New Delhi: Noting that panchayats need basic
minimum infrastructure to function effectively, the Centre has
asked Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra, Assam and Andhra Pradesh
governments to prepare a "time-bound" action plan to provide
them buildings and manpower on priority basis.
In a letter to the Chief Ministers of these five states,
Rural Development Minister C P Joshi noted that as many as
3,955 gram panchayats (GPs) have no office building in
Haryana, while the figure is 7,182 GPs in Punjab, 5,306 GPs in
Maharashtra, 622 GPs in Assam and 5,639 GPs in Andhra Pradesh.
A large number of these GPs have been identified as
backward. "Without proper buildings, the GPs are unable to
seat their functionaries, kept records and transact their
business," he said.
Joshi underlined that panchayats need basic minimum
infrastructure and manpower to function effectively as they
are "increasingly" being given responsibilities in planning,
implementation and monitoring of developmental programmes of
Expecting an "early response" from the Chief Ministers of
the five states, Joshi said GP buildings would not only
symbolise the rise of the panchayats but also provide physical
space for people to interact with the GP representatives and
functionaries for transacting the "expanding" business of the
Joshi suggested that the state governments may "pool"
the resources available under Mahatma Gandhi NREGA, Backward
Region Grant Fund (BRGF), Finance Commission grant, and other
Central or state funds for the purpose of providing buildings
and manpower to panchayats.
For those districts, which are identified as backward,
the material component may be met from BRGF and the labour
component from Mahatma Gandhi NREGA, he said.
"In case the material resources support from BRGF is
inadequate, the same can be incurred under Mahatma Gandhi
NREGA provided the material component does not exceed 40 per
cent at the district level," he said.
For the non-BRGF districts, Mahatma Gandhi NREGA would
be the main source for funding the construction. "The material
component can also be supplemented through other schemes
including Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Yojna of Ministry of
Panchayati Raj," Minister added.