Following is a summary of various impediments towards translating the vision of democratic decentralization and multi-level planning:
(i) The lack of political will to confer autonomy and powers to the local bodies and the fear the distrust of the elected leaders in the higher echelons of the political system to allow the local leaders to grow.
(ii) The bureaucratic unwillingness to part with functions, finances and powers and the reluctance to take orders from the elected Panchayat executives at the local level.
(iii) Social backwardness and power conflicts in some traditionally backward States in the country characterized by a low level of political awareness, prevalence of feudal authority and feudal values, exploitative, unequal and oppressive power structures and social backwardness induced by low level of literacy, especially of women-all these have contributed to serious social conflicts and generated their own opposition to a strategy of empowerment.
(iv) Emergence of social conflict and criminalisation of politics at local level. There are serious limitations in surmounting the persistent caste system, feudal values, gender inequality, inhuman poverty conditions and the wide chasm existing between the rich and the deprived.
Women particularly, who are anchored in more ‘traditional’ conceptions and practices are slow to change. Social transformation is a difficult process which has to be consciously and consistently addressed in a continuous ‘transitional development strategy’, in which education, social uplift and change of the old order have to be important components (Sundaram, 1999, pp. 49-52).