India to give support to Afghanistan in local self-governance

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New Delhi, May 20 (UNI) India has offered to train a number of Afghan representatives in its Panchayati Raj bodies for a first-hand knowledge of the working of the local self-governance system.

This was among the decisions taken by a delegation led by Panchayati Raj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar during his four-day visit to Afghanistan which ends today.

During the delegation-level talks on sub-national governance, Mr Aiyar discussed with Director General, Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), Minister Jelani Popal, synergies between the Panchayati Raj, the local governance system in India, and the proposed sub-national structures and processes in Afghanistan for collaboration.

He extended Indian support for training and capacity building of officials, technocrats, sub-national representatives and policy makers; institutional linkages between the institutes of the two countries; academic exchanges and research programmes; as well as interaction and reciprocal visits between local government representatives.

In addition, deputation of Indian policy and legal experts for the formulation of Afghan sub-national policy and legislation, mandated for IDLG, was also discussed.

Earlier during the visit, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Local Governance was signed which envisages setting up of an India-Afghanistan Joint Working Group (JWG) to recommend a schedule of activities for bilateral exchanges to the Joint Forum on Local Governance (JWLG).

In the discussion, it was agreed that JWG will comprise representatives from the Ministry of Panchayati Raj and National Institute of Rural Development, Hyderabad, from the Indian side, as well as the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation&Development and IDLG from the Afghan side.

The JFLG will be co-chaired by the Indian Minister, his Afghan counterpart and a local minister.

A brain-storming symposium on sub-national governance was hosted by UNDP yesterday with participation of civil society, NGOs, think-tanks, UN organisations and other international donors involved in the sub-national sector in Afghanistan.

During the session, co-chaired by the Minister along with Minister Zia and Minister Popal, the decentralisation experiences of the two countries were shared, common sub-national governance issues identified as well as ways determined in which the Indian experience could complement the emerging sub-national structures in Afghanistan, an official release here said.

UNI SD SP HS1545

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