Elected representatives and villagers should be aware of Panchayati Raj policies

Elected representatives and people in the villages should be made aware of Panchayati Raj policies and various other guidelines of local governance to strengthen grassroots democracy, said Naresh Gupta, former State Chief Electoral Officer.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday after participating in a convocation of the DHAN People Academy where successful candidates were awarded Diploma in Panchayat Management, he said that panchayats had an important role in self-governance. Panchayat members should ensure that Centre-sponsored welfare schemes were implemented properly for the betterment of rural people.

When asked about cases of elected Dalit panchayat presidents not being able to function independently and male members of the family acting as de facto presidents for elected women presidents, Mr. Gupta, while accepting the fact, replied that the situation had improved a lot in the recent years as both women and Dalits have started asserting themselves to claim their rights. It was a process and one could not expect changes to happen overnight. But things were on the positive side, he said.

Talking about direct cash transfer scheme, he opined that the objective was appreciable but the implementation without any leakages should be guaranteed.

M.P.Vasimalai, Executive Director, DHAN Foundation, said that through a European Union-sponsored programme, the foundation took up a programme where 650 elected panchayat presidents and 2,000 representatives were provided training in local governance. The programme had a session where in a mock panchayat parliament, debates on local government policies and programmes were held.

A total of 413 candidates received their diplomas at the convocation. The diploma is a one-year course which is popular among elected representatives.

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