The Vice President, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu today called for devolving 3Fs—Funds, Functions and Functionaries to empower rural local bodies for their holistic growth and to achieve national development and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Inaugurating National Stakeholders Conference on ‘Localization of Sustainable Development Goals’ organized by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, he urged the Union Government and various States to facilitate the devolution of the 3Fs from Zilla Parishads to Panchayats. The rural local bodies have to be revitalized and rejuvenated by strengthening and empowering them, he added.
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 said the funds should directly go into their accounts and there should be no diversion, dilution and deviation. Similarly, every grant meant for people should directly go to the beneficiaries.
Naidu 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 of villages—that is at the Panchayat level.
Observing that the biggest goal is to make the country poverty-free, he 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.
Expressing his happiness that women constitute 46 percent of the 31.65 lakh elected representatives of the rural local bodies in the country, he said that adequate representation should be given in legislatures and other law-making bodies.” “Empowering women is empowering the society”, he added.
Calling for people’s participation in all the schemes and programmes at the grass-root level, the Vice President stressed the need for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to ensure comprehensive development of the Panchayats and achieve various targets.
Panchayats, Shri Naidu said, 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.
Referring to the critical role of Gram Sabhas in enabling direct participation of the people in local governance, Shri Naidu said the legal framework on the number of Gram Sabhas to be held in a year is necessary and needs to be formulated.
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-Gram Swaraj for smart and good governance in Panchayati Raj Institutions. While noting that 2.38 lakh Gram Panchayats have adopted e-Gram Swaraj, he 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, he 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’.
Addressing the conference, Union Panchayati Raj Minister Shri Giriraj Singh said that the country’s development is not possible without development of Panchayats. He emphasized that there should be a master plan for all Panchayats and it should be prepared using the latest technology. Speaking about the importance of transparency and accountability in Panchayats, the Minister informed about the e-gram Swaraj app developed for planning, budgeting and accounting of Panchayats. He also requested all the stakeholders to join hands for achieving SDG goals and making Panchayats sustainable.
Speaking about the importance of open defecation free India, Union Jal Shakti Minister Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, India has achieved open defecation free status in 2019, eleven years ahead of its actual timeline in 2030. The Minister requested Panchayat representatives to strive for achieving complete sanitation and adoption of waste management practices. He said it will convert waste to wealth and provide new confidence in the rural economy. The Minister also said that the Ministry is aiming to provide clean drinking water to each household in the country by 2024.
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