Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Local governments demand release of 13th Finance Commission funds

Sthanika Prabhutvala Sadhikarata Samakhya, the organization fighting for empowerment of local governments, has demanded that the Government release 13th Finance Commission funds immediately, now that panchayat elections have been held. (The release of funds had been held up on the ground that elections to local bodies had not been conducted).

The federation held a meeting in Hyderabad on October 22 to discuss measures for better functioning of local bodies in the wake of successful conclusion of elections to panchayats.

Among those who took part in the meeting were federation founder and Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, federation Convener Solipeta Ramachandra Reddy, Warangal’s former Mayor Dr. T. Rajeswara Rao, ‘Ekalavya’ Venugopal Reddy, Satyanveshana Mandali leader Putta Surendra Babu, Jana Vignana Vedika founder Dr. Brahma Reddy, Lok Satta Party Vice Presidents D. V.V. S. Varma and Bandaru Ramamohan Rao, and representatives of newly elected sarpanches from districts.

In his keynote address, Dr. JP appealed to all people to transcend party lines and work for empowerment of local governments so that they could provide good governance.

Federation Convener Solipeta Ramachandra Reddy released the resolutions adopted at the meeting to media today.

The federation demanded that local bodies be recognized as local governments and panchayat offices be designated as local government offices. If the Government does not concde the demand, the federation would resort to direct action.

All Government employees working at the village level should be brought under the supervision of panchayats. Panchayats should be empowered to implement all Central and State Government schemes at the village level.

The federation suggested that the 14th Finance Commission allocate a higher share of funds for direct release to panchayats and municipalities considering their growing requirements.

The federation decided to meet Union Government representatives and seek implementation of the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution.

Later, retired officials of the Panchayat Raj Department responded to sarpanches’ queries.

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