A year of Congress triumph and MNS rise:
It was a 'double triumph' for Congress in Maharashtra in 2009
as it not only decimated the BJP-Shiv Sena combine in the Lok Sabha
elections, but also won a third term in the state with its ally
2009: An eventful year for Maharashtra
Raj institutions completing 50 years of inception, year 2009 which
is also being observed as 'Year of the Gram Sabha', saw the Ministry
of Panchayati Raj crossing several landmarks of which UPA-II rolling
the red carpet to the process of further empowering women by
initiating the process to offer them 50 per cent reservation.
Touted as ''the
greatest experiment in democracy ever undertaken anywhere in the
word at any time in history'', the move to emancipate and empower
2.52 lakh grassroots institutions of the country inched towards
realising the nation's constitutional spirit of devolving ultimate
powers to Panchayats in planning of economic development and social
justice of the people at large.
Ministry made several other strides during the year 2009 to achieve
the goal of implementing schemes of economic and social development
via panchayats in such a way that they function as ''units of
On January 16,
during a two-day National Conference of Chairpersons/CEOs of
District Planning Committees, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said,
''Every plan must start with a vision and it is important for us to
look at what our collective vision ought to be. To my mind, the most
important issues before us are to meet the challenge of reducing
inequity and inequality. Following the envisioning process, a plan
will need to emerge from the Gram Sabha at village level upwards.''
This led to
substantive increase in government allocation to Centrally Sponsored
Schemes (CSS), with NREGA at the forefront that accounts for nearly
Rs 85,000 crores.
In order to
provide a completely fresh boost to the Local Governments (LGs),
then Minister of Panchayati Raj and Development of North-East Region
Mani Shankar Aiyar got a two-day 'National Consultation - Academics
for Panchayati Raj' seminar organised on February 25, which
deliberated upon issues relating to effective implementation of
Panchayati Raj in the country.
seminar on 'Findings of Nationwide Survey on Elected Women
Representatives in Panchayats', called to promote a dialogue between
intellectuals and experts engaged in the field of Panchayati Raj and
its working and the women representatives of panchayats functioning
at the grassroots level on March 2, Mr Aiyer informed about
political and social empowerment of women during panchayat elections
with 12 lakh Women Representatives of panchayats getting elected,
and which was without a parallel anywhere in the world.
Besides, this year
the Panchayat Empowerment & Accountability Incentive Scheme (PEAIS),
aimed at encouraging States for adequately empowering the Panchayati
Raj Institutions (PRIs) and putting in place arrangements for
bringing about accountability of the PRIs, was reinforced with an
annual provision of Rs 10 crore and which saw Madhya Pradesh, West
Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala being awarded with Rs 1.50 crore each
for their outstanding work.