DISTRICT COUNCILS, WHICH FUNCTION AS MINI LEGISLATIVE BODIES, SHOULD ENSURE EXECUTIVE ACCOUNTABILITY: LOK SABHA SPEAKER
ACT EAST POLICY HAS OPENED UP IMMENSE POSSIBILITIES FOR DEVELOPMENT OF THE NORTH EAST: SHRI OM BIRLA
SHRI BIRLA CALLS FOR USE OF ICT AND INNOVATION TOOLS IN LOCAL BODIES TO MAKE THEIR ADMINISTRATION MORE TRANSPARENT AND ACCOUNTABLE
LOK SABHA SPEAKER URGES STAKEHOLDERS OF DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS TO SOLVE ALL PROBLEMS CONSTRUCTIVELY THROUGH DISCUSSION AND DIALOGUE.
NATIONAL INTEGRATION IS THE CORE VALUE THAT WE MUST ALL PRIORITISE IN OUR THINKING AND ACTIONS: CHIEF MINISTER, MEGHALAYA
Shillong, 26 February, 2021: Lok Sabha Speaker, Shri Om Birla, who arrived in Shillong on 25 February 2021, inaugurated the Outreach and Familiarisation Programme for the Local Bodies of the State of Meghalaya and the other North Eastern States today.
Dr. Conrad K. Sangma, Chief Minister, Meghalaya; Shri Rameshwar Teli, Union Minister of State, Ministry of Food Processing Industries; Shri Metbah Lyngdoh, Speaker, Meghalaya Legislative Assembly and Shri Lakhmen Rymbui, Minister for District Council Affairs Department, Government of Meghalaya also graced the function.
Inaugurating the programme, Lok Sabha Speaker Shri Om Birla said that the broad objective of the Programme is to ensure that accountability of the executive is not only ensured in Parliament and Assemblies but at the grassroots level also. In this regard, Shri Birla stressed that Autonomous District Councils which function as mini legislative bodies should ensure executive accountability through discussions and dialogue.
Shri Birla observed that initiatives like “Vocal for Local” will boost local area development. He felt that Aatmanirbhara Bharat can only be possible when we opt for “Vocal for Local”. Recalling the vision of Mahatma Gandhi, Lok Sabha Speaker said that when every village will be Aatmanirbhara, India will be Aatmanirbhara. The Speaker also said that our Act East policy has opened up immense possibilities for the development of the North East and North Eastern States should tap the opportunities to the maximum.
Shri Birla called for extensive use of ICT and innovation tools in local bodies to make their administration more transparent, accountable and accessible. The Speaker further said that panchayati raj institutions and District Councils should deliberate upon developmental programmes encompassing concepts of inclusive growth, co-operation and collectivism and address the issues facing people.
Highlighting the imperative of balancing regional aspirations and national integration, Shri Birla said that both are important for strengthening our democracy. He urged the stakeholders of democratic institutions to solve all problems constructively through discussion and dialogue.
Observing that national integration is the core value that we must all prioritise in our thinking and actions, Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr. Conrad K. Sangma emphasised on the need for funding to District Councils under Finance Commission devolution, inclusion of District Councils under Anti-Defection law, inclusion of Khasi, Garo and other languages in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution, inclusion of information on North Eastern tribes and culture in national syllabus for school children and setting up of a Presidential Retreat in the North-East. He thanked Lok Sabha Speaker for having decided to hold the Programme in Shillong and providing opportunities to the representatives of local bodies in Meghalaya and other North Eastern States to share their experiences.
Union Minister of State, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Shri Rameswar Teli said that Panchayat Raj Institutions and other local bodies are powerful vehicles in nation-building. He emphasized that traditional values of democracy must be preserved for further deepening of democratic ethos at grassroots levels.
Speaker, Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, Shri Metbah Lyngdoh stressed on the importance of maximising self-governance to not only empower people but also to take governance to the doorsteps of the last mile of the population. He also emphasized on the empowering PRIs and ADCs at the grassroots level so that the grievances and aspirations of the people could be accommodated in deliberations of such bodies.
Minister for District Council Affairs Department, Government of Meghalaya Shri Lakhmen Rymbui was of the view that strong democratic institutions of governance are at the centre of development. He hoped that the Outreach Programme would prove to be immensely beneficial for the representatives of local bodies in Meghalaya and other North-Eastern States.
The inaugural function was followed by panel discussions on the following themes: (i) Indian Parliament and Grass Root level Institutions: Potential and Challenges – Stepping stone towards leadership; (ii) Leadership of Local bodies for the tribal welfare in the North Eastern States, and (iii) Natural resources of North Eastern States and role of local and traditional bodies in preservation and conservation.
Around 115 Members of the Local Bodies of North Eastern States, including Meghalaya, physically attended the above-mentioned programme. In addition, a large of participants from all of the North Eastern States were connected to the programme ‘online via weblink’.
The Programme concluded with the Valedictory Session today.
The Outreach Programme is a unique initiative of the Lok Sabha Speaker Shri Om Birla to bring about the good governance in the of the local bodies across India. The focus is on enhancing participatory democracy through greater awareness of the procedures and processes followed by democratic institutions functioning at various levels from the grassroots to the apex level. The first such Outreach Programme, organized in Dehradun on 08th January 2021, was physically attended by 445 Panchayat representatives and approximately 40,000 Panchayat Representatives & officials were also connected to the programme ‘online via weblink’.
Later, Shri Birla addressed the Press.
Earlier on 25 February 2021, Shri Birla had addressed the Members of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Birla said that democratic institutions, from Parliament to State Legislatures and Local Bodies should work in harmony and share their best practices for greater efficacy. He emphasized that democracy can be successful only when it benefits the last person standing on the periphery. He emphasised that dialogue, debate and discussion are the tools to achieve the above end.
Recalling the legislative business transacted in Lok Sabha during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Speaker said that Parliament sent a positive message to people and enhanced their confidence by transacting business amidst the pandemic. He also lauded the positive role played by the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly during the pandemic.
Shri Om Birla also visited the construction site of the new building of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly and assured that all possible support and assistance would be provided to the Assembly by the Parliament in this regard.