Pune Mirror ||
Educational institutes excited about chance to help panchayats become adept in technology.
With the Centre pushing forward with the epanchayat project, all universities and colleges in the country have been asked to cooperate with them. The objective is to help equip the panchayats adapt to a modern, computerised society, assisting them with technology for better rural development. Colleges in the city have welcomed the initiative, and are enthusiastic about doing their bit to help society. The e-panchayat project aims to develop a country-wide gram panchayat level data infrastructure to improve service delivery and better governance. Assistance is required from academia in this regard and the University Grants Commission (UGC) had encouraged varsity officials and also colleges to participate in the project. “Panchayati raj institutions can be assisted by the varsity’s geography department for capacity building and handholding. The academia can choose areas of interest for projects and develop readily replicable models. Students should also be encouraged to actively participate in gram sabha meetings and contribute to discussions therein,” said Jaspal Sandhu, secretary of UGC.
Dr Shivraj Kanhale, principal of the Annasaheb Waghire College in Otur, said, “We have already adopted one village where students and academic staff are actively participating in better governance ideals. The initiative will certainly be implemented in our college. We are certain that we will assist not only the village that we have adopted, but also the gram panchayat of Otur. Awareness levels in villages have increased with regards to computerisation and other modern technologies. Help from educational institutes will further enhance this and give them guidance as well.” Dr DK Goturi, principal of the Sanghvi Kesari College, also appreciated the project. “Such assistance from local educational institutions will certainly equip gram panchayats for better governance,” he said. However, while many have expressed enthusiasm about participating in the project, there are those who have questioned its feasibility, saying the plan sounds ideal on paper, but local level collaborations aren’t an easy process, especially given numerous political interventions. “While the initiative is good, it seems better on paper. Reality might be different and tougher. Academic institutes can be of great assistance with the project, but there are numerous hurdles that will need to be crossed,” said Dr Bharat Jinturkar, principal of the KG Katariya College. To name a few, he said, “It firstly takes a lot of effort for the gram panchayat members to be convinced about the need for modernisation and the role of technology in development of a town or village. Many don’t readily agree for interventions from outside. Several times, and especially if the college management doesn’t align politically with the ruling governing body, ego issues and political hassles may derail the whole process,” he added. – Courtesy – Published on 29/07/2015, UGC Letter reg.: e-Panchayat