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Title: Participatory local governance and poverty reduction : a case study of policy implementation practice in rural areas of Nepal
Author: Paudel, Purushottam
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2013
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This research explores local self-governance policy and implementation practice, and examines the reasons for its weak impact on poverty reduction in rural areas of Nepal. In order to do this, it analyses local governance to judge its impact on poverty reduction. The strength of its performance is evaluated through three criteria: participation, accountable governance and service delivery. It also investigates four factors which enable the measurement of the above three criteria. These enabling factors are: human resources and capacity, local financing, local autonomy and co-ordination. Field data were collected in two anonymous Village Development Committees using document analysis, semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and observation. The analysis shows policy is consistent with theory, but inconsistent with implementation practice. Participation of disadvantaged groups and the poor was a positive aspect of policy, but their participation in decision-making remained weak due to lack of information on policy arrangements, high levels of rural poverty, elite domination, inequitable representation arrangements and discontinuation of local elections. Accountable governance is weak with stakeholders not accountable to disempowered groups, through lack of internal and external checks and balances, perpetuation of democratic local authorities and fair participation arrangements. Devolution of services and improvements of local infrastructure development are positive aspects in local service delivery. However, pro-poor service delivery and planning, balanced service production and delivery, and fair resource distribution are lacking due to overlapping and unclear division of roles and responsibilities among tiers of governance and other stakeholders, lack of accountable governance and financial resources, ineffective human resource and capacity development efforts, inappropriate delimitation of local government jurisdictions, and a lack of information-based and coordinated planning. Human resources and capacity development efforts remain ineffective due to the domination of deputed staff, lack of appropriate arrangements for fair selection and recruitment, and lack of effective institutional arrangement and linkage for capacity development. Intergovernmental resource transfer is inappropriate, nominal, power-based and inconsistent with local responsibilities and resource capacity. Overlapping revenue rights and a cap on sources hinder local revenue capacity and foster dependence on conditional and nominal central government funding. Local co-ordination is weak and results in duplication and corruption because of a lack of necessary policy arrangements, lack of commitment and discontinuation of elected bodies in local government institutions. The study concludes that participation, accountable governance and service delivery in local governance are highly correlated with poverty reduction in rural areas. Local self-governance policy implementation practice has had very little impact in poverty reduction in Nepal due to policy weaknesses and weaknesses in implementation practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available