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`Exercise powers with utmost care'

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SEEKING ADVICE: Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh interacting with members of panchayats at a meeting in the Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore on Monday. Photo: K. Murali Kumar
SEEKING ADVICE: Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh interacting with members of panchayats at a meeting in the Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore on Monday. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Staff Reporter

Respond to people's aspirations, Dharam Singh tells panchayats

BANGALORE: Encouraged by the participants' enthusiasm and public response to the inaugural session of its innovative programme, "Gramasoudhadinda Vidhanasoudhakke" (from village panchayat to Vidhana Soudha), aimed at decentralisation of power, the State Government organised the second meeting here on Monday with an improved set of guidelines.

Inaugurating the meeting, the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, said the event is a new experience to him in his 34-year political career. Though the Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Basavaraj Horatti, is behind the programme, the credit should go to the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who had realised the dream of decentralisation of power by bringing in the 73rd amendment to the Constitution, he added.

The Panchayat Raj system vests immense powers with all those involved in the local bodies. Such powers should be exercised with utmost care. They should respond to the aspirations of people and ensure optimum utilisation of the annual grant of Rs. 30 lakhs being given to each gram panchayat, he said.

Mr. Horatti said the interactive programme has evoked a good response from neighbouring States. Some of them are keen on adopting it.

They have realised that the monthly programme involving the Secretariat and the gram panchayat aims at bringing about drastic changes and improvements in administration without sacrificing the basic tenets of the panchayat raj system, he added.

The Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, H.S. Mahadev Prasad, the Minister for Rural Water Supply, B. Sathyanarayana, and the Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Ramalinga Reddy, attended the meeting.

Later addressing presspersons, Mr. Horatti said each gram panchayat will be sanctioned 40 houses under the Ashraya Scheme with an overall target of 2.26 lakh houses for the year.

He said several panchayat members had stated that there should be a more equitable way of apportioning the number of houses. The Government has now decided to put in place a grading system for the gram panchayats on the basis of population for allotment.

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