Gangtok: Union Government has ranked Sikkim as the best state in the country in small states category for its outstanding performance in strengthening and developing the Panchayati Raj Institutions in the state.
Union Rural Development Minister Jai Ram Ramesh and Union Minister of Panchayati Raj and Tribal Development V. Kishore Chandra Deo presented Panchayat Empowerment And Incentivising Scheme (PEAIS) 2011-12 award to C.B. Karki, Rural Management and Development Minister, Govt. of Sikkim, at the national conference celebrating National Panchayati Raj Day at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, on Tuesday, April 24.
On the occasion, Sikkim was credited with five prestigious national awards, along with a Rs. 1.36 crore cash award for the state. B.M. Rai District President, south district, was presented best performing district award. B.B. Chamling, Sanga Dorjee received Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha award. Laxmi Prasad Sharma received award for best Gram Panchayat Unit, west district, Dhiren Gurung, panchayat sabhapati, Aritar Gram Panchayat Unit, east district, was also presented similar award.
Speaking on the occasion, RMD Minister Mr. Karki said that Sikkim will be developed as “Switzerland of the East” by developing the villages of Sikkim on the lines of the rural areas of Switzerland. He said that the state government has prepared a comprehensive and holistic plan with a framework in the form of “Village Development Action Plan” with the active assistance of Professor Bernard Dafflon, Professor of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, to achieve this objective by further strengthening the decentralisation and empowerment programmes.
He mentioned that a pilot village development action plan for Aritar Gram Panchayat Unit in east district has been prepared to realise the dream of the state government, adding, Aritar Gram Panchayat Unit has received national award for its achievements in this regard. He said that 70% of the state budget is provided for the development of the rural areas of the state for overall growth of the areas and that state government has ambitious plans to achieve “Poverty free Sikkim” goal by the year 2015 by giving highest priority to successful implementation of anti-poverty programmes and improving the quality and delivery of public services to increase rural prosperity in the state.
He said that the state government has provided substantial budgetary allocations to all. The 165 GPUs and 4 Zilla Panchayats in the state and various governement institutions have been brought under the administrative control of the GPUs to bring transparency and accountability in government schemes by giving equal opportunity to decision making process in all development activities of the villages. He noted that 145 GPUs have their own state of the art Gram Panchayat Kendras equipped with computers, village libraries and other amenities and rest 20 units will be equipped with the same facilities very shortly.
Mahila Evam Yuva Shakti Abhiyan (PMEYSA), Mr. Karki mentioned, is organising awarness programmes on various social issues like HIV/AIDS, Legal Aid, Education and Child Right, and conferences will be organised to discuss the issues concerning women representatives and youths under panchayati raj. Capacity building trainings have been imparted to all panchayat sabhapatis, sachivs and rural development assistants, besides exposure visits from time to time, he added. (With IPR input)
Courtesy English Daily “SIKKIM REPORTER”.