To bring transparency and accountability in the functioning of Gram Panchayats, the state government has mooted compulsory video recording of Gram Sabha proceedings from this year.
Gram Sabhas are conducted to make people participate in the decision making process and approve development works at village level. Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Secretary V Rashmi told Express that there is a lot of cynicism and hearsay about the failure of the Panchayat Raj system.
“We want to remove that perception among people and ensure there is no shirking of responsibility by the Panchayat members.”
“With video recording, we will like to make the public participation effective and make the (Gram) Panchayats more accountable,” she added.
“The CDs of the proceedings will made available to public at `50 at respective Gram Panchayats and Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officers’ office,” Rashmi said.
Besides, the Panchayats had even instructed them hold their first meeting of the financial year before July 16, for approval of all plans, works, comprehensive annual action plan prepared for 2013-14 and upload the proceedings in Panchatantra, an e-governance website of the government.
An official said: “The new government is aggressive in implementing the plans for effective functioning of the Panchayat Raj (system). This was particularly lacking with the previous government.”
Recently, the Mani Shankar Aiyar Committee, constituted by the Union Ministry of Panchayat Raj to study the devolution of powers to civic bodies, submitted a report to the government.
The report stated that the attendance at the Gram Sabhas and Ward Sabha meetings was poor and the civic chiefs and their cohorts got away with token or bogus meetings.
On the new initiatives, Devendra Babu, Assistant Professor and Head, Centre for Decentralisation and Development Institute for Social and Economic Change, said: “The new initiative will make the elected representatives more responsible. It will also encourage women and neglected groups to voice their views.”
Karnataka Panchayat Raj (Amendment Bill) 2013, passed in the Legislative Assembly recently, made a provision for disqualification or removal of the members and presidents of the Gram Panchayat who fails to convene a meeting of ward and Grama Sabha.