Local Democracy and Development

The Kerala People's Campaign for Decentralized Planning

T.M. Thomas Isaac, Richard W. Franke


LeftWord Books, Rowman & Littlefield, 2002


241 pages

Price INR 200.00

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n this definitive history, a key figure in the People's Campaign in Kerala provides an insider's account of one of the world's most extensive and successful experiments in decentralization. Launched in 1996, the campaign mobilized over 3 million of Kerala's 30 million people and resulted in bottom-up development planning in all 1,052 of its villages and urban neighborhoods. The authors detail the background of the campaign, trace its stages, assess problems and successes, and evaluate concrete results and reforms. Local Democracy and Development tells a powerful story of mass mobilization and innovation as bureaucratic opposition was overcome, corruption and cynicism were rooted out, and parliamentary democracy prevailed. Considering both the theoretical and applied significance of the campaign both in the context of India's development since independence and of recent international debates about decentralization, civil society, and empowerment, this study provides invaluable lessons for sustainable development worldwide.

T.M. Thomas Isaac

T.M. Thomas Isaac is the Minister of Finance of Kerala, an office he previously served from 2006 to 2011. Author of numerous academic papers and books, he was Professor at Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram. During his tenure as a member of the Kerala State Planning Board, he was in charge of the People’s Plan Campaign.

Richard W. Franke

Richard W. Franke is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey, USA. He has written extensively on Kerala.