THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Panchayats across the country will be in a position to improve civic amenities and the quality of life of rural population in the next five years and there are many lessons to be learnt from Kerala, Union Minister for Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Chaudhary Birender Singh said, after inaugurating the second International Conference on Deepening Democracy (ICODD) organised by the Department of Local-Self Government here on Friday.
“Participatory planning is the hallmark of Kerala’s decentralisation. This is the right moment for all village panchayats in India to make plans for local development, utilising the resources over which they have full command such as grants from the 14th Finance Commission, State Finance Commission, MGNREGS and the panchayat’s own resources,” he said.
Lauding the state’s Kudumbashree Mission for the work done to empower women and strengthen their livelihoods, Chaudhary said that the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) was devising strategies to develop a mutually beneficial partnership between the panchayats and self-help group networks.
He pointed out that there were areas where the state can do more.
“Kerala needs to address second generation issues related to decentralisation and improve revenue from own sources of village panchayats. It has to create a culture where people can demand services, and will be able to track every money that is being spent in the name of development. A viable programme for solid and liquid waste management has to be developed which is all the more important for a state having urban like qualities in most of its rural areas,” he said.Advising that local governments must be capable of delivering good governance, he called upon to adopt the ‘antyodaya’ approach in respect of rights-based development so as to enable the poorest and weakest citizen of the country to fully access their entitlements.
The programme was presided over by Social Justice Minister M K Muneer. Planning Board vice-chairman K M Chandrasekhar introduced the conference theme ‘Local Governments and Rights Based Development’.
Mayor K Chandrika, Shashi Tharoor MP, Panchayat Minister of Karnataka H K Patil; Panchayati Raj Minister of Sikkim Sher Bahadur Subedi, among others, were present.