Chief Minister Chandrashekhar Rao wanted a performing Panchayat Raj system and the proposed Panchayat Raj Act should reflect this for the all-round development of the village.
He expressed this view at a high-level review meeting of the Panchayatraj department held here at Pragati Bhavan today. The Chief Minister addressing the officials said that the proposed Act should make the local bodies act efficiently and the government should have the powers to take action against those who fail in discharging their duties. The CM wanted suggestions and advice from the officials who have a grip over the Panchayat raj institutions, Public representatives and people from the organisations before finalizing the proposed Act. The CM announced, if possible, the proposed Bill should be introduced in the on-going Legislature sessions and pass the Act.
“We have brought in several administrative reforms in the newly formed State. Very soon we are having new Panchayats. Then the strength of the Gram Panchayats will be about 12 to 13,000 in the State. These gram panchayats should not become the only namesake. As on date, the Gram panchayats are without responsibilities and duties. Both the centre and state government are spending Crores of rupees and implementing several programmes. If these programmes are to be reached to the people, local bodies should function efficiently. If only every gram Sarpanch and Village work with commitment, the government programmes will reach the people. If the same situation prevailing now continues, there is no use. Presently, Gram Panchayats and local bodies are in danger. The Gram Panchayats and local bodies, once used to be community development agencies, have become politicised now. There should be an overall change in the situation now. Gram Panchayats should be strengthened and made more effective. Make gram Panchayats partners in every programme. If every Village changes for good, the Telangana we are dreaming can be developed in all the sectors. Hence, what are the duties of the Gram Panchayats? What are their responsibilities? The new Act should give clarity to all these issues. Along with the Sarpanches, the duties and responsibilities of the MPTC, ZPTC members should also be given a clarity,” the CM opined.
“The Panchayats cannot be functioning by merely giving them duties and responsibilities. We have to provide them with required funds. In the next Budget, we will allocate funds based on the population of the village directly. We will provide for each village funds ranging from Rs 10 to 25 lakh. We will transfer the funds under MGNREGA, Corporate Social Responsibility, Central Funds, Finance Commission funds to the village Panchayats. Among the villages, taking up works under SramaDaan should be inculcated. The Village administration will function effectively if duties, responsibilities, funds are given along with public participating and continuous monitoring. The government should be able to punish those who fail to perform their duties. The proposed Act should incorporate all these matters,” the CM said.
“Next year the elections will be held on the stipulated time for the Panchayats. After the elections, Sarpanches should go for a full-time training programme. Give clarity to them on duties, powers, responsibilities and funds. Train them to make their own Village plans. They have to prepare a plan for the village based on its needs, future requirements and weight these issues. An action plan should follow this. Sarpanches should be trained on these lines. Sarpanches who got elected will have the desire to get a good name. The government policy should enable such Sarpanches to do a good job. With self discipline and having constant interaction with people, good results can be earned without even bothering about what others say?” the CM observed.
Ministers Jupally Krishna Rao, Jogu Ramanna, Chief Advisor to Government Rajiv Sharma, Chief Secretary SP Singh, State Planning Commission Vice Chairman Niranjan Reddy, MP Boora Narsaiah, MLAs Sudhir Reddy, Bajireddy Goverdhan Reddy, Kova Laxmi, Ravindra Naik, Corporation Chairmen Peddi Sudershan Reddy, V Prakash, Principal secretaries S Narsing Rao, Ramakrishna Rao, Sunil Sharma, Secretary Smita Sabharwal, Panchayatraj Secretary Vikas Raj, Law Secretary Niranjan Rao, Panchayatraj Commissioner Neethu Prasad and others participated.
Retired Chief Secretary to Kerala Government Vijayanand, Telangana Institute of Panchayat Raj and Rural Development’s Consultant G Jaipal Reddy, Consultants Limba Swamy, Sankaraiah, Representatives of NGOs Dr AP Ranga Rao, Balaji Utla were specially invited for the meeting. How should be the new Panchayat Raj Act? What rights and powers to be delegated to the PR Institutions? What are their responsibilities? How to procure funds for them? What measures to be taken to make them function effectively and with accountability towards people? The CM held a wide range of discussions on these and other related issues. He sought the opinion from the gathering.