West Bengal is the pioneering state in establishment of the 3-tier Panchayati Raj System (PRI) for rural local governance in India. Since inception, the State demonstrated its strong commitment to rural decentralization by ensuring regular elections to PRIs, entrusting them with increasing responsibility for implementing various rural development programmes and mandating the representation of the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and women in PRIs to encourage inclusive decision-making. Here is the ISGP project overview.
Appreciating Government of West Bengal’s commitment and commendable efforts towards rural decentralization, the World Bank expressed their interest to work with Government of West Bengal on strengthening the institutional capacity of Gram Panchayats for delivering quality services at the local level, ushering in economic development and securing social justice. Under this backdrop, Panchayats and Rural Development Department, Government of West Bengal, with support from World Bank initiated the Institutional Strengthening of Gram Panchayats (ISGP) Project in September 2010 and was scheduled to close on 31st December 2015, but extended up to 30th June 2016 to enable the qualifying GPs to fully utilize additional Block Grant. The project universe comprises of 1,000 selected Gram Panchayats across nine districts of West Bengal namely Howrah, Bardhaman, Birbhum, Bankura, Purba Midnapur, Paschim Midnapur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Nadia and Coochbehar covering 2.20 crore rural populace.
The credit support from International Development Association (IDA) is USD 200 million to the Government of West Bengal. The block grant component is 81% of the total project cost. This assistance is “soft credit” with a moratorium of 10 years from the project initiation date and a repayment period of 25 years. The Principal amount of the credit to be repaid from 1st December 2020 to 1st June 2045.
ISGP PROJECT DEVELOPMENT OBJECTIVE – To develop institutionally strengthened Gram Panchayats.
KEY PROJECT OUTCOMES
- 80% of selected GPs will have well-functioning fiduciary and planning syst
- A performance based grant transfer system will be established to roll out to other
- Untied performance based fiscal transfer – Performance based Block Grants provided in a timely and predictable manner
- Capacity Building for Gram Panchayats – Training on institutional strengthening aspects and mentoring support to GP functionaries on Participatory Planning and Governance Financial Management and Procurement and rural and public infrastructure
- State Government Oversight and Monitoring of Gram Panchayats – Regular monitoring by the project on planning, budgeting, procurement and overall institutional functioning
- Program Management and Implementation –Managerial support by state and district teams along with comprehensive IEC campaign for project and citizen communication.
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