In independent Singapore, the extensive grassroots sector has been linked with party-political interests. The People's Action Party has relied on it for mass mobilisation and surveillance. Since the mid 1980s, the increasingly complex demands of the new economy and rising pressures for state welfare have been compelling reasons to evolve an open, consultative and participative culture. The developmentalist government regards an apolitical 'civic' society--not a politically antagonistic 'civil' society--as an important means of generating such a climate. The newly appointed Community Development Councils--local administration units in the PAP-controlled grassroots sector--can be read as a means of reducing the political risks of growing an increasingly necessary 'people sector'.