Hyderabad, Mar 18 (PTI) Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu today stressed the importance of effective local governance and urged states to strengthen the rural and urban local bodies for quality service delivery to the people.Also Read - Highlights India vs New Zealand 3rd T20I Match : IND Win By 73 Runs, NZ Whitewashed 3-0

Addressing the first national consultation conference on ‘Swarajya to Surajya: Taking Forward the Good Governance Agenda’ here, he said service delivery was poor in primary health, primary and secondary education, drinking water and sanitation, rural roads, electricity and housing. Also Read - Highlights | India vs New Zealand 2nd T20I Match: IND Beat NZ By 7 Wickets, Clinch T20I Series

Even after 70 years of Swarajya’, governance was not upto the expectation, he said calling for a change for which Parliament shall take the lead. Also Read - Highlights IND vs NZ 1st T20I Match: Suryakumar Yadav's Fifty & Rishabh Pant's Gutsy Knock Guide India Home

“It is time to harness all the powers we have within our system. It is time for honest introspection. It is time for a change… that change must begin in Parliament, the crucible of democracy,” Naidu, who was a former union rural development minister, was quoted as saying in an official release.

Naidu and other speakers at the conference, held on the occasion of 25 years of enactment of 73rd and 74th Constitution Amendments related to local self-governance, voiced concern over the less than desired progress towards empowerment of rural and urban local bodies.

The theme of the first of the six conferences being organised by the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), of which Naidu is the President, was ‘Strengthening of Local Self-governments.’

Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Narendra Singh Tomar said self-reliance and effective local governments were crucial for building a new India.

He expressed happiness over the good work done by village panchayats to make rural areas open defecation-free.

The Minister said Rs 2.29 lakh crore was being transferred to villages during 2015-2020 as against only Rs 60,000 crore in the previous five years.

He urged the state governments to employ enough staff in the administration of village panchayats for effective utilisation of the funds and pressed for improved accounting and reporting systems.

Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep S Puri said the resource base of urban local bodies was poor. He said devolution of finances to urban local bodies was a frustrating experience. ‘This is hindering the implementation of new urban missions,’ he added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.