Funds and functions for Mandal and Zilla Parishads too

Provision for funds to be made in Budget, says Chief Minister

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has assured funds and specific functions for Mandal and Zilla Parishads also like it was done for gram panchayats.

The funds for Mandal and Zilla Parishads will be allotted in the 2021-22 budget itself, Mr. Rao said at a review meeting on Panchayat Raj on Monday.

He added that the State government was committed to strengthening the local self-governments and activate their role in rural development. The provisions of new Panchayat Raj Act which envisaged that the gram panchayats could spend their funds in toto without the approval of district-level officers should be effectively used, he asked officers.

A policy decision to strengthen local bodies and implement it was taken by the government. As part of it, Finance Commission funds were directly released to gram panchayats and municipalities. The gram panchayats got ₹ 308 crore per month and municipalities ₹ 148 crore. Since there was no dearth of funds, the Palle Pragathi programme in villages and Pattani Pragathi in towns were a grand success.

Tractors, dumpyards, nurseries and cremation grounds were made available wherever the funds were released. In the same way, Finance Commission funds would also be released to Mandal and Zilla Parishads. The funds if dovetailed with programmes as MG National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme could result in further utilisation of Central funds, he said.

Apart from funds, the Mandal and Zilla Parishads should also be vested with specific responsibilities. Therefore, the officers must work out what kind of specific functions could be handed over to them. The recommendations made by them will be discussed by him with Zilla Parishad chairpersons. Then, he will take a final decision.

He recalled that the new Panchayat Raj Act of the State government had permitted gram panchayats to spend their funds totally but a provision in the earlier legislation which mandated gram panchayats to take approval of Mandal Parishad officals for works exceeding ₹ 2 lakh was implemented at places. This went against the new Act. Therefore, the officials must clarify the position, he added.

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