Chandigarh, July 2 – The President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, today appreciated Haryana Government for taking various initiatives for rural development, including fixing of minimum educational qualification for representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions.
The President was speaking at the inauguration of a smart model village pilot project under which five villages of Haryana adopted by him would be developed as ‘adarsh gram’, at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi today. These villages include Dhaula, Alipur, Harichandpur and Taj Nagar in district Gurgaon and Rojka-Meo in district Mewat.
The President said that he was thankful to the Haryana Government for taking many initiatives, including establishment of ‘Gram Sachivalaya’ in 619 villages. He said that every village should have a separate ‘Gram Sachivalaya’ to run the government at village level, instead of one secretariat at state headquarters. He also commended the Haryana Government for providing all amenities to 1,000 villages of the State and for making efforts to cover the remaining villages at the earliest.
The President was said that with fixing of educational qualifications for representatives of PRIs, those elected would understand their responsibilities. Appreciating the election of women representatives, he said that women were the real rulers and were running the whole system. He expressed confidence that the women representatives could solve all problems and run panchayats, Vidhan Sabhas and the Lok Sabha.
The President said that in the last nearly four years of his Presidency, it was for the first time that he had the privilege of interacting with Sarpanches and village-level functionaries at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Since assuming office, he had been emphasising on opening the Rashtrapati Bhavan to the people. However, today he felt that Rashtrapati Bhavan had been truly opened to the public since the village representatives were present there. He said that it was only the representatives of the villages who could transform this country, which has more than six lakh villages. Progress and development could be achieved at the desirable speed only in partnership with these decision-makers in the villages. There was also a need to empower women and youth, he said. He expressed confidence that this initiative would not remain confined to these five villages, but would also spread to the entire country.
The President said that this was a landmark initiative as it was sought to replicate the experience in transforming the President’s Estate into a smart model township, in five selected villages in Haryana. He complimented and thanked all stakeholders, including Central Ministries, Haryana Government, including district and village-level administrations and local bodies, and governmental and other organisations, who were partnering with Rashtrapati Bhavan in this effort.
It may be recalled that the President had announced this pilot project on the occasion of inauguration of the Intelligent Operations Centre (IOC) in Rashtrapati Bhavan and launching of a Mobile App ‘Monitor’ for transformation of President’s Estate into a smart township on May 19, 2016.
The President also interacted with Sarpanches and other Panchayat Members of these villages.
Haryana Chief Minister, Mr. Manohar Lal, said that it had been decided to launch several new schemes, including ‘Haryana Swarna Jayanti Gramin Vikas Yojana’, ‘Swarna Jayanti Mahagram Vikas Yojana’, ‘Swarna Jayanti Vikas Nidhi’ and ‘Hamari Yojana-Hamara Vikas’, during the Golden Jubilee year of the State, from November 1, 2016 .
He said that a sum of Rs 275 crore has been proposed for 2016-17 for ‘Haryana Swarna Jayanti Gramin Vikas Yojana’, which has been prepared with a view to accelerate the pace of rural development in the State. Similarly, ‘Swarna Jayanti Mahagram Vikas Yojana’ has already been launched with the objective of planned and regulated development of villages along with provision of urban-like facilities in the villages having population of more than 10,000. This scheme would be implemented for three years. He said that devolution of assured package of funds to all Panchayats would be made annually on the basis of population under ‘Swaran Jayanti Vikas Nidhi scheme. Each Gram Panchayat would make an annual Development Plan under ‘Hamari Yojana–Hamara Vikas’ scheme which would seek to fulfill the critical gaps in infrastructure services and social indices as per the aspirations of the people. Panchayats would be provided additional funds in the form of ‘performance grant’ for collecting revenue on the basis of recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission, he added.
Reiterating the State Government’s commitment towards achieving the targets set under ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’, the Chief Minister said that Haryana Government had decided to grant Rs one lakh to each open defecation-free Panchayat, Rs five lakh to each Panchayat Samiti and Rs 20 lakh to each Zila Parishad.
He said that ‘Gram Sachivalayas’ were being established in all villages of the State and Citizen Service Centres were being set up in each such ‘Sachivalaya’. ‘Swa-prerit Adarsh Gram Yojana’ had been prepared with a view to encourage self-help organisations, NGOs, corporate houses and other organisations to adopt villages and develop them as model villages.
Union Rural Development Minister, Mr. Birender Singh, said that the President’s decision to adopt five villages and develop them as model villages had brought cheer to the villagers. He said that the 14th Finance Commission had made provision of Rs 2,00,292 crore for rural development, which would provide share of Rs 80 lakh to each village.
Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were Union Minister for Rural Development, Mr. Birender Singh, Haryana Chief Minister, Mr. Manohar Lal, Development and Panchayats Minster, Mr. O.P. Dhankar, Chief Secretary, Mr. D.S. Dhesi, Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, Members of Legislative Assembly from Haryana, senior officers of Central and Haryana Governments, community and panchayat leaders and other public representatives and stakeholders.
The proceedings were also broadcast live in these villages through webcast. Meetings of Gram Sabhas would be organised on July 3 and 4 for discussing issues with the villagers. On July 3, Gram Sabha meetings would be held in villages Alipur and Tajnagar, and on July 4, meetings would be held at villages Daula, Harchandpur and Rozka Meo. The team from Rashtrapati Bhawan would also attend these meetings. After these meetings, five-day training course for villagers on general issues like agriculture, irrigation and sanitation would also be organised in each of these villages.