World Bank pat for West Bengal’s panchayat development programme
Mamata Banerjee government’s model project of ‘decentralised governance’ has earned acclaim from the Word Bank for its effective implementation throughout the state.
The World Bank has praised Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s unique model of CMO-BDO model through which progress has been made in various developmental projects. In order to accelerate the various projects in the district, Banerjee had held more than hundreds of administrative meetings in the districts to remove the bureaucratic red trappings that often come in the way of implementing projects.
World Bank has considered the developments of panchayats in the state as an indicator for decentralised governance. In its report on state the World Bank has said that Bengal has made progress on several parameters. In 2010, World Bank had provided a loan of $200 million to the state to improve the service delivery by gram panchayats which is the lowest level of decentralized governance in the country. Chief Minister had designed Gram Panchayat Projects to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Panchayats in the state. With various projects the state government had institutionalised strengthening Gram Panchayats and taken various initiatives. The project was aimed at adding to the resources of 1,000 gram panchayats in nine districts.
In order to access the funds, the gram panchayats had to fulfill minimum mandatory conditions and performance criteria. In April 2011, out of 1,000 gram panchayats, only 482 had qualified for minimum mandatory conditions. State Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee said, “By December, the number scaled up to 797. The performance was such that World Bank agreed to grant loans to 3,550 panchayats in Bengal.”