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Panchayat members doing 'free' public service

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  15 Sep 2015 12:00 AM GMT

No honorarium received for even a month this fiscal as Dispur looks the other way

BY Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, Sept 14: Assam government may be harping on strengthening the Panchayat Raj institutions (PRIs) in the State, but it has utterly failed in disbursing honorariums to the elected members regularly.

In fact, the government has not released even a month's honorarium this fincial year. Even in the past, the disbursements have been irregular, with the honorariums being paid after a lapse of four to five months.

This, sources said, has fomented malpractices among a section of the elected members, affecting functioning in these local-self governce bodies. The corrupt members then indulge in misuse of panchayat funds.

The State government needs around Rs 67 crore every year for paying honorariums to the 26,700 elected PRI members in the State. This is paid out of the Panchayat & Rural Development department's own fund or from the non-salary component of the devolution fund.

Just before the last Panchayat elections in the State in February, 2013, the government had hiked the honorariums of the members.

A Zila Parishad president gets Rs 10,000, vice-president Rs 7,500 and members Rs 3,500. Similarly, an Anchalik Panchayat president is entitled to an honorarium of Rs 7,500, the vice-president Rs 5,000 and members to Rs 2,500. In the Gaon Panchayat, the president's honorarium is Rs 5,000, vice president's Rs 3,000 and members' Rs 1,500.

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