Panchayat members unhappy with government for diluting powers of DPC | india | Hindustan Times
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Panchayat members unhappy with government for diluting powers of DPC

The Uttarakhand government may have agreed to vest the soon-to-be-elected District Planning Committees (most members of which would be from Panchayt bodies) with powers of formulating district plans by recently enforcing the DPC Act 2007 but they (Panchayat members) are not quite happy.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2010 16:29 IST
Deep Joshi

The Uttarakhand government may have agreed to vest the soon-to-be-elected District Planning Committees (most members of which would be from Panchayt bodies) with powers of formulating district plans by recently enforcing the DPC Act 2007 but they (Panchayat members) are not quite happy.

"On principle the move to constitute elected DPCs may be aimed at giving Panchayat members the right to formulate development plans for their respective districts but, practically, it’s not going to happen that way," said Jodh Singh Bisht, President, Jila Panchayat Sadashya Sangathan, a body of the members of District Panchayats.

"Since ministers-in-charge of districts would be chairmen of DPCs they would give their (DPC) members a free hand," he told Hindustan Times.

District Planning Committees (DPCs), it might be recalled, would be constituted after the members of jila, kshetra and gram Panchayats would elect their (DPCs) members "from among themselves only through a polling process that is likely to be held soon in the State in compliance with the District Planning Committee Act, 2007, officials said.

Members of the district Panchayats in Uttarakhand though are unanimous that the State government has deliberately curtailed the powers of DPC members who would soon be elected through a polling process in compliance with the District Planning Committee Act 2007.

"The way the powers of the soon-to-be constituted DPC members have been curtailed runs counter to the very spirit of the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments, under which the Centre had sought to empower Panchayat bodies by according them legal status’’, Bisht told HT.

Dubbing the curtailment of the powers of the (Panchayat) members of proposed DPC as a deliberate move on part of the legislators to subvert the Panchayat bodies he said a burning example of this desire ``shows itself in the manner in which the DPC Act, 2007 was enforced three years after it was brought in by the Uttarakhand government.’’

Referring to the DPC Act 2007 he said the State government was, in fact, compelled to enforce the law (DPC Act 2007) after the Centre refused to release the Backward Region Development Fund (BRGF) meant for Uttarakhand’s three backward regions namely Champavat, Chamoli and Tehri.

Citing another example of unwillingness on part of the State government in enforcing the DPC Act, Bisht said out of a total of 29 subjects, it (State government) might have brought as many as 14 (subjects) under the Panchayat bodies, so far, in compliance with the said (DPC Act) law but for all practical purposes these all (14 subjects) continue to function under it (State government) only’’, he explained.

Referring to the proposed DPCs he said while in other states "heads of these (DPCs) are Chairmen of District Panchayats, in Uttarakhand the ministers in-charge of different districts would head them (DPCs.)

"Although minister in-charge would be a nominated member of the DPC, being a representative of the legislators and the kind of clouts ministers wield he/she (ministers-in-charge would try to influence the decision of the DPCs," Bisht said adding, he (minister-incharge) would most likely interfere in DPCs’ functioning making it difficult for their elected representatives to formulate development plans as per the requirements of districts.’’

He regretted the fact that under the DPC Act Chairmen of District Panchayats had not even been made their (DPCs) vice-chairmen. "They are just plain members of the District Planning Committees," Bisht said.

However, discounting these fears Dr P S Gusain, Additional Secretary, Panchayati Raj said the State government "is doing all it can to strengthen the Panchayat bodies in keeping with the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments."