Saturday, January 16, 2010

State trying to bypass districts: Lok Satta

The Lok Satta today termed the Andhra Pradesh plea for devolution of resources to the State instead of districts as highly retrograde.

Revenue Minister D. Prasada Rao, who represented Chief Minister K. Rosaiah at the State Finance Ministers’ conference in New Delhi on January 13, wanted the Union Government to earmark funds under Centrally sponsored schemes directly to the State Government instead of to districts.

Talking to the media here today, Lok Satta Party leaders Dr. P. Bhaskar Rao, N. Saroja Devi pointed out that the reason adduced by the State for its request was strange to say the least. The State Government contended it had no idea of the allocations to districts under different schemes. Instead of asking for copies of funds allocation orders under different schemes, the State would like to deprive districts of direct central funding.

Although the 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments, enacted more than 15 years ago, provided for devolution of resources and powers on local governments, the State Government has not implemented them. Given to centralization of power, successive Governments are not prepared to strengthen governance at the third tier.

Administration in the State would not have come to a standstill had the third tier of Government d been strengthened, the Lok Satta leaders said. Victims of 2009 October floods continued to live in make-shift tents even to this day. Bulk of the NREGS (National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) remained unutilized. Students went without fee reimbursement.

The Party leaders recalled that the Lok Satta had been fighting for formation of district, city and village governments and devolution of powers, personnel and resources on them. When power vests in elected people’s committees, they need not run from pillar to post to get their problems resolved.

The Lok Satta leaders hoped that during his review of developmental programs in districts, the Chief Minister would take notice of the importance of decentralization of power for effective governance.

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