Manmohan Singh for strengthening 'Panchayati Raj' institutions

New Delhi, Apr. 24 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Wednesday called for a further strengthening of 'Panchayati Raj' institutions across the country.

In his address on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Divas - 2013 here, Dr. Singh said the UPA Government has allocated over Rs.6400 crore rupees in the 12th Five-Year Plan for Panchayats, which is about ten times higher than the allocation made in the 11th Five-Year-Plan.

Expressing hope that states will make full utilization of the allocated money for strengthening local self-government institutions, Dr. Singh assured all possible central assistance to the states to make development process more inclusive and sustainable.

Dr. Singh asked the various state governments to ensure that decentralization of power under 'Panchayati Raj' system becomes a reality and elected representatives get their powers and responsibilities in real sense of the term.

Stating that participation of local people has increased in panchayats, Dr. Singh expressed satisfaction that the people have become more aware about politics by strengthening the panchayat.

He said that 15 states have reserved 50 percent seats for women in panchayats, which have helped more than a million women to get elected to the local bodies. (ANI)