New Delhi, Dec 4 (UNI) Union Minister for Rural Development Raghuvansh Prasad Singh today called for creation of more and more employment opportunities to weed out poverty in villages that have failed to see an upward trend on the development graph, saying self-help groups(SHGs) and awareness among villagers about their rights could also play a pivotal role in stamping out the scourge.
''To root out poverty in the villages of the country, first we will have to create more and more employment opportunities. And for employment opportunities, we will have to raise awareness among villagers about their rights as well as the opportunities that already exist and are lying there,'' Mr Prasad told a news conference here.
''We will also have to ensure that every poor family in the country earns at least Rs 3000 so that it can rise above the poverty line. We should enable them to such an extent that they can be able to open accounts in banks. And in this endeavour, if self-help groups step forward they would be of immense help,'' Mr Prasad asserted.
He said at present there are 26 lakh SHGs in the country and if there number is doubled then the day is not far when poverty in the country will be something rarely seen or heard of.
The Minister also heaped lavish praise on the Poorest Areas Civil Society(PACS) Programme and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, saying the purpose of the schemes was to reach out to more and more poor people in far-flung villages and create more and more employment opportunities so that they could lead a respectable life without dependence on anyone.
He said the deadline of eradicating poverty should be set in such a way that there is no scope of jumping or extending it because the more it is extended the more the curse gets embedded.