Friday, December 23, 2011

Grama sabhas must play key role in revitalising society: Chandy

by Staff Reporter

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has stressed the need to strengthen the efficiency of the grama sabhas so as to help them play their critical role in revitalising society.

Inaugurating the State level inauguration of the training programme organised by Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA) for grama sabha members at his home ward, Ward 16 of Puthuppally grama panchayat on Saturday, Mr. Chandy said the grama sabhas have a two-pronged role to play: one, to fill the vacuum left by the disintegration of the joint families and two, to act as a catalyst for development and growth at the grassroots level.

However, to play these roles effectively, it was imperative that these grassroots level bodies were kept out of politicking. “Today, while most of the grama sabhas have a lifeless existence, many are venues for cornering the respective grama panchayat members or making undeserving gains,” he said.

The disintegration of joint families has thrown up a host of social ills as some of the issues effectively handled by the system are now left without any mechanism to address them. “Now we do not know what is happening in our neighbourhood and have lost the inclination to share,” he said. One of the key reasons for the increasing social ills like suicides, disruption of families, decline in values, is the big vacuum left by the disintegration of the old system and the failure of any new structure to take over it. The grama sabhas are one such mechanism which would be able to fill this vacuum, he said.

Secondly, the grama sabhs provide a platform for people's participation in deciding the development and growth at the local level. Being the basic unit of participatory democracy, the vibrancy of the grama sabhas is essential for the vitality of the panchayati raj system, he said.

According P.P. Balan, director, KILA, over 38 lakh people in 19,255 wards would be trained during the one-month period. The programme has been designed to give a fillip to the functioning of the grama sabhas by ensuring effective people's participation, their effective intervention in administrative and developmental issues, and to create the right attitude among the people.

“Increased intervention from the people will make the local self-governments more transparent and efficient,” he said.

The Chief Minister also released the handbook for grama sabha members, prepared by KILA. Jessymol Manoj, president, Puthuppally grama panchayat, chaired the session. Valsmamma Mani, member of Ward 16 (Angadi) welcomed the gathering.

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