Monday, April 27, 2009

Goa govt's fixes criteria for rich and weak panchayats

The Goa government has diluted the criteria to classify panchayats as rich and thereby opened the windows for more panchayats to comer under the ambit of the weaker panchayats to enable them to avail of the government schemes of financial grants..

Panchayats with an annual income of Rs 10 lakh are now considered as the richer panchayats and therefore are now out of the government aid package except the matching grants on tax collection. Under the revised scheme, the government of Goa released Rs 203 lakhs around March 2009 to the weaker panchayats to  pay their salaries of the staff.

However the above criteria have hit some panchayats who are close to the 10 lakh figure but whose salaries and pending bills of contractors make them difficult to take up any developmental or maintenance works in the village. This has prompted the government to establish a new set of guidelines to clarify the richness of a panchayat more accurately.

The method adopted is to first consider the panchayats annual income. Then it will deduct the cost of the panchayats administrative expenses and the salary component of the staff and only if there is a surplus balance would the panchayat be considered as a rich panchayat. However the Panchayats are required to submit their audited reports to the government every year to enable them to evaluate their financial position.

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