Major highlights of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj during the year 2020.

The major highlights of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj during the year 2020 are as follows:

1. SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas)

Towards the objectives of socio-economic empowerment of the rural mass and making them self-reliant, a Central Sector Scheme, “Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas’ was launched by the Prime Minister on 24th April 2020. The scheme aims to provide the ‘record of rights’ to village household owners possessing houses in inhabited rural areas in villages and issuance of property cards to the property owners.

Pilot phase of the Scheme is being implemented during the financial year 2020-21 covering about 1 lakh villages in the States of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh and few border villages of Punjab & Rajasthan, along with establishment of 101 Continuous Operating System (CORS) stations across Punjab and Rajasthan. In the Pilot phase, distribution of Property card/title deed has already commenced in all the six selected States. The scheme will cover all remaining States/UTs by 2023-24.

As on November 2020, drone flying has been completed in 8,837 villages; out of which data processing of survey data is completed for 6,438 villages and feature extraction for 5,342 villages.


2. e-Gram Swaraj e-Financial Management System

In order to strengthen e-Governance in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), eGramSwaraj, a Simplified Work Based Accounting Application for Panchayati Raj, was launched on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day on April 24, 2020. It has been developed amalgamating the functionalities of all the applications under e-panchayat Mission Mode Project (MMP).

• e-GramSwaraj assists in enhancing the credibility of Panchayat through inducing greater devolution of funds to PRI. It brings better transparency through decentralized planning, progress reporting and work-based accounting. Furthermore, the application provides a platform for effective monitoring by higher authorities.

• In this endeavour, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj has put in place an e-Financial Management System (e-FMS) comprising of Panchayat Planning, Physical Progress, Financial Progress, and Asset Management with Local Government Directory (LGD) forming the base for such a robust system along with the Public Financial Management System (PFMS), Special Planning and Geotagging.

3. Training & Capacity Building

• The Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) is responsible for the work of advocacy, monitoring and implementation of the mandate of 73rd Amendment to the Constitution. MoPR complements the efforts of State Government towards training and capacity building of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRls) through Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Ahhiyan (RGSA). The Ministry has approved the Annual Action Plans (AAPs) of 34 States/UTs and released Rs.324.42 crore to 17 States/UTs and implementing agencies till 08.12.2020.

4. People’s Plan Campaign (PPC)- Sabki Yojana Sabka Vikas

• Inspired by the visible and quite satisfactory performance of the Gram Panchayats, Gram Sabhas and other stakeholders involved in the PPC during 2018-19 and 2019-20 and to provide sustainability to the Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) formulation process into a participative and transparent exercise, the process of GPDP preparation for the financial year 2021-22 again has started in Campaign mode from 2nd October, 2020 as PPC-2020-21. The status of PPC as on December 08/12/2020 is as under:

i. 162155 numbers (59.7%) of Gram Sabhas held

ii. 195168 numbers (78%) of Gram Sabhas Scheduled

iii. 53901 numbers (19.9%) of facilitator’s feedback received.

iv. 49114 numbers (18.1%) of GPDP Approved as per facilitator’s feedback.

v. 39 numbers of GPDPs uploaded on eGramswaraj portal

vi. 98 numbers of GPDPs in pipeline

5. AuditOnline: Online Audit of Panchayat accounts

• As a critical Institutional reform, Ministry has launched the AuditOnline application on 15th April, 2020 for carrying out online Audits of Panchayat accounts. AuditOnline not only facilitates the auditing of accounts but also provisions for maintaining audit records that have been carried out. This application also seeks to streamline the process for audit inquiries, draft local audit reports, draft audit Paras etc. One of the main unique aspect of AuditOnline; is that it is a completely configurable application i.e. the application can be modified/configured as per States ‘Audit process flow, so that the State Auditors using the application can easily carry out the audit exercise using AuditOnline.

• To begin with; it was decided to carry out the audit of Panchayat accounts for 14th Finance Commission (XIV FC) for the year 2019-20. Accordingly, States were informed that mandatory audit of at least 20% GPs need to be carried out. The accounts of Panchayats are being maintained on eGramSwaraj (erstwhile PRIASoft – accounting MIS), a work based accounting software developed under e-Panchayat Mission Mode Project. Majority of the States have adopted eGramSwaraj and have been accounting for expenditure incurred under XIV FC. Almost, all States are on-board AuditOnline to carry out audit of 20% of the GPs. Few States decided to carry out audit of more than 20% GPs viz. Telangana (40%) and UP (100%). All States are required to complete the audit process by 31st December 2020. However, from next year i.e. 2021-22; 100% GPs have to be audited using AuditOnline.

• To educate the concerned authorities about AuditOnline, several online training sessions were provided to the States, video tutorials (both in English and Hindi) were also developed which were shared with the States.

6. Geo-tagging of assets

• As a part of effective monitoring, it is imperative to have field-level monitoring of physical progress of the works. Further, supplementing to strengthening the system; geo-tagging of assets (on completion of work) is of utmost importance. Ministry has developed mActionSoft – a mobile based solution to help in capturing photos with Geo-Tags (i.e. GPS Coordinates) for the works which have asset as an output. Geo-tagging of the assets is done in at least three stages viz. (i) before start of the work, (ii) during the work and (iii) on completion of work. This would provide a repository of information on all works and assets related to natural resource management, water harvesting, drought proofing, sanitation, agriculture, check dams and irrigation channels etc. As on November 2020 around 13,49,396 photographs (cumulative count) of the assets have been created through Fourteenth Finance Commission Grants. States have also initiated Geo tagging for Fifteen Finance Commission, 13,624 photos have been uploaded across 12 States in the current year.

7. Initiative for the Gram Panchayat Spatial Development Planning

• Ministry of Panchayati Raj has taken up the initiative for the Gram Panchayat Spatial Development Planning on the pilot basis for two Gram Panchayats per institute in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal in collaboration with 17 architecture as well as engineering institutes of National repute, including IITs and NITs, spread across 14 States. This initiative was launched on 1st July 2020 in a meeting chaired by Secretary, Panchayati Raj in which these institutes and State Governments participated through video conference.

• A total of 34 Gram Panchayats have been selected for this pilot study through a consultation process with the respective institute and the Panchayati Raj Department of the State Government. National Informatics Centre (NIC) and National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) are the technology partners of the Ministry in this endeavour.

8. Role of Panchayats in combating COVID-19 Pandemic

• With active assistance of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, the Panchayats in the country have taken various mitigation / preventive measures against the COVID-19 Pandemic. Right from times of early onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the Panchayats have been on the forefront taking various preventive and protective measures. This has been illustrated during the interaction of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi with selected Sarpanchs of Gram Panchayats on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day on 24th April, 2020.

• The various initiatives employed by the Panchayats in setting up isolation centres in rural areas include development of IEC materials towards awareness creation, intensive sanitization/disinfection measures, deployment of village volunteers for COVID-19 management, enforcement of social distancing, organization of medical camps, tracking and isolating new entrants to the villages, door to door campaigns for awareness generation, hand washing campaigns, mass production of masks through SHG involvement, provision of gainful employment to returning migrant workers through involving them in Finance Commission, MGNREGS works etc.

• Since Panchayati Raj Institutions are more closely connected to the local public and better able to navigate context-specific local conditions, Ministry of Panchayati Raj roped in the nationwide network of PRIs to convince the local residents to follow the guideline of health authorities and cooperate with the frontline health workers / Corona warriors.

9. Dissemination of vital information of other Ministries/ Departments to the last mile recipients at Gram Panchayats and role of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj

• Ministry of Panchayati Raj has been supporting, encouraging and catering to the information-needs of the Panchayati Raj Institutions, especially Gram Panchayats, to play an important role on issues of national importance. A sizeable number of Gram Panchayats are covered under digital umbrella and the availability of digital infrastructure / digital backbone as well as robust and advanced IT & e-Governance infrastructure available with Gram Panchayats facilitated an outreach till the last mile and proved boon to ensure dissemination of information.

10. Finance Commission Grants to Rural Local Bodies

• The Fifteenth Finance Commission (XV FC) in its interim report for the period of FY 2020-21 has recommended grants of Rs.60,750 crore for Rural Local Bodies (RLBs). This is the highest annual allocation of Finance Commission Grants to RLBs so far. Earlier, Fourteenth Finance Commission (XIV FC) recommended an award of Rs.2,00,292.20 crore to the Gram panchayats constituted under Part IX of the Constitution for 26 States for the award period 2015-20. Non Part IX Areas where Panchayats do not exist were not recommended XIV FC Grants. Now, the XV FC Grant-in-aid will be devolved to all tiers of Panchayats including the Traditional Bodies of Non Part IX States and Fifth and Sixth Schedule areas, in 28 States.

• The Grants are provided in two parts, namely, (i) a Basic (Untied) Grant (50%) and (ii) a Tied Grant (50 %) While the basic grants are untied and can be used by RLBs for location-specific felt needs, except for salary or other establishment expenditure, the Tied Grants are earmarked for the national priority focus areas of Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation. Rs. 30,375 Crore as the first instalment each of Basic (Untied) and Tied Grants for the RLBs have already been released to the States based on the recommendation of MoPR, which have helped create infrastructure for basic services and also augment delivery of services to the rural citizens.

11. Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan (GKRA)

• Government of India had launched GKRA in six States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to provide gainful employment to the migrant labourers who had returned to their native villages due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. As a part of the Abhiyan, Ministry of Panchayati Raj undertook facilitation of two activities namely, (i) ‘Construction of Gram Panchayat Bhawans’ and (ii) ‘Works under Central Finance Commission Grants.

• The Panchayats in the 116 GKRA Districts were provisioned with the funds to the tune of Rs.9554.97 crore (unspent balance of XIV FC Grants and XV FC Untied and Tied Grants) for undertaking ‘Works under Finance Commission Grants’ in the rural areas, out of which an expenditure to the tune of Rs.5810.95 crore (60.82%) was made and 2,82,45,660 person days generated during the Abhiyan period which ended on 22.10.2020.

• Construction of a total of 1,347 new Gram Panchayat (GP) Bhawans in six GKRA States have been completed during the Abhiyan, 12,854 GP Bhawans are at different stages of construction and 35,56,809 person days of employment generated. Apart from the construction of GP Bhawans under GKRA, construction of 9 and repairing of 4480 GP Bhawans have also been approved under the scheme of RGSA during 2020-21.

12. National Panchayat Awards 2020

• Despite constraints and limitations, there are many outstanding performers among Panchayats all over the country. Thus, Ministry of Panchayati Raj has been incentivizing best performing Panchayats/States/UTs through awards and financial incentives since the year 2011 under its Incentivization of Panchayats Scheme in recognition of their good work for improving delivery of services and public goods. The awards are given on the National Panchayati Raj Day celebrated on 24thApril annually.

• National Panchayat Awards 2020 were conferred under various categories namely, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar [to 213 Panchayats in 28 States/UTs], Nanaji Deshmukh Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar (to 27 Gram Panchayats in 27 States/UTs), Gram Panchayat Development Plan Award (to 28 Gram Panchayats in 28 States/UTs), Child-friendly Gram Panchayat Award (to 30 Gram Panchayats in 30 States/UTs) and e-Panchayat Puraskar (8 States).

• For National Panchayat Awards 2021 (Appraisal year 2019-20) online nominations for all three tiers of Panchayati Raj Institutions have been invited from State Governments/Union Territory (UT) Administrations under the four categories namely, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar, Nanaji Deshmukh Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar, Gram Panchayat Development Plan Award and Child-friendly Gram Panchayat Award. (Source: pib)

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