Fwd: Government urged to make every village a Panchayat
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From: gramswaraj odisha <gramswarajodisha@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 6:13 PM
Subject: Fwd: Government urged to make every village a Panchayat
To:---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: gramswaraj odisha <gramswarajodisha@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 6:12 PM
Subject: Government urged to make every village a Panchayat
Plot No. : 1200, P.O.: Ghatikia, Bhubaneswar – 751003. Mobile: +91-94370-44008, Phone: 0674-2386250,
4th March 2013
Government urged to make every village a Panchayat
- As per the provision of the Constitution of India to make the Panchayati Raj Institutions function effectively Government of Odisha need to urgently reorganize the Gram Panchayats and make smaller Gram Panchayats throughout the State.
- Gram Swaraj Sammukhya-Odisha proposed that in the line of Maharashtra, Gujarat and several other States Odisha need to have at least 30,000 Gram Panchayats and about 750 Panchayat Samity.
- Since Odisha is primarily an agrarian State having more than 80 percent people still living in rural areas unless the Panchayati Raj Institutions are empowered and the Gram Sabhas are made functional it will continue to remain as one of the poorest State in the whole country.
Gram Swaraj Sammukhya feels that in order to combat to the massive poverty and under development in Odisha the first and foremost step Government should take up is to reorganize the Gram Panchayats and make smaller Gram Panchayats throughout the State.
After a detail study made by Gram Swaraj Sammukhya we recommend that to make the Gram Panchayats function as vibrant institutions Odisha need to restructure the Gram Panchayat more or less in the same line as they have been in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and few other States. In Maharashtra if a village has a population of 500 or above it can have one Gram Panchayat. In most of the cases in all those States one village has one Gram Panchayat. This kind of a provision makes it easier for the Gram Sabha to function better and meet more frequently, said Jagadish Pradhan, Convenor of GRAMSWARAJ SAMUKHYA ODISHA.
While addressing a press conference here in Bhubaneswar today, on the eve of Panchayati Raj Divas celebration, in the state Mr Pradhan further added “Gram Swaraj Sammukhya – Odisha proposes to the Government that any village which has more than one thousand population should have one Gram Panchayat and in case of smaller villages two or three villages could be clubbed together to form one Gram Panchayat. In this way, Odisha should have about 30,000 Gram Panchayats”. Similarly, for 40 Gram Panchayats there should be one Panchayat Samity and hence the total number of Panchayat Samity should be around 750.
Among others GSS ODISHA Members Sudarshan Chhotray and Pramod Das were present in the media conference held here at Keshari Hotel in Bhubaneswar this morning. Since long GSS has been demanding to restructure Panvhayayts in Odisha. The organization has also submitted memorandum and its study findings with Government and Political parties.
It has been seen that in the States wherever there are smaller Gram Panchayats functioning and implementation of the rural development schemes have been more effective and the incidence of poverty in those States is also less.
In case of schedule areas the Central Act PESA recommends for Gram Sabhas to be organized at village and even at hamlet level. But in case of Odisha the provisions of the PESA are still not implemented in the proper spirit. In the Forest Rights Act 2006 also the Union Government has more elaborately defined the Gram Sabha but in Odisha such definitions have not yet been followed properly.
Already a period of about twenty years has elapsed since 73rd Constitutional Amendment but in Odisha the Panchayati Raj Institutions have not been empowered so as to function as envisaged under this very important Act. As per the provision of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Local Self Government Institutions or the Panchayati Raj Institutions have now the constitutional status and they are suppose to function as institutions of self government, for the twin purpose of making plans and implementing these plans. However, the State Government has not taken adequate steps to devolve the powers to the PRIs and also to empower them so as to function effectively. GSS feels that because of weak functioning of the PRIs Odisha has been continuing to remain as the poorest State in the whole country.
GSS feels that allegations of fund misuse and corruption in the PRIs from some corners has been part of a conspiracy game to keep the PRIs powerless and marginalized. Wherever there is misuse of funds or mismanagement of programmes in the PRIs it is basically due to the large size of the Gram Panchayats for which the Gram Sabhas have not been able to meet frequently and function as they are suppose to function. As per the provision of the Panchayati Raj Act the Gram Sabha is key to the self governance and for ensuring transparent and accountable functioning of the Gram Panchayat. The Gram Sabha is a forum that ensures direct participative democracy and it offers equal opportunity to all citizens including the poor, the women and the marginalized to discuss and criticize, approve or reject the proposals of the Gram Panchayat. The Gram Sabha is also suppose to assess the performance of the Gram Panchayat including approving its budget and expenditure. The Gram Sabha is suppose to function as a vibrant forum for promoting planned economic and social development of the villages.
However, as per the Act and Rules framed by the Odisha Government the Gram Sabhas are constituted in such a way that they will never be able to function at all. As a result, the Gram Panchayats have also not been able to function properly as per the spirit of our Constitution. The size of the Gram Panchayats in Odisha are so large that most of the Gram Panchayats include seven to eight villages and in some places even up to 30 to 35 villages. The Gram Sabha also constitutes all the voters of each Gram Panchayat and hence it has been found that nowhere in Odisha the Gram Sabha meetings have been held properly. As per the rules of Odisha the quorum for a Gram Sabha meeting is only 10% of the voters in the Gram Panchayat but it becomes difficult even to mobilize such a small number of people in most of the Gram Sabha. With provision for such a low quorum it is ridiculous to call our Gram Panchayats as Grass root level democratic Institutions with direct participation of the voters.
4th March 2013, 11am. Sudarshan Chhotray
Gram Swaraj Sammukhya – Odisha