New Delhi, Jul 3: President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday appreciated Haryana government for undertaking various initiatives for rural development, including fixing of minimum educational qualification for representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions.
The President said with the fixing of educational qualifications for representatives of PRIs, those elected would understand their responsibilities, a Haryana government statement claimed.
The President was speaking at Rashtrapati Bhavan at the inauguration of a smart model village pilot project under which five villages of Haryana adopted by him - namely Dhaula, Alipur, Harichandpur and Taj Nagar in district Gurgaon and Rojka-Meo in district Mewat- would be developed as Adarsh Gram.
He thanked the Haryana government for taking many initiatives, including establishment of 'Gram Sachivalaya' in 619 villages and stressed every village should have a separate Sachivalaya to run the government at village level, instead of one secretariat at state headquarters.
He also commended the state government for providing all amenities to 1,000 villages and for making efforts to cover the remaining villages at the earliest, it said.
Appreciating the election of women representatives, he said they could solve all problems and run panchayats, Vidhan Sabhas and the Lok Sabha.
The President, who also interacted with Sarpanches and other Panchayat Members of these villages, said in nearly four years of his Presidency, it was for the first time that he had the privilege of interacting with Sarpanches and village-level functionaries at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
He said since assuming office, he had been emphasising on opening the Rashtrapati Bhavan to the people and said he felt the Presidential Residence had been truly opened to the public since the village representatives were present there.
He said only the representatives of the villages could transform this country, which has more than six lakh villages. Progress and development could be achieved at desirable speed only in partnership with decision-makers in the villages.
There was also a need to empower women and youth, he said and expressed confidence that the initiative would not remain confined to the five villages but would spread to the entire country. The President termed it a landmark initiative and said it sought to replicate the experience in transforming the President's Estate into a smart model township, in five selected villages.
The President had earlier announced this pilot project on the occasion of inauguration of the Intelligent Operations Centre (IOC) in Rashtrapati Bhavan and launching of a Mobile App 'Monitor' for transformation of Presidents Estate into a smart township.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said it had been decided that several new schemes, including 'Haryana Swarna Jayanti Gramin Vikas Yojana', would be launched during the Golden Jubilee year of the state from November 1.
He said a sum of Rs 275 crore has been proposed for 2016-17 for Haryana Swarna Jayanti Gramin Vikas Yojana which to accelerate the pace of rural development in the state.
Similarly, 'Swarna Jayanti Mahagram Vikas Yojana' has been launched with an aim of planned and regulated development of villages, having population of more than 10,000, with provision of facilities similar to urban areas.
This scheme would be implemented for three years. He said the devolution of assured package of funds to all Panchayats would be made annually on the basis of population under 'Swaran Jayanti Vikas Nidhi scheme'.
Rural Development Minister Birender Singh said the President's decision to adopt the villages and develop them as model villages had brought cheer to the villagers. He said the 14th Finance Commission had made provision of Rs 2,00,292 crore for rural development, which would provide share of Rs 80 lakh to each village.