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Ministry of Panchayati Raj kick starts celebration of Iconic Week under Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav

Celebration of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav held at vigyan Bhawan New Delhi for attaining sustainable development goals in Panchayats.

Inaugurating National Stakeholders Conference on Localization of Sustainable Development Goals organized by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Vice President of India urged the Union Government and various States to facilitate the devolution of the 3 Fs i.e. Funds, Functions and Functionaries to Panchayati Raj Institutions for efficient and effective functioning of local self-governments for the holistic development in rural areas and to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Rural Local Bodies have to be revitalized and rejuvenated by strengthening and empowering them, the Vice President added.

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People’s participation is must for the development of the country. To make the country poverty free we must start with villages and provide connectivity, education, employment opportunity and entertainment for the development of villages and stop migration, said Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu. He was addressing the conference on localization of sustainable development goals at Vigyan Bhawan in the National Capital today. Union Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Shri Giriraj Singh, Union Minister of Jal Shakti Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union Minister of State for Panchayati Raj Shri Kapil Moreshwar Patil, Union Minister of State for Rural Development Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste and Panchayati Raj Ministers of twelve States graced the occasion with their august presence. Shri Sunil Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Shri Nagendra Nath Sinha, Secretary, Department of Rural Development, Shri Ajay Tirkey, Secretary, Department of Land Resources, Dr. Chandra Shekhar Kumar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj and other senior officers of Government of India and State Governments and representatives of various organisations/ institutions/ agencies were also present on this occasion.

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj is organizing the Iconic Week from 11th April to 17th April, 2022 to commemorate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) as a Jan-Utsav in the spirit of Jan-Bhagidari. The theme of Iconic Week is “Panchayaton ke Navnirman ka Sankalpotsav”.

Vice President said empowering of villages is the crux of development. He quoted Mahatma Gandhi saying that Gandhiji had said the Ram Rajya is incomplete without Gram Rajya. “To achieve that villages should be empowered and the local elected bodies must be strengthened”, the Vice President said.

The Vice President also released on this occasion the Logo of Localisation of Sustainable Development Goals and Compendium of Joint Advisories to the States on Operationalisation of Localisation of Sustainable Development Goals and Compendium of Thematic Presentations.

While referring to the increase in fund allocation to the Rural Local Bodies from Rs.100 per capita per annum in the 10th Finance Commission to Rs.674 per capita per annum in the 15th Finance Commission, the Vice President expressed satisfaction that the Central Finance Commission funds are directly transferred to the bank accounts of Panchayats so that there should not be any diversion, dilution and deviation. Similarly, every grant meant for people should directly go to the eligible beneficiaries.

The Vice President said that given that nearly 70% of India is rural India (68.84% as per the 2011 census), attainment of Sustainable Development Goals at the national level will require actions at the grassroots level i.e. at the Panchayat level.

Observing that the biggest goal is to make the country poverty-free, the Vice President said the other equally important missions include providing education to all boys and girls, ensuring delivery of critical services like safe drinking water and creating adequate employment opportunities.

Referring to the critical role of Gram Sabhas in enabling direct participation of the people in local governance, the Vice President of India said the legal framework on the number of Gram Sabhas to be held in a year is necessary and needs to be formulated. The Vice President of India appreciated the consistent efforts of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj for strengthening and empowerment of the Gram Sabha.

Calling for people’s participation in implementation of all the schemes and programmes at the grassroots level, the Vice President stressed the need for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to ensure comprehensive and all-round development of the Panchayats and achieve various targets in local context. The Vice President expressed happiness that women constitute 46 percent of the 31.65 lakh elected representatives of the rural local bodies in the country, adding that empowering women is empowering the society.

The Vice President said that Panchayats have a pivotal role to play in integrated rural development by focusing on the 17 SDGs which are subsumed under nine themes to ensure poverty-free, clean, healthy, child-friendly, and socially secured well-governed villages.

Emphasizing the need for transparent, accountable and efficient governance at all levels, Shri Naidu commended the Ministry of Panchayati Raj for having introduced digital solutions like e-GramSwaraj for smart and good governance in Panchayati Raj Institutions. While noting that 2.38 lakh Gram Panchayats have adopted e-GramSwaraj, the Vice President of India called for bringing all Panchayats onto this platform to meet the digital mission of governance.

Observing that Panchayats have emerged as leaders, planners and policymakers at the grass-root level, the Vice President expressed confidence that the aggregation of their achievements will enable India to realize the national as well as global targets in the true spirit of the transition from ‘Local to Global’.

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