Saturday, April 24, 2010

The government intended to build a new India through the Panchayats by empowering the villages

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said challenges posed by Maoists could be countered by empowering the rural poor and marginalised sections through Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).

We should pay special attention to ensure that PRIs function effectively in remote and backward areas, which include tribal areas. This will help us in tackling the challenges such as the Maoist menace,” he said inaugurating a conference to celebrate the National Panchayati Raj Day.

Mr. Singh said participation of panchayats in various development programmes was essential as “they understand the local needs.”

Panchayats not only make direct participation possible for the marginalised section of society in governance, but also play an important role in ensuring transparency and accountability in the functioning of government institutions and officials,” he added.

Describing the day as “historic” for PRIs, he said it was on this day in 1993 that the 73rd Constitutional Amendment was implemented to enable the three-tier panchayats to take responsibility of governance.

This has made decentralisation (of power) possible up to the grassroots level. The impact of the 73rd amendment is now very clearly visible. It has empowered the common man and poor, and has brought about changes in the power equations in rural India,” he said.

Expressing happiness over the regular conduct of panchayat elections, Mr. Singh said over 28 lakh people have now officially become part of the country’s democracy through about 600 district panchayats, 6,000 intermediate panchayats and 2.3 lakh gram panchayats.

Noting that 33 per cent reservation for women has been implemented in the PRIs, the Prime Minister said it was a matter of pride for the country that today about 10 lakh women work in rural India as elected representatives, which is more than the number of reserved seats.

“With the implementation of the proposed 50 per cent quota for women in PRIs, their number is expected to increase to 14 lakh in these institutions,” he added.

The Prime Minister said apart from the women’s reservation in PRIs, there are arrangements for providing quota for SCs and STs in proportion to their population, while some states have provided reservation to OBCs too.

“The objective of all these measures is to enhance direct participation of weaker sections in governance,” he said.

Mr. Singh said PRIs have been given special importance in the implementation of various government schemes in the 11th Five-Year Plan as they understood the local issues well.

“Our government is aware of the difficulties being faced by Panchayats. It has been our continuous endeavour that basic facilities are provided to PRIs and arrangements for (devolution of) funds, functions and functionaries be made to them,” he said.

“This will help giving a new shape to the services rendered by the Panchayats,” he said.

Noting that the government had under the 13th Finance Commission announced a share to the Panchayats from tax collections, the Prime Minister said this would give PRIs the status of local self-governance units in the real sense.

Expressing the hope that the conference would discuss all the issues, which were inevitable for making PRIs more effective and transparent, he said the recommendations of the meet would be seriously looked into and after examination, the government would take necessary action.

Earlier, Mr. Singh presented awards for Effective Implementation of Panchayats’ Empowerment and Accountability Incentive Scheme to Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Sikkim.

He also released a two-volume report for 2010 on the status of Panchayati Raj.

Rural Development and Pachayati Raj Minister C.P. Joshi said the government intended to build a new India through the Panchayats by empowering the villages.

Mr. Joshi said time had come for another Constitutional Amendment to empower the rural people by making devolution of power to PRIs mandatory.

He said there was need to bring changes at the grassroots level by setting Human Development Index standards and pointed out that NREGA had given opportunity to the rural poor to improve their economic and social status.

The government, he said, would soon launch a National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) for socio-economic development in rural India.

Pachayati Raj Secretary A.N.P. Sinha urged the Prime Minister to increase the plan allocation for the ministry, which had not been done for the last three years.

He said a meeting of the newly constituted National Advisory Council (NAC) under UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi should be convened to discuss a road map for PRIs.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Use information technology (IT) to fight corruption

"It is incumbent upon us to ensure that no area of our country is denied the benefits of our ambitious developmental programmes," Manmohan Singh said, addressing a function here on the occasion of Civil Services Day.

"It is up to you to devise innovative ways and means, to harness the tools of IT and to involve the intended beneficiaries in implementation so that complaints of corruption and complaints of lack of transparency get addressed.

"Every effort must be made to make full use of the potentialities of the Panchayati Raj System for effective decentralized and socially just development," the Prime Minister said. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Slow justice contradicts India's democratic strengths: PM

The prime minister said democracy held "little meaning for the common man" unless he or she is able to secure basic rights and gain easy access to speedy justice.

"The Indian legal and judicial system in some sense reflects great contradiction Our democracy and legal system have strengths that are admired all over the world. We have a free press, a true independent judiciary and independent institutions like the Election Commission and Comptroller and Auditor General of of India, which underpin our democratic framework," he said. 
"However, all these strengths are somewhat diminished due the backlog of cases," the prime minister added.
He asked state governments to initiate immediate action for the operationalisation of the Gram Nyayalaya Act, passed by the government last year and according to which 5,000 rural courts will be set up at the village level to dispense speedy justice. 
"I urge state governments to initiate immediate action to operationalise this act in their states. Once the act is fully implemented, we will have more than 5,000 courts at village panchayat level. These will bring justice at the doorstep of common people," the prime minister said. 
According to official figures, there are over 3.10 crore cases pending across the country and the rural courts are aimed to help speed up the justice delivery system.

These courts will deal with cases at a level below the subordinate courts but in the same capacity. The act provides for first class judicial magistrates dispensing justice. Judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) will be posted at the rural courts and will be called Nyaya Adhikaris. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Enemies want us to be divided as Hindus and Muslims

Naxalism is the first enemy of the country.
Describing Naxalism as the country's "first enemy," Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has said the menace would be completely rooted out in another two or three years. 
 "Pakistan is training terrorists and allowing them to infiltrate into India and is trying to drive a wedge between Muslims and Hindus in the country. Whenever we want to talk to Pakistan, we have to talk about terrorism, but that country frowns upon the idea," he said. 

Pakistan is the "centre of terrorism" and all terrorist activities, whether in Afghanistan or US, could be traced to Pakistan, the Home Minister said.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The sooner Mayawati goes from power the better it is for Uttar Pradesh people

“The BSP government was turning its back on pro-poor schemes and still claims to be a pro-poor government. How can this be possible?” Mr. Gandhi, who was allegedly denied permission to garland Ambedkar’s statue here, asked.
“Money for development projects reaches Lucknow but Ambedkar Nagar and other districts of the state (are not developed)... Money has been given to the UP government for schemes like MGNREGA, RTE and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, but no one knows what happens to this money,” he said.
Mr. Gandhi alleged that he had got a Central package worth crores of rupees for Bundelkhand but nobody in the region has seen its benefits.
Mr. Gandhi also attacked Ms. Mayawati for criticising his visits to Dalit homes, saying it does not go down well with her as she feels threatened by it.
The Congress General Secretary said that the politics of religion and caste have failed in UP and there was a need to usher in a new way of politics targeted at the youth.
“In the times to come, UP has to answer how to tackle unemployment and poverty in the state. Politics in the state will now revolve around this question,” he said.

I am what I am today because of education_______Manmohan

Today, our Government comes before you to redeem the pledge of giving all our children the right to elementary education. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, enacted by Parliament in August 2009, has come into force today.

We are a Nation of young people. The health, education and creative abilities of our children and young people will determine the wellbeing and strength of our Nation. 

Education is the key to progress. It empowers the individual. It enables a nation.

It is the belief of our government that if we nurture our children and young people with the right education, India's future as a strong and prosperous country is secure.

To realise the Right to Education the government at the Centre, in the States and Union Territories, and at the district and village level must work together as part of a common national endeavour. I call upon all the State Governments to join in this national effort with full resolve and determination. Our government, in partnership with the State governments will ensure that financial constraints do not hamper the implementation of the Right to Education Act.

The needs of every disadvantaged section of our society, particularly girls, dalits, adivasis and minorities must be of particular focus as we implement this Act. 

I was born to a family of modest means. In my childhood I had to walk a long distance to go to school. I read under the dim light of a kerosene lamp. I am what I am today because of education. 
I want every Indian child, girl and boy, to be so touched by the light of education. I want every Indian to dream of a better future and live that dream.
Let us together pledge this Act to the children of India. To our young men and women. To the future of our Nation. 

Congress will change the destiny of Uttar Pradesh_____Rahul

This glorious state has suffered over the past two decades essentially on account of the politics of caste and religion.

I am here to change that politics. What Uttar Pradesh needs is the politics of youth, the politics of development and employment.

"I am here to raise the key issues that affect the masses who remain deprived and downtrodden, simply because their uplift does not figure in the list of priorities of those who are in power here," he added.

He described NREGS "as the only programme in India to provide assured employment for 100 days in a year to the economically weak". 

"Special funds released for the development of the highly backward Bundelkhand region were not put to proper use. When it came to the Right to Education, the BSP government has come up with all kinds o5f excuses for not implementing it," he said.

"I wonder how the chief minister continued to proclaim herself as the messiah of the poor and downtrodden when she seems least interested in schemes and programmes aimed at their well being?"

I am committed to the cause of the poor and the needy who reside in villages because I feel that the true strength of India lies there.

Monday, April 12, 2010

State governments had a greater responsibility and role in tackling Maoists than the Centre

Union home minister P Chidambaram on Saturday reiterated his stand that state governments had a greater responsibility and role in tackling Maoists than the Centre. At a press meet here, he said the Centre's role, according to the mandate given to the ministry of home affairs, was to provide paramilitary forces to state governments to help them carry out anti-Maoist operations, to regain control over areas (dominated by Naxalites), to restore civic administration and to restart developmental activities.