Afghanistan seeks India's coop to strengthen local governance

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New Delhi, July 23 (UNI) Afghanistan has sought India's cooperation in strengthening its local governance.

An Afghan delegation, led by Director General, Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) and Minister, Government of Afghanistan, Jelani Popal today met Union Minister for Panchayati Raj Mani Shankar Aiyar.

During the meeting, Mr Jelani Popal said he had sought assistance from bodies like the Indian Institute of Public Adminsitration(IIPA), Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) and Institute of Social Sciences (ISS) and that they have drafted an MoU for mutual cooperation for local governance and capacity building of the representatives of local governance as well as officials of various departments with these institutions.

They have also sought assistance from these institutes for developing their resource centre and also to draft their policy document as well as legislation for the local governance.

The Minister of Panchayati Raj suggested that in addition to the visit of this delegation to IIPA, PRIA and ISS, the members of the delegation should also visit NIRD, Hyderabad and also SIRD, Mysore and KILA, Thrissur, Kerala.

They may also visit Palaghat Zilla Prishad of Kerala to have a first-hand experience of the local self-governance in Kerala. During this discussion, emphasis was also laid on capacity building of women representatives in Afghanistan and for taking up gender related projects.

Speaking about his visit, Mr Popal said he had sought cooperation in areas related to strengthening of representative bodies in Afghanistan like training of trainers, comprehensive technical package and learning from the Indian experience.

Mr Popal also said he was extremely impressed with the participation of women in local governance in India.

Mr Aiyar said the Joint Working Group and a Joint Forum on local governance between India and Afghanistan will subsequently meet in September and October to take the matter further.

The delegation, which is in India on an exposure visit on Local Self Governance, consists of Director of Provincial and Local Councils Relations and Coordination Department, IDLG, Syed Qutubuddin Roydar, Director of Capacity Building, IDLG Ehsan Hemat, Governor of Paktia Province, Juma Khan Hamdard, MP Abrahim Malek Zada, MP Sultanat Kohi and Provincial Council Member, Fazel Hadee Muslimyar.

The meeting of the Afghanistan delegation with the Mr Aiyar is in pursuance of the MoU signed between India's Minister of Panchayati Raj and the Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Afghanistan at Kabul on May 17.

The Afghan Delegation visited the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) on July 21 and had detailed discussion on a draft MoU which can be signed between the IIPA and IDLG.

The team also visited PRIA and ISS on July 22 and exchanged views with PRIA and ISS and extent of support they can get from these Institutions.

Earlier, during the visit of Afghanistan's Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Ehsan Zia, a meeting was organized with the Panchayat Representatives and Research Institutions/NGOs.

These institutions agreed to provide assistance to Government of Afghanistan as per their requirement. The matter has already been taken up with these institutions to send their willingness for providing experts and other technical assistance. The formal reply has been received from PRIA to provide experts to Government of Afghanistan. However, in principle, other institutes such as IIPA, ISS, RLEK, RGNIYD and IRMA have agreed to support Government of Afghanistan in their respective fields.

UNI AR AKJ PK NS2001

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