Imphal, August 06 2017: Notwithstanding a Cabinet decision adopted in 2005 to devolve powers of 15 line departments to Panchayati Raj institutions (PRIs) and urban local bodies (ULBs), no effective devolution of powers has been effected yet thereby denying benefits of development programmes and welfare schemes to the grassroots level.
On the other hand, the current term of the incumbent Zilla Parishad Members, Pradhans and Gram Panchayat members is expiring shortly and election is round the corner.
With the draw of lots for reservation of seats for women already completed, electioneering has been steadily picking up.
Though the election notification has not been issued yet, it is being speculated that the Panchayat election would be held in September.
A Cabinet meeting held on September 2, 2005 adopted a resolution to devolve effective powers of 16 line departments to PRIs and ULBs under Sections 35 and 61 of the Manipur Panchayati Raj Act 1994.
However, so far only Fisheries, Horticulture, Tribal Development, Science and Technology and Rural Development and Panchayati Raj have devolved nominal powers to PRIs and ULBs.
It is only RD&PR Department which has been transferring funds to PRIs even though the funds transferred may not be substantial.
The 16 departments which are yet to devolve effective powers to PRIs are Fisheries, Horticulture, Tribal Development, Rural Development, Science and Technology, Veterinary and Animal Husbandry, Social Welfare, Minor Irrigation, Agriculture, Industries, Cooperation, Transport, Health, Art and Culture, Family Welfare and School Education .
On the other hand, there is a vast gap between monthly honorariums given to elected Members of PRIs and Autonomous District Councils.
A Zilla Parishad Adhyaksha gets monthly honorarium of Rs 10,000 while an ADC Chairman gets Rs 14,500.
Up-Adhyaksha gets Rs 6000 while ADC Vice-Chairman gets Rs 13,000 as monthly honorarium.
A Zilla Parishad Member is given monthly honorarium Rs 4000 while an Executive Member of ADC is given Rs 11,500.
A Pradhan gets monthly honorarium of Rs 3000 whereas ADC Council Member gets Rs 10,500.
Monthly honorariums entitled to Up-Pradhan and Members of Gram Panchayats are Rs 2000 and Rs 1000 respectively.
The rates of these honorariums were fixed in 2005 and they have not been reviewed since then, added the source.
Source: The Sangai Express