ibnlive » India

Sep 02, 2006 at 03:46pm IST

Panchayats get a power meter

New Delhi: Inspired by the Human Development Index the Panchayati Raj Ministry with the help of the National Council of Applied Economic Reserach has come out with an index that measures decentralistaion of power at the level of panchayats.

There is a silent revolution happening in India's 2 lakh 50 thousand panchayats and to take it forward the Panchayati Raj Ministry has decided it is time to give more teeth to administration at the grassroot-level.

So the ministry, with the help of the National Council of Applied Economic Research, has now come up with an index to measure decentralisation.

The index basically measures the health of a panchayat and if it gets the go ahead then there will be clarity on how much money villages will get and what role village level local bodies could play in governance.

It will clarify who has the power to take disciplinary actions, suspend officials, dissolve bodies and cancel resolutions. The index also takes into account the collection of taxes, duties and tolls in villages.

All states might not agree to come under the same measure of decentralisation because it takes different forms in different states. And that is where the challenge lies and where the Panchyati Raj Ministry has to step in to convince everyone to agree to the unique index of devolution.

There are also questions of bias within this index that economists are posing

But the people behind this index are aware of the pitfalls.

The minister knows this but insists that one must wait till the index is up and running in its final form this winter before passing judgement. But for now it seems governance in India has turned a new leaf.