23 July :Afghan Delegation led by Shri Jelani Popal, Director General, Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) and Minister, Government of Afghanistan met Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar, Minister of Panchayati Raj today.
The delegation led by Mr. Jelani Popal is in India on exposure visit on Local Self Governance. The delegation consists of Mr. Syed Qutubuddin Roydar, Director of Provincial and Local Councils Relations and Coordination Department, IDLG, Mr. Ehsan Hemat, Director of Capacity Building, IDLG, Mr. Juma Khan Hamdard, Governor of Paktia Province, Dr. Abrahim Malek Zada, MP, Ms. Sultanat Kohi, MP and Mr. Fazel Hadee Muslimyar, Provincial Council Member.
This is in pursuance of the MoU signed between the Minister of Panchayati Raj, Government of India and the Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Republic of Afghanistan at Kabul on 17th May 2008.
The Afghan Delegation visited Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) on 21st July 2008 and had detailed discussion. They have also discussed a draft MoU which can be signed between the IIPA and IDLG.
The team also visited Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) and Institute of Social Sciences (ISS) on 22nd July 2008. They exchanged their views with PRIA and ISS and extent of support they can get from these Institutions. Earlier during the visit of Mr. Ehsan Zia, Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Government of Afghanistan, a meeting was organized with the Panchayat Representatives and Research Institutions/NGOs. These institutions agreed to provide assistance to Government of Afghanistan as per their requirement. The matter has already been taken up with these institutions to send their willingness for providing experts and other technical assistance. The formal reply has been received from PRIA to provide experts to Government of Afghanistan. However, in principle the other institutes such as IIPA, ISS, RLEK, RGNIYD and IRMA have agreed to support Government of Afghanistan in their respective field.
During the meeting of the Afghan Delegation with the Minister of Panchayati Raj, Mr. Jelani Popal briefed the Minister of Panchayati Raj that they have visited IIPA, PRIA and ISS and they have drafted an MoU for mutual cooperation for local governance and capacity building of the representatives of local governance as well as officials of various Departments with these institutions. They have also sought the assistance from these institutes for developing their resource centre and also to draft their policy document as well as legislation for the local governance.
While welcoming the delegation, the Minister of Panchayati Raj suggested that in addition to the visit of this delegation to IIPA, PRIA and ISS, the members of the delegation should also visit NIRD, Hyderabad and also SIRD, Mysore and KILA, Thrissur, Kerala. They may also visit Palaghat Zilla Prishad of Kerala to have a first-hand experience of the local self-governance in Kerala. During this discussion, emphasis was also given on capacity building of women representatives in Afghanistan and for taking up gender related projects.
Speaking about his visit Mr. Jelani Popal Director General, Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) and Minister, Government of Afghanistan said that he thanks the Government of India and the people of India for all the hospitality and said that he seeks cooperation in areas related to strengthening of representative bodies of Afghanistan like training of trainers, comprehensive technical package and the learning from the Indian experience. Mr. Popal also said that he was extremely impressed with the participation of women in local governance in India. Speaking on the occasion Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar said that the Joint Working Group and a Joint Forum on local governance between India and Afghanistan will subsequently meet in September and October to take the matter further.