Expressing displeasure over the “casual” reply of the government to its recommendations for exploring the feasibility of having an independent body to conduct panchayat polls, a parliamentary panel has underlined the need for such a body and also for spreading awareness about the programmes of the Panchayati Raj Ministry.
In its report tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, the standing committee on rural development, headed by AIADMK leader P Venugopal, noted the ministry had not taken the panel’s recommendation in the “right perspective”. Taking into account the need for regular elections of panchayats, the committee had earlier recommended the government explore the feasibility of having an independent Central Panchayat Election Commission for conducting panchayat polls.
“In their action-taken reply, the ministry has merely informed the committee the fact that elections of panchayats are conducted by state election commission under Article 243K. The committee while advising the government for exploring the possibility of an independent election body for panchayats was well aware of the constitutional provisions and the idea was to explore as to whether any better alternative mechanism could be put in place… The committee therefore expresses displeasure over such casual reply of the ministry…” it said.
In another report, on MGNREGA, the panel has noted discrepancies like issue of “fake job cards, inclusion of fictitious names, unlawful possession of job cards” with influential people including elected representatives of panchayati raj institutions or MGNREGA functionaries.