On delegation of powers: Although elections were held earlier too, there was no real panchayat raj. In the real sense, elections took place in 2018, earlier they were (for) name’s sake. The 73rd Constitutional amendment (on gram sabha as foundation of the panchayati raj system) was not implemented. Now we have done this — what kind of powers to be transferred, etc.
On capacity building: We have made temporary arrangements — the district executive engineer also functions as the technical officer. Their concerns should not come to the state level. The clearance for (works) at the grass-roots level can happen at district level. But we have to make elaborate arrangements for their staffing. For that, we require an amendment to the Panchayati Raj Act, which is pending in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
On a panchayat cadre: We have already prepared a staffing pattern… Bigger panchayats, at least initially, should have an accounts officers. Without this, how will they do dispersing (funds) and other things. At least two posts are critical, CEO or Secretary for administrative things, and an Accounts Officer. We have indented 2,000 accounts officers… A sarpanch can give administrative approval, engineers can give technical appraisal, but an accounts officer has to see the financial arrangement.
On panchayat offices: There are no panchayat offices on the ground, they worked out of rental buildings. Now, we will create panchayat offices, including accommodation for president and vice-president.
Importance of sarpanchs: We have extended status equal to Deputy Commissioners to Block Development Council (BDC) Chairmen. We have covered them under an insurance of Rs 25 lakh. Honorariums have been given to BDCs also.
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