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Backward Regions Grant Fund

The Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) is designed to redress regional imbalances in development. The BRGF covers 250 identified districts to Bridge critical gaps in local infrastructure and other development requirements that are not being adequately met through existing inflows. Rs.3917 crore was released during 2011-12 under BRGF, which being implemented through panchayats and urban local bodies.

E-Panchayat -

E-panchayat is one of the Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) under National e-Governance Programme (NeGP) aimed at making Panchayats more efficient, transparent and symbols of modernity by leveraging ICT to become modern institutions of self governance at the cutting edge level by ensuring greater openness through transparency, disclosure of information, social audit, efficient delivery of services, improving internal management of Panchayats, procurement etc. During 2011-12, 40 crores was allocated for the project. 1.5 crores allocated for incentivizing the adoption of PRIASoft; and 38.5 crores for setting up of Programme Management Units at State and District levels for rollout of e-Panchayat MMP.

Under the e-Panchayat MMP, 11 Core Common Software applications are planned. Four of these applications namely PRIASoft, PlanPlus, National Panchayat Portal and Local Governance Directory have been rolled out. Six more applications except Geographic Information System (GIS) namely Area Profiler, ServicePlus, Asset Directory, ActionSoft, Social Audit and Trainings Management have also been launched in April, 2012 on the occasion of National Panchayat Day. Over 65,000 Panchayats are using PRIASoft and over 75,000 plans of different urban local bodies, rural local bodies and line departments are available online on PlanPlus application.

Empowerment of Panchayats

Panchayat Empowerment and Accountability Incentive Scheme was implemented by the Ministry to recognize and incentivize the efforts of Panchayats with respect to transparency, accountability and efficiency and of States with respect to devolution of funds, functions and functionaries to Panchayats. Awards are given to best performing States/UTs based on their rank on DI annually. The scheme aims at encouraging the States for empowering the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and putting in place mechanism for transparency and accountability of the PRIs. 16 best performing Gram Panchayats were given “Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Purskar and 170 Panchayats representatives were felicitated of with “Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar” under the Panchayat Empowerment Accountability Incentive Scheme (PEAIS).

Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Yojana

The Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Yojana is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme being implemented by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj with the objective of assisting efforts of the State Governments for training and capacity building of elected representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions. Funding of the scheme is applicable only for the non-BRGF districts. The scheme focuses primarily on providing financial assistance to the States/UTs for Training & Capacity Building of elected representatives (ERs) and functionaries of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). Assistance is provided for Distance Learning infrastructure for the ERs and Functionaries of the PRIs including Satellite based training infrastructure. During 2011-12 160493 participants trained and 719 Gram Panchayat Ghars sanctioned.

Roadmap for Panchayati Raj

The national level plan for improving the functioning of PRIs is chalked out in the Roadmap for Panchayati Raj (2011-2017). The Roadmap logically delineates the issues and specific action plans within the larger governance framework for creating an effective Panchayati Raj structure. It highlights key aspects for empowerment, enablement and accountability of the PRIs for better governance and faster development including devolution of functions, funds and functionaries as envisaged in the Constitution, Capacity Building of the Panchayats and Functionaries, decentralized planning, effective implementation of PESA, empowered elected village councils in the Sixth Scheduled Areas and changes in the constitutional and legal framework.

This national Roadmap is enabled and assisted by the Government by the provision of funds under several schemes. The Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) provides untied grants to the Panchayats in the backward regions in order to reduce development deficits of the country, with the requirement that the District Plans for utilization of the grant be prepared by the involvement of the Gram Sabhas. The Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Yojana (RGSY) which aims at Capacity Building and Training of the Elected Representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions as well as the Functionaries.

Rural Business Hubs (RBHs)

The Ministry has been implementing a Central Sector Scheme of Rural Business Hubs (RBHs) for promoting businesses using raw materials/skills available in the rural areas. The scheme works on a Public-Private-Panchayat-Partnership model and is applicable in all the BRGF districts and all the districts in the North-Eastern Region. Assistance under RBH Scheme is available for professional support services, training/skill development and for purchase of minor equipment. The proposals under the scheme are prepared and sent by the willing and interested Implementing Agencies and are required to be sent through the State Government or District level officials. RBH is a demand driven scheme and no targets are fixed for it. The guideline for RBH Scheme was revised in October, 2011. The revisions made in the guidelines are to the effect:

(i) Earlier the proposals needed to be recommended by the Panchayati Raj Department of the concerned States/UTs Government. This condition has been relaxed and recommendation of District Collectors or Chief Executive Officers of the Zilla Parishad of the concerned District is considered adequate.

(ii) Earlier the proposals of RBH were to be considered and approved by an Empowerment Committee headed by the Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj. This has been discontinued. Now the proposals of RBH are initially examined by the RBH Division of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj in consultation with the Integrated Finance Division and the final approval is obtained from the Divisional Head of RBH.

PIB Aizawl

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