Delays dog GP empowerment

Guidelines finally issued on cheque issuing powers

Political indecision

or red tape to blame

The year-long suspense over the validity of joint cheque issuing power of sarpanch and upa-sarpanch was finally broken a few days ago with Commissioner of Panchayat Raj Neetu Prasad releasing guidelines validating their signatures on cheques of gram panchayats.

It was in April last year that the government enacted a new Panchayat Raj legislation which discontinued joint cheque powers for sarpanch and panchayat secretary and introduced upa-sarpanch instead of secretary. The legislation was, however, silent whether the signature of secretary would continue to be valid. In these circumstances, the district collectors kept corresponding with the treasury for release of funds to gram panchayats on the basis of secretary’s signatures. However, the treasuries remained unmoved. The confusion continued even after the new governing bodies of panchayats assumed office on February 2. As a result, the new sarpanches also could not ground any work in villages. The government also clarified a fortnight back that it was implementing the new Act which authorised the signatures of sarpanch and upa-sarpanch. However, guidelines had to be issued by the Department which was finally released by the Commissioner.

Another humongous task on anvil?

Animal Husbandry Minister T. Srinivas Yadav made a startling announcement at Medak last week that the government was contemplating insurance cover for all animals in the State on the lines of Rytu Bima for farmers.

By animals, he obviously meant milch animals — cows and buffaloes — and sheep which enjoyed the financial support of government. If the government went ahead with the proposal, it would be a gigantic task to collect the census of animals. The Minister has to answer whether the insurance companies would take up the challenge.

Era of give and take approach begins

After a gap of more than five years, the two Telugu States have firmly resolved to adopt a give and take approach rather than an attitude of confrontation in settling long overdue issues mainly related to the AP Reorganisation Act.

The resolve of the two States, the lower riparian States for Krishna and Godavari rivers, can be seen from the fact that they have agreed to evolve a joint action plan on river water sharing so that the two States can present a unified voice with the upper riparian states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. Moreover, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy feel it would be better for them to settle the issues between them rather than giving scope for others to intervene in their affairs.

A good augury for the two Telugu States to find solutions to the vexatious problems if the cooperation continues in the coming days.

(N. Rahul and M. Rajeev)

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 10:02:19 AM |

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