National Conference on Local Democratic Governance in India

Looking back and going forward on Panchayati Raj, Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act and Forest Rights Act (FRA)

21 – 23 June 2023 | Hotel Chanakya BNR, Ranchi, Jharkhand

Ld conference English May22

The year 2023 marks the 30th year of India’s journey toward local democratic governance with the establishment of the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments in 1993

Together with Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act, and the Forest Rights Act (and other provisions) a robust institutional framework for local autonomy, local democratic decision-making, and assertion of marginalised groups, with deliberative spaces for public discourse is now established. 

Now, decades later, we hope to further strengthen the public narratives in its favour, reflect on experiences on the ground, and deliberate on the way forward. 

Azim Premji University is delighted to announce a three-day national conference on the journey of local democratic governance in India. 

The conference aims to 

  • Reflect on the 30-year journey of local democracy in India in the forms of Panchayati Raj, also PESA, FRA, and other enabling provisions
  • Enable collaborations between practitioners, academics, policy thinkers, public representatives, and the media
  • Contribute to the journey of local democracy in Jharkhand which is a late-starter state 
  • Highlight the contribution of civil society organisations in widening and deepening local democracy in India

The conference will include the following sessions:

An exploration of the socio-political and development impacts of local democracy from an academic lens — the status of local state capacity, the evolution of citizen participation, and the future of local democracy in India.

Unpacking key policy lessons from the experiences of establishing Panchayati Raj, local democratic governance of resources under PESA, Forest Rights for the forest dwellers and dependents.

Sharing the emerging good practices in local planning, service delivery, collaborative governance with departments, community forest rights, powers, and responsibilities of Gram Sabha under PESA, etc.

Sharing of the elected representatives and their collectives from various states.

An overview of the functioning of local democratic institutions in Jharkhand, under 73rd Amendment, PESA and FRA, and emerging efforts in strengthening local democracy in the state.

Implementation of the PESA & FRA: Taking Stock and Going Forward

Breaking down the discourse on local democracy — unpacking dominant public narratives and how they are received, as well as learning how to communicate good practices in local governance.

  • The conference will have the participation of invited speakers and special invitees for each session. 
  • Elected representatives, civil society practitioners, academia, media, bureaucracy, and others are welcome to register using the link below. 
  • Confirmation of your participation will be communicated shortly after filling the form. 
  • The exchanges in each session are pre-planned with speakers and panel discussions, with Q&A for the audience.

Click here for the event brochure →


Ashok Kumar Sircar & Zulfiquar Haider

Ashok Kumar Sircar, faculty member, Azim Premji University, talks about the first day of the National Conference on Local Democratic Governance in India:

Zulfiquar Haider, member, Azim Premji Foundation, talks about the second day of the National Conference on Local Democratic Governance in India:

Glimpses from Day 1:

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    Mundari tribal folk dance, Jharkhand

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    Women leaders spoke about their transformative experiences through federations of elected representatives, from across the country, at the Conference 

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Glimpses from Day 2:

Sessions on Local State capacity in India, Learnings from emerging experiences, Welfare and FRA implementation through local democratic institutions

Glimpses from Day 3:

Elected representatives, CSO representatives and academics come together to summarise critical issues in decentralised planning, CSO engagement with PRIs and policy reforms related to local democracy