Tribal Development Administration C P Singh Mittal Publications Rs.280
THIS book throws light on the framework of administration of Bihar's Santhal Parganas district. It to give a comprehensive picture of development efforts in a tribal area. The study begins with the factors leading to the evolution of development administration in India in general and specifically in the Santhal Parganas.
Chapters 2 and 3 highlight the powers, function, role, system of supervision, control and coordination of all the development personnel in the district. The problem is that it tends to emphasise only the theoretical framework, neglecting the administration's ground-level performance. There is no mention of either the progress made by one of India's most extensive administrative structures or, for that matter, its failures. It is common knowledge that most government personnel in tribal areas have little inclination, attitude or training to handle situations specific to such areas. Most staff are on deputation from other departments, and they take it as a punishment posting. The language barrier aggravates the problem, as does the lack of tribals in the administrative machinery.
Finally, the author makes an analytical study of the "popular participation" aspect, which was one of the main objectives of the CDP, ITDP and other programmes. Even after 4 decades of planning and implementation, the gap between the standard of living of tribals and the rest of the population has not been reduced. It may have actually widened.
The lack of popular participation is due to centralised planning, funds spread too thin over a wide area, and the non-inclusion of locals in planning and implementation. Most of the benefits have gone to the creamy layer of society. One heartening aspect, however, is the new political awareness in tribal groups and the increase in their numbers in the panchayati raj institution. Only their effective participation in the formulation and implementation of development programmes will lead to improvement in their socioeconomic conditions.
---Anil Yadav is a research scholar in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
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