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5. Training module on participatory local resources management

Types of local resources

Resources are natural, physical, human and financial. The participatory management of natural resources by local government institutions (LGIs) and development of human resources are very important for local social and economic development.

1. Natural and physical resources

The rights of LGIs over natural resources vary from State to State, while there are also variations among different PRI levels. It is, therefore, essential to make the LGI functionaries aware of the existing status of the natural resources and their responsibilities within their jurisdiction.

LGI responsibilities related to land include among others:

1. agricultural development, including agricultural extension
2. land improvement
3. implementation of land reforms.

Table 7.1 LGI role in promoting agricultural production/marketing

LGI Production functions

LGI Marketing functions

· Increase of agricultural production

· Training of farmers

· Extension and field demonstrations

· Seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, mini-kit supply

· Improved methods of cultivation

· Horticultural nurseries

· Plant protection measures

· Promote agricultural Haat (markets)

· Establishment of grain stores

· Agricultural fairs and exhibitions

· Processing and preservation of fruits and vegetables

Examples of successful LGI implementation of agricultural development activities including extension can be presented to enable local elected leaders and officials to understand the important role of LGIs in this field of local development planning.

Land improvement and soil conservation

Local government institutions are, among others, also responsible for planning and implementing land improvement and soil conservation measures. Local capacity-building programmes are needed on: i) soil-erosion and river control; ii) land improvement; iii) construction of check dams; iv) soil conservation on a watershed basis; and v) soil conservation as field trials and dry farming technology

Land reforms

The panchayats in West Bengal State of India are leading the way in local-managed land reforms which provide land to the landless and rural poor. In several village panchayat areas in Haryana State of India, landless cattle owners have been provided with rights to cut the grass in common lands to feed their cattle.

Water and irrigation

Ensuring equitable water use by all stakeholders is an important LGI function.

Table 7.2 LGI functions related to ensuring access to water for domestic and farm use

Drinking water

Minor irrigation, water management and watershed development

· Prepare drinking water projects

· Construct, maintain and repair wells, ponds, and taps

· Preserve water sources

· Prevent and control water pollution

· Maintain rural water supply schemes

· Rural sanitation programmes

· Piped water supply

· Prepare and implement projects of minor irrigation, dams, canals, water channel, water bank, etc.

· Generate and distribute electricity

· Implement community irrigation works

· Water management

· Watershed development

· Ferries

· Waterways

· Groundwater resources development

Box 7.1 Example of regulation of cropping pattern/irrigation water use by Gram Sabha in Madhya Pradesh, India.

The Gram Sabha in a village in Madhya Pradesh State, where the main source of farm irrigation was a 12.5 ha lake, decided that since the water level had gone below 40 percent of capacity, certain water-intensive crops could not be cultivated during the current year. It was decided (a) not to supply water to individual farmers with a view to conserve the water for cattle during summer and (b) to stop issuing no-objection certificates needed by the State Electricity Board for providing individual electricity connections to pump water from the lake.

LGI functions related to forest resources

Besides meeting the domestic energy needs of the rural poor from fuel plantations, afforestation on barren land, together with integrated wasteland development can provide cattle-grazing facilities. Minor forest produce programmes can generate additional income for marginalized communities.

LGI functions related to physical assets and local infrastructure


2. Human resources

LGI responsibilities related to basic education

The LGI’s responsibilities cover provision of access to primary and secondary education, technical and vocational training, adult and non-formal education, libraries, etc. Training of LGI members needs to take into account all these aspects. Education committee members must be trained to evaluate the performance of teachers on various counts such as attendance, involvement in extra-curricular activities and the attention paid by them to students with special needs. They may be trained to deal in the right way with teachers in view of past complaints of disrespect shown to teachers by elected LGI representatives.

LGI responsibilities related to non-formal education

LGI responsibilities related to formal education

Promotion (usually assigned to lowest LGI tier)


Recruitment (usually by higher LGI tiers)

Establishment of schools

Public health and family welfare

LGI responsibilities for providing services for health and family welfare

LGI responsibilities for family welfare

3. Mobilization of local financial resources

  1. What local financial resources - internal/external - are available to the LGI?
  2. Are they available in time?
  3. Who is responsible for local financial management in the LGI?
  4. What are the major items of expenditure within the LGI?

Why is mobilization of local financial resources needed?

  1. Government/donor agencies alone cannot satisfy all local financial needs
  2. Enables local communities to solve the most immediate local development problems on their own
  3. Local community becomes more self-reliant
  4. Ownership of local projects makes them more sustainable

Table 7.3 Resource analysis table format

Name of the resource













Table 7.4 Financial resources available to LGIs

Local government taxes

Local government charges

Inter-governmental grants


Others (rent, fees, fines, etc)

· House tax
· Land tax
· Water tax
· Profession tax
· Entertainment tax
· Vehicle tax
· Pilgrim tax
· Rent tax
· Advertisement tax
· Business tax
· Natural resource use tax

· Sanitation service charge
· Tourist charge
· Entry charges for gardens, parking lots, etc
· Market/license registration fees
· Recommendation/local development fees

There will be five training sessions on resource management covering each type of local resource. Efforts to tap such resources, the difficulties faced, limitations imposed by higher government levels and the possibility of raising finance from untapped sources are among the issues that need to be highlighted in each session. The session on taxes needs to concentrate on efforts to rationalize LGI taxes, disputes and their settlement mechanisms, methods of tax collection, efficiency in tax collection, etc. The tax-paying capacity of the poor should be kept in mind while levying tax on their houses. It should also be realized that waiving the house tax would deprive them of their sense of belonging to and participation in the local development activities by the LGIs.

The session on grants from higher levels of government should distinguish between types of grants:

i) those made with specific conditions, such as grants for maintenance of school buildings and common property resources like tanks, irrigation canals, etc.; and

ii) matching grants where part of the expenditure has to be provided by the LGI itself from its own resources.

Income from local sales

The LGIs can raise local financial resources from sales of common property resources found within their jurisdiction, such as sand along rivers and canals, stones, soil, wood carried by rivers, animal carcasses, etc. However, over-exploitation must be avoided. It is also important to ensure that the rural poor have access to these common resources, which are vital for their livelihoods.

Box 7.2 Training on local financial resources management for LGIs

  • Taxes and tax procedures
  • By-laws relating to the taxes
  • All sources of revenue other than taxes
  • Methods of raising the above
  • Write off, remission of tax and other charges
  • Auditing and accounting
  • Withdrawal and payments
  • Maintenance of cash book, control of expenditure, audit objection and replies.

Contributed by V. Venkatakrishnan, Institute of Rural Management, Anand, India.

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