The Panchayat office in Bhadrachalam
The Panchayat office in Bhadrachalam

Kothagudem: Days of spouses of female sarpanches wielding authority in lieu of their wives could soon be over with the Centre proposing to fix SSC as the minimum qualification for the sarpanch post and the State government agreeing to the proposal. Therefore, the rule is likely to be in force by next panchayat elections.

The qualification has been fixed to ensure sarpanches have clear understanding of funding and people’s problems. To solve people’s problems weighing various pros and cons understanding of rules, SSC qualification will be helpful.  It would help the sarpanch solve problems independently.

In fact, 80 per cent of the 205 sarpanches are literates. Of them, only 40 per cent have the SSC qualification.
Criticism is that at several places the near and dear of the sarpanch are wielding the authority. At other places, problems are cropping up because of the illiteracy of the sarpanches.

District panchayat officials submitted proposals to convert 138 tribal thandas each with a population of over 600 into panchayats. If the proposal is cleared, election would have to be held to the new panchayats.

Sarpanches Association state secretary Dharavat Chandu Naik described fixing the SSC qualification for sarpanches as a welcome measure.

It would enable them to function more proactively. Moreover, the qualified sarpanches would be able to question inconsistencies and irregularities noticed, if any.

For want of proper awareness, sarpanches finding themselves in a sticky situation in administrative matters, especially in case of fund embezzlement.

Bhadradri-Kothagudem district panchayat officer Ashalata said the SSC qualification would enable sarpanches to function independently and ensure fruits of development reach the villages fast.