Indian panchayat leaders to guide Afghan counterparts

September 25th, 2008 - 7:39 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 25 (IANS) It’s still at the discussion stage, but very soon Indian panchayat leaders, including women, will set an example for their Afghan counterparts in local governance. After a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the two governments earlier this year on helping Afghanistan develop a local governance structure based on the Indian model, an Indian delegation is all set to visit Kabul next month for a meeting of the India-Afghanistan Joint Working Group (JWG) to work out training modules to take the process forward.

The project was initiated in May at a meeting between Panchayati Raj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyer and Jelani Popal, director general of Afghanistan’s Independent Directorate of Local Governance.

According to an official of the panchayati raj ministry, the JWG meeting will focus on building up a framework for capacity building, development of resource centres, designing training courses and training the trainers.

Manoj Rai of Delhi-based NGO Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) said that members of his organisation will also be a part of the delegation to Afghanistan.

PRIA, besides some other organisations like the Institute of Social Sciences (ISS) have also agreed to extend their help and provide their expertise to the Afghan government in capacity building and drafting a policy document and legislation for introducing local governance.

“Experts from PRIA who will take part in this process will help the Afghan government in local governance by capacity building of elected representatives and by development of an information resource centre,” Rai told IANS.

“We will also pay special attention to highlighting the leadership of women and the youth in the whole system,” Rai added.

After the JWG meeting, an Afghan delegation will visit India to study how the system works here.

“But all the modules will be formulated in such a way that they works in the Afghan setting,” Rai pointed out.

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