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Gram sabhas to recognise forest rights: Union Minister

Union Minister for Panchayati Raj and Tribal Welfare V. Kishore Chandra Deo on Tuesday said the decisions of gram sabhas were important for recognition of forest rights.

He was speaking at a convention of sarpanches and an interactive session with about 500 sarpanches, ward committee members and community-based organisations at Padmapuram.

The Minister, who launched several welfare schemes like construction of ashram schools and hostels worth Rs.600 crore at Araku, Hukumpeta, Gennela and Pedabayalu, underlined the need for holding gram sabhas as per PESA Act for selection of beneficiaries for various schemes.

Devolution of powers

The tribal rights convention was held at Padmapuram under aegis of the Dhimsa Foundation and Nature. The meeting was aimed at nourishing government sponsored and community managed PR approach and compliance of various schemes and benefits to the community. The Minister articulated the status of devolution of powers to Panchayati Raj institutions in 29 subjects with funds, functions and functionaries and called for coordinated efforts for making governance effective at the grassroots level. Gram sabhas were the key to effective self-governance at the panchayat level, said District Child Welfare Committee chairman S. Balaraju. PCC secretary Setti Gangadhar Swamy spoke on special powers for gram panchayats.

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