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Lok Satta founder bats for empowerment of local government
Development strategies should be tailored to suit the local resources, conditions and context, Lok Satta founder Jaya Prakash Narayan has said.
Delivering the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Memorial Lecture on ‘development of backward regions’ organised by Dr. YSR Smaraka Committee, here on Monday, Dr. Jaya Prakash Narayan, who is also the general secretary of Foundation of Democratic Reform, said that the north coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam, and Rayalaseema region districts constitute have been suffering from underdevelopment.
Throwing light on the issue, Mr. Narayan said the reasons for backwardness of the two regions were different.
“The north coastal Andhra Pradesh region receives high average annual rainfall of 1,165 mm, while Rayalaseema witnesses a rainfall of 714 mm. Despite the difference in agro-climatic conditions, both the regions re main relatively backward in terms of human development and economic indicators,” he said.
The most important strategy to promote development in the two regions would be granting autonomy and facilitating local empowerment and accountability. Creation of regional councils under the supervision of the government, introduction of district budgets to ensure accountability and allowing of local governments to take decisions could go a long way in ensuring balanced development of the State, Mr. Narayan observed.
“At least 25 % of the State budget should be earmarked for local governments. A strong and independent Ombudsman, under Lokayukta’s supervision, is needed to ensure that grievances are redressed, complaints investigated and corrupt employees and political leaders be punished,” he said.
A system of power with accountability would yield rich dividends in regional and local development.
Simultaneously strong citizens’ charters with legally defined time frames for service delivery, and penalties for delay will ensure accountability, he added.
Further, the Lok Satta founder underlined the need for the State government to prevail upon the Union government for immediate release of the special development package announced to the two backward regions in the State.
Former Minister and Uttarandhra Charcha Vedika convener Konathala Ramakrishna presided over the meeting.
Courtesy: The Hindu