Regardless the higher-level politicians. In addition to

Regardless of the various bottlenecks the current devolution
process possesses, it is interesting to point out that the current local
government system has got enormous
recognition among majority of the people. Contrary to the past
when people rarely  ad any access to both
MNA’s and MPA’s and that high level politicians rarely had any knowledge and
understanding of local level problems and issues, the devolution plan has
brought the government closer to the people. Since elected representatives live
in the constituencies of their electorate, they have comparatively strong ties
with the local people. Consequently they have comparatively better
understanding of local issues and are easily accessible to the public than the
higher-level politicians. In addition to this, the existence of strong kinship
and friendship relations at the local level further strengthen these ties which
obviously has positive impacts on the interest and involvement of local people
in local politics. It is, however, worth noting that the strong kinship and
friendship relations have also resulted in social conflicts. In addition to
increased participation in politics, the devolution process has also provided
increased opportunities for the ordinary people to get representation. Since both
provincial and national level politics is quite demanding in terms of having
considerable political experience, strong political background and other
resources, which the ordinary people often lack. The reservation of seats has
enabled marginalized groups especially women, minorities and peasants &
workers to get representation at the local as well as the provincial and
national levels.

Elected representatives pointed out different mechanisms for
involving ordinary people in the delivery of services. These include; making of
frequent visits to local communities, arrangement of public meetings, carrying
out consultation and participation of people in the meetings of
representatives. Local people, however, revealed that the so-called mechanisms do
exist but are rarely practiced. Elected representative according to them can
only be seen on special occasions, for example, marriage and death ceremonies.
They do not share any information with community on the proposed projects.
Furthermore, due to lack of coordination the people and their representative,
local people’s participation in their meetings is minimal. Hence, devolution
impacts, if any, on participation in the delivery of service are nominal.

In the study area, there has not been any increase either in the
number of health or educational facilities or the number of
staff in such facilities during the post devolution period. The union
administrations, however, have undertaken a number of small-scale community
development projects relating to construction and repairing of rural roads, pavement
of streets, sanitation and electricity. It is generally perceived that there
has been improvement in the delivery of social services during the post
devolution period. Elected representatives showed great commitment for
undertaking small-scale community development projects. Financial constraints,
however, hampered their commitment. Since their local revenue performance was
poor, they simply relied on limited provincial resources. Elected
representatives showed their dissatisfaction over the allocation of funds.
Resource allocation was based on patronage and nepotism, a phenomenon prevalent
at all the three levels of local government.

As earlier mentioned, the recent decentralization process in
Pakistan in not uniform across all departments and services with a given
department. The same is true in case of agriculture where responsibility for agricultural
extension services has been devolved to the lower levels while agricultural
research and education administered by provinces. The changes introduced in
agricultural extension after devolution have both merits and demerits. For
example, planning and implementation of agricultural and extension programmes
will now take place at the local level. Recruitment of agricultural staff by
district government might be useful for enhancing their efficiency because it
might be feasible for them to work in their own district. This, however, might
politicize the recruitment procedure, which might have adverse impacts on the
quality of extension services as the staff recruited on the basis of patronage
might lack the requisite skills.


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