The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today has approved the continuation of a 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 of the state share of Rs.2211 crore.
Major impact including employment generation potential
The approved scheme of RGSA will help more than 2.78 lakh Rural Local Bodies including traditional bodies across India to develop governance capabilities to deliver on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through inclusive local governance with a focus on optimum utilisation of available resources. The key principles of SDGs, i.e. leaving no one behind, reaching the farthest first and universal coverage, along with gender equality will be embedded in the design of all capacity building interventions including trainings, training modules and materials. Priority will be given to subjects of national importance principally under themes, namely: (i) Poverty free and enhanced livelihood in villages, (ii) Healthy village, (iii) Child-friendly village, (iv) Water sufficient village, (v) Clean and green village, (vi) Self-sufficient infrastructure in the village, (vii) Socially secured village, (viii) Village with good governance and (ix) Engendered development in the village.
As gram panchayats have representation of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and women, and are institutions closest to the grassroots, strengthening panchayats will promote equity and inclusiveness along with social justice and economic development of the community. Increased use of e-governance by PRIs will help achieve improved service delivery and transparency. The scheme will strengthen gram sabhas to function as effective institutions with social inclusion of citizens particularly the vulnerable groups. It will establish the institutional structure for capacity building of PRIs at the national, state and district level with adequate human resources and infrastructure.
Panchayats will progressively be strengthened through incentivisation on the basis of nationally important criteria to recognise the roles of panchayats in the attainment of SDGs and to inculcate the spirit of healthy competition.
No permanent post will be created under the scheme but need-based contractual human resources may be provisioned for overseeing the implementation of the scheme and providing technical support to states and union territories for achieving goals under the scheme.
Number of beneficiaries
Around 60 lakh elected representatives, functionaries and other stakeholders of Rural Local Bodies including traditional bodies across the country will be direct beneficiaries of the scheme.
The revamped Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan will comprise Central and state components. The Central components of the scheme will be fully funded by the Government of India. The funding pattern for state components will be in the ratio of 60:40 among Centre and states respectively, except NE, hilly states and union territory of J&K where Central and state share will be 90:10. However, for other UTs, the Central share will be 100 per cent.
The implementation and monitoring of the activities of the scheme will broadly be aligned for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Panchayats are the focal points for all the developmental activities and implementation of schemes of various ministries, departments and state governments to achieve SDGs.
Ministry under revamped Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan will shift its focus toward capacitating the elected representatives of PRIs for leadership roles to develop an effective third tier of Government to enable them to deliver on the localisation of SDGs.
The scheme will also converge capacity building initiatives of other ministries and departments for the attainment of SDGs. The sector enablers of Rural Local Bodies including traditional bodies to be included in training programmes of different ministries and departments, imparting training to the functionaries and other stakeholders in their respective domains.
The revised RGSA will recognise the roles of gram panchayats in attainment of SDGs and to inculcate the spirit of healthy competition. A greater role for the nodal ministries in the assessment of performance of panchayats and sponsoring of awards in the corresponding areas envisioned.
It will provide in-depth analysis, evidence-based research studies and evaluation will be carried in the fields related to PRIs. Activities related to awareness generation, sensitising rural masses, and disseminating government policies and schemes through electronic, print, social and conventional media will be undertaken.
Implementation strategy and targets
The Central and state governments will take action for completing the activities approved for their respective roles. The state governments will formulate their Annual Action Plans for seeking assistance from the Central government as per their priorities and requirement. The scheme will be implemented in a demand-driven mode.
This scheme will extend to all states and UTs of the country and will also include institutions of rural local government in non-Part IX areas, where panchayats do not exist.
The then Finance Minister, in his budget speech for 2016-17, announced the launch of a new restructured scheme of Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA), for developing governance capabilities of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In compliance with this announcement and the recommendations of the committee under the chairmanship of the Vice Chairman-NITI Aayog, Centrally sponsored scheme of RGSA was approved by the Union Cabinet on 21.04.2018 for implementation from Financial Year 2018-19 to 2021-22 (01.04.2018 to 31.03.2022).
Third-party evaluation of RGSA undertaken during 2021-22. The evaluation report appreciated the interventions made under RGSA scheme and recommended its continuation for strengthening of PRIs. Further, CB&T is a continuous process, as every five years a majority of panchayat representatives are elected as fresh entrants, required to be capacitated in terms of knowledge, awareness, attitude, and skills to perform their roles in local governance. Therefore, imparting basic orientation and refresher trainings to them is an inescapable requirement for equipping them to discharge their mandated functions efficiently and effectively. Hence, the proposal for the continuation of revamped RGSA was prepared for implementation during the period from 01.04.2022 to 31.03.2026.
Details and progress of scheme if already running
The main Central components were the incentivisation of panchayats and mission mode project on e-panchayat including other activities at Central level. The state component primarily includes CB&T activities, institutional mechanism for CB&T along with other activities at a limited scale.
Under RGSA including incentivisation of panchayats and mission mode project on e-panchayat, an amount of Rs.2,364.13 crore released to the states, UTs, panchayats and other implementing agencies from 2018-19 to 2021-22 (as on 31.03.2022).
Around 1.36 crore elected representatives, functionaries and other stakeholders of PRIs received various and multiple trainings under the scheme during 2018-19 to 2021-22 (as on 31.03.2022).
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