Invited Talk on Decentralisation, delegation and devolution of power in Kerala: Process, prospects and challenges

On 27/8/2013 Social Work department, Amrita Vidhyapeetham conducted a Talk session with Dr. Abey George, on the topic “Decentralization, delegation & devolution of power in Kerala: prospects, process & challenge”. Indeed Social Work department was privileged & honored to host such a dignitary. Dr. Rajeev M M, welcomed the guest and all the students to this programme. Dr. Abey George has been working in Attapady community development programme, Kerala Institute of Local Administration and social auditing. Now he is working in Tata Institute of Social Sciences as Assistant Professor.  The talk session started at 10:00 am by seeking blessings from the humble feet of “amma” by lighting the lamp.

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He was of the view that social work curriculum of Kerala state should be revised and changed. He said that social work of Kerala is more or less related to nursing or charity and it’s not functioning according to “helping them help themselves concept, but just helping them”. Talk session started with topics like what we see and go through every day and yet unrecognized. He said that governance is like  something we are very used to, but still we can’t or we are not trying to understand it and all non-natural diversities  we see around is  in one way or another related to governance and he explained it with few examples. Panchayath, a place where decisions are made in our locality and everything that happens in our day to day life is related with governance. He said that in order to understand the word “local governance”, we should know the very deep concept of governance, government.  He explained freedom as a freedom to govern oneself and money as an agreement between two persons and he added that money is money only because of the governing system otherwise it would have not been of any value rather than a piece of paper. He also pointed out that to learn local governance, social justice do have an important role. He said local governance is about distribution of powers to the lowest level of society and power is in people’s hand not in authorities.  In Kerala 29 departments were transferred to local governance and it all happened at a go. There are around 25000 people under one panchayath, where 6-8 crores are spent for each and every panchayath. Function, functionaries, fund and fraternity should work together under a frame work for good governance. The importance of trivial things & its relation with governance was highlighted in his talk.

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He said that in order to understand panchayath raj system it is always better to have a field experience rather than a lecture on this topic. After the interactive session he suggested few books to read on this topic and other topics which are relevant especially to social work students.  He suggested students to read “Fear of Freedom, Freedom at Midnight, and Death Certificate (by Anand). A feedback session was initiated and few students expressed their love, respect and gratitude to him and also what difference he has made, especially academically. He was such a charismatic person who made students think out of the box and made them understand the importance of observation skills once again.

Talk session was winded up by 12:30 pm. Mr. VS Kochukrishna Kurup expressed his gratitude on behalf of the students and faculties of social work department to Dr.Abey George.

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