The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, will inaugurate a national conference to celebrate the National Panchayati Raj Day at the Vigyan Bhawan here on Wednesday.
On the occasion, annual awards under "Panchayat Empowerment and Accountability Incentive Scheme" (PEAIS), "Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar" and "Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar" (RGGSP) will be conferred upon the best performing States and Panchayats.
(i) Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar 2013:
In order to appreciate, recognize and encourage the Gram Panchayats for their outstanding performance through effective Gram Sabhas, especially in respect of improvements in the social and economic structure of the village, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj has instituted National level Awards for Best Gram Sabhas and name it as "Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha". The broad objective for instituting this award is to incentivise excellence in performance of Gram Panchayats through effective Gram Sabhas. It is expected that the Award will not only be a step to energise the Gram Sabhas will encourage the Gram Panchayats to organise more gram sabhas and encourage people's participation. The prize money for this award is Rs Ten lakhs (Rs. 10 lakhs only). The Award money will be utilized by the Panchayats for public purposes such as augmentation of civic services like primary education, primary health care, safe drinking water, public utilities; provision rural infrastructure in the Panchayat jurisdiction etc.
This year 18 Gram Panchayats would be receiving this national award. The Sarpanch/ Panchayat President of the award winning Gram Panchayats would be receiving the awards. It is interesting to note that out of 18 top ranking Gram Panchayats receiving this award, six are women Sarpanches. This confirms the Ministry's vision to encourage participation of Elected Women representatives in the grass-root governance. This year an award in the special category is being given to one GP of Haryana for addressing the important issue of adverse child ratio through special Gram Sabhas.
(ii) Panchayat Strengthening Index (PSI) Awards ( Annual PEAIS awards to the State Governments)
The Panchayat Empowerment and Accountability Incentive Scheme (PEAIS) is being implemented by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) since 2005-06. The scheme aims at (i) incentivizing States to empower Panchayats through devolution of funds, functioning and functionaries; and (ii) incentivizing PRIs to put in place accountability systems to make their functioning transparent and efficient.
In 2012-13, the scope of the Devolution Index has been further widened to include capacity building of Panchayats. Accordingly, the study for preparation of Panchayat Strengthening Index (PSI) and ranking of States as per the Index for 2012-13 has been conducted by Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), New Delhi.
PSI Awards to States are being given this year. Under the Cumulative PSI Awards 1st Prize is won by Maharashtra, while 2nd Prize is bagged by Karnataka, 3rd Prize Kerala and 4th Prize Tripura. Under the Incremental PSI Awards 1st Prize is won by Karnataka, 2nd Prize Rajasthan, 3rd Prize Maharashtra and 4th Prize is won by Odisha.
(iii) Awards to Best Performing Panchayats( Ditsrict Panchayat, Intermediary and Gram Panchayats)
During 2012-13, 22 States have sent recommendations of best performing Panchayats, out which 193 have been selected by the Ministry for award under Panchayat Empowerment and Accountability Incentive Scheme (PEAIS). This is based on a rigorous process of selection, which includes field visits.
The Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 that came into force with effect from 24th April, 1993 has vested constitutional status on Panchayati Raj institutions. This date thus marks a defining moment in the history of decentralization of political power to the grassroots level. The impact of the 73rd Amendment in rural India is very visible as it has changed power equations irreversibly. Accordingly, the Government of India decided in consultation with the States to celebrate 24th April as National Panchayati Raj Day. To commemorate the National Panchayati Raj Diwas, Ministry of Panchayati Raj organises National Conference on 24th April every year. This Year, Panchayati Raj completes 20 glorious years. It is a very well-known fact that in these 20 years, Panchayats have given a new direction to rural development, and women, scheduled castes and tribes, and other marginalized sections of society have become actors in the socio-economic development of their communities through representation in these local bodies. Today through Vibrant Gram Sabhas, rural populace has the space to get involved in the development of their village. Although the rural populaces are aware of their rights, there is a need to make them aware about the importance of Gram Panchayat and the power of decision making and role of active and vibrant Gram Sabhas more importantly Mahila Gram Sabhas,in the development of their village.
This year, in the National Conference, approximately 1200 delegates consisting State Ministers for Panchayati Raj, Senior officials from State Government Panchayati Raj Dept, members of all three of elected representatives (ERs) from the three tiers of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs , the national award winning Panchayats would attend the National Conference.
During the Conference, group discussions on role of panchayats in centrally sponsored schemes, strengthening of gram sabhas and their role in PRIs, devolution of 3Fs - Funds, Functions and Functionaries, role of panchayats in tackling issues of women and children. (ANI)