New Union Minister For Panchayati Raj and Tribal Affairs V. Kishore Chandra Deo is rationale, cogent. He gives an exclusive interview to LOK PANCHAYAT on the country’s Panchayats, Panchayati Raj, Tribal Affairs, et al.
As country’s Union Panchayati Raj Minister what are you doing for the panchayats to make them all round self-sufficient?
My first effort will be to strengthen the institution of Panchayats. There is a lack of infrastructures in the country’s Panchayats. There are no buildings (for the Panchayats). There is no manpower. If they (Panchayats) have to be effective they have to be involved (in all sense of the term). Basic facilities need to be given to the Panchayats. Panchayat is grass root. I would like Panchayats to be involved with all activities for the common man in the rural areas. Common activities like drinking water. Drinking water is involved with public health department. I would like Panchayati Raj to do this. NREGA should involve Panchayats in a big way. All NREGA like Government programmes for the common people should involve Panchayati Raj, I’m seeing to it. I’m seeing to it that all these programmes actively involve Panchayats for which the state governments’ cooperation is also needed.
I’m seeing to it that the state governments actively cooperate in this area so that the common people benefit from these programmes in a big way. I sincerely propose to take this issue in the first place. If this happens, it will be facilitation to the common people to become empowered in development programmes meant for them. I will include women in the institution of Panchayats so that their participation is active and help to the Panchayat-working. It will be empowerment of women alongside better working of the Panchayats. …As for power to the Panchayats, it depends on the extent of devolution of power. There are states which are according importance and relevance to the Panchayats. In Andhra Pradesh, there is a devolution of power. AP is doing pretty well in Panchayati Raj. As far as other states are concerned, I’ll have to see. I’ve just taken charge (of Panchayat Raj Ministry). Andhra Pradesh is doing pretty well in Panchayat Raj sector. Panchayats in that state have a say in the power-matters and administration systems. …In (West) Bengal, Panchayats have been a main basis for the Left Front to govern that state at a strech since 1977. As for other states, I’ll have to go into the details. …As for coordination between Panchayat Raj Ministry and other Ministries for better all-round working of the Panchayats and Panchayat Raj in the country, I’m working on that. I’ve just had a meeting with the Rural Development Ministry. (Some where both the ministries are related to each other.) I’m doing so to have better coordination between Panchayat Raj Ministry and directly and indirectly related Ministries with Panchayt Raj. They are very closely interlinked with each other. Ministry of Forest and Environment is also closely linked with Panchayats in the country. As Minister for Tribal Affairs along with Minister for Panchayati Raj, I’m ensuring forests and environment to be in tune with the tribals in the Panchayati Raj. Panchayats are extended to scheduled areas in the country. Wherever other ministries are interlinked some way or the other with Panchayati Raj and Tribal Affairs Ministries, I’m seeing to it that there is a smooth coordination among them and the concerned beneficiaries get their due benefits to the fullest without any hinderance. …I’ll definitely apply my mind on which subjects should be given to the Panchayats so that they are able to work better and in a more coordinated, effective manner. …I’ll definitely monitor whether states accord specified subjects to the Panchayats as required or there is a lacuna or lacunae on their part.