Core committee formulates draft charter for Panchayat convention

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New Delhi, Mar 15 (UNI) To effectively implement the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution in letter and spirit and to make the Panchayats institutions of self-governance, a charter has been passed by a Core Committee.

The committee, set up to draft the charter for Panchayat Convention, unanimously passed the draft charter after deliberations for the past two days and it will now be circulated among about 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats all over the country so that they can give their views on it. Thereafter the draft would be presented during the Panchayat Convention, to be held from April 22-24, for finalisation.

The committee agreed on a flexibility for some modifications to include more ideas and views in the draft. Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Panchayati Raj Mani Shankar Aiyar said this is a significant step towards inclusive growth.

The main features of the draft charter includes recommendations related to functional empowerment of Panchayats, which says that Panchayats should take the responsibility of all the 29 matters listed in the XI Schedule of the Constitution.

States should ideally route the activity mapping through legislative measures to ensure clarity and suitability in the devolution of activities to Panchayats according to the draft.

In order to make Panchayats, institutions of self government, their domain has to be widened. Judicial powers, police, revenue, regulation and development functions must be devolved to Panchayats, it was said in the draft.

Efforts have to be made to bring the Panchayati subject from the State List to either the Concurrent List or the Central List.A uniform Panchayat Code should be prepared by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj for strengthening these organisations.

It is said in the draft charter that for financial empowerment of Panchayats, state and central governments must ensure clarity and regularity in fund flow to them.

Funds devolved to Panchayats by central and state governments ought to reach them directly. There should be uniform guidelines for funds flow applicable to all schemes across all states, with time limits fixed for funds to reach the Panchayats.

Central Finance Commission grants must supplement the funds devolved to Panchayats, and must not be subsumed into funds transfers made by states to them.

Panchayats should have access to bank credit to take up development projects such as universal housing for the poor, support to SHGs and their federations and remunerative infrastructure assets.

In the draft charter, some incentives were also suggested on performance of Panchayats.

The Eleventh Plan recognises that there is a need to build in incentives that will encourage the states to devolve functions, funds and functionaries to the Panchayats.

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