In an effort to implement effective decentralisation, the BJD-led Odisha government is planning to introduce at least 500 new panchayats in the state. Reports say that the Odisha government on last day had cleared the amended ‘Orissa Grama Panchayat act’. Earlier this month, the state cabinet had approved the suggested amendment on the bill seeking greater decentralisation. Though the formal Government-Order or notification about the approval has not been released, the government authorities are said to be nearing the final stage of implementation. While speaking to reporters, the Odisha Minister of Panchayati Raj, Arun Sahu, announced that the new panchayats would also go for polls in the upcoming local elections. He asserted that the government would submit the boundary details and reservation status of the newly-created panchayat to the State Election Commission within few days. The law provides complete autonomy to the state government in those matters dealing with the panchayati raj system. The centre only enjoys limited authority to intervene in such state subjects. According to latest information, the Odisha local government election is scheduled to happen on February 2017. Earlier, in 2014 election manifesto, BJD had offered effective decentralisation to strengthen the local self-government agencies. Meanwhile, the opposition parties BJP and Congress allege that the BJD is trying to dilute strongholds eyeing at upcoming local elections. Both of them unanimously agreed on the fact that the move is entirely politically-motivated.
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