The impact of decentralisation on development, with special reference to the experience of Bangladesh since 1982
Many Third World countries appear to have suffered in the past from over-centralised development efforts. More recently, many countries have attempted to reverse these trends through a policy of decentralisation. The hope has been that this would overcome institutional weaknesses, enable development to be administered at the local level, and bring greater popular participation. Democratic structures have been prescribed as means of ensuring greater involvement in development, particularly for the rural poor. They should also make local administration more accountable to the people. Since 1982, Bangladesh has favoured decentralisation, devolving increased power and authority to a democratic local government unit, the "Upazila Administration". The policy has shifted power and authority in local matters, from the traditional district administration, to the lower levels. In evaluating the impact of decentralisation on development, this thesis concludes that hitherto decentralisation in Bangladesh has not been altogether effective. It has not been able for example to iiiiprove the delivery of basic needs to the rural people, particularly to those who live under extreme poverty. There are reasons to believe, however, that given the oppotunity to continue democratic local institutions over a longer period, and following the constitutional route, decentralisation will gradually bring about better results.