New Delhi, Jan 28: President Pratibha Patil on Monday said that efforts must be made to ensure better quality of life for the rural poor.
“The 11th Five Year Plan is targeting economic growth with emphasis on inclusive growth. A major focus of our efforts must be on bringing about a visible and tangible difference in the quality of life of the rural population especially the rural poor of our country," President Patil said at the National Conference of the Project Directors of District Rural Development Agencies here.
The rural people must be provided with necessary skills and opportunities to benefit from the national growth, keeping pace with today"s fast-changing world, she added.
“The government has put in place a framework of policies and programmes, which seek to bring about a holistic development of rural areas. They also aim to give the weaker sections of our society a security net," said President Patil, adding, “The Flagship programmes - Bharat Nirman and National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme have been launched with these objectives."
President Patil went on to say that in a scenario when 70 per cent of the country"s population live in villages, “effective implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP) alone can bring in a revolution in rural India."
The NREGP scheme not only provides for 100 days of jobs to poor, but also helps in creating physical infrastructure in rural areas, she added.
Stressing on prevention of siphoning of funds through wastage and corruption, President Patil said Panchayati Raj Institutions, non-government organisations (NGO) and the local people should be involved for implementation of rural development schemes.
Talking about rural housing, she said it is one of the basic requirements for human survival. “Possession of a house brings about a profound social change in a person's existence," she added.
President Patil also said that women undertake 60 percent of farm work in the rural areas, and contribute in a big way to food production and economic growth. “As the most vulnerable, they often are the most neglected. Your task has been greatly facilitated by the Panchayati Raj system where 33 percent of women representatives, totalling over a million, have been elected across the nation. They can certainly be your most powerful allies to bring about change in the lives of rural women," she said.