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Ministry of Panchayati Raj Hosts National Stakeholder Workshop to Empower Panchayats

This workshop stands as a good initiative in facilitating focused discussions on emerging Panchayat issues with the involvement of key stakeholders from various levels of government.

Shivam Dwivedi
Ministry of Panchayati Raj Hosts National Stakeholder Workshop to Empower Panchayats (Photo Source: PIB)
Ministry of Panchayati Raj Hosts National Stakeholder Workshop to Empower Panchayats (Photo Source: PIB)

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj, in partnership with the National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj (NIRD&PR), has inaugurated a two-day National Stakeholder Consultative Workshop at Vikas Auditorium, NIRD&PR in Hyderabad. The workshop, held on September 4 and 5, 2023, is designed to address critical issues concerning Panchayats and chart a path forward for enabling them as ‘Change Makers’ or ‘Agents of Change.’

The inaugural session was presided over by Sunil Kumar, Secretary of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, in the presence of Dr. G. Narendra Kumar, Director General of NIRD&PR, Dr. Chandra Shekhar Kumar, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Vikas Anand, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, and Mamta Varma, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj. The workshop also saw the participation of esteemed figures from the Panchayati Raj system, including Dr. S. S. Meenakshisundaram, Dr. Manabendra Nath Roy, and Dr. S. M. Vijayanand.

During the event, the People's Plan Campaign (PPC) for 2023 was launched, aimed at preparing the Panchayat Development Plans for 2024–2025. Additionally, a report on the Formulation of Project-Driven Block Panchayat and District Panchayat Development Plan, prepared by a committee constituted by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, was released.

The National Training Module of Panchayat Development Index was unveiled, and a special issue of NIRD&PR's Journal of Rural Development marked 30 years of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment. A printed brochure was also released to commemorate the foundation of the School of Excellence in Panchayati Raj (SoEPR) at NIRD&PR.

Secretary Sunil Kumar urged participants to actively support Panchayats and work toward making the Panchayati Raj system across the country as effective as that in pioneering states. He emphasized key focus areas for Panchayats, including Panchayat Development Plans, Panchayat Development Index, Localization, and achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

He encouraged Panchayats to be catalysts for change, accelerating progress towards global goals in nine thematic areas identified for Panchayati Raj Institutions. He highlighted the Ministry's leadership role in the Localization of Sustainable Development Goals (LSDGs) and the importance of the Panchayat Development Index (PDI) as a multi-dimensional assessment tool to measure progress.

Secretary Kumar stressed the need for evidence-based planning and collaboration among various stakeholders, including State Line Departments, Panchayati Raj Institutions, and others, to achieve holistic and inclusive development. He also emphasized the transformation of Rural Local Bodies and Traditional Local Bodies to prepare comprehensive Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDP) that address local aspirations and priorities.

Furthermore, Secretary Sunil Kumar emphasized the importance of meaningful and accountable Gram Sabhas, fund utilization, revenue generation by Panchayats, innovation and technology adoption, bridging the digital divide, convergence of resources, and women empowerment through Panchayat-Women Self Help Group collaboration.

Director General Dr. G. Narendra Kumar highlighted the establishment of the School of Excellence in Panchayati Raj (SoEPR) at NIRD&PR, designed to strengthen the Panchayati Raj system and provide knowledge and capacity-building support for more effective service delivery. Dr. Chandra Shekhar Kumar emphasized the increasing expectations of rural people, positioning Panchayats as drivers of rural transformation. He stressed the need for capacity-building and innovation to ensure holistic, inclusive, and sustainable development in villages.

The National Stakeholder Consultative Workshop, taking place from September 4th to 5th, 2023, will delve into topics such as Panchayat Elections, Empowerment of Gram Sabhas & Standing Committees, Panchayat Functioning, Panchayat Finances, Leadership Roles for Elected Women Representatives (EWRs), and Evidence-Based Planning. The workshop aims to encourage innovative approaches, coordination, and synergy among stakeholders to empower Panchayats and achieve sustainable development.

The event's first day witnessed active participation from Panchayat representatives, and the workshop will conclude with group presentations on each theme and an open-house session for collecting ideas and suggestions for enhancing Panchayat capabilities. This National Stakeholder Consultative Workshop represents a significant opportunity to reevaluate and prioritize commitments and goals for rural development and SDG implementation.

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