JAMMU: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Tuesday addressed 20,000 PRI members from across the UT during a Virtual PRI Conference organised by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj in collaboration with IMPARD, J&K, at the Civil Secretariat here.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor said, “In governance, from policy to service delivery, PRIs act as the living cell of the system. By strengthening the PRIs, we are empowering a more effective system to truly realise the vision of Gram Swaraj.”
Expressing gratitude towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi for establishing a three-tier Panchayati Raj system in J&K, the Lt Governor said that under the guidance of the Hon’ble PM, we have been strengthening the roots of PRIs to build an inclusive society.
“Our effort is to remove the gap between rural and urban, so that prosperity reaches the home and heart of every citizen of J&K,” the Lt Governor said.
While appreciating the initiative taken to bring the PRIs on a common platform, the Lt Governor said that the unprecedented participation of PRI representatives reflects the untiring efforts of the government to make Panchayati Raj Institutions more empowered, participatory and vibrant.
“A historical decision was taken to involve PRIs to formulate District Capex Budget to effectively plan and carry out development works. Funds are also being provided to the PRIs to evolve their development schemes as per the needs of local population,” observed the Lt Governor.
The Lt Governor said that special efforts are being made to ensure smooth functioning of offices of PRIs. Recently, 1889 Panchayat Accounts Assistants have also been recruited.
“On average, about Rs 1.47 crore has been given to each panchayat for developmental works in this year’s record budget of Rs 1.13 lakh crores for J&K, in which an amount of Rs 1000 crore has been allocated to all panchayats, Rs 200 crore for Development Fund for 20 District Development Councils (Rs 10 crore for each DDC) and Rs 71.25 crore for Block Development Councils (Rs 25 lakh each). Apart from this, Rs 313 crore has also been given to local bodies and about Rs 1727 crore has been given to all panchayats under MGNREGA, 14th Finance Commission, Mid Day Meal and Integrated Child Development Scheme”, he added.
The Lt Governor called for invoking a renewed sense of Jan Bhagidari in the socio-economic development process to make villages of J&K AatmaNirbhar.
“A vibrant and productive agrarian economy is the foundation of high and sustained economic growth. As a watchdog of developmental activities, PRIs can help in making the governance more transparent and accountable to the citizens,” the Lt Governor added.
On the occasion, a 100-point programme was also finalised for Gram Swaraj Month which will mainly focus on Rural Infrastructure, Good Governance, Livelihood generation, Financial Inclusion, Youth Empowerment, Environment Protection and Women Empowerment.
Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary, said that the Sarpanches, Panches are the foremost priority of the administration. Mandeep Kaur, Administrative Secretary, Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, highlighted the reforms being undertaken by the department to change the rural landscape of J&K.