The XIVth Finance Commission award has created an opportunity for responsive local governance at the cutting edge institutional level of the Gram Panchayat. The guidelines issued by M/O Finance for the release and utilisation of the local bodies grant stipulate that proper plans are to be prepared by the gram panchayats for the basic services within the functions devolved to them as per State laws before incurring expenditure under the FFC award.
In the context of the Constitutional mandate, these plans have to be participatory plans involving the community, particularly the gram sabha, in the formulation of priorities and projects and will also have to ensure the mandates of social justice and economic development mentioned in Article 243G. The GP development plan (GPDP) will have to have a clear component addressing vulnerabilities of poor and marginalised people and their livelihood opportunities through an integrated poverty reduction plan that converges with the labour budgeting and projectisation exercises under MGNREGS as well.
Ministry of Panchayati Raj has been working in close association with State Government to help develop State level guidelines for Development and Implementation of Gram Panchayat Development Plans through a process of participated planning at the Grass roots. A net work of support persons and institutions has been linked with the States to help them develop appropriate guidelines. The activities undertaken by the Ministry so far include
State specific Guidelines have been framed to facilitate coordination of the various activities that need to be undertaken and arrangements that need to be made for the execution of a time bound action plan for preparation of the Gram Panchayat Development Plans. Of the 26 Part IX states, in 22 States these Guidelines have been issued, in 3 States, viz., Goa, Punjab and Haryana, the Guidelines have been finalized/approved and in Bihar the guidelines are under preparation.