Rural Dept to seek 10 per cent more share from panchayats - ECAS Punjab

Rural Dept to seek 10 per cent more share from panchayats

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Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9

The cash-strapped Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Department will be demanding an additional 10 per cent contribution from all panchayats in the state. This money is to be used for regularly paying the salaries of panchayat secretaries.

Till now, the panchayats have been contributing 20 per cent of their income to 150 block samitis in the state. An additional 10 per cent being demanded from the 13,262 panchayats in Punjab would hit them hard.

Notably, block samitis employ 1,700 panchayat secretaries. However, the income of block samitis has failed to rise in accordance with their committed expenditure. As a result, the panchayat secretaries do not get their salaries on time and a huge backlog in the payment of salaries has built up over the past years. "We want to ensure that the panchayat secretaries' salaries are paid on time. Though these secretaries are appointed by the state government, their salaries are paid by the block samitis. Over the past couple of months, the samitis are themselves facing financial crunch. Thus, we have proposed that all panchayats contribute 30 per cent of their income to the samiti, instead of 20 per cent contributed till recently," Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa told The Tribune.

Sukhpal Singh Gill, president of Panchayat Secretary Union, Punjab, said there is mismanagement of funds that reach the block samitis by some unscrupulous block development officers. "They do not use the funds as per budgeted expenditure and violate government directions by over-spending on unnecessary things. This creates a backlog in payment of salaries," he said, adding that they did not get their salaries for six months at a stretch till March this year.

from The Tribune

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