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‘Panchayats should be self-sufficient in funds’

If the panchayats and local bodies in India want to improve self-governance and have a control over the planning of the local area development...

Written by Rajendra Khatry | Chandigarh | Published: January 20, 2009 11:43:15 pm

If the panchayats and local bodies in India want to improve self-governance and have a control over the planning of the local area development,they should generate the resources themselves,said Professor Bernard Dafflon of the University of Fribourg,Switzerland.

Participating in a meeting on the “Public Finance Devolution in the States”,organised by the society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA),along with representatives from Haryana and Punjab governments,village heads from both the states,NGOs,academicians and support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation,Professor Bernard said it is dependency on the government for funds that is affecting the process of decision making.

Dafflon said that in Switzerland,the communes manage to generate 90 per cent of the finances required for their development,while in India,the panchayats and local bodies are unable to generate even 1 per cent of the total resources.

“One can have total control over the planning and budget expenditure only if the resources have been self-generated,’’ he said.

Emphasising upon the importance of literacy,growth and development of the various communities,Dafflon,who has been closely associated with the public finance devolution in Switzerland,said a higher literacy rate,even at the village level,has helped boost the development process in Switzerland.

He added that while Switzerland has faced similiar problems in finances and planning as India,but they were overcome with proper planning and awareness among people.

Krishan Tyagi,Haryana coordinator of PRIA,said to extend the process of experience sharing and to hold deliberations on strengthening the state finance commissions,PRIA,along with the Ministry of Panchayati Raj,will organise a seminar in Delhi on January 22.

He said PRIA had remained involved in catalysing the involvement of panchayats in promoting development.

Puran Singh of the Development and Panchayats department,Haryana,said the Panchayati Raj system had failed to mobilise people and the system needs to be improved.

Dafflon will also visit other states and meet state finance commission (SFC) officials and interact with them regarding their functioning.

He will also try to highlight upon the differences and uniqueness of the systems in both India and Switzerland and suggest ways to increase the affect of state finance commissions in India.

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