Deliberate Democracy and Inclusive Governance: Spacing Fisher People through Matsya Sabha in Kerala, India

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 08:50
Oral Presentation
Joseph Benhar RAJAN, KILA, India
The decentralization initiative in the State of Kerala (India) is unique with its participatory planning methodology, entitled ‘People’s Plan Campaign’. However the assumption that the marginalized and oppressed shall reap the benefits of decentralization by default is proved wrong in the case of traditional fisher people. Local Governments’ (LGs) bottom up planning process, backed by 33 per cent of state budget allocation to encourage local economic development and social justice had elevated the expectations. Mandatory Village Assembly (Grama Sabha) is meant to encourage participation of all sections and development needs. However the living conditions of traditional fisher people have only worsened. The major concerns in fisheries sector that cut across continents, nation states, and precipitate to local communities are several. There issues of commons and commoner deepened the fisheries crisis unabated globally brought into existence the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) by the FAO. The CCRF directed nation states to create institutional frameworks in the interest of resources as well as the community. This has well recognised by the State of Kerala in India by creating distinct space for fisher people within the formal institutional set up of LGs; the Matsya Sabha (Assembly of Fisher People) is considered appropriate and a right step in Kerala. This paper discuss the approach of deliberate democracy in Kerala in the context of marginalised traditional fisher people and attempts to potray the inclusive governance framework through Matsya Sabha.