Ranchi, Oct. 15: The agriculture department today became the first state government wing to delegate financial and administrative powers to panchayati raj institutions, about two years after the Arjun Munda government conducted rural polls in Jharkhand.
Defining the jurisdictions of elected village bodies, the state cabinet made it clear that they would be in charge of distribution of seeds, fertiliser, foodgrain, agriculture loans, agricultural equipment and Kisan credit cards, and selection of beneficiaries of different government-sponsored schemes. The onus of execution, monitoring and supervision of various agriculture schemes will also rest on them.
At present, blocks and local co-operative societies undertake these works.
The rural institutions have also been empowered to appoint jan sevaks, assess work done by them, sanction their leaves, take disciplinary actions — including transfers within the block — prepare annual character report, undertake publicity of different schemes, organise seminars and symposiums et al.
Hailing the development as a landmark step to augment farm production in the state, agriculture secretary Arun Kumar Singh said: “It will boost planning work at the grass-roots level. Villagers can now embark on preparing action plans. The state government will work accordingly.”
Many other departments like rural development, rural works, national rural employment programme (special divisions), water resources, human resource development and health are also in the line for transferring power to panchayati raj bodies in the coming days.
In another development, the ongoing indefinite strike by land revenue department officials is likely to end soon with the cabinet accepting the main demands of agitating employees.
They will be given the benefits of two assured career promotion. Salaries will also shoot up to Rs 5,000-8,000 per month after they are promoted to ranks of circle inspectors and Rs 6,500-10,500 on being promoted to assistant settlement officers. At present, the employees are entitled to a pay scale of Rs 3,200-4,300.
Cabinet co-ordination department’s principal secretary N.N. Pandey, however, clarified that only graduate employees would be entitled to promotions to the posts of assistant settlement officers.
Dearness allowance of state government employees has been revised from existing 65 per cent to 72 per cent after the Central government gave a hike of 7 per cent to its employees recently.
Beneficiaries of pension and family pension schemes too will be entitled to revised DA rates. The new DA rate will be effective from July 1, 2012.
Retired teachers and employees of BAU will get pension benefits according to recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, effective since January 1, 2006. Most of them are already availing revised pension since April 1, 2010. The arrears will be given to them in two equal instalments in the current and next fiscals.