Ministry for delimitation of panchayats
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Last Updated: Sunday, June 13, 2010, 10:22
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.


First Published: Sunday, June 13, 2010, 10:22

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