Panchayats, roots of democracy: Mani Shankar

  • Digvijay underlined importance of local bodies

Hyderabad: Panchayati raj institutions are the arteries of the administration in India and we can ignore them only at our peril, exhorted Mani Shankar Iyer, former union minister on Tuesday here. He was addressing a camp organised by Telangana Congress Committee for the representatives of Panchayati raj institutions.

Mani Shankar said a vast country like India cannot be served by about 550 Lok Sabha Members and some 4,000 Assembly Members. Panchayati raj establishment compromises more than 600 Zilla Parishads, 6,000 Mandal Parishads and 2.32 lakh panchayats with 29 lakh people’s representatives. Such a vast network can do wonders if all the 29 powers and responsibilities listed in the 11th schedule of the 73rd Constitution Amendment Act or simply Panchayati Raj Act. He singled out Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, the departed leader of the Congress Party and former chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh, for praise for implementing the Act in a sincere fashion.

The two day camp has concluded on Tuesday on a positive note with Digvijay Singh, AICC General Secretary in charge of Telangana, and Mani Shankar emphasising that the Congress can get back to power only through getting closer to the Panchayati Raj system. Experts on the subject, Dr K Ramachandra Murthy, senior journalist, and Prof Nageswar, former MLC, addressed the Sarpanches, ZPTCs and MPTCs.

Digvijay Singh sat through the deliberations for two days. TPCC president Uttam Kumar Reddy had organised the whole show. Former ministers, former MPs and MLAs had participated in big numbers.

Mani Shankar Iyer, under the leadership of of late Rajiv Gandhi, and drafted the Panchayati Raj and Nagara Palikas Bills which were passed by Parliament in 1992 when P V Narasimha Rao was the prime minister. They are on the statute as 73rd and 74th Constitution Amendment Acts.

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