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Literacy level no criteria for empowering Panchayats: Aiyer

Written by: Staff
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Chandigarh, Apr 26 (UNI) Union Minister for Panchayati Raj Mani Shankar Aiyer today said the level of education was no criteria for empowering the Panchayats and this was being done to minimise the role of bureaucrats in the governance.

''If education was the criteria, then only the PhDs would have become the chief ministers,'' Mr Aiyer said at a press conference here.

He said the main purpose of empowering the Panchayati Raj Institutions was to give the power of governance in the hands of the people at grass root level and eventually to minimise the role of the bureaucrats.

''It is not sufficient to rely on bureaucracy alone,'' he said.

Punjab was well poised to fullfill its resolve to empower the Panchayati Raj Institutions on subjects like school education, health and family welfare, rural water supply and sanitation and social security, women and child development in the next few weeks, Mr Aiyer said.

The Union Minister was talking to the reporters after he and Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh signed the 'Statement of Conclusions' arrived at between both of them following his two-day visit to the state on April 25 and 26, when he interacted with the Panchayats and other local bodies representatives in the districts of Bathinda, Jalandhar and Amritsar. He said he was satisfied with the steps taken by the state government towards the devolution of powers to the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).

According to the 'Statement of Conclusions', the Panchayats have been vested with powers and responsibilities as listed in Section 30,119. and 180 of the Panchayati Raj Act, which enabled the state to transfer funds, functions and functionaries to PRIs in respect of 29 subjects in line with the 73rd Amendment.

It further stated that the state government had approved the devolution plan in respect of five key departments and crucial village level functions of teh same have been transferred to the appropriate PRIs.

These five departments are Social Security, Women and Child Development, Welfare and Development of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation, Health and Family Welfare and Primary School Education.

The communique also stated that a project has been initiated for IT enabled e-Governance for Panchayats.

UNI PS MA PC1942

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