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Let panchayats tax villagers

THE THIRD State Finance Commission will urge the State Government to empower gram panchayats to charge taxes from villagers in order to increase their resources, besides levying user charges for utilizing the village facilities. Addressing officers of the Panchayati Raj department, Third Finance Commission chairman SAT Rizvi said the panchayati raj institutions should be analysed on the basis of its creativity, efficiency and accountability.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2006 01:24 IST

THE THIRD State Finance Commission will urge the State Government to empower gram panchayats to charge taxes from villagers in order to increase their resources, besides levying user charges for utilizing the village facilities.

Addressing officers of the Panchayati Raj department, Third Finance Commission chairman SAT Rizvi said the panchayati raj institutions should be analysed on the basis of its creativity, efficiency and accountability.

According to a survey, revenue collected by gram panchayats in the country was mere 4.17 per cent and in UP, it was only 3 per cent. “Gram Pradhans are opposed to taxation for populist gain,” he said. Incentive would be given to panchayats that tops the tax collection, he added.

Rizvi said villages that tops in tax contribution would be developed as model villages.

Though taxes had been fixed over agriculture holdings, but tax collection was nil. Panchayati Raj Department held talks with the Board of Revenue. Amins would be empowered to collect the taxes from the farmers, he said.

He said in 1999, the State Government handed over 10 departments to the panchayats, later all the departments taken away. The officers selected as gram panchayat or development officers were not qualified for the post, he said. Commission would urge the government to depute qualified employees and officers in panchayati raj institutions, Rizvi added.

Panchayati raj officers should focus on sanitation programme, Rizvi said and assured that the commission would increase funds for construction of toilets. “The villagers should use toilets regularly,” he said.

Though 1.30 lakh aganbari kendras had been sanctioned by the government, but merely 5,000 kendras were running in its building. Majority of them were running in open or in verandah of the schools. Commission would recommend for allocation of funds for construction of all kendras, Rizvi said.

He expressed surprise that for the last 50 years khadanja and drain were being constructed in several villages. “Rather than squandering the funds, the gram panchayats should use it on development works,” he added.

First Published: Feb 22, 2006 01:24 IST