CHIEF MINISTER Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister for Panchayati Raj Manishankar Aiyer signed a joint declaration at the CM’s official residence here on Sunday.
The declaration letter speaks of steps to strengthen three-tier panchayats in cooperation. The rights of Panchayati Raj institutions have also been mentioned in the declaration letter.
The declaration letter underlines fair elections of district-level panchayats, compliance of State Finance Commission’s recommendations, transfer of funds directly to the bank accounts of gram panchayats, administrative and financial rights of gram panchayats, rights of Gram Sabhas, 90 per cent of construction work through gram panchayats under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, appointment of gram sachiv and rights of retirement to gram panchayats, increase in remuneration to panchayatkarmis, training, audit of Panchayati Raj institutions’ accounts and giving State Minister status to district panchayat chairmen by the State Government.
Also, it has been mentioned in the joint declaration that all 48 district panchayats and 313 janpad panchayats have been computerised and janpad panchayats have been provided with five computers each. All janpad panchayat chairmen have been provided with computers in their office with Internet facility. More efforts will be made by the State Government to strengthen Panchayati Raj with the cooperation of the Union Government.
Moreover, the letter outlines that 29 activities related to 23 government departments have been transferred to Panchayats and the remaining activities would be transferred in phased manner. Panchayats will levy reasonable tax, fee and charges under their own working area and would be responsible for collection of the same.
Awards will be given to Panchayats delivering excellent results in the field of tax collection. The State Government would also take measures for use of electronic voting machines in the next Panchayat elections.
Efforts to increase the percentage of women in Gram Sabhas would be ensured. Besides, an IT scheme would be prepared by the State Government to link computers of Panchayats with Internet under the e-panchayatraj programme of the Centre.
The declaration also mentions that assistance would be provided in establishing rural business hub with public-private participation and Panchayats under the action plan of the Centre. And, the focus of rural business hub would be centered on rural tourism, bio farming, food processing, handicrafts, horticulture, floriculture, bio-diesel, development of micro hydro electricity and non-conventional energy techniques.
Minister for Panchayats and Rural Development Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of State Gangaram Patel, additional secretary of the Union Government B K Sinha, principal secretary panchayat and rural development Pradeep Bhargava, secretary Wasim Akhtar and secretary panchayat and social justice Dr V S Niranjan were present on the occasion.