DDC Chairpersons sore about ”bureaucratic apathy”


Once more, Chairpersons of District Development Councils are up in arms against the alleged bureaucratic indifference and non- redressing of their genuine demands. In order to run the District Development Councils (DDCs) smoothly, the demand has been raised for a dedicated Finance Commission for financial needs of the Panchayat Raj Institutions. In this connection, there can be no two opinions about some problems really being faced by the DDCs in running the Councils properly but sweeping and generalising those in respect of all Councils especially regarding alleged non- cooperative attitude by the administration cannot simply be in place except probably in rare cases which needs to be addressed properly. That is primarily because more emphasis is being laid on strengthening such grass root democratic institutions by the UT Government and if there are specific instances where some bureaucratic steadfastness proves as a stumbling block in the pursuit of having respective district areas developed properly, why should they not be sorted out well in time? In this connection, any effort and for that matter raising any genuine demand by the DDCs for better functioning and to being in a position to fulfil the developmental aspirations of the people in respect of their areas must be properly addressed by the Government. For being more responsive to the public needs and to be in a position to address their area-wise problems, the DDC Chairpersons having sought certain powers to be conferred on them while meeting the Lieutenant Governor in a deputation recently, needed to be considered favourably. The main problem which irks most of the DDCs is the alleged overlapping of responsibilities which though last time, when in early March this year, there were protests by some members in respect of “low ” honorarium and other matters, the issue had been discussed and resolved too. The DDC Chairpersons and Vice Chairpersons had accordingly been given the rank of Ministers at par with Mayors in status protocol thus the issue of responsibilities should have been not erupting again. However, it is in the fitness of things that the Lieutenant Governor having agreed in principle to be personally holding monthly meetings with representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions to sort out things should allay fears of any type of administrative apathy. Such monthly meetings not only would provide each side to put forth its viewpoint but pending issues too could be sorted out speedily thus lending further strength to these democratically elected institutions to function effectively. We have highlighted the fact earlier also that the people have high expectations from the DDCs and their functionaries. Since it is for the first time such elected Councils have come up, it is likely that some minor problems could crop up which though needing resolution should not prove as hindrances and humps in the general but effective functioning of the DDCs. If again, demands like better accommodation, better protocol and status, personal staff to them, ancillary facilities etc keep the Council heads unnecessarily engaged therewith, how come focus on developmental activities can take place? More stress on performance and less on expending more energies and time on minor and frivolous issues should be the objective of the DDCs. While all the demands raised should be looked into on merits by the Government, at the same time, a scenario of projecting of helplessness or a matter of prestige till their getting conceded is unwarranted. A mechanism, however, needs to be evolved where an air of better coordination between the bureaucracy /other officers and the DDCs’ structure could be created to pre-empt any chances of misunderstandings. Finances and allocation of funds should not be made any issue and a uniform policy about allocations towards each category of the PRIs should be provided timely. What is all needed is effective functioning of the PRIs and for that not only the Government, such institutions too need to walk an extra step.