Gram Panchayat Development Plans Preparation Guidelines

Gram Panchayat Development Plans Preparation Guidelines under Grama Jyothi Programme: GO.MS.No. 64; Dated:14.08.2015 – Government of Telangana, Panchayat Raj, and Rural Development- Gram Panchayats- Gram Jyothi – Concept and Guidelines for the preparation of the Gram Panchayat Development Plans – comprehensive Instructions – Issued.

“Grama Jyothi” a program to empower gram panchayats, will be launched across the state of Telangana in the month of August 2015. Government of Telangana is committed to empower and strengthen the gram panchayats by empowering them to ensure better delivery of services to the people.

The program aims to decentralize the process of decision making at the lowest level namely the gram panchayat with the twin objective of empowering them to take decisions that affect them and also plan and prioritize the needs that are required most by suitably tying up with the pooled funds under various schemes, that will be kept at the disposal of the Gram panchayats.

Central to the Concept of Grama Jyothi will be the effort of each Gram Panchayat to develop a “Village Development Plan” In other words, Gram Panchayats will prepare a perspective plan and a monitoring and coordination plan for improved service delivery.

The perspective plan will focus on the provision of basic amenities such as roads, drains, sanitation, rinking water, street lights, generate wage employment and green the village through the Haritha Haram over a period of the next four to five years. The Monitoring and coordination plan focuses on improved service delivery in the Health and nutrition, education, agriculture and animal husbandry sectors.

Another key component to be addressed by the Gram panchayats will be to address the issue of livelihoods, poverty and social security that afflict the poor. While developing the plan, the Gram Panchayat shall also develop a special development plan for the welfare of the Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes in planning and providing basic amenities, housing, income generating activities etc for which funds shall be accessed under the Scheduled Caste Development Plan and the Tribal Sub Plan.

Gram Jyothi aims to: Gram Panchayat Development Plans Preparation Guidelines:
(a) Ensure coordination of all line departments, which hitherto have been working in silos to be accountable to the Gram Panchayat by taking an active role in the meetings of the Gram Sabhas and functional committees of the Panchayat.
(b) Ensure that the decisions are taken in the Gram Sabha
(c) Ensure transparency and accountability of the Panchayat and the line departments in discharging their functions.

  1. Background: Gram Panchayats have been constituted under article 243B and is a Constitutional body duly constituted under Article 243B of the Constitution of India. The Sarpanch and Ward Members of the Gram Panchayat are democratically elected by people through due process of the election conducted by the State Election Commission. The Panchayat Secretary of the Gram Panchayat is an officer recruited by the Public Service Commission.
  2. There are 8685 Gram Panchayats, 87,838 Wards catering to a population of 2,26,88,576 as per the 2011 census, of which 42,12,900 belong to Scheduled Castes and 29,01,266 belong to Scheduled Tribes. Historically Gram Panchayats have not been able to play a key role in local governance and delivery of services.
  3. Most line departments continue to be beholden to their line hierarchies leading to low levels of transparency and accountability. Overtime Gram Sabhas have become a mere formality to cater to the requirements of some key programs such as NREGA and economic benefit schemes.
  4. Further under the Fourteenth Finance Commission Award, the Gram Panchayats in Telangana State would receive Rs. 5375.53 crores in the next five years starting from 2015-16. Of this 90% of the grant will be released as Basic Grant and the balance 10% will be released as Performance Grant.
  5. The FFC recommended that the grants should go to Gram Panchayats, which are directly responsible for the delivery of basic services. The FFC also recommended taking up planning exercise at the Gram Panchayat level for optimal utilization of resources and delivery of basic services smoothly and effectively.
  6. Need for Gram Panchayat Development Plan: Several Government departments have been implementing developmental programs at the Gram Panchayat level for the last several years after independence. But it is observed that by and large they have been working independently of one another. Therefore there is a lack of synergy in the efforts made by the departments.
  7. It also observed that sometimes there is also duplication in the work done by the departments. There is no monitoring on many institutions and functionaries working at the Gram Panchayat level which are being monitored from higher levels by their respective line departments. this led to a lack accountability and transparency in the functioning of these institutions.
  8. In a democratic system, participatory planning should bring out the resource potential of Gram Panchayats, besides assessing the most immediate needs of the Panchayat and prioritizing them based on the funds that could be pooled at the Panchayat level. Thus the village development plan should encompass a holistic view of the Panchayat in all its facets.
  9. The planning exercise activates Gram Panchayats and establishes their identity as Local Governments. It helps to absorb more funds from different sectors through increased local resource mobilization and thereby facilitates the improvement of service delivery which promotes better bonds with citizens. It leads to the development of local models and innovation. The Planning at Gram Panchayat level provides:
    (a) A platform for discussing local issues, local perceptions, and local analysis to decide local priorities.
    (b) A platform for active participation of the people in decision making bringing governance closer to the people and making public institutions more responsive, accountable and transparent.
    (c) Provide for backward and forward linkages – All available schemes and resources shall be brought together through an effective convergence mechanism.
    (d) Provide for horizontal/vertical, spatial/temporal integration of different sectors.
    (e) Provide an opportunity for matching of priorities and resources. The goal and objectives to be achieved shall be doable, affordable, efficient, effective and sustainable.
  10. Key Components of a Gram Panchayat Development Plan: The State Panchayat Raj Act, 1994 entrusts the Gram Panchayats with several functions and endows them important powers to perform these functions.
  11. In particular Sections 45 to Sections 59 of the Act spell out the powers and functions of the Gram Panchayats towards the people. Section 45 of the Act outlines the Mandatory functions of the Gram Panchayat. Under this Section, the Gram Panchayat is responsible for delivering the following important basic services.
    a. Drinking water supply.
    b. Sanitation and public health c. Street lighting.
    d. Maintenance of internal roads and drains.
    e. Prevention of epidemics.
    f. Registration of Births and Deaths
  12. The Government also prescribed that the available resources of the Gram Panchayat shall be spent first spent on delivering these services effectively. Then only the resources can be spent on other needs. Section 46 of the Act outlines the optional functions of the Gram Panchayat. Some of the important optional functions are as follows.
    i. Public Markets
    ii. Libraries
    iii. Plantation Activities
    iv. Promotion of Primary education v. Child Welfare
    vi. Maintenance of primary Health Facilities vii. Parks and Playgrounds
    viii. Warehouses and Granaries
    ix. Promotion of Cooperatives
    x. Disaster Management
    xi. Protection and development of common property resources
  13. Sections 80 to section 125 of the APPR Act, 1994 entrust the Gram Panchayats with the responsibility of safeguarding Public Safety, Convenience, and Health. Some of the important subjects under this category are,
    i. Use of public Places, Public Roads, Tanks, etc.,
    ii. Licenses.
    iii. Public and Private Markets.
    iv. Burial Grounds
    v. Sanitation and Conservancy vi. Encroachments
  14. The effective delivery of All of these functions and responsibilities directly influences the quality of life of the people and helps in improving the Human Development Index (HDI). Therefore, each Gram Panchayat shall prepare a perspective plan for the next four to five years
  15. Resources for Gram Panchayat Development Plan Several financial resources available for the preparation of the Gram Panchayat Development Plan. Gram Panchayats empowered to levy, collect and spend different types of taxes and Non- taxes for discharging its functions under the Panchayat Raj Act. Several State and central grants released under Central and State Schemes. Many departments implement development programs at the Gram Panchayat level. These are broadly indicated below.

i. Own Source Resources
• Taxes-house Tax, Advertisement Tax
• Non-Taxes- Fees
• Remunerative Enterprises-Shops, Markets, Fish Tanks

ii. Assigned Revenues
• Stamp Duty
• Entertainment Tax
• Water Cess

iii. Grants
• Central – Fourteenth Finance Commission, MGNREGS
• State –SFC, PT, Percapita

iv. Donations.
• Donations and Voluntary contributions can be invited interested citizens from the Gram Panchayat. The prosperous citizens like NRIs can be contacted explain the needs of the village and request to make a donation either in cash or kind for the development of their village.

v. Central and State Schemes
• Funds under various Central and State schemes spent by various departments at Gram Panchayat level like NRLM, NHRM, SSA, etc., can be included in the GP development Plan.
• The funds available under all the schemes shall be made available to each gram Panchayat to enable it to prioritize the needs under basic services etc

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