India has designated 2010 as the year of gram sabhas to spread awareness about good governance at the local level. To make local governance effective, energising local governing bodies is a real challenge before the government. New Delhi: The ministry of panchayati raj in India has issued specific guidelines to make the year of gram sabha eventful and meaningful for future planning. The objective is to prepare ground for developmental schemes across rural areas in the country.
India is observing year 2010 as the year of Gram Sabha/ Photo credit: My News These guidelines are a follow up of the recommendations of the second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) on local self governance. Under the guidelines, the activation of gram sabha (village councils), ward sabha and other people’s assemblies during the year is one of the foremost targets for accomplishment, according to the ministry’s press release. The guidelines have also emphasised on the need for clear definition of roles and responsibilities of sarpanch, panch and secretary. They should represent the voice of people and not be rendered as mere functionaries of the administration. There is also a provision for protecting the secretary from local pressures and make him accountable. The gram sabha occupies a central place in the entire scheme of local governance because it provides an opportunity to the individual villager to participate in the local decision-making process. People’s assemblies below the gram sabhas such as ward sabhas, mahila sabhas (women's councils) and bal sabhas (children's councils) are going to be promoted. It has been felt that formation of Self Help Groups of women on the pattern of Kudumbshree of Kerala would, in particular, expedite roll out of the proposed National Rural Livelihood Mission. It has also been decided that the states should make appropriate provisions in their State Panchayati Raj Acts to strengthen the powers and enhance the role and scope of these...
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