Central Plan redundant for State

The new People’s Plan Campaign set to be launched by the Centre for panchayats from October 2 will prove to be redundant for the State since it has already registered remarkable strides in the thrust areas laid in the new initiative.

Animal husbandry; rural housing; land development, including land reforms; watershed development; creation of public infrastructure; and rural electrification are some of the key areas identified for implementing the Plan that is also known as Grama Panchayat Development Plan. Inadequate people’s participation in the grama sabhas; over-emphasis on investment in infrastructure; inadequate public service delivery and e-enablement of panchayats; need for integrated Plans at block and district levels; and prevention of malnutrition have been cited as some of the challenges that needs to be addressed and the new campaign is being projected as a panacea to such issues.

Housing issues

The State has recorded notable gains in almost all areas and the present edition of the campaign focusses on a mission mode development for solving housing and other issues. Conservation of waterbodies and drinking water sources had got due attention since the launch of the campaign in the late Nineties itself.

Creation of public infrastructure facilities as well as maintenance of schools and hospitals have already been devolved to local self-government institutions.

While the Central initiative proposes a reliance on Finance Commission award, the State had already set a model by devolving funds, functions and functionaries to local governments and a majority of them had proved their efficiency in managing them.

Moreover, the State Planning Board has taken the lead in preparing district plans at the behest of local bodies.

Tried and tested in State

According to Kerala Institute of Local Administration director Joy Elamon most of the training modules proposed in the new campaign have been adopted from those that have been tested and implemented in the State.

“Kerala has already gone one step ahead by working out solutions to face new challenges such as biodiversity, climate change, natural disaster and such others. We have formed working groups in such areas and are surging forward to tackle such issues,” said Dr. Joy.

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