Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 5:
The Gram Swaraj Abhijan, Odisha, a forum committed to empower the citizens to actively participate in the decision making process and strengthen the grass roots democratic institutions across the state, is organizing a state level convention on August 9, Saturday, at Jayadev Bhawan (Soochana Bhawan), Bhubaneswar to take an overview of the functioning of the Panachayati Raj system in Odisha and prepare a road map for effective participation of the elected panchayat members and empowerment of the people at the grassroots through the Gram Sabha and Palli Sabha.
In a press note issued today, the convenor of the Gram Swaraj Abhijan Odisha Shankar Parida said, ” Even after 22 years of enactment of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, the Panchayati Raj system in Odisha is running in a pitiable manner. Till date the people and elected panchayat representatives are not aware about their powers and functions and the meetings of Palli Sabha and Gram Sabha in almost all cases are held on pen and paper only. The people are neither empowered to participate effectively in decision making process, nor the decisions taken at the Palli Sabha and Gram Sabha levels are recognized and respected. Despite the constitutional powers and authority mandated under 73rd CAA, the ground reality present a very dismal scenario. Gradually the powers are being centralized with MLAs and MPs and PRIs are getting weakened.”
It is against this backdrop, that the Gram Swaraj Abhijan, Odisha is organizing the day-long program on August 9, Bhubaneswar, he said, adding, the key objective is to provide political education to people and help them understand the powers and authority of Palli Sabha and Gram Sabha and make the Panchayati Raj system function effectively in the state.
In addition to this, effort would also be made to address the policy gaps at the state level, Parida noted.
Elected panchayat representatives, villagers, former bureaucrats, social activists, civil society actors, media persons, intellectuals, students and others will take part in the deliberations, he said.