Context: The Panchayati Raj Ministry has recently pitched for a fivefold increase in funding for rural local bodies.

More on the news:

  • In a meeting with the 15th Finance Commission recently, the Ministry asked for 10 lakh crore to be allocated for the 2020-­21 to 2025-­26 period.
    • While under the 14th Finance Commission  ₹2 lakh crore were allocated.
    • It also noted that allocations had tripled between the 13th and 14th Commissions as well.
  • Utilisation rate for FC grants
    • An impact evaluation study showed a 78% utilization rate for FC grants between 2015 and 2019.
  • Major projects carried out by panchayats using FC grants
    • Road construction and maintenance, as well as drinking water supply, have been the major projects carried out by panchayats using FC grants.
    • Currently, The 2.63 lakh panchayats across the country have 29 functions under their ambit, according to the 11th Schedule of the Constitution
  • Panchayats gaining importance as crucial nodal points in times of COVID-19 pandemic
    • During the crisis, panchayats ran 38,000 quarantine/isolation centres, apart from medical camps and contact tracing.
    • However, The Panchayati Raj Ministry admitted that a major challenge during the pandemic and lockdown was that most panchayats could not provide cooked food at short notice.  
    • It has also proposed that community kitchens be set up in each panchayat to be operated by local self­-help groups.
  • The report also noted that  The new Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan will depend on panchayats to generate employment for newly returned migrant workers.

About the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan:

  • The Abhiyaan will be launched from Village – Telihar, Block- Beldaur of Khagaria District of Bihar. 
  • A total of 116 Districts, together accounting for more than 6.7 million migrant workers across six States, namely Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Odisha have been chosen for the campaign which includes 27 Aspirational Districts. 
    • These districts are estimated to cover about 2/3 of such migrant workers.
  • The villages will join this programme through the Common Service Centres and Krishi Vigyan Kendras, maintaining the norms of social distancing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The Rs. 50,000 crore programme is to include MGNREGS that allows for 100 days of work for members of rural households. 
  • This campaign of 125 days, which will work in mission mode, will involve intensified and focused implementation of 25 different types of works 
    • To provide employment to the migrant workers on one hand and 
    • Create infrastructure in the rural regions of the country on the other hand.
  • The schemes for providing drinking water, road building, and house construction will be expedited in these districts for which the migrant workers who come back from the cities will be employed.
  • The Abhiyaan will be a coordinated effort between 12 different Ministries/Departments, namely, Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Road Transport & Highways, Mines, Drinking Water & Sanitation, Environment, Railways, Petroleum & Natural Gas, New & Renewable Energy, Border Roads, Telecom and Agriculture.


Image Source: TH