What are the merits and demerits of Decentralization?

Merits of Decentralization

Decentralization provides relief to the overburdened central authority by dispersal of authority, functions and responsibility. It also strengthens field agencies and grass-root units. Administrative programmes and operations are brought closer to the people. Overall efficiency of administration is increased by reducing delays and shortening red tape. The subordinate officers get an opportunity to shoulder their own responsibility by taking their own decisions. It is possible to conduct different experiments at different units to find out their results without affecting the whole organization as in the case of centralized administration. As stated by Charlesworth, “Decentralization has a more important justification than more administrative efficiency. It bears directly upon the development of a sense of personal adequacy in the individual citizen, it has spiritual connotations.”

Demerits Merits of Decentralization

There are some demerits of decentralization. Too much decentralization is likely to lead to anarchy. It makes co-ordination & integration difficult to realize. Co-ordination & decentralisation is personnel budgeting accounting etc. is neither possible nor desirable. Needs of modern defence and compulsions of economic planning do not favour decentralization. Centralised housekeeping activities are more economic and efficient than the decentralized one. Lastly, decentralization cannot ensure common and uniform national policies like raising the standard of living, enforcing family planning and welfare schemes which can be better implemented by centralized administration.

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