Jiju P. Alex and Sulaja O.R.
Rural democratization has emerged as a plausible approach towards political and economic empowerment of rural communities in several developing economies. Democratization process at the grassroots level, duly facilitated by rural institutions with adequate financial and physical endowments, is being regarded as a conduit of faster socio economic development, with transparency and accountability. India has witnessed drastic changes in rural democratization since the enactment of 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments. However, different states are at different stages of democratic decentralization. Kerala, the southernmost state of India has utilized the provisions of democratic decentralization for ensuring peopleâ€™s participation in planning grassroots level development programmes. Since development planning involves multitude of knowledge components, several mechanisms of knowledge sharing and dissemination have been evolved at the grassroots level by local ingenuity. Knowledge generated by the synergetic functions of various stakeholders has been disseminated among communities across the state. Understanding the ways by which communities generate, share and preserve the tacit knowledge of institution building and progamme planning would lead to sustainable efforts on food security, livelihood security etc. This paper examines the dynamics of knowledge generation and dissemination among rural communities in the context of rural democratization. The paper closely observes a few development innovations in agriculture and food security by local self government institutions and finds out the typology of knowledge generated and disseminated thereof. Various dimensions of participatory planning programme vis- a vis conventional modes of development have also been delineated and discussed. The wide spectrum of issues addressed in the course of development planning has opened up new solutions and successful experiences on decentralized planning from across the state have led to substantial learning by peopleâ€™s representatives and development activists. This has also led to a new kind of institutional learning about ways of better management of the human, technical, financial, and natural resources for sustainable local economic development
Keyword: Rural democratization; Po