New Delhi, April 12: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address members of more than two lakh gram panchayats across the country through web streaming and television on April 24 to seek suggestions to make better government agricultural policies.
"The prime minister's address on April 24 to all gram sabhas in the country from Jamshedpur in Jharkhand will be streamed live. Villagers will get an opportunity to share their ideas to help improve government schemes meant for them," union Rural Development Minister Birender Singh told reporters at the National Media Centre here.
The National Panchayati Raj Day is celebrated on April 24.
"The union government is organising 'Gram Uday se Bharat Uday' programme between April 14 and 24 with assistance from state governments. Various schemes costing over Rs.2.92 lakh crore are scheduled for unveiling during the campaign," the minister added.
Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, who was also present on the occasion, said officials of the agriculture and rural development ministries and state departments concerned will interact between April 17 and 24 to organise various events at the village level to understand villagers' problems better.
"We came up with this campaign to promote agriculture. The government will take the Prime Minister's Crop Insurance scheme and Social Health Card scheme to the people. During these interactions, we will make them understand the schemes better so that their benefits reach everyone," Radha Mohan Singh said.
The agriculture minister said that Modi will also honour representatives of the best performing panchayats during the campaign.
"A national meeting of tribal women panchayat presidents from 10 states will also be held at Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh on April 19," Birender Singh said.
He said the aim of the entire exercise was to strengthen Panchayati Raj Institutions and resolve the problems of drinking water and rural sanitation.
Replying to a question on non-payment to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme workers, the minister said" "We have released more than Rs.12,000 crore recently, out of which Rs.8,000 crore can be used by the state governments to clear pending MGNREGA payments. The remaining amount can be used to improve rural infrastructure."
Birender Singh said the Centre had also released Rs.823 crore to the drought-affected states to make potable water available to the populace.
As per the information available with the central government, 13 states were affected by drought, 10 of which have shared detailed reports on the situation while three others are still finalising reports on drought impact in certain areas, he said.