As reported by Sanjeev Kumar Verma of TNN in on 25 May 2008:
Helpline for panchayat officials, people set up-Patna-Cities-The Times of India

Helpline for panchayat officials, people set up

PATNA: Panchayati raj is said to be the harbinger of democracy at the grass-roots level. However, for many villagers in the state this decentralisation has added to yet another set of rules which they find difficult to deal with. In some cases even office-bearers of panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) have been unable to understand the rules which they are supposed to follow.

The state government
appears to be on way to overcoming this problem in a very innovative way. It has decided to set up a helpline for removing doubts of PRI office-bearers and the common man for which they otherwise have to take the help of government officials.

The panchayati raj department has written a letter to the Bihar State Electronics Development Corporation (Beltron) for setting up the helpline.

The helpline would work like a call centre from where the caller would be able to obtain all kinds of information related to the functioning of PRIs, Beltron official P C Choudhary told TOI.

He said that a database would be created first in which the information related to the Panchayati Raj Act, rules governing PRIs, scope of functioning of local bodies would be fed. "Operators manning the helpline would be made conversant with these facts through a special training programme," Choudhary added.

Incidentally, Beltron has earlier set up the "Jaankari" helpline, which has helped the common man use the weapon of the Right to Information (RTI) Act for seeking information from government agencies. The agency is planning to adopt the same set of norms while setting up the helpline for PRIs.

"Initially we would design a call centre having six operators for taking calls. After assessing the number of calls received, the number of operators would be revised," Choudhary said and added that subject to the approval of the government, the helpline would become functional in a month.

The state government would use Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) provided by the Centre for setting up this helpline which would have a toll free number.

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