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Tamil Nadu to set up 600 village secretariats: CM Stalin

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin is setting up ‘Village Secretariats’ for effective implementation of various government schemes at grassroots level.

Announcing his plan and making a statement in the state Assembly on Friday, the CM said that 600 such secretariats would come up this year and that they will serve the objective of ensuring good governance in local bodies while coordinating and integrating several government schemes for effective implementation.

In Tamil, the village secretariats are called ‘Grama Seyalagangal,’ and a village secretariat is a ‘Grama Seyalagam’. The best performing village panchayats would be conferred the ‘Uthamar Gandhi Award’, from this year and one village panchayat from every district shall get a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh each.

In view of the National Panchayati Raj Day on April 24, the Chief Minister’s statement was on fresh initiatives in respect of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department. The YSR Congress government in Andhra Pradesh launched the village secretariat (Grama Sachivalayam) initiative in 2019.

The various state-run schemes include those under the departments of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Revenue, Agriculture and Social Welfare. The village secretariats would have a chamber for the village panchayat president, a conference hall, offices for the village administrative officer, village panchayat secretary and each of them would be constructed at an estimated Rs 40 lakh each. These shall have all amenities including the internet.

Taking a reference to DMK’s back-to-back victories in local civic polls, be it rural or urban, Stalin said the government would continue to perform to honour ceaselessly, the faith reposed by the people on them. Further, the CM announced an increase of five to ten times in the sitting fee of local representatives. The fee is given for participation in official meetings.

For village panchayat president and village panchayat members the hike shall be five times, while for district panchayat and panchayat union representatives, the increase would be ten times, he said.

November 1 shall be observed as ‘Local Governance Day’, according to Stalin, which will also help in creating awareness on government schemes, ensure transparency and encourage people’s participation.

Stalin said the number of meetings annually held by the Gram Sabhas would be increased to 6 from 4. Such meetings were held on Republic Day, May Day, Independence Day and on Gandhi Jayanthi. From now on, it shall also be on World Water Day (March 22) and on Local Governance Day (November 1).

The chief minister also announced that new vehicles would be purchased for chairpersons of all Panchayat Union Councils for effective monitoring of state schemes at the local level.

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