Need to strengthen Panchayats for growth of democracy: Joshi

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New Delhi, Jan 18(ANI): Union Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Dr. C.P. Joshi on Monday stressed on the need to strengthen the elected bodies especially the Panchayats at the grass root level for the real growth of democracy and actual devolution of power in the country.

Addressing the 10th Editors Conference on Social Sector Issues in the national capital, Joshi said: "Panchayats are the grassroot democratic institutions and need to be further empowered through effective devolution of functions, finances and functionaries (3Fs) following the principles of subsidiarity and centrality of Panchayats. This would also ensure convergence of plethora of schemes and pooling of resources through holistic planning by Panchayats."

He said that the Panchayati Raj Ministry is implementing the backward regions grant fund (BRGF), which was launched by the government in January 2007.

The Minister added that another innovative initiative has been the inclusion of construction of Bharat Nirman Sewa Kendras and Panchayat Ghars under the expanded scope of works permissible under MNREGA.

"The scope of work under MNREGA has been expanded to include the construction of Bharat Nirman Rajiv Gandhi Sewa Kendra (BNRGSK) at the Gram Panchayat and Block level. This is based on the demands made by states to strengthen the infrastructure at GP and Block level to enable an efficient implementation of MNREGA and to provide space for greater and more transparent interaction with the citizens," Joshi said.

"Panchayat Ghars would be developed as mini secretariat, as a forum for the rural people to meet, share and discuss their issues, to provide logistic support and as a record keeping facility center," he added.

He said that Bharat Nirman Sewa Kendra shall be a single window for providing the information on MNREGA and provide feedback on the implementation of the program.

The idea is to slowly move from wage employment to self-employment by providing skill development facilities to the rural people and in the process give a fillip to rural economy, Joshi added. (ANI)

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