Chidambaram gave higher allocation to Panchayati Raj Ministry

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New Delhi, Feb 29 (UNI) Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the 2008-09 budget proposals made a substantial higher allocation of Rs 4780.50 crore for the Panchayati Raj Ministry as against the revised estimate of the previous year at Rs 3700.40 crore.

A large share of this continued to be the plan outlay which was placed higher at Rs 4780 crore as against Rs 3700 crore of the revised estimates.

The budget document says that this amount will be utilised towards provision of Secretariat expenditure of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.

The Ministry was set up as an independent Ministry to give an impetus to the strengthening of Panchayati Raj Institutions. It is mandated to look after the work relating to monitoring the implementation of Constitution (73rd amendment) Act, 1996 and Article 243 ZD in Part IX of Constitution relating to District Planning Committees (DPCs).

The outlay for the plan schemes of the Ministry for the year 2008-09 is Rs 110 crore with a provision of Rs 11 crore for Northeastern Areas including Sikkim. The outlay for Central Assistance to State plans under the Backward Region Grant Fund is Rs 4670 crore for the year.

This also includes Schemes of Media and Publicity intended to provide vital information and create awareness amongst the public regarding Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) through audio and visual publicity through print and electronic media.

This also includes the Rural Business Hubs (RBHs) schemes which has the goal of ''Haat to Hypermarket'' and aims at moving from mere livelihood support to promoting rural prosperity, increasing rural non-farm income and augmenting rural employment. RBHs set up in association with PRIs could consolidate the fulcrum of ''inclusive growth''- the theme of the approach to the XI Plan.

It would also provide technical support for capacity building and training of functionaries of DPCs and Zilla Parishads.

UNI/BKS BDP RP AS1715

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