The concluding day of BRICS Conference on ‘Participatory Local Budgeting’ ended on a high note with Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday underscoring the need for public utility of implemented projects. “We are ready to allocate funds for projects but there is no point if people don’t utilise it. That is the biggest hurdle faced for such projects and the utility of public should be ensured,” the Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Sanitation and Drinking Water, said while addressing the valedictory function of the three-day conference here.
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The Minister also lauded Kerala as a model for three-tier Local Self Governance (LSG).
“Kerala started local budgeting and decentralisation decades ago. Though the state is known for the same nationwide, the world has also started hailing the LSG model of the state,” Thomar said.
In his speech, Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac shared the vision of Agenda 2030.
“Though being the Finance Minister, my heart is with the activities at grass-root level. We need to ensure gender equality and women safety. Minimum 10 per cent of total budget should be managed and implemented by women for their programmes.
“And of course care should be made to put in place measures to protect the environment to avoid future catastrophe,” he said.
The concluding day also had sessions on ‘Participatory Local Budgeting and Social Development’ and ‘Innovations and Best Practices in Participatory Local Budgeting’.
Russian representative and World Bank Task Team Leader Ivan Shulga explained the development outcomes in rural Russia with ‘Local Initiative Support Programme’ (LISP).
“Across the Russian Federation, local communities and rural territories often lag behind large urban areas with respect to economic growth and continue to face development challenges caused by inadequate social services, insufficient infrastructure, and poor living conditions,” Shulga said.
The programme became a platform for large civic engagements and interestingly the projects under LISP are co-funded by the local population itself.
South African representative and UNDP Country Director Jaco Cilliers and other delegates also shared his experience during the sessions.