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Rural Development & Panchayat Raj Karnataka

Karnataka has 56,682 rural habitations including 27,017 Revenue villages. According to 2001 census, about 348 lakhs of its people, out of a total population of 448 lakhs live in these rural habitations. That constitutes about 69% of the State's population and about 62 lakhs households who live in the rural areas depending mainly on agriculture. The distinguishing features of the State's rural society are the following:

(a) the existence of a large number of scattered habitations;

(b) dependence on agriculture and related activities;

(c) low share in the state domestic product as compared to its population, which means that it is characterised by low per capita incomes;

(d) low levels of infrastructure like roads, electricity, housing and water supply; and

(e) lower rank than the urban areas of the State in terms of human development parameters like literacy, health services and skill endowments. Development of rural areas in the State would therefore imply improving the productivity of agriculture and other economic activities in the rural areas, improving the coverage and quality of infrastructure, and improving the quality of services, which contribute directly to upgrading the quality of human resources. The Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj is implementing number of schemes for improvement of living conditions of the people, to create economic and political awareness in rural areas.

1. Improvement of Rural Infrastructure
In order to promote improvement in the quality of life in the rural areas it is necessary to promote the development of infrastructure including rural communications, housing, water supply and sanitation, watershed development and minor irrigation.

a) Development of Rural Roads
The total length of rural roads in the State is 104034 Kms. Out of this 23511Kms. is asphalted. Roads with macadam surface, less than about 40,000 Kms. is considered as all weather roads. Improvement of Roads and their maintenance is the responsibility of the Zilla Panchayats since 1987. The technical supervision is the responsibility of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department. Improvement of Roads and their maintenance is being done through the district sector Roads & Bridges schemes, Employment generation schemes and Pradhan Manthri Gram Sadak Yojana etc.,

b) Rural Water Supply
The Department has the responsibility of coordinating the provision of water supply for domestic purposes in over 56,682 rural habitations in the State in conformity with national norms for rural water supply. For this purpose, the Department is implementing the State sponsored Rural Water Supply Schemes, Centrally sponsored Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme, Sub-Mission Projects for Rural habitations with water quality problems under the Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission, and Externally Aided Projects with the assistance of the World Bank and Danida.

c) Rural Sanitation
Promotion of Rural Sanitation is being carried out by the department through the state owned programme Nirmala Grama Yojana and the Central Rural Sanitation Programme (CRSP). Latrines are being provided to primary schools with water supply facilities. A novel habitat development programme Swachcha Grama Scheme has been launched this year with a cost of Rs.200 crores for implementation in 1000 villages with assistance from HUDCO.

d) Minor Irrigation
There are 36,696 small tanks in the state out of which tanks having an achcut area of 40 hectares and below come under the jurisdiction of Zilla Panchayats. There are 33,374 such Minor Irrigation Tanks.

2. Poverty Alleviation
The Department is implementing a number of programmes for poverty alleviation in the rural areas both through assistance for self-employment activities, and through wage employment oriented works. Swarna Jayanthi Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) is aimed at assisting the rural households who are below poverty line through credit, subsidy, training facilities and other supporting activities to enable the rural poor to take up remunerative self employment oriented activities. On the other hand, programmes like Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana (JGSY) and Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS), aim at providing assured wage employment to the rural poor by engaging them in the creation of economically productive and socially beneficial assets like roads, school buildings, irrigation wells, anganawadi buildings, community halls and land development works. Sampoorna Grameena Rozgar Yojana (SGRY), a Centrally sponsored scheme has been launched during 2001-02 with an objective of providing additional wage employment in the rural areas and also food security, along side the creation of durable community, social and economic assets and infrastructure developments in these areas. The emphasis under this scheme will be on watershed development promoting traditional water resources and Nava Grama, development of housing layouts in rural areas, giving greater opportunity at Panchayat Raj Institution level to converge funds from different sectors. Jawahar Grama Samrudhi Yojana and Employment Assurance Scheme will be merged into this scheme from 2002-03.

Indira Awaas Yojana aims at both generation of employment and creation of housing facilities for the rural poor.

3. Rural Energy Programmes
Promotion of sustainable sources of renewable energy to meet the energy requirements of rural households is another component of the policy of rural development pursued in the State. For this purpose, the Department is implementing an Integrated Rural Energy Programme. The Department also implements a programme for popularising improved model cook stoves (Chulhas) through its National Programme for Improved Chulhas. The development of biogas for meeting domestic energy requirements is being achieved by the Department through the National Programme for Biogas (NPBD) and the State's own Anila Yojane.

4. Democratic Decentralization
One of the major responsibilities of the Department is in the realm of implementing the provisions of the Karnataka Panchayath Raj Act, 1993 to achieve democratic decentralization in the governance of the State's rural areas. The Department coordinates the process of the establishment of Panchayat Raj Institutions under the above legislation and monitors their functioning in order to ensure that Panchayat Raj Institutions in the State function as viable and vibrant institutions of Local Self Government.

3 tier structure of Panchayat Raj Institutions

  1. 30 Zilla Panchayats
  2. 176 Taluk Panchayats
  3. 5629 Grama Panchayats