Invite To Pak PM Historic: Omar29 March 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Terming as 'Historic' Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s invite to his Pakistan counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani to watch World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said relations between the two countries have a direct bearing on the State. He expressed the hope that the outcome of the match would not have any impact on Indo-Pak dialogue process and relations. 'Our PM has taken a historic step by inviting Pak PM to Mohali (to watch Indo-Pak World cup semi-final cricket match tomorrow)', Omar told reporters at a function here. 'We hope that State would benefit from the dialogue process which has been brought back to rails', he said adding 'I had repeatedly said that relation between India and Pakistan have a direct bearing on State, unlike any other State of the country'. Recalling that after the Mumbai terror attack had soured Indo-Pak relations, they were slowly improving and 'I hope that in the days to come they will be further strengthened'. 'When relations between the two neighbours are cordial, the State gets the optimum benefit', he said and expressed the hope that the resumption of talks between the two countries would move forward in smooth and conducive atmosphere. Meanwhile, Abdullah re-affirmed his Government's commitment for devolution of power to the grass roots through an effective Panchayati Raj system. 'You can take a firm message from here to the Centre that my Government is committed to Panchayat Raj in Jammu and Kashmir', he told the high ranking officers from Union Panchayat Raj Department adding that election process for the purpose has already commenced. The Chief Minister was chairing a high level meeting of senior officers of Central and State Governments here this afternoon. Omar said that the basic aim of Panchayat Raj is to empower public representatives at lower levels and decentralize the authority at the top while politicians and high ranking administrative functionaries like to centralize the authority. 'This usually creates conflict', he said and emphasized the importance of an effective and transparent Panchayati Raj System for all round development and involvement of people in policy planning. 'We are determined to create a sound and delivery Panchayat system in the State', he said. The Chief Minister said that Jammu and Kashmir is going for Panchayat elections after over 30 years. 'In my opinion the easiest part of putting in place Panchayati Raj System (PRS) in the State is its first phase of holding election while the second-phase of implementing the guidelines and basic principles of PRS to evolve viable and vibrant Panchayat institutions is a difficult one', he said and added that the State Government would do everything possible to make Panchayati Raj System an effective tool for good governance in the State. Union Secretary for Panchayat Raj, A N P Sinha and his team of officers made a comprehensive and detailed presentation regarding creation of an effective and strong Panchayat Raj in the State. Central team presented a resume of the role of Panchayats in strengthening of democracy, social and political empowerment of people particularly disadvantaged and women, and decentralization of power. It explained the initiatives taken by Rajasthan for creating an effective Panchayati Raj System. The team also talked about the devolution of 3 Fs i.e. funds, functions and functionaries to the Panchayat Raj institutions to prepare plans for development and undertake measures for its implementation. The team also made elaborative presentation about e-Panchayat, model accounting system, allocation of funds and conditions, training of Panchayat functionaries, de-centralization planning, construction of Panchayat Ghars, etc.