MBA grads will soon administer panchayats

Rural development ministry moots proposal to recruit them

If a proposal of the Rural Development Ministry comes into force, they can be seen in gram panchayat offices also, explaining the nitty-gritty of administrative skills to panchayat members.

The Rural Development Ministry has mooted a proposal to recruit MBA graduates in gram panchayats as Panchayat Development Officers. Union Rural Development Minister C P Joshi floated this idea at a meeting of the Central Employment Guarantee Council, an advisory body to implement the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), held here recently.

Joshi also suggested providing salary to these officers from the Central government kitty. Though the state government will recruit the required staff, the Centre can ask them to appoint qualified persons, sources in the ministry said.

As the responsibilities of panchayati raj institutions, particularly gram panchayats, have increased manifold in view of decentralisation, recruiting qualified persons becomes part of strengthening the administration at the lower level, sources said. Over the last few years, gram panchayats have been getting more funds under various schemes, including the NREGS. However, there has been a complaint that due to lack of qualified manpower coupled with poor administration, most of the funds are not reaching the targeted group.

With the Centre planning to introduce direct transfer of funds to gram panchayats under the NREGS instead of re-routing them through state governments, there is a demand to appoint qualified persons. Moreover, the government hopes these officers can assist them in day-to-day administration.

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