The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved continuation of revamped Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA) for implementation during the period from 01.04.2022 to 31.03.2026 (co-terminus with XV Finance Commission period) to develop governance capabilities of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).
The total financial outlay of the scheme is Rs.5911 crore with the Central Share of Rs.3700 crore and that of State Share of Rs.2211 crore.
Rationale of the scheme:
Mahatma Gandhi envisioned villages as mini-republics and advocated that true democracy should begin with participation from the grass-root level by the people of every village.
The 73rd Constitutional Amendment mandated the three tier Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to function as units of local self–government and envisioned a people-led development at the grass roots level.
Panchayati Raj System was mandated with the twin objectives of ensuring economic development and social justice for the people living in the rural areas.
The Union Budget 2016-17 announced the Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA) as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for building capabilities of Panchayati Raj Institutions for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Key local development challenges faced by the country viz. poverty, public health, nutrition, education, gender, sanitation, drinking water, livelihood generation, etc. are in sync with SDGs and fall within the realm of Panchayats.
The Panchayats have therefore been designated as a key player for implementation of the United Nations SDGs to be achieved by 2030.
The scheme extends to all States and UTs including non-Part IX areas where Panchayats do not exist.
Focus of the scheme:
The scheme has a focus on ensuring basic orientation training for the Elected Representatives (ERs) of Panchayats, within six months of their election and refresher training within 2 years.
RGSA will have thrust for PRI-SHG (Self-Help Group) convergence to ensure effective community mobilisation and greater public ownership of flagship programs of the government.
Use of e-governance and technology driven solutions at Panchayat level will be increased to attain administrative efficiency, improved service delivery, and greater accountability.
RGSA also aims at enhancing capabilities of Panchayats to raise their own sources of revenue.
Strengthening Gram Sabhas to function effectively as the basic forum of people’s participation is also a focus area of RGSA.
It also aims at promoting devolution of powers and responsibilities to Panchayats according to the spirit of the Constitution and Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996.