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.
Components of the scheme
The scheme consists of Central and State Components:
- The Central component comprises
- National level activities viz. National Plan for Technical Assistance in collaboration with academic institutions/ institutions of excellence for various activities of Capacity Building & Training (CB&T) for PRIs,
- Mission Mode Project (MMP) on e-Panchayat and
- Incentivization of Panchayats.
- The State component relates to
- Activities to be undertaken by State Governments for CB&T
- Strengthening of Gram Sabhas in PESA areas,
- Distance Learning Facility,
- Support for Innovations,
- Technical support to PRIs,
- Other activities for strengthening of Panchayats.
Why in News?
- During the current financial year, Annual Action Plans of 33 States/ Union Territories (UTs) have been approved under RGSA and an amount of Rs. 547.411 crore has been released to 23 States/ UTs for undertaking approved activities including Capacity Building & Training of ERs and other stakeholders. Nearly 25,75,636 participants have been trained during the current financial year.