The World Bank funded a 5-year project for strengthening Bihar’s Panchayats with a grant of US$ 160 million. At the time of the field visit pre-project activities were being carried out for this project. These comprised of various research studies while project implementation activities were scheduled to begin in 2011. Some of the major activities under this programme are construction of buildings for Panchayats, training and capacity building, and research.
The programme has seven key components:
- PRI governance practices and capacity to manage local development.
- State, district, and block level resource centres.
- Grants for construction of PRI bhawans. Untied grants to PRIs to initiate development activities.
- Improving policies and the administrative environment in the state for effective functioning of PRIs.
- Performance monitoring and incentives for improvement. Project management and coordination.
Currently, it is envisioned that the project will be implemented in six districts, three of which are from the Kosi flood affected areas while the other three are Patna, Bhojpur, and Nalanda. PRD has requested an additional $120 million to enable the construction of Integrated Panchayat Buildings across the state. A separate society, the Bihar Gram Swaraj Society, has been formed for implementing this project.
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