Grama panchayats and municipalities in the State will get a grant for capacity building and institutionalisation of decentralisation of powers under the Kerala Local Government Service Delivery Project (KLGSDP) within 10 days, Minister for Panchayats and Social Welfare M.K. Muneer has said.
Chairing the function organised by the Local Self-Government Department for launching the project here on Wednesday, Dr. Muneer said that Rs.1,195.8 crore would be apportioned among the 978 grama panchayats and 60 municipalities through a special account.
The World Bank-aided project has been launched for institutionalising and strengthening decentralisation of powers to local bodies. The project does not have any strings. Banks have not imposed any conditions for funding the project.
The funds provided should be used for asset creation and improving the efficiency of local bodies. It will also be used for capacity building of the Kerala Institute of Local Administration and Information Kerala Mission. A review of the Plan fund utilisation has found that the rate of utilisation was far from satisfactory.
The government had decided to review fund utilisation every week, he said.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who inaugurated the project, said that grama panchayats would be given the option to prepare Plan projects for five years in a futuristic manner from the 12th Plan period. The delay in releasing Plan funds coupled with stringent conditions laid for utilisation were some of the factors which impeded local bodies from exhausting funds within the stipulated time. The funds provided under the KLGSDP would help to improve the functioning of local bodies.
Following devolution of powers and funds to local bodies, the expectation of the people about the service delivered by local bodies had also started soaring. Civic representatives should increase their efficiency to rise up to the expectations of the public. The significance of the grama sabhas had not yet dawned on local body members. Public participation in the sabhas should be stepped up. The government would provide all support for improving the functioning of local bodies, he said.
Local Self-Government Department Secretary Rajesh Kumar Singh welcomed. Principal Secretary James Varghese presented the report. Rural Development Minister K.C. Joseph and Mayor K. Chandrika were among those who spoke.
Keywords: Social Welfare Ministry