Panel to monitor Panchayat Raj Institutions soon

It is for the first time that the State Legislature will have a dedicated standing panel to study the affairs of local bodies, especially the three-tier Panchayat Raj Institutions.

The committee will have 15 members from the Legislative Assembly and five from the Legislative Council. The committee, on the lines of the existing Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and public undertakings committee, will have a tenure of one year and will be reconstituted on an annual basis.

It will examine reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on Zilla Panchayats. It would also monitor the affairs of local bodies.

Sources in the Legislature secretariat said the panel gains importance given the vast amounts of funds which are provided to panchayat bodies every year.

In the 2010-11 State Budget, Rs 3,442 crore has been earmarked for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj.

However, the panel cannot interfere or investigate the matter of government policy or day to day functioning of Panchayat Raj Institutions.

A three-tier panchayat raj system is followed in the State with elected bodies at the village (gram panchayat), taluk (Taluk Panchayat) and district level (Zilla Panchayat).

These bodies govern a total of 56,682 rural habitations including 27,017 revenue villages.
As many as 3.48 crore people, that is around 69 per cent of the State’s population, live in villages.

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