An expert committee appointed by the Union Government held discussions with Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi on revitalising panchayati raj institutions.
According to Ms. Bedi, the team had been constituted to develop a road map for panchayati raj institutions in Union Territories.
Led by Meenakshi Sundaram, former Secretary to Union Government, the team travelled extensively across rural areas in Puducherry and interacted with former gram panchayat heads to ascertain the realities in the absence of elected local bodies.
“My discussions with the members of the committee revealed that the rural people expressed an urgent need for grass-roots democracy to self govern. Due to lack of panchayati raj system, rural people are experiencing serious lack of accessibility for redress of their local grievances such as sanitation, health, and all other related matters,” Ms. Bedi said. Often, inaccessible officers and scant resources were common problems in rural areas. Funds were not percolating from the Government of India because of absence of elected system, Ms. Bedi said.
The committee would submit its report to the Ministry of Panchayati Raj to lay a plan of action for facilitating panchayat elections in Puducherry. Funding support from the Centre would come only if Puducherry had a panchayat system.
“The urgency for conducting local body elections will be communicated to the government,” the Lt. Governor added.