The State government will borrow Rs. 1,400 crore from the World Bank for implementing the second phase of the Gram Swaraj project for strengthening capacities of gram panchayats in 79 backward taluks.
The project envisages augmenting capacities of the panchayats in revenue generation and implementing welfare programmes.
The Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Department is the nodal agency to implement the six-year project (2014–19), which was approved by the State Cabinet. The project would be implemented in the panchayats of 39 most-backward taluks and 40 backward taluks identified by the Committee for Redressal of Regional Imbalances, headed by the late D.M. Nanjundappa.
For executing the first phase (2007–14) of the project, the bank had granted a loan of Rs. 540 crore while the State contributed its share of Rs. 60 crore.
The total cost of the second phase project has been estimated at Rs. 2,000 crore. The bank would grant the loan of Rs. 1,400 crore and the State government would contribute its share of Rs. 600 crore. The State government would soon submit a debt sustainability certificate to the Centre for obtaining the loan from the bank, T.M. Vijay Bhaskar, Additional Chief Secretary, RDPR, told The Hindu.
The objective of the project is to improve the effectiveness of service delivery by the panchayats, particularly with respect to management of public resources and delivery of services that the rural people prioritise.
The project funding would be utilised for implementing drinking water scheme in all villages, laying all-weather concrete roads, and for constructing anganwadi buildings and drains. On an average, each panchayat would receive nearly Rs. 1 crore during the next five years, he said.
The Additional Chief Secretary said all works would be taken up by inviting tenders and utmost transparency would be maintained in implementing development schemes.
While 88 per cent of the project cost would be utilised for executing works and the rest for taking up programmes for strengthening village sanitation committees, health and nutrition committees, and school development and monitoring committees in each panchayat.
A cluster comprising 10 villages, headed by a cluster development officer, would be formed to monitor works, he said.