As we hear a lot about local government elections to be held this year, it is important to understand essentials of an effective local government. Local government means devolution of power at the local level. In other words, there is decentralization of power and power is shifted from the centre to the local level. The assumption is that locals will be able to take decisions about local matters after local governments are put in place after the elections. If it happens, it will be a gigantic step towards democracy. Will provincial governments share powers with districts?
After the 18th Amendment in the constitution, provinces have greater administrative autonomy. Furthermore, the provinces enjoy greater level of financial devolution after the reconstitution of National Finance Award. The irony is that the provinces are not willing to share the financial resources with the districts exactly on the same criterion the provinces have got those resources from the centre. The provinces are trying to control districts exactly the same way the centre used to control provinces. Until and unless provinces do not bring their Provincial Finance Awards in line with the National Finance Award and share resources with districts giving them greater financial autonomy, an effective local government at the district level will remain a mere pipe-dream.

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