BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has initiated a move for merger of District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) with Zilla Parishad for better management and monitoring of rural development programmes.
The recommendation made by fourth Odisha State Finance Commission as part of institutional and structural strengthening of panchayati raj institutions (PRIs), was discussed at a high level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary G C Pati here on Saturday.
The DRDA has emerged as a powerful institution as all the Centrally-sponsored programmes and funds released by the Ministry of Rural Development are routed through the agencies which are registered under Societies Registration Act. Such an arrangement is contrary to the spirit of 73rd Amendment of the Constitution.
“The Commission feels that the dichotomy in the way of empowerment of the PRIs will come to an end if DRDA is dissolved and its office merges in Zilla Parishad,” the Finance panel report said.
This will not only convey a determined attitude of the State Government to strengthen the local governance, but also inspire the line departments to realign their schemes, programmes and administrative structure in tandem with the new reality, the report said.
In the last Union Budget, the Centre has made it clear that several Centrally-sponsored schemes will be discontinued from the financial year. The Chief Secretary asked the Panchayati Raj Department to prepare progressive service rules for DRDA employees so that they are not affected after merger.
The integration will reduce administrative expenditure, besides giving an opportunity to the elected representatives to monitor the rural development programmes, official sources said after the meeting.
Meanwhile, the School and Mass Education Department has made significant efforts by bringing school management committee and parent teacher association under the jurisdiction of PRIs.
The State Finance Commission has recommended Rs 117.75 crore for five years, beginning this fiscal. The Commission has recommended the ways and means for devolution of resources from the State level to the PRIs and ULBs for five years commencing April 1, 2015.