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e-Panchayat in Limbo

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The tall project towards connecting all the panchayats across the country is in limbo, with the Panchayati Raj Ministry complaining that the Planning Commission and Finance Ministry are not too keen on allocating funds for it.

With a cost of Rs 7,000 crore, Ministry's officials said this could be the biggest e-governance project in the world which seeks to connect nearly quarter million gram panchayats and development blocks in the country through computer network over a period of three years.They further said that a note has been sent to the Planning Commission and Department of Expenditure in the Finance Ministry long back but they have not cleared it till date.Expenditure and Finance Committee (EFC) of Finance Ministry will have to approve the project before it could be put up in the Cabinet for its clearance, they added.

Speaking on the issue, Panchayati Raj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar criticised the Planning Commission and Finance Ministry for not clearing the project.

“I think one of the crowning achievements of the UPA government will be the launching of the scheme. But our real Gods are in the Planning Commission and Finance Ministry. So it does virtually depend on them,” he said.

The Panchayati Raj Minister further added that once the EFC note was ready, he would directly go to the Prime Minister to seek his cooperation for the scheme.

Aiyar's plan to hold a mega rally to showcase functioning of Panchayati Raj institutions, earlier this year, ended in a controversy as Finance Ministry did not want to release funds for it.

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