New York, Apr 16: Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) President K Keshava Rao, who was recently elected to the Rajya Sabha, has stated here that the state government, for the past two years, has been giving due importance to the development of villages.
Rao, who is visiting the United States, was given a community reception by Indo-Americans here.
''In Andhra Pradesh today, out of the total plan outlay up to 64 per cent of the resources have been allocated for agriculture, with irrigation getting a major share,'' he said, speaking at the weekend reception, attended mostly by the people hailing from the southern states of India.
The emphasis being given to the upliftment of villages in the state was significant, he said, adding that at the national level about 42 per cent of the budgetary allocation went to the rural sector.
Stressing that globalisation was important, APCC President said, ''We have to think global, but act local. And we also have to ensure that development percolates to the lowest level.'' Mr Rao also emphasised the credentials of his party's leadership on secularism. ''We in the Congress totally believe in secularism as an article of faith,'' he stated, in the meeting arranged by his well wishers and activists of the Indian National Congress (USA) to felicitate him for his nomination to the upper House.
He later inaugurated, at a Long Island meeting, the Andhra Pradesh chapter of the party.
At the New York meeting, referring to Congress party President Sonia Gandhi's resignation from her Lok Sabha membership, Mr Rao described it as ''sacrifice''. He added, ''That's the kind of leadership we have.'' Madhu Yaskhi, a member of the Lok Sabha from Nizamabad, said development efforts should focus on health and education that 65 per cent of Indians who live in villages needs. He pointed out that hundreds of villages, including many in his own constituency, don't have schools. But now work on building schools had begun, he added.
''Ninety two per cent of information technology jobs are currently concentrated in five cities,''Mr Yaskhi said, adding that employment opportunities for others, particularly those in rural areas, were being created through programs like the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
Addressing the meeting, he told that he filed a public interest litigation, apparently the first such act by an MP, against the construction of an inter-state irrigation project by the Maharashtra government, which could have been detrimental to about six districts in Andhra Pradesh. He said construction work of the project had been halted following a Supreme Court ruling.
The act was widely appreciated, Mr Yaskhi said. The MP had earlier raised the issue in Parliament and took up the matter to the Prime Minister.
Upendra Chivukula, a Democratic Party member of the New Jersey Assembly, said India and the United States had both made great progress in various sectors, including the recent nuclear energy deal.
''I want to promote trade relationship between New Jersey and Andhra Pradesh as well as the rest of India,'' he added.