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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

'Lack of real power to PRIs indicates crawling localism'

PTI  Sonepat, October 10, 2013
First Published: 20:05 IST(10/10/2013) | Last Updated: 20:07 IST(10/10/2013)

Voicing unhappiness over absence of real devolution of power to panchayati raj institutions (PRIs), vice-president Hamid Ansari on Thursday said it is indicative of "galloping federalism and crawling localism".

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Lack of political will was responsible for slow and halting pace of working of panchayat raj institutions, Ansari said, pointing out finding of an Expert Committee, constituted by the Centre to examine how panchayats could be more efficient in delivery of public goods and services.

"The situation is indicative of galloping federalism and crawling localism, a situation in which there is a propensity to acquire power at one level and a reluctance to concede it to other levels," Ansari said.

The vice-president was speaking in an international conference on 'federalism versus localism, competing demands and conflicting aspirations' at OP Jindal Global University here.

Stressing on the need to empower panchayats, he said in the absence of real devolution of powers relating to functions, finances and functionaries, there would be no effective functioning of PRIs.

Ansari said that federalism required flexibility, cooperation, tolerance and accommodation of political, societal and economic complexities.

"In this regard, we need fresh ideas and new suggestions from scholars and practitioners," he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said non-interference by the Centre in the functioning of states and support and coordination from the union government to facilitate their progress were vital for servicing federalism.

Hooda advocated the need for decentralisation and local governance as they were crucial aspects of a democracy.

"Decentralisation ensures that there is no concentration of power in the hands of one political entity. It also allows states to develop and follow their own paths of development, best suited to their own local conditions and needs," he said.

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