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Rs 1000cr panchayat funds

New Delhi, April 3: The cash-starved panchayati raj ministry, which has been getting less than Rs 300 crore in the Union budget every year since its creation in 2004 to manage the 2.7 lakh panchayati raj institutions, is set to become richer by about Rs 1,000 crore this year.

The Union ministry of rural development has decided to set aside one per cent of its allocation of Rs 99,000 crore to strengthen the panchayati raj institutions.

Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh has conveyed this to Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia and panchayati raj minister V.K.C. Deo.

There are nearly 2.65 lakh gram panchayat offices and 8,000 blocks in the country.

“We only worship panchayati raj institution. We do not give it money. We only do mangala aarati. If we do not build the capacity of panchayati raj institutions, how do we expect the government programmes to be implemented properly?” Ramesh said.

He said capacity building includes providing logistics and training to the panchayati raj institutions and officials.