New Delhi, Apr 25: Pressing for the need to strengthen Panchayati Raj Institutions, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday, Apr 24, said that the only way to tackle the Maoists menace was to empower the rural and poor masses through panchayats.
"We should pay special attention to ensure that PRIs function effectively in remote and backward areas, which include tribal areas. This will help us in tackling the challenges such as the Maoist menace," the Prime Minister said during his address on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day.
Both the Prime Minister and Panchayat Raj minister CP Joshi stressed on the need to strenghten the Panchayati Raj system.
Singh said that the panchayats should be part of development programmes as it can understand the local needs.
"Panchayats not only make direct participation possible for the marginalised sections in governance but also play an important role in ensuring transparency and accountability in the functioning of government institutions and officials," the PM said.
Expressing happiness at regular panchayat elections, Singh said that over 28 lakh people have an official position in the country's democracy.
He said that under the 33pc reservation, 10 lakh women are elected as representative, adding that with increase of 50pc the number would go up to 50pc.
During the occasion, the Prime Minister presented awards for Effective Implementation of Panchayats' Empowerment and Accountability Incentive Scheme to Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Sikkim and also released a a two-volume report for 2010 on the status of panchayati raj.