New Delhi, April 11
Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday called for devolving 3Fs — Funds, Functions and Functionaries — to empower rural local bodies for their holistic growth and to achieve national development and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Inaugurating a national stakeholders conference on 'Localisation of Sustainable Development Goals' organised by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Naidu urged the Union Government and the states to facilitate the devolution of the 3Fs from Zilla Parishads to Panchayats.
"The rural local bodies have to be revitalised and rejuvenated by strengthening and empowering them," he said.
While referring to the increase in fund allocation to the rural local bodies from Rs 100 per capita per annum in the 10th Finance Commission to Rs 674 per capita per annum in the 15th Finance Commission, the Vice-President said the funds should directly go into their accounts and there should be no diversion, dilution and deviation. Similarly, every grant meant for people should directly go to the beneficiaries.
"Given that nearly 70 per cent of India is rural India (68.84 per cent as per the 2011 census), attainment of SDGs at the national level will require actions at the grassroots of villages" that is at the Panchayat level," Naidu said.
Observing that the biggest goal is to make the country poverty-free, he said the other equally important missions include providing education to all boys and girls, ensuring delivery of critical services like safe drinking water and creating adequate employment opportunities.
Expressing his happiness that women constitute 46 per cent of the 31.65 lakh elected representatives of the rural local bodies in the country, he said that adequate representation should be given in legislatures and other law-making bodies. "Empowering women is empowering the society," he said.
Naidu noted that Panchayats have a pivotal role to play in integrated rural development by focusing on the 17 SDGs which are subsumed under nine themes to ensure poverty-free, clean, healthy, child-friendly, and socially secured well-governed villages.
Emphasising the need for transparent, accountable and efficient governance at all levels, Naidu commended the Ministry of Panchayati Raj for having introduced digital solutions like e-Gram Swaraj for smart and good governance in Panchayati Raj Institutions.
Stating that Panchayats have emerged as leaders, planners and policymakers at the grassroots level, he expressed confidence that the aggregation of their achievements will enable India to realize national as well as global targets in the true spirit of the transition from 'Local to Global'.