India, Switzerland to cooperate in local governance

December 12th, 2011 - 6:49 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 12 (IANS) India and Switzerland signed an agreement on Monday to increase their cooperation for strengthening local governance.

The agreement aims at “establishing projects to encourage transference of competence between India and Switzerland for strengthening local self-governance, focusing on areas relating to e-governance, local governments’ performance appraisal, public service delivery through local bodies, solution-sharing and mobilisation of resources,” according to a statement issued by the embassy of Switzerland in India.

Swiss Ambassador Philippe Welti signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kiran Dhingra, Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, here.

As part of the agreement, Switzerland will help Indian stakeholders learn systems of inter-governmental fiscal transfers, assignment of functions across different tiers of local governments and methods to promote direct democracy.

Switzerland is recognised across the world for its effective and efficient system of direct democracy.

“The MoU will afford an opportunity for the Swiss experts to learn of the grassroots functioning of this large democracy and contribute to a better understanding of the challenges faced and the gains made in strengthening local governments,” the statement said.

Switzerland has already supported the strengthening of local governance in several states of India, including Kerala, Sikkim and Rajasthan.

The support included partnerships with state training institutions for capacity development of elected representatives, training of front line functionaries who work with the Panchayati Raj Institutions, strengthening select training institutions in training curriculum development, faculty improvement and infrastructure provisioning and, policy research and advocacy.

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