Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Workshop on empowering Dalits, women in Panchayats

Chandigarh: A two-days workshop on ‘Empowerment of Dalits and Women Through Reservation in Panchayati Raj Institutions' today commenced at the ICSSR North-Western Regional Centre & Ambedkar Centre, Panjab University. Dalit panches / sarpanches, including women, besides a galaxy of scholars, social activists and administrators from four states namely, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh participated. In his welcome address,

Professor K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University pointed out that statutory powers given to the people, particularly the lower sections of the society have not percolated to the people.The reasons behind this may be political, social, economic or administrative. Haryana Governor Dr A.R. Kidwai praised the radical contents of the Indian Constitution.

He revealed that there are 29 items relating to the social, economic and political life of the rural people that is to be transferred to the Panchayats under the 73rd Amendment of the Constitutions.

However, there is hardly any state that has transferred powers to the Panchayats barring a few departments. He said that unless the financial powers are decentralized and devolved onto the panchayats, they cannot improve in rural areas.

In the first technical session, four papers were read respectively by Kumar Suresh Singh from the Centre for Federal studies, Jamia University, Dr. Masood Ali Khan, Acting Director, ICSSR Southern Region, Hyderabad, Dr. Rozy Vaid from Punjab Institute of Rural Development and Mukesh Kumar, State Resource Centre, Rohtak.

The basic thrust of the papers was that though reservation has benefited the women and downtrodden in the rural areas, a lot is yet to be achieved.

Source: The Indian Express, November 30, 2004

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