Manmohan Singh emphasises on need to strengthen panchayats

April 24th, 2011 - 4:56 pm ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Apr 24 (ANI): Asserting that the Centre is keen to help the states to improve the working of the Panchayati institutions across the country, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Sunday emphasised the need to strengthen gram sabhas for effective participation of people in governance.

Addressing a function on National Panchayat Diwas here, Dr. Singh said the government was considering increasing the capacity of Panchayats so that they can discharge their responsibilities effectively.

The Prime Minister said that despite the administrative and constitutional measures, there is a long way to go for full decentralization of powers to these institutions.

“The Panchayati Raj had a special place in late Rajiv Gandhi’s vision of a modern India and the 73rd Constitutional amendment in 1993 on Panchayati Raj led to decentralisation of political powers, giving many powers to the Panchayats,” said Dr. Singh.

“The past experience should guide us to take the process forward and make it more people centric. Panchayati Raj institutions are significantly contributing in rural development, particularly in the implementation of Mahatma Gandhi NREGA and Indira Awas Yojna,” he added.

Noting that timely elections to Panchayats were necessary for their effective functioning, Dr. Singh said the 70 to 80 percent turnout in the Panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand a few days back shows that people now want to decide their future themselves.

National Advisory Council chairperson Sonia Gandhi, while speaking on the occasion, stressed that women should be given a greater role with respect to the decision making process at the grass root level.

Stating that the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) Government has taken many steps for the social and economic development of the common man, she said full benefits of these programmes will reach people only when the Panchayati Raj institutions in the country are strengthened.

“The main purpose of Panchayati Raj is self-governance, which is the last stage of democracy to which “we all are committed’,” said Gandhi.

Dr. Singh earlier conferred Panchayat Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar to seven states for their excellent performance. Maharashtra bagged the maximum number of awards. (ANI)

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