Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Saturday accused states of double speak when it came to advocating decentralisation. I admit that our country has seen greater centralisation over the years. But while states advocate a stronger federal structure,they themselves do not delegate power to panchayats and in fact resort to unconstitutional means to prevent it. This is double speak, Ramesh said. He said while the Centre wants to empower gram panchayats,it also wants transparency and accountability in use of funds. Starting this year,there will be mandatory audit of panchayat accounts by a chartered accountant, he added.
Halqa in-charge system unconstitutional
Jairam Ramesh,the union rural development minister,on Saturday hit out at Parkash Singh Badal governments system of having a halqa in-charge – also credited for success of the Shiromani Akali Dal in recently concluded Assembly elections. Ramesh said that it was unconstitutional to route rural development funds through political representatives. It is unacceptable and violates the constitution. I will take up the matter with the Punjab CM, he said,adding that while states have been advocating a strong federal structure,they are themselves reluctant to delegate enough powers to village panchayats.