Vijayawada: The state government on Tuesday enhanced incentives for the unanimous election of sarpanches and ward members in gram panchayats.
With Opposition parties raising a hue and cry against unanimous elections, dubbing them as acts of coercion by the ruling party, the state government sought to clarify that successive governments have been incentivising the display of unity by the villagers by electing their representatives unopposed.
Appealing to all stakeholders to strive for unanimous elections as they are being held on non-party basis to preserve peace and harmony in the villages, panchayat raj minister P. Ramachandra Reddy told mediapersons that it would be prudent to encourage unanimous elections so that the political interference would be reduced, chances of violence would be decreased and peace and harmony would exist in the villages.
Ramachandra Reddy said in 2001, villages with a population up to 5,000 were awarded Rs 15,000, villages with a population between 5,000 and 15,000 were given Rs 30,000 and Rs 50,000 was given for villages with population above 15,000
In 2008, gram panchayats with population up to 15,000 were rewarded with Rs 5 lakh and those having population of above 15,000 were given Rs 15 lakh. In 2013, it was increased to Rs 7 lakh and Rs 20 lakh respectively.
Mr Ramchandra Reddy said under the leadership of Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, panchayat raj Act was amended and the incentives were increased. Gram panchayats with a population less than 2,000 will be awarded Rs 5 lakh, those with a population between 2,000 and 5,000 will be given Rs 10 lakh, gram panchayats with a population between 5,000 and 10,000 will be awarded Rs 15 lakh and those with population above 10,000 will be given Rs 20 lakh.
Municipal administration minister Botsa Satyanarayana said the government has increased the incentives to strengthen the administration at village level with an aim to develop the villages. He said some vested interests are trying to create conflicts among people by encouraging factions in the villages while the state government has been delivering governance with welfare and development as a motto.
The state government is of the opinion that if the elections to gram panchayats are held on a party basis, there is a possibility that the political rivalry, enmity and intense animosity may grow among the competing parties resulting in hampering harmony and speedy development of villages.
Moreover, states like Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana and Punjab are having election to gram panchayats on a non-political party basis while some states even adopted innovative methods to encourage party-less and unanimous election to gram panchayats similar on lines of AP. By doing so, the state government intends to facilitate concentrating the energies of the gram panchayats to take up development works in the villages for the benefit of the people....