New Delhi: Keen to take empowerment to the grassroots level, the Panchayati Raj Ministry is pushing for delimitation of panchayats besides working for creation of
proper infrastructure for such bodies with delegation of certain executive and judicial powers.
Panchayati Raj Minister CP Joshi says the proportion of population under panchayats is not uniform and hence there is a need for undertaking delimitation to correct the situation.
He has already mooted the proposal at the full Planning Commission meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here recently.
"We are thinking that (when) we have a Delimitation Commission for state Assembly and Parliament, why can`t we have Delimitation Commission for panchayats so that we have
their uniform structure across the country," Joshi told a news agency in an interview.
"We are discussing the issue. It is at very initial
stage," he said.
Joshi, who also holds the portfolio of Rural Development,
underlined that a uniform structure of panchayats across the
country will help achieving uniformity in their development.
"For example, population of panchayats in Kerala (on an
average) is 30,000 plus but if you go in Bihar and Uttar
Pradesh, the population under one panchayat is 1,000. If you
have a large population, large fund is available but if
panchayat segment is small, things will be contrary," he said.
Joshi is also working on creating proper infrastructure
for panchayats so that they have buildings and staff. He noted
that at least 70,000 panchayats did not even have a building
to operate from.
The panchayats should function like a small unit of
self-governance with certain executive and judicial powers to
deal with the local issues, he underlined.
"You have to give them judicial power, you have to give
them other powers....You have to develop a system where poor
villagers are not supposed to go to High Court or Supreme
Court. All these issues should be addressed at panchayat level
itself," said the minister.
"...We had large states, then we bifurcated them into
small states. Now we have to go to the lower level," he said
while underlining the need for empowering local bodies.
Before delegation of powers, Joshi said there was need
for creating proper administrative structure in panchayats
with deployment of "dedicated" staff.
To press his point, he said, "You cannot think about a
state without Secretariat, without a Chief Secretary, without
DGP...and you are thinking about panchayats without anything."
He said it would not be fair to expect much from
panchayats in the given conditions.