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Vice President Releases Book “States of Panchayati Raj in the Stares and Union Territories of India 2013”

New Delhi, December 2: The Vice President of India M. Hamid Ansari has said that in a country of our size and diversity there is no option but to devolve governance to the local levels in order to deal with myriad local issues and services, which need local solutions and delivery, with active participation of the intended beneficiaries. Addressing after releasing the book ‘Status of Panchayati Raj in the States and Union Territories of India 2013’ by Institute of Social Sciences (ISS) here today, he has said that the Panchayati Raj system is founded on the tenet of decentralisation.

This refers, according to a definition offered by the UNDP, to the restructuring or reorganization of authority so that there is a system of co-responsibility between institutions of governance at all tiers in accordance with the principle of ‘subsidiarity’, thus increasing the overall quality and effectiveness of the system of governance, while increasing the authority and capacities of sub-national levels.

He said that more importantly, it also offers a formula for achieving the required change through a three dimensional approach of political will, people’s awareness and building healthy conventions and traditions, backed by constitutional and legislative measures. In turn, local governments are expected to contribute to key elements of good governance, such as increasing people`s opportunities for participation in economic, social and political decisions, assisting in developing people`s capacities, and enhancing government responsiveness, transparency and accountability.

The Vice President opined that amongst the positives, the most important is the unprecedented widening of the democratic base of the Indian polity. Apart from the number of elected representatives is the unparalleled increase in the number of women and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in both rural and urban local bodies. This bodes well for the inclusion and empowerment of the marginalised and deprived sections of society. Despite the challenges of ‘proxyism’, women representatives have performed exceptionally in the local bodies, in terms of leadership, integrity, responsiveness and sensitivity. The projection in this study is that after 10 to 15 years, women may occupy more than 50% seats in all three tiers of the Panchayati Raj system. This is heartening.

He expressed his concern on the role of the State Governments in terms of recognising the jurisdiction of local bodies and devolving financial and human resource powers to them. Some reports about it make disturbing reading. Failures on this count could have far reaching implications not only for the Panchayati Raj Institutions but also for other levels of governance, given the electorate’s expectations on participation and accountability.

Posted by Imphal Dispatch on 22:38. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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