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Empowered gram panchayats can change nation’s fate: Modi

Jamshedpur, April 24: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday emphasised on the need to empower gram panchayats to strengthen democracy at the grassroots level. He said that the empowered gram panchayats can change the fate of the nation.

Modi was addressing the Panchayati Raj Sammelan on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day on Sunday at JRD Tata Sports Complex.

In his address to the nation that was beamed gram sabhas spread across the nation, the Prime Minister expressed concerns over the widening gap between the rich and poor and cities and villages in the country.

The Prime Minister, who reached Ranchi from Delhi and then came on a chopper from Ranchi to Jamshedpur (at Sonari aerodrome) and reached the venue at 3.06 pm in his over 45 minutes speech to nearly 3,000 panchayat delegates from across the country and to a crowd of nearly 10,000 at the sports complex said real progress of the country depends hugely on rural development where 70 percent of the populace resides.

He noted that the country’s progress depends largely on the development of villages and emphasized the need for bridging the gulf between cities and rural areas by ensuring that all modern day facilities reach at the grass root levels.

“We need to strengthen our panchayats. The gram sabhas are as important as the Parliament in Delhi. If a city needs proper road and power so is the village.

We also need to spread optical wire in the villages to make them part of the information technology boom,” he said addressing a programme that mark the culmination of 10-day ‘Gram Uday Se Bharat Uday’ campaign started in Madhya Pradesh on April 14.

Motivating the women panchayat representatives at constitute 40 per cent in the country, he asked them to take play a lead role to ensure construction of toilets and end to bring complete end to open defecation.

He also said they need to take steps to ensure that proper healthcare to prevent child birth mortality and provision of better education to ensure there is no school dropout.

“It is matter of shame that our mothers and sisters still go for open defecation. We need to bring this to an end. Ensure construction of toilets. Take a pledge in this regard,” PM Modi told the women representatives of panchayats.

“I assure you that there is no shortage of funds. There is no dearth of schemes. But there is a need for dedication by those who work at the grassroots level. We need to make sure that the villagers reap the benefits of the welfare schemes,” Modi said.

He said his government has provided adequate funds in this year’s budget for development of villages.

“Our government has taken a decision to host more such program outside Delhi as we do not want to be branded as Delhi centric. However, village heads should take a lead in utilization of government funds and schemes,” the PM said.

The Union government plans to give LPG connections to five crore households in three years, the Prime Minister said. Referring to the practice of cooking using wood, he said when a woman cooks by this method she consumes fumes equal to smoking 400 cigarettes in a day.

Talking about the programmes launched by his government for development of rural areas, he mentioned the scheme for electrification of all the remaining 18,000 villages in 1,000 days from August 15 last year when he announced it.

Earlier, the Prime Minister launched the plaque of the single window system for agriculture in Jharkhand through which all agriculture related information would be available on the portal.

Prior to this, CM Raghubar Das said that by the end of 2017 all panchayats in Jharkhand would be linked through the Internet and by end of 2016 all panchayats will have their own buildings.

Das said that government plans to ensure that in 2016 no rainwater is wasted in village as well as urban areas along with construction of 2000 new ponds by June and renovation of 50,000 ponds by the end of this year.

The welcome speech was given by Union panchayati raj and rural development minister Choudhary Birender Singh.

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