Education to be must for R'than panchayat posts

Education to be must for R'than panchayat posts

Education to be must for R'than panchayat posts

Uneducated public representatives and political leaders may soon be unable to contest panchayat elections in Rajasthan.

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the state's Ministry of Panchayati Raj has proposed that the government restrict uneducated leaders from contesting panchayat elections.
Sources said the department has also fixed minimum education criteria for various posts in panchayat samitis.

“Minister of Panchayati Raj Gulab Chand Kataria has already cleared the proposal. It has been sent to Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for final approval. Once it is approved, no illiterate leader will be able to contest the Panchayat elections. Minimum educational criteria have been fixed for all posts of a Panchayat Samiti,” said a senior Panchayati Raj department official.

The proposal is likely to come into force before Panchayat elections, due next January, he added.

According to the proposal, for a person to head the Panchayat Samiti (as Pradhan), he or she should have studied till Class 10, while for a Sarpanch, the limit is Class 8. For Panchayats in tribal areas, a Sarpanch must have studied till Class 5.

At the time of filing nomination, candidates will have to submit necessary documents and proof of their education qualifications.

Department sources said the main objective behind the proposal is to check corruption at the Panchayat level. Uneducated Panchayat leaders are often misled, which results in financial irregularities.

“Sarpanches and Pradhans generally give financial sanctions at the Panchayat level. Instead of signing documents, uneducated leaders put their thumb impressions, which is generally not verified. People misuse thumb impressions, leading to financial irregularities and corruption,” said a senior official.

Currently, various departments have complaints against 3,600 Panchayat representatives are pending. Investigations revealed that Sarpanches had no information about financial sanctions but the documents carried their thumb impressions.

“In many cases, fake thumb impressions were used to obtain financial sanctions. There are cases where the sanctioned amount was much more than what was shown in the documents. Under such circumstances, education of public representatives become important,” said a senior anti-corruption bureau official.