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Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation

Empowerment of Panchayati Raj Institutions

Backgrounder

The national level plan for improving the functioning of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) is chalked out in the Roadmap for Panchayati Raj (2011-2017). The Roadmap logically delineates the issues and specific action plans within the larger governance framework for creating an effective Panchayati Raj structure. It highlights key aspects for empowerment, enablement and accountability of the PRIs for better governance and faster development, includes devolution of functions, funds and functionaries as envisaged in the Constitution, Capacity Building of the Panchayats and Functionaries, decentralized planning, effective implementation of Panchayats (Extention to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), empowered elected village councils in the Sixth Scheduled Areas and changes in the constitutional and legal framework. This national Roadmap is enabled and assisted by the Government by the provision of funds under several schemes, the most important of which are

• The Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) provides untied grants to the Panchayats in the backward regions in order to reduce development deficits of the country, with the requirement that the District Plans for utilization of the grant be prepared by the involvement of the Gram Sabhas.

• The Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Yojana (RGSY) which aims at capacity building and training of the elected representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions as well as the Functionaries.

The Central Government also provides funds to the State Governments under the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) to redress regional imbalances in development of backward districts in the country. The strategy aims at promoting the performance and capacity of Panchayats, in planning, decision, making, implementation and monitoring. In addition to the BRGF, the following schemes for empowerment of Panchayats are being implemented:

• Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Yojana: Funds are released to States for training and capacity building of Panchayati Raj Institutions in districts uncovered by the BRGF.

• Rural Business Hubs: This Scheme aims to assist the Panchayats to empower rural labour productivity by providing forward backward linkages with technical assistance in Public-Private-Partnership.

• Panchayat Manila`Evam Yuva Shakti Abhiyan:. It aims to enable women and youth Panchayat leaders to come together to articulate their problems as women Panchayat Leaders. • E-Panchayat: For computerizing the databases, accounts and other functions of the Gram Panchayats for accountability and transparency.

• Panchayat Empowerment & Accountability Incentive Scheme: To recognize and incentivize the efforts of Panchayats with respect to transparency, accountability and efficiency and of States with respect to devolution of funds, functions and functionaries to Panchayats.

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