Literacy, Healthcare --- POPULATION!!

The phenomenal growth in population is often said to be responsible for all our problems. It is blamed for neutralising development and straining the resource base.

Literacy and healthcare have close links with population. It is often not realised that lack of local empowerment is at the root of all problems. Heavy overheads fostered by centralisation leave few resources for provisioning education and healthcare facilities in villages. Whatever is provided is poorly managed. The village teaching and healthcare staff appointed by state governments, has no local accountability; over 60 per cent are reported to be absent at any time. Recruited from urban centres, they live in cities, take up other jobs, and share their salary with the inspecting staff!

If village governments control village resources such as land, water systems and forests, they would have adequate resources to ensure welfare of the community, stabilising the population and generating wealth for the nation.

It is argued that because of illiteracy and social ills, resources and disadvantaged communities will be abused if power is given to villages. The truth is that centralisation abuses poverty, illiteracy and social ills. Self-governance is the democratic right of the people and the elite cannot deny it to them.

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