Staff Reporter

To educate them on possibilities of local self-governance "The intended stakeholders are still in the periphery"

  • Consultations planned for the five southern States in the first phase
  • "The intended stakeholders are still in the periphery"

    CHENNAI: A two-day national consultation meet on involving youth in the Panchayati Raj system starts on Tuesday at the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute for Youth Development in Sriperumbudur.

    According to a release from the institute, the conference would focus on involving youth in concepts of Panchayati Raj.

    "Even though the 73rd amendment to the Constitution was enacted more than a decade ago, in actual practice, it has yet to be internalised in the true spirit by people," a concept note by the organisers said. "The intended stakeholders are still in the periphery and are not brought to the centre stage. The challenges have been to fill this gap so that devolution of power becomes visible as an ongoing experience in local self-governance."

    Targeting the youth

    The Ministry of Panchayathi Raj and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports have decided to educate youth about the various possibilities of local self-governance under the Panchayati Raj.

    In the first phase, the consultations have been planned for the five southern States besides the Union Territory of Puducherry.

    According to the demographic profiles of the region, youths (in the age group of 18 to 35 years) contribute to nearly 68 per cent of the population.

    Project basis

    M. Sarumathy, faculty head at the institute, said there were three rationales for sensitising youth in Panchayati Raj: to involve them in decision making; to ensure social justice and youth representation in local bodies; and to build civil society and create accountability.

    The institute has organised meetings of Panchayati Raj representatives of different southern States and have identified best practices. All the Panchayati Raj leaders would press for the demands with their respective State Governments.

    Allocation assured

    This includes an assured allocation in States' budget, such as the practice by Kerala State Government, for allocation to local bodies. Kerala Government has assured 40 per cent of its overall Plan fund.

    On the basis of the Karnataka model, the District Panchayat set-up has to be restructured in other States by merging it with the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA).

    The District Panchayat chairperson must be made the head of the DRDA.