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All panchayats to get networked computers

Special Correspondent

Panchayat Raj Ministry will spend more than Rs. 1,000 crores in the next 2 years


  • 2.4 lakh panchayats to be linked with one another and with a national panchayat portal
  • To provide employment to two persons from each panchayat
  • About 35 to 40 per cent of panchayats to be computerised in the first year
  • Rs. 8,000 crores recommended for Panchayati Raj Institutions for 2000-05

    NEW DELHI: The Panchayati Raj Ministry is to spend over Rs. 1,000 crores in the next two years towards installation of computers in 2.4 lakh panchayats, interlink them with one another and also with a national panchayat portal.

    But realising that it would not be able to raise funds for this from its own resources, the Ministry is banking on the Planning Commission and the Finance Ministry.

    Empowered committee

    Besides linking rural areas, the programme would also provide employment to at least two persons from each gram panchayat who would be trained to operate the computers.

    The Ministry would soon enter into a memorandum of understanding with the State Governments, with the target of completing the work within two years. An Empowered Committee will be constituted to implement the programme and an officer of the rank of joint secretary would be designated as ex-officio director for the mission.

    This decision was taken at the meeting of the Committee of Chief Secretaries and Principal Secretaries (Panchayati Raj) of States and Union Territories here last week.

    About 35 to 40 per cent of the panchayats are likely to be computerised in the first year.

    Rough estimates made by the Ministry recommend a cap of Rs. 45,000 for every gram panchayat for the installation of the hardware component.

    The Ministry would spend Rs. 4,000 on training two individuals in every gram panchayat.

    The total expense of training 5 lakh persons, including upgradation and refresher courses over two years, would be about Rs. 100 crores.

    The Ministry is making efforts to club its computerisation programme with the Bharat Nirman project that aims at providing infrastructure in rural areas. Computerisation is an important component of the Rs. 1.74 lakh crores Bharat Nirman project initiated byPresident A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

    Chairing the meeting, Union Panchayati Raj Secretary Wajahat Habibullah asked the State Governments to expedite constitution of district planning committees (DPCs) in all districts on a priority basis.

    Funds to augment income of panchayats would be allocated to States on the recommendation of the Central Finance Commission based on the consolidated plans of DPCs, Mr. Habibullah said.

    The Eleventh Finance Commission has recommended grants of Rs. 8,000 crores for the Panchayati Raj Institutions for 2000-05, he added.

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