India-Afghan to increase cooperation in rural development

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New Delhi, Feb 12 (UNI) India and Afghanistan will increase cooperation in the field of rural development, especially training and technical support in developing water harvesting projects, wind energy, rural enterprise and water purification and testing systems.

This was decided at the first joint meeting to operationalise the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of rural development between India and Afghanistan held in Kabul from February 4 to February 10, the rural development ministry said in a statement today. The MoU was signed in April last year.

The meeting decided to have exposure-cum-training visits of people from Afghanistan to micro-hydel, wind energy and water harvesting projects in India. India would also provide technical support for local water purification and water testing systems, rural enterprise development including rural women entrepreneurs, development of training course modules.

Training programmes for execution, management and maintenance of rural roads and exposure-cum-training visit to Panchayati Raj Institutions in India would also be done.

The joint meeting also decided to establish institutional linkages and explore potential for signing of an MoU and Work Plan between the National Institute of Rural Development, Hyderabad and the Afghan Institute of Rural Development, Kabul. The MoU would incorporate areas of joint training programmes, seminars, conferences, research projects, ICT, GIS and remote sensing for rural development.

Discussions were held during the meeting with different programme based wings of the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development. Areas of common interest, assistance and potential cooperation were identified.

The Afghan side expressed gratitude to the Indian Government for its support to rural development in Afghanistan. India appreciated the tremendous needs and investments required for the reconstruction of the rural development sector in Afghanistan and highlighted the necessity of prioritizing the areas of cooperation.

Both the delegations held intensive interaction with Afghan Minister for Rural Development Mohammad Ehsan Zia. They also had site visits to various projects like Shakar Dara Road Project, Raisin Drying Facility Project and Micro-hydro power project to get a first hand experience of the systems in place on the ground.

The Indian delegation was led by Dr Amar Singh, Joint Secretary, in the Ministry and the Afghan side by Mr Mohammad Asif Rahimi, Deputy Minister (Programmes) of the Rural Rehabilitation and Development Ministry of Afghanistan.


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