THE Maharashtra cabinet Wednesday approved the Balasaheb Thackeray Smruti Matoshree Gram Panchayat Bandhani Yojana, to fund construction of office buildings for smaller gram panchayants. Officials from the rural development department said the scheme would benefit 4,252 gram panchayats. The state government will fund 90 per cent of the cost to the gram panchayat while the latter will have to raise 10 per cent on their own. The gram panchayats with less than 1,000 population under it and without a building will get Rs 12 lakh while gram panchayats with a population between 1,000 and 2,000 will get Rs 18 lakh. Gram panchayats having more than 2,000 population can build their office through public private partnership (PPP).
“Some of these gram panchayats are smaller in size and financially weak and they still don’t have their own office buildings. These gram panchayats will be able construct their own buildings through the scheme. The gram sabha will have to pass a resolution saying it wants to opt for the scheme. The gram panchayats with population between 1,000 and 2,000 should attempt twice for PPP model. If it doesn’t get a response, it is eligible for seeking funds from the government,” added the official.
The state government has earmarked Rs 25 crore for the scheme in 2017-18 with officials saying they expect Rs 440 crore to be spent on the scheme in the next four years. “The state cabinet has also given approval to formulate a separate policy for PPP model with approval from the public works department,” said another official.