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Increasing the Resilience of Panchayats

Context

A report on ‘Performance-Based Payments for Better Outcomes in Rural Development Programmes,’ which examined human resources available to panchayats, suggested ways in which these resources could be supplemented and organised to improve programme delivery.

Relevance:

GS Paaper-2: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

Mains Question

Mission Antyodaya is paving the way for a more inclusive India. Analyze (150 words)


Main Highlights

  • Each year, the People’s Plan campaign ‘Sabki Yojana, Sabka Vikas’ captures the annual ranking of Gram Panchayats on 143 parameters spanning human development, economic activity, and infrastructure.
  • The Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Rural Development organises it in collaboration with all states, districts, blocks, Gram Panchayats, and villages. The initiative has been adopted by the states, who find it useful. However, the actual use of village/panchayat level data in planning is still low.

‘Sabki Yojna Sabka Vikas’ (People’s Plan Campaign)

  • Panchayats have been mandated by Article 243 G of the Constitution to prepare and implement plans for economic development and social justice.
  • As a result, Panchayats have a significant role to play in the effective and efficient implementation of flagship schemes/programs on subjects of national importance for transforming rural India.

People’s Plan Campaign –‘Sabki Yojna Sabka Vikas”

  • People’s Plan Campaign titled ‘Sabki Yojna Sabka Vikas’ was launched with this goal in mind, for inclusive and holistic preparation of Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP).
    • The goals of ‘Sabki Yojna Sabka Vikas’ are broadly defined as follows: o Strengthening of elected representatives and Self-Help Groups; and
      • Evidence-based assessment of progress made.
      • Public disclosure of Schemes, finances, and so on.
      • Development of an inclusive, participatory, and evidence-based GPDP through a structured Gram Sabha that includes front-line workers/supervisors from all 29 sectors in the XI schedule.

Mission Antyodaya

  • Adopted in the Union Budget 2017-18, Mission Antyodaya is a convergence and accountability framework aimed at maximising the use and management of resources allocated by 27 Ministries/Departments of the Government of India under various programmes for rural development.
  • It is envisioned as a state-led initiative, with Gram Panchayats serving as focal points of convergence efforts.
  • An important component of the Mission Antyodaya framework is an annual survey in Gram Panchayats across the country. It is carried out concurrently with the Ministry of Panchayat Raj’s People’s Plan Campaign (PPC), and its goal is to support the process of participatory planning for Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP).

Increasing Gram Sabha Participation:

  • Mission Antyodaya is a participatory framework developed in 2017 to assess and plan for each Gram Panchayat each year based on its deficits.
  • The Gram Sabha meeting calendar is displayed, and any Indian citizen can choose to pay a surprise visit to a Gram Sabha meeting.
  • Each of the 29 sectors in which Gram Panchayats play a role is asked to send a representative to the meeting.
  • Each Department’s performance is reported to the Gram Sabha, progress is displayed on flex boards, and meeting photographs are uploaded to the public website.
  • These meetings have become an annual tradition, and attendance in the Gram Sabhas is increasing.
  • Because the Socio-Economic Census 2011 provided information on deprived households, special efforts have been made to provide pre-populated data on deprived households via an app for data collectors who are local frontline workers/leaders.

Regional variations

  • Only 31.27 percent of the 2.67 lakh GPs surveyed in 2020 received more than 60 percent in the annual ranking of Gram Panchayats on 143 parameters.
  • There are significant regional differences, with 83.31 percent of panchayats in Kerala securing more than 60 percent, compared to 13.75 percent in Bihar and 18.86 percent in UP.
  • Southern and Western region Gram Panchayats generally have higher scores. The decline in poverty in southern states occurred as a result of the following factors: o Adolescent girls pursuing higher education, o Decline in fertility, o Improvement in health services, o Formation of SHGs, o Access to skills and vocational courses, o Bank loans to SHGs without collateral.

Way Forward

  • With each Gram Panchayat having a Local Government Directory (LGD) code, it is possible to collect LGD-compliant data village-wide and ensure a full profile of the village and its performance through Application Programming Interface (API) sharing.
  • The SECC Household Temporary Identification Number (TIN) could be used to identify deprived households.
  • The DISHA platform for Members of Parliament provides real-time analysis on over 50 LGD-compliant programmes. DISHA data can be made public in order to increase accountability.

Conclusion

  • The groundwork for effective decentralisation of funds, functions, and functionaries for the 29 sectors listed in the Constitution’s Eleventh Schedule has been laid.
  • Human resource support for panchayats, as proposed by the Sumit Bose Committee, requires immediate attention in states.
  • Funding, functions, and functionaries with local governments will be required for the use of community-owned data. That significant step can be announced in the Budget.

February 2023
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