Maharashtra passes bill to empower gram panchayats
Mumbai: The Maharashtra Legislative Council on Thursday passed the Bombay Village Panchayats (Second Amendment) Act, 1958, which aims to develop village panchayats as grassroot democratic governing institutions and growth centres.
It also empowers village panchayats to exercise supervisory powers over village level functionaries, to encourage active participation of women members of the gram sabha in the functioning of village panchayats and to make certain other incidental provisions.
Provisions in the bill propose convening at least four meetings of gram sabhas in a year. It also proposes that if a 'no confidence' motion is carried against a sarpanch or a deputy sarpanch, by a majority of not less than two-third of gram panchayat members, he or she would have to stop exercising his powers, functions and duties.
Explaining the significance of the bill, Rural Development Minister Jayant Patil said that it would help in better functioning of gram panchayats.
"The bill will help in reducing gram sabhas, which will be held after every four months, bringing it down to four from six," Patil said in the Upper House.
He also said that the reason behind bringing gram sabhas to four due to poor participation by people. "People were not attending the gram sabhas. Gram sabhas should be constructive in nature and must aim at completing work," he said.
In order to encourage participation of women in the functioning of gram panchayats, the senior NCP minister said that meetings of women would be held, even before gram sabhas are held.
"Gram sabhas will have to take note of issues discussed in meetings of women," he added.