A UNIQUE INITIATIVE FOR INCLUSIVE DEMOCRACY: CREATIVE ENGAGEMENT OF YOUTH IN LOCAL GOVERNANCE AND POLICY FORMULATION
Keywords:Inclusive Democracy, Local Governance, Policy Formulation, Virtual Meeting, Youth
Bedadka Grama Panchayat (GP), Kasaragod District, Kerala, India took up a unique and innovative step to formulate and finalize the Sports Policy for at the local level. The paper brings out an analysis of the innovative exercise made for ‘creative and critical engagement of youth in local governance’ as well as to ensure their active participation in policy formulation. This was done by conducting a ‘Virtual Gram Sabha’ through the social media platform, WhatsApp. Traditionally considered as an ‘elite process’, the policy formulation exercise at the grassroots by involving ‘common people’ that essentially excluded the non-residents of the locality is a paradigm shift towards realizing ‘inclusive democracy’. ‘Bedadka experience’ showed that creative engagement of youth in local governance is possible, feasible and practical. Such an exercise has the latent potential to be a 'game changer' loaded with the impetus for redrawing and redefining the conventional barriers of policy, governance and development.