Local bodies should be given more financial powers: Ansari

June 24th, 2008 - 7:04 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Local governments should be given more economic powers followed by more people participation in the implementation of rural development schemes, Vice-President Mohammed Hamid Ansari said Tuesday. Ansari noted that while political and social empowerment in rural areas is nearing completion, economic empowerment “continues to be a work in progress”. He was speaking at the inauguration of the Ministerial Retreat and special session of the governing council of the Centre for Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP).

“Devolution of finances, functions and functionaries to these local bodies is still the subject of much discussion and debate,” he said.

Vice-President Ansari said the “commitment of both the central and state governments” to implement the constitutional mandate of the local governing bodies “must lead to increased participation of people in planning, decision-making and implementation of various rural development schemes”.

“This would represent a paradigm shift in achieving development outcomes through grass-roots participation rather than through bureaucratic delivery systems,” he said.

He also pointed out that as agrarian reforms and rural development are “inherently political”, policy makers must ensure that “interaction of politics with policy is constructive and synergistic”.

Referring to the global increase in food prices, he said that it had a severe impact on food security for the poor and vulnerable.

Ministers and officials from 16 countries are taking part in the three-day ministerial retreat organised by the Rural Development Ministry in collaboration with the CIRDAP. The theme of the meeting is creation of sustainable livelihood for the rural poor.

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