Neoliberalism: is a policy model that promotes free-market capitalism and private sector control over economic factors. In this context, multi-level planning (MLP) becomes important as it involves the participation of local institutions at all levels of the planning process.
Multi-Level Planning: MLP is a more integrative approach to planning that seeks to involve all hierarchies of administrative, geographical, political, and regional levels in the process. It involves the active participation of lower levels in information generation, data collection, policy suggestions, plan implementation, and monitoring of developmental activities. levels of MLP in India: Centre, States, Districts, Blocks and Villages.
The implementation of multi-level planning (MLP) in the context of the neo-liberal paradigm of developmental planning has several potential benefits. The following are some of the benefits of MLP in the neo-liberal paradigm:
- Relevant policies: MLP involves decision-makers at all spatial levels in the planning process through negotiations, deliberations, and consultations. This helps to create policies that are more relevant to the needs of the people.
- People’s participation: MLP involves active participation from the people who are the intended beneficiaries of the policies. This helps to ensure that their interests are adequately articulated and factored into policy proposals.
- Cost-effective operations: MLP is expected to make operations cost-effective by providing better linkages between relevant sectors and ready access to required information, which would remove many implementation blockages.
- Reduction of regional disparities: MLP is expected to reduce regional disparities and bring more equity in development by providing an opportunity for local development planners to tailor the macro plan to the specific needs of their area.
- Fight against corruption: MLP is expected to address the problem of corruption in developmental programs by improving the identification of beneficiaries and articulating their needs through local bodies.
- Revival of local self-governments: MLP involves the establishment of local self-governments which is expected to have a positive impact on the investment climate and renew local administration.
Despite the potential benefits of MLP, there are also some issues that need to be addressed. One of the major problems is the division of powers and functions between the state and sub-state levels. In order to ensure effective multi-level planning, there is a need to take into account not only planning requirements but also social, political, and administrative structures. There is also a need for constitutional provisions to ensure continuity and authenticity to such arrangements, particularly in regard to elections for bodies at the sub-state levels.
In conclusion, the implementation of MLP in the neo-liberal paradigm of developmental planning has the potential to make operations cost-effective, remove many implementation blockages, reduce regional disparities, fight against corruption, and revive local self-governments. However, it is important to address the issues related to the division of powers and functions between the state and sub-state levels in order to ensure effective multi-level planning.