Centre to states: appoint permanent staff in gram panchayats

The proposal for recruitment of dedicated staff in rural areas will be applicable to the districts where over Rs 100 crore fund of NREGA is being spent or to the panchayats where population is between 4000 to 5000, Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj C P Joshi said on Tuesday.

"We have sent the concept to the states," he said, adding a meeting with the state Panchayati Raj secretaries is scheduled tomorrow to discuss the matter.

Joshi said there is no structure of "dedicated" staff in a large number of panchayats across the country.

"There is lack of staff in about 70,000 gram panchayts," he said.

About two lakh people, engaged in the implementation of NREGA, are working on contract basis in different states. "This will not do. There should be a structure of dedicated staff in panchayats for better implementation of the schemes," he said.

There are about 2.44 lakh panchayats across the country and each of these panchayats should have at least four dedicated staff including one panchayat development officer who is an MBA and well-versed with the knowledge of computer operations, Joshi said.

The minister suggested that states can phase out the staff working on contract basis and create a dedicated structure by recruiting people through their state selection committees.

"Whichever state will agree to our proposal, Government of India will provide funds for eight years to the state government concerned to establish such structure of dedicated staff in gram panchayats," he said.

80 per cent of the part of the salaries of these staffs will be given by Centre in first year and it will gradually be reduced and finally the responsibility for payment will totally be left on the states after 8 years, he said.

States, interested in the proposal of his ministry, will have to sign an MoU with the Centre, he added.

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