11th five-year plan not Panchayati-friendly: Official tells PM

New Delhi: In an unusual display of frankness at a public function here, a senior government official on Sunday told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the 11th five year plan was not Panchayat-friendly.

Giving vote of thanks during the national Panchyat Diwas function here, Panchayati Raj Secretary A N P Sinha requested the Prime Minister to give central focus to Panchayati Raj in the 12th plan as the 11th plan was not Panchayat-friendly.

Both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi were present on the dais when Sinha made the remark.

He also requested Congress President Sonia Gandhi to list the issue of Panchayati Raj as the next agenda for the National Advisory Council, chaired by her.

Both the leaders were silent when Sinha made the requests in presence of the Union Minister for Panchayati Raj Vilasrao Deshmukh.

Former Panchayati Raj minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, who was sitting among the audience, agreed with the contention that the 11th five year plan was not Panchayat friendly and advocated that a new committee should be set up to suggest how the 12th plan can focus on Panchayati Raj.

He also acknowledged that the 11th Plan could prove no different from other plans in terms of the participation of locals in the governance issues.