallel Session 1      :

Convener                : Mr. Ahmed Shahvez

Chairperson             : Dr. P.P Balan

Presentations           :

Rapporteur              : Mr. Devanshu Chakravarty

Parallel Session 2      :

Convener                : Mr. Kamleshwar Singh

Chairperson             : Mrs. Selvi Sivagnanam

Presentations           :

Rapporteur              : Mr. Pradeep Chaudhury
                                                                                                        15
Parallel Session 3   :

Convener             : Mr. Ashok Kumar Pathak

Chairperson          : Mr. Ashok Singh

Presentations        :

Rapporteur           : Ms. Nirmala Pandey




                                                16
                                               DAY 3
                                          24 OCTOBER 2009

    13. Panchayat to Panchayat (04.00 Hrs) 08.30 – 12.00

This is an opportunity for local government functionaries to share their experiences, learnings and
achievements. It will also provide an interface with development practitioners and local government
functionaries. We expect to have at least one Panchayat functionary each from most of the states.

       There will be an initial introductory session
       The Chief Guest will talk for 30 minutes
       Panchayat to Panchayat experience will be presented by Mr. Ganesh Rai
       After this introductory session, there will be the interactive sessions with the local government
        representatives
       There will be three sessions of 50 minutes each.
       There will two anchor persons for each session
       There will be a convener for each session
       Convener will welcome and introduce the local government functionaries and the anchors.
       The anchor persons will begin the interactive session with the local government in an interview
        mode
       The objective of the session is that the local government representatives share their experiences
        as a local government functionary.
       This will be followed by interaction by the participants
       The session is expected to give the participants an overview of how local governments function in
        each state.

Introductory Session (01.00 Hrs) 08.30 – 09.30

Introduction            : Ms. Nirmala S. George

Chairperson             : Mr. T.R. Raghunandan

Chief Guest             : Shri. Mani Shankar Aiyar

Panchayat to Panchayat – Experiences: Mr. Ganesh Rai

Face to Face with Panchayat Leaders (03.00 Hrs) 09.30 – 12.30


Session 1: (00.50 Hrs) 09.30 – 10.20

Local government functionaries: TN, Kerala, AP, Orissa, Karnataka

Anchors: Prof. Palanithurai, Mr. Ashok Singh, Dr. Debiprasad Mishra

Convener: Ms. Avani Rawal

Rapporteur: Shalini Chaturvedi

Session 2: (00.50 Hrs) 10.30 – 11.20

Local government functionaries: WB, Sikkim, Manipur, Assam, A&N, Lakshadweep

Anchors: Mr. T.R. Raghunandan, Ms. Leena Singh

Convener: Ms. Arpita Chattopadhyay

Rapporteur: Mr. Amit Anand
                                                                                                      17
Session 3: (00.50) 11.30 – 12.20

Local government functionaries: J&K, HP, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, MP, Chhattisgarh, UP

Anchors: Mr. T. Gangadharan, Mr. Subash Mendhapurkar, Dr. Kajri Mishra

Convener: Mr. Arun Jindal

Rapporteur: Mr. Rajasekharan


   14. Valedictory Session ( 0.30 Hrs) 12.30 – 13.00

Chairperson            : Mr. Anand Kumar

Outputs from the Annual Forum 2009     : Dr. Joy Elamon

Evaluation             : Evaluation Team

Vote of Thanks         : Ms. Tina Mathur




                                                                                                     18
                   STRENGHTHENING LOCAL GOVERNANCE

                           PRESENTATIONS BY MEMBERS

                            22 OCTOBER 2009 4 TO 6 PM
PARALLEL SESSION 1: WOMEN EMPOWERMENT AND COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION

Convener               : Ms. Vandana Tripathy

Chairperson            : Ms. Leena Singh

Rapporteur             : Mr. Ashok Kumar Pathak

Presentations:

    1. Avni Rawal               : Panchayat Mahila Manchs
    2. Shalini Chaturvedi       : Capacity building of women elected representatives – strategies and
       challenges
    3. Jacob John                : Local government – SHG partnerships in poverty alleviation
       programmes in Kerala:    Lessons for other Indian states
    4. Yatindra Singh Sisodia    : People’s participation in PRIs after implementation of PESA
    5. Kashinath Chatterjee      : Collective leadership and Community empowerment: experiences of
       BGVS

PARALLEL SESSION 2 : PLANNING, BUDHETING AND FISCAL DECENTRALIZATION

Convener               : Mr. Ramit Basu

Chairperson            : Prof. Abhijit Datta

Rapporteur             : Mr. Joshy Joseph

Presentations:

    1. Balan P.P. and Sukhvinder Singh : Preparation of District plan under BRGF: Experiences from
       Himachal Pradesh
    2. Jawed Alam Khan                : The case of UP and Kerala
    3. Vikram Solanki                 : Strengthening LSG through provisioning of Untied Village
       Development Funds
    4. Kesar Singh                    : Fiscal Decentralization in Punjab
    5. Arpita Chattopadhyaya          :


PARALLEL SESSION 3 : TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY

Convener               : Dr. Hirannya Kalesh

Chairperson            : Dr. B.P. Syam Roy

Rapporteur             :Mr. Ahmed Shahvez

Presentations:

    1. Dhirendra Krishna        : Strengthening decentralized accountability of centrally sponsored
       schemes
                                                                                                        19
    2. Harathi Vageeshan      : Social Audit in NREGA; Andhra Pradesh scenario
    3. Palanithurai G         : Ensuring accountability and transparency in development activities at
       grassroots
    4. Syed Haider            : Transparency, accountability and RTI in local governance institutions :
       an assessment of the provisions of the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments Acts
    5. Sarman Nagele          : Internet and RTI

                                  23 OCTOBER 2009 4.30 TO 6 PM

PARALLEL SESSION 1: LAND, WATER AND EMPOWERMENT

Convener                : Mr. Ahmed Shahvez

Chairperson             : Dr. P.P Balan

Rapporteur              : Mr. Devanshu Chakravarty

Presentations:

    1. Anil Roy                 : Rural employment and beyond through NREGA: Building social capital
       and ecology by PRIs
    2. Vinod Kumar              : Land and water management by Panchayats
    3. Nupur Tiwari             : Land and water in local governance

PARALLEL SESSION 2 : URBAN GOVERNANCE

Convener                : Mr. Kamleshwar Singh

Chairperson             : Mrs. Selvi Sivagnanam

Rapporteur              : Mr. Pradeep Chaudhury

Presentations:
    1. Hirannya Kalesh           : Urban governance in Tamil Nadu
    2. Manoj Kumar Teotia        : Urban environment, poverty and local governance in North west Indian
        states : Issues and Strategies ( A case of Ludhiana metropolis)
    3. Mayank Mohan Mishra :

PARALLE SESSION 3 : LOCAL GOVERNANCE THE WAY FORWARD

Convener                : Mr. Ashok Kumar Pathak

Chairperson             : Mr. Ashok Singh

Rapporteur              : Ms. Nirmala Pandey

Presentations:
    1. Jos Chathukulam and Toms K. Thomas : New generation Panchayats : Roles and beyond and
        implementer
    2. Charru Malhotra              : Rural E-Governance
    3. Sourabh Ghosh                : Facilitating National Platform to Promote Decentralization




                                                                                                     20
                              KNOWLEDGE MELA (23 October)
A major feature of the Visioning Workshop is the Knowledge Mela, which is like a “face to face”
Solution Exchange in a compressed time format. This is a variation of the seminar format, with far
greater interaction. Moreover, several of them take place simultaneously. It is an opportunity for
members to walk around 6-10 tables and meet Resource Persons to network with and understand
themes/ topics the Resource Person is presenting. It provides an ideal opportunity for members to talk
about their passions and issues that they consider critical in the coming times.
Individual tables and boards (for display) would be provided to Resource Persons, who wish to present
/display their ideas, successful initiatives or suggestions in the Knowledge Mela through posters, leaflets,
charts, models, pictures, diagrams, brochure etc. Participants would be given time to visit each subject
theme in rotation and raise spontaneous issues, query, ideas, or suggestions. These would be further
taken up for discussion in smaller groups and be summarized by the convener of that particular group.

The topics identified for the Knowledge Mela are:

Topic                                                             Resource Persons
    1. Increasing Food Security by LSGs                           Vinod Kumar, Maithri, Palakkad , Kerala

    2. Participatory / Micro planning process                     Banmali Dash, Programme Coordinator,
                                                                  National Institute for People’s
                                                                  Development Investigation & Training(
                                                                  NIPDIT), Phulbani, Orissa

    3. Palliative Care Delivery System- A Gram Panchayat          Shajimon & Jos Chathukulam, CRM,
         Experience                                               Kottayam, Kerala
    4.   Voter Awareness Campaign                                 Ashok Singh, Sahbhagi Shikshan
                                                                  Kendra, Lucknow
    5. Mobilization for demand for devolution                     Kamleshwar Singh, PRIA, New Delhi

    6. Representation, Participation, Empowerment;                Avani Rawal & Team, Mahila Swaraj
       Samras Yojana; Gendering Politics                          Abhiyan, Gujarat
    7. IEC Material for Better Governance                         Sambasiva Rao, Centre for World
                                                                  Solidarity, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
    8. Teaching Local Governance as a Academic Subject in         Hiranniya Kalesh, Sankar and Dimpy
         Higher Education                                         Das, Rajiv Gandhi National Institute
                                                                  of Youth Development,
                                                                  Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu
    9. Innovations in Local Governance: Front Office              T. Gangadharan & Vinod, Kerala
        Management, Changing Face of GPs in Kerala
    10. Technology Community Synergy for Integrated               Charru Malhotra, Indian Institute of
        Grassroots Governance                                     Public Administration, New Delhi
    11. Climate Change and Local Governance                       Manoj Kumar Teotia, CRRID,
                                                                  Chandigarh
    a.   VDF Concept ; Village Development Planning Process;      Vikram Solanki, Kutch Nav Nirman
         Details of Implementation in different Sector; Village   Abhiyan, Bhuj
         Development Planning and Implementation details of
         VDF Panchayat

    b.   Local Government for Local People: Lessons from          Farhad Vania, GTZ, Shimla, Himachal
         Himachal Pradesh                                         Pradesh
    c.   Role of Panchayats in Implementing NREGA                 Anil Roy, CEPT University, Ahmedabad,
                                                                  Gujarat
    d.   Deepening Democracy Beyond Gram Panchayats:              Devanshu Chakravarty
         Experiences from Panchayat Partnership Project in        (Intercooperation), Mohd. Siraj
         North Karnataka                                          (MYRADA), Kondiva Patil




                                                                                                            21
                             ACTION GROUPS (23 October)
What is an “Action Group”?
It is a collaborative, small-group work sponsored by a Community member to produce a quick, strategic
deliverable such as a project proposal, strategic plan, pilot project or action research. An Action Group is
commissioned by a “champion” (or “convener”), who is a member charged with a task to accomplish for
which he/she would otherwise have hired consultants. It is simply a way to encourage decision-makers
from government, research institutes or development agencies to think about the Community as a pool of
talent with a wide range of insights and perspectives who are available for assignments.

Decentralization Community Action Group Progress
The Decentralization Community currently has three Action Groups in various stages of development.

Performance Indicators for States on Devolution
The Action Group is championed by Indrajit Roy, Abhijit Datta, V.N Alok, T. Gangadharan, K.K
Krishnakumar and others. The context of the Action Groups is the query posted in 2006 on the
Decentralization Community, Solution Exchange on Decentralization Monitoring Indicators. Members
expressed interest in the topic and the next related discussion took place in August 2007 on Resources on
Ranking Indian States in Terms of Devolution. This was followed by setting up of an Action Group
(comprising around 32 members) to discuss the issue further over a mailgroup based exchange. The
discussions concluded with a review of literature and indices on performance indicators for states on
devolution. The mailgroup exchanges culminated in a Workshop held in the Indian Institute of Public
Administration, New Delhi with Action Group members coming together to devise a strategy for
developing performance indicators for States. The Group is at present working on developing these
indicators.

Wiki on Local Governance in South Asia
We have the following champions for this Action Group – T.R. Raghunandan, Anil Prasad, Kamleshwar
Singh, Sonya Elmer Dettelbacher, Anne Bernhard and Yamini Aiyar. The idea emerged from a query on
the Decentralization Community of Solution Exchange and continues to generate interest among
members. The idea has been carried forward by the Champions through a face to face meeting to discuss
technology and content options. The technical aspects have been outlined in a note by one of the
champions and the Group is at present working in identifying documents, creating categories and
developing style specifications for each category. More volunteers are encouraged to join the group.

Resource Mobilization by Panchayats
Convened by Jos Chathukulam of the Centre for Rural Development (CRM), Kottayam, this Action Group’s
intended outcome is to document and popularize the initiatives and best practices related to local
resource mobilization. The concept paper for this Group has been developed and more volunteer
members are being sought to carry it further.




                                                                                                         22
                        PANCHAYAT TO PANCHAYAT
                  FACE TO FACE WITH PANCHAYAT LEADERS
This is an opportunity for local government functionaries to share their experiences, learnings and
achievements. It will also provide an interface with development practitioners and local government
functionaries. We expect to have at least one Panchayat functionary each from most of the states.

There have been many discussions on the various legislative and executive actions on the functioning of
local governments. However, it is argued that reality is far from those. Each state has different ways of
Panchayati Raj functioning. Day to day activities of a Panchayat functionary will tell us how the
Panchayati Raj functions in a state and in many cases, there are many activities which have direct impact
and relation to people’s daily lives are dealt with by the Panchayats, formally and informally. The session
is intended to highlight how a Panchayat functionary engages with the people and the system and how
these make Panchayati Raj more relevant to the daily lives of people at large. This will also help
Panchayat functionaries across the country to learn from each other and take Panchayati Raj forward in
their own states.

There will be an initial introductory session, which shares the experiences of Panchayat to Panchayat
exposure visits and networking which have been tried out among a few Panchayats from various states
under the SDC-CapDecK Porgramme. Thereafter, there will be three sessions where Panchayat
functionaries will share their experiences, which include success stories, failures, obstacles and how they
function on a day-to-day basis. Anchors will elicit more experiences from them by engaging with them in
an ‘interview mode’. Other participants will also be able to seek clarifications and answers on specific
questions. The session is expected to give the participants an overview of how local governments
function in each state.




                                                                                                        23
 Background of Decentralization Community Activities in 2008-09

Decentralization Community

The Decentralization Community brings together individuals from government and other organizations
who are concerned with strengthening the institutions of local self government- the Panchayats and
Municipal Bodies- to enable them to govern more effectively. The Community deals with political,
functional, administrative and financial decentralization in both rural and urban contexts, including those
relating to sectoral decentralization and delivery of services. The Decentralization Community focuses on
issues related to decentralized governance in the light of the 73 rd and 74th Amendments and on
challenges and opportunities resulting from this framework for delivering services and programmes in
different sectors and through various governmental and non-governmental channels:

Some of the issues covered in the Community are:
    Renewing public interest and political buy-in for establishing effective local bodies
    Ensuring clear accountability lines
    Building capacities for decentralized planning of urban and rural local bodies
    Impact of decentralization on local economic development and poverty reduction
    Elections to local bodies

Membership Profile

The Decentralization Community continued to grow during 2008-09. The number of members totaled
2806 as of September 30 2009. Community members come from Non Government Organizations
(35.3%), Multilateral and Bilateral Organizations (24.7%), Academic Institutions (17.9%), Government
(17%) and Private Sector (5%). The North of India remained the area where maximum number of
members came from, while the North East remained least represented.

Activities

Queries and Discussions

The Community has posted 145 queries till date. The attempt by the Resource Team was to steer the
discussions around issues related to the achievement of Millennium Development Goals. A healthy mix of
queries related to rural and urban decentralization was taken up. The Community discussed queries
spanning five broad themes as under:

A. Decentralized Governance and Policy
B. Capacity Building for Local Governance
C. Decentralized Planning

D. Decentralized Service Delivery
E. Participation and Accountability in Local Governance

Action Groups
The Decentralization Community currently has three Action Groups in various stages of development.
Performance Indicators for States on Devolution, Wiki on Local Governance in South Asia
and Resource Mobilization by Panchayats, CRM, Kottayam.

Meetings and Discussion Forum
The Decentralization Community in partnership with UNDP, New Delhi organized two Forums on Urban
Rural Linkages, as a follow up to a query discussing the challenges in forging these linkages. Additionally,
a brainstorming session was organized on developing performance indicators for States, a Colloquium on
inputs to the Thirteenth Finance Commission, Action Group meeting on Wiki on local governance in South

                                                                                                         24
Asia and a discussion on the Right to Education Bill was also organized. Four Regional Forums were
organized at Sriperumbudur, Pune, Patna and Guwahati in collaboration with KILA.

Outcomes/Achievements of the Past Year’s Activities
In the year 2008-09, the Decentralization Community remained vibrant, giving inputs to policy documents
(Manual on District Planning, inputs to committee re-examining NREGA guidelines, Inputs to the
Committee on Roadmap to Panchayats, inputs on the draft Model Panchayat and Gram Swaraj Act, inputs
to the Thirteenth Finance Commission etc.) and addressing issues of programme implementation
(methods of integrating planning, monitoring and implementation, training modules for capacity building
of DPCs). In addition discussions focused service delivery interventions in a decentralized set up (norms
for local service delivery institutions, Panchayats in disaster management, and utilization of untied funds
under NRHM) and issues directly relevant to achievement of the MDGs (local level monitoring of MDGs).

The Decentralization Community also began to find solutions to the engagement of the small groups of
members who are interested in discussion related to specialized topics. A key idea taken forward was
that of setting up a sub-group of members interested in specialized issues, such as those interested in
urban-rural linkages. An e-learning circle was also set up on the issue of Access to Justice.

In addition, some other new initiatives were launched. These included members putting up Summaries of
discussions on Notice Boards of their organizations. The idea of outreach groups for reaching the
unreached was also put forth in the Community.




                                                                                                        25
                                      RELECTIONS 2009
While the background note provides the activities and achievements so far, together with the status of
the Decentralization Community, this note tries to look at them in a self-critical manner so as to reorient
ourselves for the future.

Quick feedback from a group of randomly selected members provided the foundation on which this note
is based, but it is also the result of introspection by the Resource Team.

    1. Membership Base:         The number of members is increasing on a regular basis. But, given the
       potential of the thematic area and the needs of this area, the pace of this growth has to be
       increased. Reaching to the unreached is essential. However, the increase in number of members
       may affect the manageability and hence the effectiveness of the Community. How can we have
       a balance?     Will sub communities and specific purpose forums suffice? Are there any
       technological solutions?

        Regionally and by profile, the membership base is skewed with a near total absence of local
        government functionaries as well as members from the North East. Is it the technology barrier
        or the language barrier or both affecting the membership?

        Among the government representatives, only the officials and policy makers at the higher levels
        are represented.

        Many of the members from among the officials from the States and a few NGO members are
        found to be not actually engaged in the area of decentralization at present. There are instances
        where a few members who were active in the previous years have become inactive, partly
        because of the quantum of work and partly because Community interactions have reached a
        ‘plateau’. But, during the same period, there were a new group of members who became active.

    2. Queries/themes discussed: The background note provides the characteristics of the queries
       posted on the network. There has been a good mix of queries and the profile of the query
       posers also shows this equitable distribution. But, we need to address more practical and
       grassroots based issues and help to exchange solutions for the local level.

        At the moment, most of the queries and discussions are policy oriented or addressed to the
        higher levels. We need to make greater efforts to feature queries and discussions with regard to
        MDG goals and the National targets. Another aspect is of delving into deeper aspects of
        decentralization and local governance – it goes beyond Panchayats. Additionally, more practical
        aspects and practical applicability need to be dealt with by the Community.

        The periodicity limitations prevent certain practical issues to be discussed when it is required.
        This affects the vibrancy of the Community. The process has to be relooked at or alternate
        mechanisms need to be instituted. New ways of knowledge sharing including various software
        options and collaboration with other networks could be probed. The role of Resource Team
        becomes crucial here and the support from the members is essential to address these issues.

        Cross postings are used to bring in issues of relevance to decentralization being discussed in
        other Communities. The possibilities and potentials of the cross–postings to bring in convergence
        in development initiatives need to be made use of in a much more efficient and planned manner.

    3. Responses: Profile of respondents correlates to the membership base. Since the membership
       base is skewed as mentioned earlier, the responses also have the corresponding weaknesses.

        During the previous years, we had many responses based on practical experiences. But, there
        are also the issues of many generalized remarks, not addressing the query and off the target
        comments. In many situations, responses do not cater to the specific requirements raised by the
        query poser.

                                                                                                        26
    As in the case of the quality of query, the new options of networking, software etc. need to be
    probed. Visual images of very practical aspects of service delivery through photographs, videos
    etc needs to be brought in. Here again the role of the Resource Team is crucial and the support
    from the members in providing new directions.

    The quality of responses is also dependant on the profile of members. As mentioned earlier,
    having a very limited number of members from the grassroots and from among the local
    government functionaries prevent the Community from benefitting from the opinions and
    learnings from a major group of stakeholders of decentralization. There needs to be a concerted
    effort to get them into the Community, overcoming the language and technology barriers.

4. Consolidated Replies (CRs): As part of the Consolidated Replies, we have the summary,
   related resources, recommended documents and readings, recommended organizations and
   programmes, recommended portals and information bases, related CRs and responses in full.
   The quick feedbacks received point to the fact that CRs are received well. But, the Resource
   Team feels that much improvement could be done in CRs too. More information, experiences,
   learnings and practical solutions could be compiled from various parts of the country for each
   query. Many of such resources are not available in the websites or in the libraries. A mechanism
   needs to be evolved to collect such materials.

5. Action Groups: As part of the Decentralization Community, so far five Action Groups have been
   initiated. Three of them have come up with reports and were discussed again in the Community.
   The process of Action Groups needs to be revisited, especially on the collaborative nature of the
   Action Groups. Selection of themes and the relevance to MDG goals and National targets have to
   be kept in mind. How can these Action Groups to be complementary to or supplementary to or
   in certain cases collaborate with similar initiatives for the same ultimate goal? Resources for
   Action Groups also have been a point of concern. How can we raise resources for them? Post-
   Action Group is one area which needs to be discussed. How can we take the experiences of the
   Action Groups to wider areas, how to up scale them?

6. Updates: A regular monthly ‘Update’ is being prepared and posted. It is our concern that
   Updates be improved and made more useful to the readers considering the overall objectives of
   Solution Exchange. We feel that we could make it more readable and the contents more
   interesting. It could be an Update on decentralization and local governance related areas, a
   platform for sharing ideas which do not fall within the purview of queries, contribution of articles
   and news from members. It could be remodeled to be a space for wider participation by
   members. Possibilities of including photographs and links to various actions in decentralization
   could be probed. It could be interactive with space for problem solving and doubt clearing.
   Options of new types of software and collaborations need to be searched for.

7. Usefulness of the ‘Products’: The Decentralization Community provides query-response-CR,
   e-discussion, e-consultation and Action Group experiences. In addition, there are the CRs in CD
   and a few CRs in printed form in English. Feedback suggests that most of these are useful.
   Many discussions in the Community have benefitted the query posers and the society at large.
   Many of the outputs from the discussions have found places in policies at the state and national
   levels. But, how far have these products reached the grassroots or to the practitioners or to the
   policy makers at the local level? We do have examples where the learnings and experiences
   shared and suggestions made in the Community are finding place in the local settings too. The
   Resource Team would like to continue to follow up this issue so that the Community remains
   relevant for the decentralization process in the country.

8. Impact on Decentralization and MDG Goals: Governance and in that way decentralization is
    not goals in themselves, but, means to achieve those goals. So, it is difficult to have direct
    correlation between the exchanges in the Decentralization Community and the impact on MDG
    goals. But, there needs to be a system to track this and also to guide the Community activities.
    How can the Community be more relevant is the question before us.



                                                                                                    27
9. Resource Team Functioning: We strongly feel that the ownership needs to be shifted to the
   members of the Community. How can we tap the potentials of the Community members to
   strengthen the Resource Team, especially in CRs, Updates, bringing out new products, face to
   face events, reaching to the grassroots and finding new ways and avenues of knowledge
   management.

10. Face to Face: Annual Forum has been the only major face to face event. Due to many
    constraints, including financial, we are not able to bring together majority of our members. But,
    the feedbacks points towards the effectiveness of and need for ‘face to face’ events. Possibilities
    of regional forums, events on specific themes complementing the e-exchanges and face to face
    of Decentralization Community members during other events are possibilities.

11. Regular Feedback from members: As of now, the feedback is through personal contacts of
    the Resource Team or on a random basis. But, there needs to be a system to have regular
    feedback from members.

12. Innovations and new products: As we move towards a new year, possibilities of innovations
    in knowledge management, taking into consideration the objectives of the platform as well as the
    reflections on the activities hitherto, need to be considered. New ways of exchanging solutions,
    new ‘products’ and new technology options could be sought.




                                                                                                    28
                            SUGGESTIONS FOR ROADMAP

The thrust areas for action in the next two years:

      Reaching the Unreached
      Overcoming language and technology barriers
      Meaningful discussions and quality outputs
      Facilitating collaboration and networking
      Decentralizing the Community


1. Setting up Sub Communities
      Thematic Sub Communities like Rural-Urban – Your suggestions? Who would like to join?
      Language Sub Communities – Which all languages? Who will steer them?
      Sub Community of specific groups of stakeholders like District Panchayat Presidents/Elected
       Representatives in a state or region/Officials related to decentralization at the state or national
       levels/Resource Persons or trainers – Who will steer them?
2. Local Governance Discussion Forums
      Groups on decentralization at the local level in all the states discuss the issues raised and
       responses are later sent to the Community.          It is to be facilitated by the Decentralization
       Community members/institutions/organizations. This is expected to help us cross the language
       and technology barriers as well as to reach the grassroots.
3. Engagement with the North East
      North-East Sub Community – Where could it be anchored and who will steer it?
      Regional Forums – Can we engage with state governments and SIRDs?
      North East issues in Community discussions
4. Resource Support Points - Knowledge Partners
      Members/institutions volunteering to provide further resources like related materials, documents,
       portals, experiences will be collaborating with the Resource Team on a regular basis. – Who are
       the volunteers?
5. Action Groups- action to results - completing the cycle
      Strategy to have the outputs from Action Groups up scaled or mainstreamed
      Strategy for outputs finding place in policy
6. Face to Face
      Regional forums
      Annual Forums
      Face to face on specific topics
How could we work together in organizing such events?
8. Wikipedia on Local governance – who could be the volunteers?




                                                                                                             29
9. New look Update – Can we have suggestions, guest editors, state reporters. Can we redesign it to
be the Newsletter for Local Governance in India? Can we get it translated into local languages and get
more reach and coverage?
10. Other networks – How could link with other networks related to local governance?
11. Notice Boards – Who else would be ready display the summaries on Notice boards? Who could
translate them into local languages and display? Any new ideas on this?
12. E-learning circles – Suggestions on methodology, new topics? Who could be part of the faculty
team for each topic?
13. Links to magazines – Are there magazines, journals, newsletters, newspapers etc where the
summaries could be published regularly? Who could volunteer to identify such and get these published?
Who could translate the summaries into local languages and get them published?
14. Membership – How many new members each one of us could bring into the Decentralization
Community? Especially Local government functionaries. What should be the target for the next one
year?




                                                                                                         30
                              A NOTE ON
                  LOCAL GOVERNANCE DISCUSSION FORUM
Decentralization Community of UN Solution Exchange covers a large cross section of stakeholders of
decentralization and local governance. But the reach of the Community has certain limitations. Those
stakeholders who are not computer literate or well conversant in English or do not have access to
internet connectivity are naturally excluded in the process. Unfortunately, many of the stakeholders of
decentralization fall in this category, ESPECIALLY THE 3.2 MILLION ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES.

Considering this aspect, the Resource Group meeting held on 7 January 2009 proposed the idea of
Discussion Groups, as local offshoots of the Decentralization Community. This is to be an open forum,
having discussions on topics of relevance to the Decentralization Community. The Community
discussions will be translated, local discussions organised, the comments and suggestions documented
and sent back to the Decentralization Community.

Though not of a regular nature, this experiment was tried out in a few locations in Kerala and Gujarat. It
attracted interest among those who normally would not have been able to take part in such discussions
and share experiences. This also helped members of the civil society as well as the elected
representatives to come together and share ideas, experiences and learnings.

The suggestion is to have at least 100 groups spread across all the states within the next one year.
Some of the present members of the Community themselves could facilitate such Discussion Groups on
decentralization and local governance. These could be organized under the leadership of institutions,
organisations, individuals, Panchayats, local government associations and academic institutions like
universities and colleges.

                                      SUGGESTIVE GUIDELINES

    1. Objectives/Scope
           To widen the reach of the Decentralization Community, to the grassroots and to the so
              far unreached stakeholders of decentralization and local governance like the elected
              representatives, Gram Sabha members, local officials and CBOs.
           To carry forward the discussion on decentralization and local governance to wider areas
              (beyond the mailgroup) so that decentralization and local governance is strengthened.

Scope of the Local Governance Discussion Forum will be same as that of the Decentralization Community.

    2. Champions

    Who could be the champions?

               Members of the Decentralization Community
               Institutions/organizations of the members including NGOs, training institutes etc.
               Academic institutions like universities, colleges and research organizations
               Local governments
               Local government associations
               Platforms and networks on decentralization and local governance

    Who approves?
    A formal approval process is not required (other than that for the regular membership in the
    Decentralization Community), but enlistment in the Decentralization Community database would be
    useful.
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Entry Procedures

      Entry to the database is based on intimation to the Decentralization Community by the
       champion.
      If the champion is an organization/institution, a responsible person has to be put in place by
       the organization/institution who would be a member of the Decentralization Community, and
       who has all the qualifications for being a member and accepts the Community terms and
       conditions.

Exit Procedures

      Exit is voluntary, by informing the Resource Team.
      The name can be removed from the database by the Decentralization Community based on
       verifiable misconduct, inactivity for more than six months or on the basis of proven
       complaints on violating the code of conduct of members and Outreach Groups.

3. Members/Participants

Discussion Forum could be formed in two ways – membership based and participants based. In
membership based groups, there could be members permanently registered with the group where as
in the latter, for each discussion, the participants could be invited, depending upon the topic of
discussion. All the criteria applicable to Solution Exchange membership could be applied.

4. Character

          Ideally, at this stage, it could remain as a platform for discussing issues of
           decentralization and local governance drawing from the Decentralization Community
           activities. That way, it is not to be an organization by itself, rather a platform facilitated
           by Decentralization Community members or organizations.
          Ownership will be by these members or organizations and the Decentralization
           Community will not have any direct responsibility.
          For the Solution Exchange, it could be in the line of a platform of ‘Friends of
           Decentralization Community’. The group will be an open and neutral one as in the case
           of Decentralization Community.

5. Norms of participation

          All discussions in the Local Governance Discussion Forum will be open to all participants
           and each of them will have equal rights and opportunities of participation.
          Joining the Forum is free, voluntary and open to anyone interested in
           contributing advice, experience and expertise for use by others, or for
           adapting others’ advice, experience and expertise for their own use.
          Place, time and venue will be such that they are accessible to all irrespective of gender,
           caste/religion, socio-economic status, political affiliation and organizational membership.
          Group discussions are primarily for the purpose of sharing advice, experience and
           expertise relating to development challenges. It should not be used as a discussion
           forum for promoting or advocating particular views, opinions or political positions.
          Participation in the Local Governance Discussion Forum is in the capacity of an individual
           and not of organizations. Messages discussed in the Group and posted to Solution
           Exchange represent the personal views of the members and not the positions of the
           agencies they are employed by.
          Discussions should be in a positive and constructive manner, and not as to intentionally
           defame or discredit the views of another individual or group.
          Contributions to the Decentralization Community mail group based on the discussions in
           the Discussion Groups will become public property and are freely available for others to
           cite or use as they choose, but to be acknowledged.
          Certain locale specific norms could be added depending on the local culture and systems.
                                                                                                      32
    6. Facilitator

The Facilitator will be the crucial node and his / her facilitating skill and approach has to be forthcoming.
As mentioned earlier, this facilitator could be a member or a person designated by the
organization/institution which champions the Discussion Forum. He/she has to be neutral during the
discussion as well as while consolidating the points that arise.

    7. Tasks of Facilitator

Facilitator is the organizer of the Discussion Forum. She/he has the following tasks:
               Invite/inform participants for the discussion
               Translate and distribute the query and later the summary of the discussion
               Moderate the session
               Consolidate the comments and suggestions from the discussion
               Translate into English and send to the Decentralization Community as a response to the
                   query under discussion.
               Help the Group to identify and formulate queries and discussion points

    8. Brand

               The Local Governance Discussion Forum is independent and are not to be UN
                organizations or under the UN banner.
               It could be considered as ‘Friends of Solution Exchange’.
               Name to the Discussion Group can be decided by the champion or participants to reflect
                the local settings and the scope of the Group.
               As a sub title, it may be mentioned as ‘A Discussion Platform for strengthening local
                governance and Decentralization Community’ or ‘Friends of Decentralization Community
                UN Solution Exchange’.


    9. Regularity of Discussions

Ideally the Discussion Forum should meet based on the query under discussion in the Decentralization
Community. But, some of the queries may not be relevant to the particular Discussion Forum and in such
cases, it should meet at least once in a month. A Group which has not reported any meetings for six
months automatically falls out of the database.

    10. Additional Activities

               Discussion Forum is free to discuss other local issues on local governance and
                decentralization, provided it maintains the character and code of conduct mentioned
                earlier.
               They could launch / promote local language platforms and regional platforms of Solution
                Exchange.
               There is also the possibility of organizing collaborative activities for strengthening
                decentralization and local governance.
               They can network with other platforms with similar or related objectives, scope and
                character.

    11. Resources

As of now, these Local Governance Discussion Forums are expected to function as ‘low cost’ or ‘almost
nil-cost’ platforms. No financial commitments from Solution Exchange are envisaged. Any local meeting
expenses will be met by the champion or collectively by the participants.

    12. Training and Orientation


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Solution Exchange will plan training sessions for facilitators, mainly on moderation techniques and
orientation sessions on management of the Discussion Forum. These would be done as part of Regional
Forums or Annual Forum. A step-by-step guide could be another option, which is made available both as
soft and hard copies.

    13. Face to Face

After three months from the launch of the Local Governance Discussion Forum, a face to face of
facilitators may be organized to get the feedback, share experiences and do the mid term corrections.

    14. Immediate Actions

Circulate the Draft note among Annual Forum participants      23 October 2009
Feedback and suggestions from them                            23 October 2009
Finalization of the note                                      23 October 2009
Volunteers to be pilot facilitators                           23 October 2009
Circulate among other members and invite facilitators         26 October 2009
List of facilitators ready                                    1 November 2009
Piloting in 25 places completed                               30 November 2009
Formal launch                                                 1 December 2009


                             TO BE CONSIDERED IN THE ANNUAL FORUM
    1. Suggestions / changes to the note
    2. Volunteers as pilot facilitators
    3. Core group to be formed to steer the Groups




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