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The Report on the Bihar Panchayat Raj Institution Finance Study examines the autonomy, capacity, and accountability of local self-governments in the State of Bihar. This report is based on data collected from a set of 3 surveys conducted on a stratified random sample of 5 Zila Parishads, 10 Panchayat Samitis, and 50 Gram Panchayats, during the period beginning on the 15th of March 2009 and ending on the 31st of July 2009. Chapter 1 describes the sampling methodology, questionnaires, and the scope of work for this study in greater detail. Chapter 2 provides an overview of recent elections in the State of Bihar; explains the structure of local governments; and describes the demographic profile of elected officials. Chapter 3 begins with an overview of the economic criteria commonly used to evaluate expenditure assignments in a multi-tiered government system like that in the State of Bihar. On the basis of these economic principles, the chapter then evaluates the clarity and appropriateness of functional assignments to the Panchayats. Finally, this chapter describes the decision making arrangements across different Gram Panchayats and various activities undertaken by the Gram Panchayats, based on data collected from the surveys. Chapter 4 describes the availability to the Gram Panchayats of human and physical resources, such as the number of employees, the extent of their training and education, and availability, condition, and use of the Panchayat Bhavans, which is the administrative headquarters of the Gram Panchayats. Chapter 5 discusses the expenditure priorities of the Gram Panchayats, using the survey data. Chapter 6 analyses the revenue sources of the Gram Panchayats, Panchayat Samitis, and Zila Parishads, based on data collected from the survery of Panchayats. Chapter 7 provides a brief description of the accountability system, discusses its performance and adequacy, and provides some recommendations for improvement it. Chapter 8 concludes the report.


International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series #1111, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.

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