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Pact to empower panchayati raj in Madhya Pradesh

Monday 18 December 2006

Staff Correspondent

There is a need to restructure the system, says Mani Shankar Aiyar

Improvement of attendance at gram sabha meetings stressed "Mapping of activity has to be stretched to basic facilities"

BHOPAL: Union Minister for Panchayati Raj Mani Shankar Aiyar and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, signed a joint declaration here on Sunday to further empower the panchayati raj in the State.

Addressing newspersons after signing the declaration, Mr. Aiyar said that 12 years after Madhya Pradesh took the first initiative to empower the panchayats under the provisions of the Constitution, the need was now being felt to restructure and further empower the panchayati raj system in the State. Mr. Aiyar said he held discussions with Mr. Chauhan and they agreed on this.

After visiting some village panchayats, janapad panchayats and zilla panchayats in the last two days, he found that while the sarpanchas were satisfied with the system, the elected representatives at the janapad and district-levels had their own grievances.

Mr. Aiyar said there was a need to improve attendance at the gram sabha meetings. It was also necessary to increase the involvement of the panchas through training, he said, adding that the panchayat committees should form the hub for starting different works or delivering services at the panchayat level. Mr. Aiyar said Mr. Chauhan supported the idea of mapping activities to be taken up by the panchayati raj. So far mapping had been restricted to only public works but now it had to be stretched to basic facilities also.

We need "delivery of services and public works" both to be taken up by panchayats on an equal footing, he said.

Asked if he was satisfied with the panchayati raj in the State, Mr. Aiyar said he agreed with the State Government that it had to be improved.

On the basis of a single activity mapping, there could be immense coordination at different levels, he said and went on to stress the importance of devolution of three Fs - functions, finances and functionaries.

Mr. Aiyar said a Task Force was set up to suggest steps for the administrative decentralisation of funds, functions and functionaries to the panchayati raj institutions when the Bharatiya Janata Party was in power at the Centre and senior BJP leader, Venkaiah Naidu was the Union Minister for Panchayat Raj. He said the Gram Sawaraj was on a firm footing in Madhya Pradesh in terms of physical infrastructure.

From the connectivity point of view, every district and janapad panchayat had also been connected with computers. The gram panchayats now needed to be brought into the connectivity network.

"We want to support Madhya Pradesh by working jointly in the area of training and capacity building."

See online : The Hindu

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