‘Government determined to strengthen PRI in state’

The annual Panchayat Summit for the year 2017 was held under the aegis of Manipur State Panchayat Parishad (MSPP) at Porompat Panchayat Bhawan on Sunday with RD&PR minister Thongam Biswajit as chief guest.

Speaking on the occasion, minister Biswajit informed that the three-tier Panchayati Raj system was initiated under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi with the belief that development should begin from grassroots level. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also following the footsteps of the Father of the Nation and has been giving emphasis on rural development.

He said: "we need to understand the logic behind the initiative of PM Narendra Modi for developing rural areas and as such one has to understand the role and responsibilities of Panchayati Raj and its representatives. For these, awareness is essential".

The minister further informed that the state government is exploring ways to strengthen the Panchayati Raj Institute in the state and at the same time reviewing as to why devolution of power has been delayed so far despite the State cabinet already giving the nod in 2016.

Noting that people lack proper awareness on the role of Panchayati Raj Institutions and responsibilities of its elected members, minister Biswajit said the need of the hour is to improve the awareness level.

The Minister also stressed on the need to conduct training programmes for the newly elected representatives to understand their roles and responsibilities, and said a date could be fixed at the earliest.

Speaking at length on the proposal to draft a separate state policy for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, the minister said that there can be no sustainable development without a proper policy and planning and that the experts can share their opinions, ideas and views on how to draft the policy with the government. The government has also identified some points, taking reference from other states, which could be included in the state policy, he added.

Development of an institution, be it Panchayati Raj Institution or any other, needs participation, sincerity of all stakeholders and transparency, the Minister continued, while stating that “We can gain support of the public only if we are transparent and sincere in our dealings.”

Observing that Manipur needs transformation, the minister said both transformation and reformation can begin only from our individual self. "A new change can be brought only when we initiate the change ourselves. Without sincerity to transform ourselves, we cannot bring any kind of transformation," he added.

Every scheme has guidelines on how to successfully implement it, minister Biswajit said, adding that the benefits fail to reach the intended beneficiaries only when the guidelines are not followed.
Biswajit also spoke on the importance of the Information Education and Communication (IEC) fund and said every government scheme has necessary fund earmarked.

He continued that the fund is earmarked in every scheme to spread awareness, provide information and educate the people about the scheme.

Responding to a memorandum submitted by Manipur State Panchayat Parishad, the Minister said the government is reviewing devolution of power but the cabinet is yet to take a decision. On the demand for upward revision of honorarium of Panchayat functionaries, the Minister assured his commitment to do the needful at the earliest.

He said attaching a separate Chief Executive Officer to the offices of Zilla Parishads will also be discussed.

On the proposal for creation of DRDA of Kakching and Jiribam districts, the minister said there is an all India ban on the creation of DRDA now. However, since the districts are created CEO in charge and EDs will be provided so as to make them functional.

Minister Biswajit also acknowledged a proposal for a monthly meeting with the functionaries.

Office bearers of the Manipur State Panchayat Parishad were also administered oath of office and secrecy during the function.

Sunday’s function was also attended by Naoriya Pakhanglakpa MLA Soibam Subhaschandra Singh.

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