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English Release 17-September 2014
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Ministry of Panchayati Raj23-December, 2009 17:51 IST
Main Activities/Initiatives of Ministry of Panchayati Raj in 2009
#43-A

The Panchayati Raj in India this year has completed 50 years of its inception. The Celebrations were marked with the observance of year 2009-10 AS Year of the Gram Sabha. The number of grassroots institutions is about 2.52 lakh. In order to enhance the  empowerment  of women at the grassroots, the Government has already decided to earmark  it at 50 per cent. This is the greatest experiment in democracy ever undertaken anywhere in the work at any time in history.


               The mandate of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj is enshrined in part IX of the Constitution (“The Panchayats”) read with Article 243 ZD of Part IXA relating to the District Planning Committees and the Eleventh Schedule which illustratively sets out a list of 29 matters, which might be considered by State Legislatures for devolution to the Panchayats in respect of the planning of economic development and social justice as well as the implementation of “entrusted” schemes of economic and social development in such a manner as to ensure that they function as “Units of Self-Government.”


Major achievements and initiatives of the Ministry in the year 2009 are as under:


1. National Conference of Chairpersons/CEOs of District Planning Committees    A two-day National Conference of Chairpersons/CEOs of District Planning Committees was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on January 16, 2009 . Speaking on the occasion Dr. Singh said, “Every plan must start with a vision and it is important for us to look at what our collective vision ought to be. To my mind, the most important issues before us are to meet the challenge of reducing inequity and inequality. Following the envisioning process, a plan will need to emerge from the Gram Sabha at village level upwards”. This is also an appropriate time to fit together priorities that cut across the jurisdictions of Gram Panchayats and municipalities into larger projects. Finally, it is for the District Planning Committees to consolidate the urban and rural plans into draft development plans for the district as a whole. The next step is to match resources with the plan.

 

Of all the provisions in the 73rd and 74th Amendments, Article 243 ZD of the Constitution which provides for District Planning Committees has perhaps been the last to be implemented in full measure. Till four years back, only 12 of the 24 States to which the Panchayati Raj and Nagarpalika provisions of the Constitution applied, had constituted DPCs.
The Ministry of Panchayati Raj along with the Planning Commission and the Ministry of Urban Development organized this National Conference of the Chairpersons of the District Planning Committees. The Chairpersons of the Zilla Parishads, Chief Executive Officers of the Zilla Parishads, Representatives of the national Institutions involved in supporting the process of district planning and State Institutes of Rural Development participated in the Conference.

 

2. National Consultation - Academics for Panchayati Raj A 2-day National Consultation - Academics for Panchayati Raj began in New Delhi on 25 -02-2009. The National Consultation with luminaries from the field of academics was inaugurated by Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar, the Minister of Panchayati Raj and Development of North East Region deliberated upon the important issues relating to effective implementation of Panchayati Raj in the country. On the occasion, the Minister also released a book titled “Panchayati Raj and Local Governance: Through the Eyes of Writers and Thinkers”.

3.Seminar on Findings of Nationwide Survey on Elected Women Representatives in Panchayats  Shri Mani Shankar Aiyer, the then Minister of Panchayati Raj and Development of North Eastern Region said that with 12 lakh Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) of panchayats, the public image of women has changed drastically in India. The women have been empowered politically and socially, and the level of social and political empowerment is without a parallel anywhere in the world. Shri Aiyer said this while inaugurating a 2-day National Seminar on Findings of the Study on Elected Women Representatives in Village Panchayats here on 02-03-2009. The objective of the Seminar was  to promote a dialogue between the intellectual and experts engaged in the field of Panchayati Raj and its working and the women representatives of panchayats functioning at the grassroots level.

4. Panchayat Empowerment & Accountability Incentive Scheme (PEAIS) - Assessment of the states for 2008-09. The Panchayat Empowerment & Accountability Incentive Scheme (PEAIS) was introduced in and implemented by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) since 2005-06.  The scheme aims at encouraging the States for adequately empowering the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and putting in place arrangements for bringing about accountability of the PRIs. Performance of the States in these respects is measured through a Devolution Index (DI). A token award is also given to the States, for which the annual provision is currently at Rs. 10 crore. For the year 2008-09, the Ministry decided to award 10 prizes in all, as follows:

First Prize (Top 4 States):         

 Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. Rs. 1.50 crore each. Second Prize (Next 4 States): Karnataka, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, and Haryana.  Rs. 75 lakh each. Third Prize (Next 2 States):Chhattisgarh and Assam. Rs.50 lakh each.

 

5. Seminar to discuss the findings of the “Study on Elected Women Representative in Village Panchayats”. A Seminar was organized in partnership with the Department of Women Studies & Development Centre, Delhi University headed by Prof. Vibha Chaturvedi, on 2-3 March, 2009 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi to discuss the findings of the Study Report.  

The Seminar attended by over 150 persons included well-known academics and researchers, representatives of State Governments and training institutions.  Around 50 elected women representatives also participated in the Seminar.  The deliberations of the Seminar covered two days when the conclusions of the Study Report, situation of Panchayati Raj and elected women representatives in the States and general issues relating to devolution of 3Fs, Capacity Building, etc., were discussed in great detail. 

6. Review of the functioning of Panchayati Raj institutions on, says Dr. C.P.Joshi. The new Union Rural Development & Panchayati Raj Minister Dr. C.P. Joshi stated on July 03, 2009  that Consultative mechanisms have been set up to review the functioning of Panchayati Raj institutions (PRIs) in the States/UTs. These mechanisms at different levels have been constantly monitoring the progress and implementation of decisions related to the devolution of powers to the Panchayati Raj Institutions. The Council of Ministers of Panchayati Raj chaired by Minister of Panchayati Raj and Rural Development reviewed the progress during the last three years in its meetings in August, 2007 and April 2008. In addition a Committee of Chief Secretaries of States and Panchayati Raj Secretaries of the State Governments chaired by the Union Secretary of Panchayati Raj has been set up to monitor the progress and implementation of the Action Points resulting from the Round Tables held previously. Six meetings of this Committee were held during last three years. Various issues impinging on the functioning of PRIs are discussed by the Council of Ministers and the Committee chaired by Union Secretary of Panchayati Raj. The issues include Devolution of Powers to PRIs, Activity Mapping, Capacity Building & Training, Setting up of District Planning Committee (DPCs) & Preparation of District Plan, IT enabled e-governance, Role of Gram Sabhas, Implementation of PESA, Annual Reports on the State of Panchayats, Centrality of PRIs in implementation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes, Rural Business Hubs through Public-Private-Panchayat Partnerships, Accounting and Audit, etc. State Governments take necessary follow-up action on the decisions/action points emerging from these meeting.

 

7. National level Consultations with Panchayats. The Ministry of Panchayati Raj and the Ministry of Agriculture have written to all concerned Ministries and Departments, Agricultural Universities and State Governments to operationalize the National Policy for Farmers in accordance with the decisions taken /recommendations made during the National Consultation of Panchayats held last year on March 16-17, 2008. The Indian Council of Agriculture Research has also been requested to organise a conference of Vice-Chancellors of all the universities and other related organisations and PRIs in order to achieve greater technical support to farmers by involving Agricultural Universities students to strengthen the extension services at the grass root level.

8. Training the Panchayat and Gram Sabha Representative -Computerisation of Panchayats. The Minister for Panchayati Raj Dr.  C.P.Joshi  informed Lok Sabha ON July 10, 2009  that the Ministry is in the process of finalizing the scheme for e-governance in Panchayati Raj Institutions. In reply to a written question in Loksabha he stated that  in view of the strategic importance of computerization at the Gram Panchayat level, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) had constituted an Expert Group in June 2007 to assess the current and future Information Technology (IT) programmes of the Ministry, to recommend on the most cost-effective technologies for reaching IT to the Gram Panchayats, the use of IT for effectively building capacities of Panchayati Raj Institutions through distance learning; and the cost implications of the recommendations.

 

9. Programs and Schemes for Panchayati Raj Efforts have been made by the Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj to supplement the work undertaken by the State Governments to empower the Panchayats through a series of Schemes. These schemes include Panchayat Empowerment & Accountability Incentive Scheme (PEIAS); : Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Yojana; Panchayat Mahila & Yuva Shakti Abhiyan; Backward Regions Grant Fund and Rural Business Hubs.


Under the Panchayat Empowerment & Accountability Incentive Scheme (PEIAS)the State Governments are encouraged to empower the Panchayati Raj Institutions(PRIs) by providing incentives for the devolution of functions, funds and functionaries to the PRIs and prizes are given to better performing States. For the year 2008-09, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh and Assam got the prizes.

10. .Every Panchayat to have a Bharat Nirman Rajiv Gandhi Sewa Kendra and Panchayat Ghar over the next three years : Dr. C.P.Joshi  All the Gram Panchayats across the country will have Panchayat Ghar and a Bharat Nirman Rajiv Gandhi Sewa Kendra over the next three years. This was announced by the Union Panchayati Raj Minister Dr. C.P.Joshi at a National Workshop on NREGA ,“ NREGA: A step towards Governance Reform, Transparency and Accountability” in Vigyan Bhawan here today organized by the Union Ministry Of Rural Development on the occasion of the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi 0n August 20, 2009.


There are 2.52 lakh Gram Panchayats across the country. The proposed Panchayat Ghars have been envisaged as the mini secretariat as a forum for the rural people to meet , share and discuss their issues, to provide logistic support and as a record keeping facility center. The Bharat Nirman Rajiv Gandhi Sewa Kendra shall be a single window for providing the information on the NREGS and shall provide feedback on the quality of implementation of the program. The idea is to slowly move on the wage employment to self employment by providing skill development facilities to the rural people and in the process give a fillip to the rural economy. The proposed design of the Bharat Nirman Seawa Kendra at every Gram Panchayat was unveiled on this occasion by Shri Rahul Gandhi , the guest of honour of the workshop

11..Amendment to article 243D of the Constitution of India for enhancing reservation for women in Panchayats to 50 % The Union Cabinet 0n August 27, 2009  approved the proposal for moving a Constitutional Amendment Bill for enhancing reservation for women in Panchayats at all tiers from one third to at least 50%. This provision will apply to the total number of seats filled by direct election, offices of chairpersons and seats and offices of chairpersons reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

12.  Dr. C.P.Joshi highlights quarterly achievements of Panchayati Raj Ministry  Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Dr.C.P.Joshi 0n September 15, 2009  rolled out the quarterly progress report for the Ministry of Panchayati Raj on occasion of the completion of 100 days of present UPA Government. Addressing media persons here today the Minister said at  present the Ministry of Panchayati Raj is concerned with the  Amendment to article 243D of the Constitution for enhancing reservation for women in Panchayats to 50% along  with the Restructuring of Backard Region Grant Fund ( BRGF).

Quoting the Presidential address of June 04, 2009 in Parliament Dr. Joshi said in tune with the intention of The President of India to provide fifty percent reservation for women in Panchayats by Amending article 243D of the Constitution as women suffer multiple deprivations of class, caste and gender and enhancing reservation in Panchayats, the Cabinet on 27th August, 2009 approved the proposal for moving a Constitutional Amendment Bill for enhancing reservation for women in Panchayats at all tiers from one third at least to 50% in the total number of seats.  The proposed amendment will increase reservation for women in (i) the total number of seats to be filled by direct election, (ii) offices of chairpersons and (iii) in seats and offices of chairpersons reserved for SCs and STs, to 50% in all tiers of Panchayats.  Ministry of Panchayati Raj will move a Bill for amendment to Article 243D of the Constitution at the earliest. He said this step will lead to more women entering the public sphere.

            He said according to article 243G of the Constitution, State legislatures may endow Panchayats with such powers and authority as may be necessary (i) to enable them to function as units of local self-government (LSG), and (ii) to prepare and implement plans/or schemes for economic development and social justice including those in relation to matters listed in the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution. 

13. 2009 - 10 To be the year of Gram Sabha Panchayati Raj in India completied 50 years on October 02, 2009. To commemorate the occasion a National Convention of Panchayati Raj Ministers, Zila Parishad Presidents and elected representatives who have served more than 25 years from all the States/UTs was organized by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj at Vigyan Bhawan.. A function at Nagaur in Rajasthan was also organized later in the evening on this occasion.


I It may be recalled that Late Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, the 1st Prime Minister of India had inaugurated Panchayati Raj in India at Naguar in Rajasthan on 2nd October, 1959. 01-10-09.

14. NREGA renamed after Mahatma Gandhi -2009-10 to be the year of Gram Gabha Panchayati Raj in India on October 02, 2009 completed its Golden Jubilee. 50 years ago on 2nd October, 1959, Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, the 1st Prime Minister of India laid the foundations of Panchayati Raj at Naguar in Rajasthan. To mark the occasion a National Convention was organized at Vigyan Bhawan here today. The occasion was a witness to the two major announcements – the renaming of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) after the Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) and observing the year 2009-10 as the “Year of Gram Sabha” by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in presence of the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi , Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Minister ,Dr.C.P. Joshi and a large number of Gram Pradhans, Sarpanchs and village representatives from all over the country.


In his key note address , the Prime Minister said that Panchayati Raj Institutions need to play a pivotal role in the nation’s development and  the decision to rename National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) is a humble tribute to the Father of our Nation.

 

15. 28 Panchayats honoured for making their villages ‘open-defecation free’ and nirmal villages “Good Sanitation practices are the key to a healthy life style” and the Total Sanitation Campaign has generated a lot of enthusiasm among the rural people making it truely a people’s campaign. This was the message from President, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil while presenting the Nirmal Gram Puraskars for the year 2009 at a function held in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi today. Smt. Patil said it is essential that the presidents of Gram Panchayats play a pivotal role in sanitation promotion as they reflect the will of the people at grass root level. She called on all the winning panchayats to sustain the level of sanitation they have achieved. Over 1000 awardees and invitees gathered for Nirmal Gram Puraskar function today where 28 Block Panchayats and 2 District Panchayats having attained the status of Nirmal status of being open defacation free received the award from the President.

 

16. Participatory Planning and convergence of schemes & resources by Panchayati Raj institutions important for implementation of Rural Development Schemes –Dr.C.P.Joshi Union Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Dr. C.P.Joshi emphasized the criticality of participatory planning and convergence of schemes & resources in implementing different Rural Development schemes. In a letter written to all Chief Ministers of respective states he has urged them to chalk out their strategies in view of the exigencies of drought like situation in large parts of the country. The minister says that this has made imperative to strengthen PRIs as it calls for massive planning of works not only under NREGA but also under other relevant schemes (Viz. Integrated Watershed Management Programme, Minor Irrigation, SGSY, Drinking Water etc.) and greatly improved implementation in saving the crops planted, providing livelihood and conserving soil and water for the future.


             The Minister recalled that Panchayats at district, intermediate and village levels are the Principal authorities for planning and implementation of NREGA under Section 13 of the Act. Also, the main responsibilities of PRIs are outlined in Sections 13 to 17. Moreover, at least 50 percent of NREGA funds are to be spent directly by the Gram Panchayats (GPs). Gram Sabhas (GSs) are to recommend specific projects to GPs and conduct social audit of NREGA works. Dr. Joshi said these features of NREGA offer a unique opportunity to strengthen and enable PRIs, particularly the GPs and GSs.

 

17. Revamping of Panchayati Raj institutions  The minister of Panchayati Raj Dr. C.P. Joshi on 23 -11-2009 informed Lok Sabha in reply to a written question on revamping of Panchayati raj institutions that the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission on Centre-State relations relating to PRIs pertain to decentralization in planning. Thereafter, the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution have been enacted giving constitutional status to local self governments and providing a more universalized platform for decentralized planning from below.


            Of the 24 States where Parts IX and IXA of the Constitution are applicable, District Planning Committees have been constituted in 22 States i.e. in all States except Jharkhand and Uttarakhand. The Planning Commission has also released a Manual for Integrated District Planning which the States can use as handbook for participatory grassroots level planning. Also, there is no proposal to appoint any Commission to revamp the Panchayati Raj Institutions.

 

 18.Meeting of Principal Secretaries (Panchayati Raj) Held Dr. C.P. Joshi, Union Minister of Panchayati Raj & Rural Development, addressed the Principal Secretaries (PR) from all the States at Vigyan Bhawan on November  27,2009.. He advised them to take personal interest in promoting the cause of Panchayats so that the system all over the country is comparable or even better than that of the best performing States. The immediate areas where Panchayats should focus are those related to Human Development Index and activities covering elementary education, health & sanitation, integrated child development, women development etc. In the day-long meeting held at Vigyan Bhawan, Shri A.N.P. Sinha, Union Secretary, Panchayati Raj reviewed action taken by the State Governments in observing 2009-10 as the “Year of Gram Sabha”, embedding Panchayats in NREGA & other proposals, preparation of Integrated Plans at Gram Panchayat level, Capacity Building of Panchayats and the progress of Backward Regions Grant Fund, the flagship Programme implemented through the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.

 

During 2009-10 PIB issued 42 Press releases 01 Invite and OneFeature related with the over all publicity of M/o Panchayati Raj. During January-March 2009 period 43 Press releases and 07 Invitations were issued for the publicity  purposes.

*****

ST/pm


(Release ID :56418)

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