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Centre may starve Telangana gram panchayats of funds

Centre may starve Telangana gram panchayats of funds
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The Centre may hold back release of funds as per the guidelines of the 14th Finance Commission to the gram panchayats of the state as elections to...

Hyderabad: The Centre may hold back release of funds as per the guidelines of the 14th Finance Commission to the gram panchayats of the state as elections to elect new bodies have not been held. The elections to the gram panchayats (GPs) should have been conducted before August 2 of this year as the term of the previous panchayat bodies has ended on August 1. Unless the election is completed, there is no possibility of GPs getting funds from the Centre.

This would virtually make the panchayats penny less after the available funds are exhausted and they would not be in a position even to maintain minimum services in villages.According to sources, the Centre has imposed condition on the states that the Central Finance Commission funds would be released only if the elected bodies are in place. "It has held back the funds in 2013 and forced the state government to hold the elections. Though the term of the elected bodies has ended in 2011, the government did not hold the elections till 2013," the source said.

The same is expected to repeat this year if the elections are not held to the GPs. The Centre would hold back the second installment of the grants to the GPs which have to be released after October. Most of the old GPs of the state are surviving with the funds being given through the 14th Finance Commission. From the 14th Finance Commission period, the Centre has been releasing funds directly to the GPs.

They are able to pay salaries of the employees, maintain services and to take up development activities.
Through the 14th Finance Commission, each GP would get funds at the rate of Rs 240 per person. The GPs have been getting about Rs 6 lakh per annum from the Centre.

In the absence of funds from the state government they have been using these funds for their survival. However, release of even these funds are in a doubt as the elections are not held. The elections to the GPs have been stayed by the High Court for enumeration of BC voters category wise. The state government has the responsibility of the enumeration.

"Unless the government completes the enumeration of BC voters through BC Commission or through any other authority, it would not be possible to hold the elections," an official said.

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