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Structure to debates: Local Self-governance



On Tue, 26 May 1998, BDP India wrote:

> I will suggest that we put some structure in debate. May be we just
> start with one topic and discuss that for two weeks. Otherwise we will
> just go back to the concept of capitalism vs. sociallism every time we
> do have a new member in the debate. The idea of breaking in the
> sub-groups when you hardly have 5-8 people participatipating at this
> stage may be early. 

Sure. Completely flexible, we all are. The only point that I might add is
that we are doing two things simultaneously: (a) building the Manifesto
and (b) expanding the debate. If a new member comes in (and we want the
whole of India to become a member to engage in these debates!) then that
person's concerns need to be addressed **in full** without even slightly
brushing them away. That is how we will have to engage everyone, including
ultimately, every worker, student and villager, in India, in every tea
shop. [PS: I hope that Mr. Chacko did find some material on corruption and
that my response was not taken as a 'brushing away': I hope he has come
up with questions/ arguments by now...].

Second point - just because I think each person is completely unique and
therefore given special powers of thought, while agreeing that we could
all function like a little sub-group, discussing one point at a time, it
might be still a good idea to keep the topic list completely fluid, so
that if anyone has a particular point, we should not be afraid to divert
attention to another topic while making the attempt to revert back to the
main topic. Also, you will quickly find that most topics are actually
quite deeply inter-related. 

Subject to these qualifications, then, let us focus on one topic at a
time, for a few months.

> I would suggest to talk about reform at the lowest level, Like a
> Panchayat. Lets study how does panchayat works and try to bring new
> ideas to strengthen role of Panchayat in local decision making.
> Similarly role of maunicipality non-functioning is another step on the
> same issue. 

Great. Local self-governance. We discussed this before but did not quite
incorporate these points in the Manifesto/ agenda, yet. Would you like to
begin by summarizing the earlier debates on this issue, or would you like
me to do that? We really need to understand both the immense potential of
these bodies and their current limitations. 

Thanks a lot,

Sanjeev