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Jharkhand panchayats to have e-Secretariat
The state government has proposed to establish e-Secretariats in all panchayat offices across Jharkhand, to encourage an e-Governance mechanism at the lowest-level of the democratic set up.

Ranchi: To give fresh impetus to grassroots democracy, the state has decided to gift every gram panchayat a permanent secretariat building, equipped with computers and Internet connectivity.

According to sources, out of 4,564 gram panchayats in Jharkhand, the secretariats would come up for 1,610 panchayats by the end of this financial year. Construction of all secretariats would begin within the next two years.

With construction labour charges pegged at Rs 10 lakh for each secretariat coming from the Centre’s flagship programme, MGNREGS, the material cost, around Rs 11 lakh for each building, will be borne by the state from its backward region grant fund.

The buildings would come up under the Bharat Nirman Rajiv Gandhi Seva Kendra programme, a scheme initiated by the Centre this year.

“The real reason behind the decision to establish these buildings is to decentralise democracy more efficiently in the grassroots,” said Sunil Kumar Barnwal, state MGNREGS commissioner.

Each proposed secretariat would be equipped with computers and Internet connectivity, functioning as a knowledge centre, being a single window storehouse for MGNREGS data and providing rural logistic support.

Barnwal said the secretariats will also ensure 100 days of work and timely wages under MGNREGS by involving citizens to monitor the scheme.

Till now, in the absence of a fixed official space, panchayat employees and villagers keep registers in cloth bags hanging at home.

“Now, in addition to holding village meetings, villagers can store important documents in the secretariat,” added Barnwal.

With state panchayat polls on the anvil, the secretariats would be the hub all poll-related activities.

Officials in the MGNREGS cell of the rural development department said construction work across state gram panchayats has already kicked off. “We are sure we can achieve our target of constructing 1,610 buildings by this fiscal,” said an official of the MGNREGS cell of the state rural development department.

Apart from these buildings at the panchayat level, the state would also construct block-level buildings at Rs 25 lakh each. Out of 221 blocks, 170 will get their buildings this year.

Source: The Telegraph(Calcutta)