MANGALORE: ‘Halliya Vidhan Sabha’, a novel initiative of replicating Vidhan Sabha in villages, will soon be reality in all gram panchayats in Dakshina Kannada district.

The new concept of holding gram sabhas on the lines of Vidhan Sabha to attract more voters to participate in these meetings is the brainchild of Jana Shikshana Trust (JST), an NGO. About 306, against the usual 80-100, villagers actively took part in the village Vidhan Sabha held on a pilot basis at Kadeshivalya gram panchayat.

What makes the new concept of Halliya Vidhan Sabha unique is that by ensuring the participation of more voters in gram sabha meetings, it emphasize the importance of people’s participation in democracy.

JST director Sheena Shetty  said, under the new concept, all gram sabhas would be convened on the lines of Vidhan Sabha. “Gram panchayat president will chair the gram sabha and perform the role of chief minister of the village. All voters in the village are the members of gram sabha and are given equal opportunity to raise questions in the meeting. Their questions will be answered by the house separately. Villagers may ask questions regarding to poverty eradication, social justice and any other issues in the village Vidhan Sabha,” he said.

Another highlight of the village Vidhan Sobha is that MLAs, gram panchayat vice-president, panchayat members, taluk panchayat members, officials of gram panchayat, taluk panchayat and officials from all departments take part in it and take initiatives to sort out the issues raised on the spot. “The day-long meeting will also showcase talents of the villagers. In most gram panchayats, gram sabhas are held only for name sake. We thought of bringing in changes in the mindset of people and officials so that gram sabhas too will have serious meetings like Vidhan Sabhas,” Shetty said.

Kadeshivalya gram panchayat in-charge PDO Uggappa Moolya said that henceforth all gram sabhas should be held in the Vidhan Sabha model. “It is for the first time in the district that a gram sabha was organized like an assembly session. We could increase the number of people participating in the meet by three fold,” he said.

Source: TOI, Mangalore