Legislature, Panchayati Raj not pitted against each other
NEW DELHI: Union Panchayati Raj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar on Tuesday said there was no conflict of interests between the State legislatures and Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). It was a misconception to think that the two were pitted against each other, he said.
Speaking at the 7th Editors Conference on Social Sector Issues here, Mr. Aiyar said it was the state legislature that determined the areas of activity for the PRIs, adding that there was no inherent contradiction between the empowerment of the PRIs and the powers of the State.
"One can understand the State Ministers being concerned for the fear of curtailment of their powers but not simple legislators," he said in response to a question.
The Minister said the guidelines issued by the Planning Commission made it clear that the PRIs had to constitute the District Planning Committees that would prepare the district plans, based on which the Commission would release the funds under various schemes.
He said it was wrong to believe that the planning and implementation of schemes at the PRI level would disturb the Centre-State relations.
On funding of the PRIs, he said the Ministry would need additional funds for capacity building and training, and in this connection he had written to the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank and was hopeful of receiving a substantial amount for the purpose.
Expressing concern that provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) PESA were not being implemented properly in the notified areas, he said the Central Government was working with the State Governments to hasten progress.
The PESA is the statutory instrument for protecting and promoting tribal rights through all the Gram Sabhas.