Bihar mukhiyas to get smartphones, Internet-savvy assistants to improve work efficiency

Move will cut frequent travel to government offices to get schemes sanctioned and will improve monitoring, says Panchayati Raj minister

By Alok Gupta
Published: Friday 30 May 2014

Mukhiyas in Bihar have a key role in implementing welfare schemes like MGNREGA and PDS (photo by Meeta Ahlawat)

Village heads or mukhiyas in Bihar would be provided with Android-based smartphones along with a personal executive trained in operating laptops. The gadgets would be provided to speed up sanction and monitoring of schemes.

Each mukhiya will get Rs 8,000 to purchase a smartphone. District magistrates have been given the responsibility of selecting personal assistants for village heads who have sound knowledge of operating laptops and are skilled at using Internet.

Bhim Singh, the state Panchayati Raj minister, said that the move is aimed at speeding up implementation of government schemes. “It takes a long time for an official letter to reach a village. With the help of assistants, mukhiyas can regularly update administration about status of schemes in villages,” he added.
Priyadarshini Shahi, president of Bihar State Mukhiya Association, says equipping mukhiyas with smart phones and assistants will improve efficiency in grassroots governanceThere are some 8,402 mukhiyas in Bihar; they have powers to sanction schemes costing Rs 80 lakh to Rs 1crore, depending on the population of the panchayat. The mukhiya is a key person who ensures implementation of key schemes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS), Indira Awas Yojana (IAY), Public Distribution Service (PDS) and construction of schools and roads.
The state will spend around Rs 90.74 crore for annual payment to personal assistants and a sum of Rs 6.72 crore for one time purchase of cell phones. Apart from cell phones and laptops, it will be ensured that personal assistants have Internet connection.

Senior officials of Panchayati Raj department claimed that move will improve communication between government departments and village heads.
At present, mukhiyas are entitled to a monthly salary of Rs 1,200, daily allowance of 200 and Rs 10 per km for travel. “Earlier, mukhiyas had to make frequent tours to Patna for sanction of schemes. Mobile phones and laptops will curb their frequent travel,” Bhim Singh said.
Priyadarshini Shahi, president of Bihar State Mukhiya Association, has welcomed the move. “This is a positive step towards improving governance at the grassroots,” he said.
The scheme would be implemented from next month. Bihar is the lone state in the country that has brought mukhiyas into the ambit of e-governance.


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