Chandigarh, Mar 31 (PTI) Implementation of e-Panchayat project in Haryana would check corruption and help people repose greater faith in panchayati raj institutions in the state, an official said here today.

Principal Secretary in Development and Panchayat Department Anurag Rastogi said the project was a part of transparent governance agenda of the state government.

“The e-panchayat project aims at overall benefit of villagers. If any gram panchayat does not want to switch over to e-panchayat, there is no need to protest. Such a request, if any, should come by way of a resolution of a gram panchayat, fully endorsed by a gram sabha,” he was quoted as saying in an official release.

Notably, in the last few days, many sarpanches and gram sachivs have organised demonstrations at many places in Haryana, demanding withdrawal of e-panchayat system with immediately, execution of the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 1994, remuneration for gram sachivs on par with patwaris and pension for sarpanches.

Rastogi clarified that e-panchayat project would not be forcibly imposed on any gram panchayat.

“The existing development works can be completed without fully adopting e-Panchayat. However, non-participating gram panchayats would be deprived of the performance grant under the Central and State Finance Commissions,” the release quoted him as saying.

Once e-Panchayat is fully implemented, villagers would have better access to gram panchayat records online and will be temper proof thus leading to greater transparency, Rastogi said.

He said till now 3,638 out of 6,204 gram panchayats in the state are on board e-Panchayat project and are at different stages of data entry.

“Since more than 60 per cent of the Gram Panchayats are on board the project, it shows that where there is a will, there is a way. Slow progress or even no progress can be understood but fundamental opposition to e-Panchayat cannot be appreciated. Non-participation in e-Panchayat is like keeping villagers in dark and it has to be discouraged,” Rastogi said.

He said the concern that implementation of e-Panchayat would result in delay in development works, as it would not be possible to make daily cash payments to a labour, is unfounded.

“E-Panchayat permits generation of contra and payment vouchers, which can be used for cash withdrawals and for labour payments.

“Other major concerns of the gram panchayats is lack of awareness, capacity building and infrastructure. In order to institutionalise gram panchayats as self-governing institutions, the Haryana government has decided to establish gram sachivalayas at a cluster of three to four gram panchayats. So far, 1,620 gram sachivalayas have been established in the state,” Rastogi said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.