Hyderabad: In a bid to restore the glory of Zilla Parishads (ZPs), Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on Tuesday announced plans to strengthen the ZPs and transfer more powers to its newly elected chairpersons with regard to finance, administration and governance.
He also announced a special fund of Rs 10 crore from the Chief Minister’s Special Development Fund to every ZP which surpasses the parameters set by the State government in terms of rural development.
He wanted the ZP chairpersons to develop as many model villages as possible on the lines of Gangadevipalli, Mulkanoor and Ankapur to set new benchmarks for rural development in the country. Officials were directed to organise a workshop for the newly-elected ZP chairpersons and vice-chairpersons at the Telangana State Rural Development Institute in Hyderabad to ensure effective implementation of the State government’s programmes for rural development, before their term commences in July.
The Chief Minister convened his first meeting with the newly-elected chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of 32 Zilla Parishads at Pragati Bhavan on Tuesday. On the occasion, he personally went to each and every elected representative and congratulated them on their victory.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister wanted the newly elected local bodies representatives to draw inspiration from the Panchayat Raj movement and play an active role in achieving Gram Swarajya with village development as a goal. He asked the elected representatives to play a key role in implementing the new Panchayat Raj Act with the sole aim to make every village clean, tidy and ensure greenery.
Explaining his plans to strengthen the rural local bodies, including the Zilla Parishads, Chandrashekhar Rao shared his feelings with the Finance Commission where its chairman Nanda Kishore Singh promised to provide all possible financial help. “We will transfer all the powers and responsibilities as guaranteed under the Constitution. Never in the past, any political party won all 32 ZPs. This has increased your responsibilities and workload. Hence, the ZPs should become active and play a better role in rural development,” he observed.
PR Act’s primacy
The Chief Minister explained in detail the steps being taken to strengthen Panchayat Raj institutions and the responsibilities of the elected representatives. He asked them to follow the Panchayat Raj Act stringently and offered absolute control over the Panchayat secretaries, District Panchayat Officers and all other Panchayat officials at the levels of district, mandal and village. “We will finalise the administrative, financial and governance powers shortly. A qualitative change should be visible in next six months,” he told the gathering. He promised to regularise the Panchayat secretaries upon reviewing their work after three years.
Emphasising the need to take forward the spirit of Panchayat Ra movement, Chandrashekhar Rao wanted the ZP chairpersons and vice-chairpersons to take leadership of 60 per cent people living in rural areas and take up development with villages as focal points. He wanted them to take the government schemes like Aasara pensions, Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bima and other programmes closer to people and ensure that eligible people are benefited from these schemes without fail.
Recalling the past glory of the Panchayat Raj and the Cooperative movements which played vital role in village development, the Chief Minister explained about contributions of former Prime Minister late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and former Union Minister late SK Dey to the Panchayat Raj system in the country. He recalled that Dey spread the Panchayat Raj movement from the campus of National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) in Hyderabad, changing the face of rural India. He stated that the first Samithi was created in Patancheru with P Ramachandra Reddy as its first president.