Shillong, Feb 26: Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla, on Friday 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”. Birla was speaking at the the Outreach and Familiarisation Programme for the Local Bodies of the State of Meghalaya and the other North Eastern States.
Recalling the vision of Mahatma Gandhi, Lok Sabha Speaker said that when every village will be Aatmanirbhara, India will be Aatmanirbhara.
The Lok 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.
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.
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, 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 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 the 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, RameswarTeli said that Panchayat Raj Institutions and other local bodies are powerful vehicles in nation-building. He emphasised that traditional values of democracy must be preserved for further deepening of democratic ethos at grassroots levels.
Speaker, Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, 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 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 District Council Affairs Department, Government of Meghalaya LakhmenRymbui 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’.