Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Special Gram Sabha Meetings

Government of India’s Ministry of Panchayati Raj has asked all the Gram Panchayats in the country to hold special Gram Sabha meetings on various programmes relating to economic well-being of people on any day in January/ February-2014.

It may be mentioned here that Gram Sabha is the deepest form of Decentralized Governance where every voter of a Gram Panchayat is a member and can participate in decision making, approval of plans, rejection of plans and selection of beneficiaries. The Gram Sabha is being increasingly modelled to be the ideal institution for social audit. The reason is that the Gram Sabha consists of people who are beneficiaries of schemes and programs and are at the spot when a program or a work is taken up and are the best judges of the quality of implementation of schemes and works.  Therefore, Gram Sabha should be the best agency for social audit.

In continuation to this thinking, It has been emphasized that in these meetings, officials in-charge of programmes relating to Agriculture, Horticulture, Dairy, Fisheries National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Backward Region Grant Found (BRGF), Watershed, Soil conservation, Irrigation, Electrification, Handlooms, Handicraft, Food processing, Small and Micro enterprises etc. should remain present.

In this connection, instructions have been sent to all District and Block level officials to coordinate the dates of the meeting so that the above mentioned functionaries are able to participate in all Gram Sabha meetings. The officials in-charge of all the above Departments, Schemes and Programmes should attend these meetings because this will improve the progress in their schemes and also make them transparent thereby resulting in making the programmes more effective.

The Gram Panchayats have been asked to report the participation to the Block/ District Administration and in particular any instance of non-cooperation. The purpose of special Gram Sabha meetings is to make Gram Sabhas more active as well as empowering people and making panchayats accountable.

This will work at the grass root level and is a big exercise to connect with those living in the villages. Not only this, it will also give an idea about the effect of government programmes at the grass root level. No doubt, after the meetings are over, the government will have sufficient time to implement corrective and fruitful measures to get favourable result in the election.


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