THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: If grama panchayats avail themselves of bank loans for the EMS Housing Scheme, the government will bear the interest burden, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has said.
Addressing a seminar on “Decentralisation of powers in Kerala” organised by the Kerala Grama Panchayat Association here on Saturday, Dr. Isaac said the local self-government institutions (LSGIs) should take the initiative to construct houses for the homeless in their locale by taking bank loans and the government would repay the interest. All panchayats should take the leadership to construct houses, extend ‘Aashraya’ scheme to the impoverished and try to give pension for those above 65 years age in the below poverty line (BPL) category. Considering the volume of funds being devolved to the panchayats following the decentralisation of powers, the government had decided to post an accountant in all panchayats by this year-end. It had also been decided to post an accountant-cum-coordinator for the Community Development Societies of the Kudumbasree, he said.
Local Administration Minister Paloli Mohammed Kutty, in his presidential address, said there was a tendency to generalise even the minor flaws and create an impression that the People’s Plan Campaign was a failure. Those opposed to the campaign claimed to be against corruption, but they were trying to defeat the movement by blowing things out of proportion.
LSGIs had played a remarkable role in improving the health and education sectors of the State. They should take the lead in housing and other sectors too, he said.
Speaker K. Radhakrishnan inaugurated the seminar.