Manmohan Singh calls for effective functioning of village councils to help tackle Maoist menace

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New Delhi, Apr 24 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the effective functioning of Panchayati Raj Institutions or the village councils can help tackle the Maoist menace in remote and backward areas.

Dr Singh said that participation of panchayats in various development programmes was essential, as they understand the local needs.

"Panchayats not only make direct participation possible for the marginalised section of society in governance, but also play an important role in ensuring transparency and accountability in the functioning of government institutions and officials. Panchayats play a vital role in the development of a region through various schemes, as it better understands the local needs of the people," said Dr Singh after inaugurating the national conference to celebrate the National Panchayati Raj Day.

"That is why in the 11th Five Year Plan, Panchayati Raj Institutions have been given important role. We have to give special attention to the country's remote and most backward areas including the tribal areas where Panchayati Raj Institutions can play an effective role. This will help us in tackling the challenges such as the Maoist menace, he added.

Dr Singh appeared positive as he said the share to the Panchayats in tax collections given to them under the 13th Finance commission in the last budget, would give panchayats the status of local administrative units in real sense.

"Our government is fully aware of the challenges faced by panchayats. We always try to provide basic facilities to the Panchayati Raj Institutions and ensure funds, functions and functionaries for them, so that it can give a new shape to the services provided through the panchayats," said Dr Singh.

"We also want to increase the capacity of the Panchayati Raj Institutions. One main thing in the facilities given by the 13th Finance commission as announced in the last budget is that the panchayats were given a share in taxes. This will give panchayats the status of local administrative units in real sense," he added.

The Prime Minister also presented awards for Effective Implementation of Panchayats Empowerment and Accountability Incentive Scheme to the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Sikkim.

He also released a two-volume report for 2010 on the status of Panchayati Raj on the occasion that also witnessed the presence of Panchayati Raj Minister C P Joshi and A N P Sinha, the Secretary of Ministry of Pachayati Raj. (ANI)

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