Loksatta seeks Rs.1000 per capita Grant to Local Governments
While welcoming Panchayat Raj Minister K. T. Rama Rao’s decision to strengthen local governments, Telangana Loksatta Party President Bandaru Ramamohan Rao said that it is possible only when they are conferred powers, resources and personnel in adequate measure.
In a media statement, Bandaru pointed out that Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of gram swaraj has remained unfulfilled more than six decades after Independence because of the reluctance of State Governments to empower local self-governments. Even the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution have remained largely on paper. As a result, people at the grass root level are forced to approach MLAs and MPs and even Ministers and the Chief Minister to get even minor grievances redressed.
Bandaru wanted the State Government to give a per capita annual grant of Rs.1000 to every panchayat and every ward/division in municipal bodies so that locally elected representatives can attend to immediate needs like maintenance of internal roads, street lighting and sanitation and drinking water supply. Since all such works are carried out in full public view, the scope for corruption gets minimized. As of now, there are huge leakages by the time the funds are allocated through different channels and spent by multiple agencies.
In fact, the Loksatta Party is trying to impress upon the 14th Finance Commission the importance of devolving a certain portion of funds meant for States directly on districts.
Bandaru said that panchayats can also be entrusted with the responsibility of controlling illicit liquor flow and unauthorized sale of liquor.
The Government can always wield the stick in case there are instances of abuse of authority or misuse of funds, Bandaru added.