Chief Minister Pema Khandu called upon the panchayat leaders to leave behind "party politics" and work together for their zilas and grams Credit: Twitter/Pema Khandu

Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Thursday said the process of devolution of powers “in right earnest” to panchayat raj institutions will begin from the forthcoming budget session of the assembly and the onus of making the state ‘Atma Nirbhar’ (self-reliant) now lies on the local bodies.

He was speaking at the inaugural function of a three-day workshop on Arunachal Pradesh Panchayati Raj-Vision 2026 here.

Mentioning the states potential in hydropower, tourism, agriculture, horticulture, mines and minerals, the chief minister said, “You name it, we have it. With so much potential it is high time that we stop depending solely on the Centre and stand on our own feet.”

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This can be achieved only if the citizens contribute positively by sincerely doing their jobs, he said.

“As grass-root leaders, your job is to think and work for your zila and gram. If you are sincere, honest and determined, each gram zila and our state will develop along with our country,” Khandu said.

He also called upon the panchayat leaders to leave behind “party politics” and work together for their zilas and grams.

The chief minister admitted that despite conscious efforts, the state government has so far failed in devolving powers and functions in “right earnest” to the panchayat bodies.

An empowered committee headed by the chief secretary would be formed to extensively study the success stories of panchayat raj institutions in other states and recommend to the government about devolution of powers and functions to the local bodies, Khandu said.

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“The recent decision to go for a two-tier panchayat raj system in place of the existing three-tier structure was taken in compliance with Part 9 of the Constitution that allows states with population of less than 20 lakh to have a two-tier system without the intermediate level, that is the Anchal Samiti,” he said.

Arunachal Pradesh has a population of about 14 lakh as per the 2011 census.

Hailing the large presence of women members in the panchayats, Khandu urged them to tackle problems like drug addiction and domestic violence, and create mass awareness against polygamy.

“Let us forget the past. We cannot undo the done, but it is our duty to ensure that polygamy is not practised by our future generations,” he said.

Panchayati Raj Minister Bamang Felix said, the state government was serious in empowering the panchayats and had therefore organised the workshop to equip the members with the knowledge to effectively discharge their duties.

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