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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

NGO civil society partnerships, Plan Panel moots skill development at village level

NGO, civil society participation mooted

Posted by: "Sheetal - Karmayog" info@karmayog.orgbr/>
Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:31 am (PST)br/>
NGO, civil society participation mooted....Santosh Tiwaribr/>
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society members may soon become a part of the civil service functioning, if the Central and state governments agree on implementing a human resources management strategy recommended by the department of administrative reforms and public grievances (DARPG). br/>
As part of its next stage of administrative reforms against the backdrop of recent agitations against corruption, including that of social activist Anna Hazare, the DARPG has proposed the involvement of NGOs and civil society in policy making and their implementation. The strategy and action plan, outlined during a two-day conference of chief secretaries of states and union territories last week, includes adoption of the UK concept of Big Society Reforms. The Big Society refers to the NGO and civil society's involvement in the process of governance and allowing them to frame suitable policies and their delivery. The department has recommended lateral entry to the civil service from outside the government and allowing civil servants to move out for a short period and come back again to contribute to the government. br/>
It has stressed on the need to ensure that the best person, either from within or outside the system, is appointed for a specific position, especially in the senior civil service. br/>
This would allow people, both from inside and outside the government, to develop the requisite skills and competencies and compete for any position. It has suggested identification of fast streamers and their grooming by way of learning and development opportunities and on-job experience on lines of the UK model. It has also pitched in for a continuous performance appraisal cycle, which should include agreement on objectives and competencies required and identification of development and coaching need. br/>
A system of accreditation - to be acquired in the first 20 years of service in key identified areas, including finance, human resources, policy and planning - is also part of the plan. br/>
Civil servants would have to acquire a minimum of three accreditation certificates in two key areas at least. Their career progression would be limited to these two areas. br/>
The Central government has already made several changes in the functioning of ministries and departments, including performance-based transfers and posting of officials. br/>
As part of this exercise, rules were notified on January 31, under which the Central government in consultation with states concerned can ask a civil service official to retire in public interest after 15 years of service. br/>
Those who cross this barrier will have to face another review after either completing 25 years of service or attainment of 50 years of age. br/>

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Plan panel wants skill development at village levelsbr/>
Posted by: "Sheetal - Karmayog" Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:31 am (PST) br/>
Plan panel wants skill development at village levels....Sangeeta Singh The commission's suggestion may be accepted in the national budget br/>
New Delhi: To better implement India's marquee rural job guarantee programme, the Planning Commission wants more money to be set aside to train officials involved in the welfare schemes by paring administrative costs. br/>
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) of 2005 promises 100 days of employment in a year to adult members of rural households willing to do unskilled manual work. br/>
"We have suggested that at least two-thirds of the money that goes into administrative costs of implementing MGNREGA be spent on training programmes for functionaries involved in implementing the scheme at block and panchayati raj institutions (PRIs), or local governance bodies, levels," said Mihir Shah, member of the country's apex training body. br/>
Currently, 6% of the total outlay, or about Rs2,400 crore, goes into administrative expenses. The outlay for the programme in 2011-12 is Rs40,000 crore. If the government accepts the commission's recommendation, it could mean an outlay of at least Rs1,600 crore for training officials. At present, no fixed amount is earmarked to be spent on training officials. br/>
The commission's suggestion may be accepted in the national budget scheduled to be presented on 16 March, according to a Planning Commission official, who declined to be identified. Most of the funds allocated for administrative expenses are spent on wasteful expenditure such as buying cars and air-conditioners for officials at districts, Shah>
"We have also proposed that district-level bodies cannot reject the proposals made by blocks and PRIs for such administrative expenses," said Shah. The Planning Commission has also suggested the programme be linked with agriculture and allied sectors to create productive assets. br/>
Implementing the commission's recommendations is easier said than done, said S.L. Rao, former director general of National Council of Applied Economic Research, a New Delhi-based think tank. "Although the idea of capacity building and training at village level is good, who will see to it that wasteful expenditure at any level is stopped?" he asked. "Why has the government not been able to stop buying of cars and ACs till now?" The government is actively considering restructuring of the job guarantee programme to plug loopholes in the scheme and make it more effective. br/>
Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, in an interview on 2 February, has admitted that there are problems in the scheme, including poor quality of assets built and diversion of funds into wasteful expenditure such as purchase of vehicles. * At work: NREGA workers in Naya Gaon, Rajasthan. The government is actively considering restructuring of the job guarantee programme to plug loopholes and make it more effective. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Minte URL:

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