The Union rural development ministry has stopped release of further funds to 8 states that have failed to hold elections to the panchayat raj institutions as required under the Panchayat Raj Act, imperilling the future of scores of rural development projects.
The ministry has served notices to the governments of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Rajasthan, Haryana, Bihar, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Manipur, stating that they had not held elections for the panchayats within the stipulated 6 month period after ratification of the Act by all states in April.
Action by the ministry follows a strong recommendation by the national committee of panchayat ministers which met here at the end of October. Says Rural Development minister Rameshwar Thakur, "According to the Act, funds can only be given to panchayats. Elections are mandatory to gram sabhas, panchayats and zilla parishads after stipulated intervals."
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