Karnataka seeks higher spending by panchayats

Karnataka seeks higher spending by panchayats on power, water supply

New Delhi, June 29 (IANS) Congress-ruled Karnataka has urged the central government to “modify” the advisory issued to remove streetlight and water supply charges from the list of “operation and management” for village panchayats vis-a-vis the allocation and use of funds under the grants from the 14th Finance Commission.

Karnataka Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, H.K. Patil said he raised the issue during the Panchayat Raj ministers’ conference here on Tuesday.

“Changing the guideline by an order from the Union Ministry of Panchayat Raj will affect our work. The central government order will result in reduced payment of street light and water supply as only 10 per cent of grants can be spent under these headings now,” Patil told IANS here.

“We have requested the government to modify the rules so that gram panchayats can spend about 25 per cent of the grants on these services,” he said.

The 14th Finance Commission had recommended allocation of funds to Panchayat Raj institutions to improve services provided by the village bodies.

In Karnataka, Patil said, “the major expense towards improvement of these services is payment of electricity bill”.

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