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`District Planning Committees must be made more effective'

By Our Staff Correspondent

NEW DELHI, JUNE 5. Stressing the need to make the District Planning Committees more effective, the Union Minister for Panchayati Raj, Mani Shankar Aiyar, said today that the real outcome of the present day economic reforms must be seen in the rural areas.

Releasing a book, Integrating the Rural Poor into Markets, brought out by the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies (RGICS) here today, Mr. Aiyar said that unless the DPCs — which provided a link between the urban centres and the rural hinterland — became effective, the 73rd and 74th amendments could not be implemented in letter and in spirit.

"It is unfortunate that not even a Department of Panchayati Raj was created 13th years after the amendments were passed. There has to be synergy between the urban and rural areas and this can be brought about only through the DPCs and unless these are made more effective, the concept of panchayati raj or devolution of power to the people at the grass roots cannot be implemented," he said.

The local bodies should respect the constitutional requirements and the Ministry of Panchayati Raj would assess the extent to which the amendments had been implemented by the State legislatures.

"The Ministry will also see what further steps can been taken to strengthen the panchayati raj institutions." At present, the Panchayati Raj Ministry is sharing its staff and infrastructure with the Ministry of Rural Development.

Mr. Aiyar said the Standing Committee on Urban and Rural Development of the 13th Lok Sabha was unanimous on the measures to be taken to strengthen the panchayati raj Institutions and hoped that its report would be placed before the 14th Lok Sabha.

The book has been brought out in collaboration with the India Development Foundation and International Development Enterprise, India.

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