BRGF, to address regional imbalances and bridge critical gaps in India. By Amit Dwivedi

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The Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF) signifies a new approach to addressing persistent regional imbalances in rural development and strengthening local self-governance across India in 250 districts including 27 States. Truly this is a significant scheme in the history of Panchayti Raj.
The BRGF Programme aims to catalyze development in backward areas by providing infrastructure, promoting good governance and agrarian reforms, converging, through supplementary infrastructure and capacity building, the substantial existing development inflows into these districts. The Fund accordingly provides financial resources for supplementing and converging existing development inflows into identified districts, to Bridge critical gaps in local infrastructure and other development requirements that are not being adequately met through existing inflows; To strengthen Panchayat and Municipality level governance with more appropriate capacity building to facilitate participatory planning, decision making, implementation and monitoring and to reflect local felt needs; Provide professional support to local bodies for planning, implementation and monitoring their plans; Improve the performance and delivery of critical functions assigned to Panchyats and counter possible efficiency and equity losses on account of inadequate local capacity.
With the objective of balanced development of the State as well as nation, several districts have been identified by the Government of India as backward regions and specific funds have been allocated accelerating the pace of development in these areas. Flexibility is a characteristic feature of this fund with the premise that such initiatives being taken at the local level which will help either in bettring the on – going efforts or plug in much needed gaps at the local level which are immediate requirements of the community. The Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) is designed to redress regional imbalances in development through district planning, undertaken through the centrality of Panchayati Raj Institutions.
The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has taken several steps for effective implementation of the programme through a process of participatory planning at the grass roots level. With a view to assisting the districts in the preparation of district plans and facilitate the participatory process.
India has been striving to make decentralized democracy more meaningful and effective. Efforts at vitalizing development administration and at more relevant and efficacious, district and decentralized planning have been underway since independence. But the plan failed to satisfactorily accomplish decentralization. By the launching of this scheme we hope that the planning at grass-root level will take a new route with local self governance.

Amit Dwivedi

The Author is a development journalist and consultant for BRGF scheme. He can be contacted at: amit.dwivedi.lko@gmail.com

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