Assembly passes bill to have 2-tier Panchayati Raj

Bill to check unregulated money lending approved

ITANAGAR, Mar 15: The Arunachal Pradesh Assembly on Thursday passed the Arunachal Pradesh Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Bill 2018 to do away with the Anchal Samiti, the intermediate level of the three-tier panchayati raj system, and set up a two-tier system in the state.
This is being done following the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution that enables a state having less than 20 lakh population not to have the intermediate level, and Arunachal has a population of 13.84 lakh, Panchayati Raj Minister Alo Libang said.
“There is a need to standardise the use of financial resources due to poor resource base. Moreover, plans and policies got delayed at the Anchal Samiti level,” Libang said.
Libang said planning and execution of schemes would be faster in a two-tier panchayati raj system, as there would be direct connection between Gram Panchayats and Zilla Parishads, the village and district levels of the panchayati raj system.
In a two-tier system, the strength of elected members would be reduced, thus helping in saving money for conducting polls and functional costs on Anchal Samities, Libang said.
The minister said the revenue saved could be utilised for developmental activities and strengthening the panchayats.
He said the three-tier panchayati raj institutions were set up in the state in 2003, 2008 and 2013, and election for the next five-year term is due in April-May this year.
Participating in the discussion, Chief Minister Pema Khandu informed the house that the bill will improve the funding pattern and streamline the functioning system of the Panchayati Raj system. Rules will also be framed in consultation with the legislatures of all the political parties, he said and called upon the Panchayati Raj department to work on it and frame rules in consultation with ministers, MLAs and other stakeholders.
Legislators P D Sona, Jarkar Gamlin, Paknga Bage, Tanga Byaling, Gabriel D Wangsu, Nikh Kamin, Japu Deru, Punji Mara, Takam Pario, Tirong Aboh, Lomgo Tayeng, Phosum Khimhun, Wangki Lowang, Kento Rina, Kardo Nyigyor and Wanglin Lowangdong also participated in the discussion.
Later, the house passed the Bill by voice votes.
The Arunachal Pradesh Assembly also passed the Money Lending (Regulation) Bill 2018 to contain unregulated money lending prevalent in the state, which rendered people vulnerable at the hands of money lenders.
The Bill would pave the way to regulate money lending through regular checking by authorised officers to protect the debtors from exploitation.
As per the clauses of the Bill, whoever carries on the business of money lending without obtaining a valid license from the government, will be punished with imprisonment for up to five years, or with fine which might be extended to Rs 5 lakh, or with both.
“The money lending practice has paved way for extortion and other unlawful activities in the state as the debtors were forced to commit crime to earn money to repay their loans,” Home Minister Kumar Waii said.
People were even forced to sell their properties to repay the loan and even several cases of divorce were reported in the state because of this, he said.
Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, who also holds the Finance portfolio, had introduced the Bill on 9 March.
Emphasizing the need of the regulation of money lending, Mein said there are rampant, unauthorized and unfair money lending practices prevailing in the state and there is no legal mechanism to check these unfair practices. There will be transparency in the money transaction after the Bill is passed, he said.
MLAs Japu Deru, Likha Saaya, Karya Bagang, P D Sona, Tanga Byaling, Techi Kaso, Paknga Bage, Takam Pario, Nikh Kamin also participated in the discussion.
Later, the bill was passed by voice vote.
The Arunachal Pradesh Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was also passed without any discussion in the Assembly. The bill was moved by DCM and Minister Finance Chowna Mein.
Chieftainship to continue in Arunachal: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu assured the Assembly to protect the indigenous system of traditional council (chieftainship), which is instrumental in promoting harmonious integration among the people.
Responding to a question raised by BJP member Wanglin Lowangdong, who himself is the chief of Borduria village in Tirap district, Pema said the chieftainship system is prevailing in Tirap, Longding and Namsai districts.
“The chiefs help the administration in maintaining law and order and assist the district administration in solving various problems related to land matter and other administrative matters,” he said.
Pema said the chieftainship system would continue to be an affective medium of communication and link between the administration and the villages.
NLCPR project: Responding to another question of Lowangdong, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein informed that the DoNER ministry had retained 17 NLCPR project worth Rs 271.80 crore. Out of these, the ministry has sanctioned nine projects, he said. Regarding eight remaining projects, the DCM informed that the DoNER ministry has sought certain clarification on seven road projects and one project relating to the Wangcha Rajkumar College.
Private Member Resolution: The state assembly on Thursday adopted a private member’s resolution on constituting a high level expert committee to suggest requisite amendments in the existing Municipal Act and rules with due modifications for a well defined local urban bodies before conduct of its next election.
Urban Development & Town Planning Minister Nabam Rebia, while acknowledging the suggestions of the members to reform the Municipal administration, informed that the government is contemplating for Nagar Panchayat in the state and is working on reforming the Municipal Act by setting up a high level committee with senior bureaucrats to make it more accountable for effective administration.
He said that though the Municipal Act was implemented in 2008 at Itanagar and Pasighat, it could not bring out any impact in providing basic civic amenities due to lack of proper planning and accountability and emphasized on reforming the municipal administration for better functioning.
Earlier, Pasighat MLA Kaling Moyong, who moved the resolution, urged the government for initiating appropriate statutory and administrative reforms to ensure effective and efficient delivery of municipal services, robust accountability, better governance and improved financial management of urban local bodies.
Moyong said that due to rapid urbanization, people from rural areas migrated to urban places, thus, posing much difficulties in management of urban areas due to lack of proper town planning, including sanitation, water supply, electricity, disposal of solid-liquid waste management, etc.
Despite implementation of the Municipal Act in two urban cities of Itanagar and Pasighat, no visible impact of Municipal services is seen in the ground level and citizens are suffering due to non-functioning of Municipal councils properly, Moyong stated and strongly sought for appropriate requisite reforms to bring about accountability and transparency in municipal administration, besides effective implementation of the Municipal Act.
Ziro MLA Tage Taki and Bomdila MLA Japu Deru also supported the resolution while advocating for constitution of a concrete committee to streamline the system of functioning of Municipal council before its next election.
Another private member’s resolution seeking effective mechanism for adoption of DRDA contractual employees was withdrawn by the mover Mutchu Mithi without any discussion. (ATNS with inputs from PTI/DIPR)

Quotes of the Day
=> Malik nahi hain, public bol roha hain: Tanga Byaling demanding administrative officers in Nacho Assembly constituency
=>State Govt should revive indigenous system of traditional council: Wanglin Lowangdong demanding protection of chieftainship system in Tirap, Longding and Namsai.
=>It is about streamlining Panchayati Raj system: P D Sona participating in the discussion on Arunachal Pradesh Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Bill
=>Panchayat matlab apna chota sa sarkar: Jarkar Gamlin during discussion on Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Bill
=>Bill toh pass hoga; opposition jitna be hulla kare faida nahi: Tanga Byaling while participating in discussion on Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Bill
=>One thousand percent support korta hu: Karya Bagang supporting the Arunachal Pradesh Money Lending (Regulation) Bill
=>Against main bolunga nahi; achha bill hain: P D Sona taking part in discussion on Money Lending (Regulation) Bill.