On the second day of his visit, Union Home Minister, Amit Shah along with Governor, Satya Pal Malik interacted with a delegation of Sarpanches from all over the state here on Thursday.
While expressing their gratitude to the Government for conducting Panchayat Elections in the state and taking several steps to empower the Panchayats, the Sarpanches projected their demands for a separate Election Commission, Finance Commission, untied funds on the pattern of CDF to Sarpanches and Panches, the constitution of next two tiers of Panchayati Raj Institutions etc.
The Sarpanches who spoke on the occasion included Anil Sharma, Altaf Thakur, Fatima Begum and Javid Qadri. They also highly appreciated the Back to Village initiative of the Government and said that people of the State are happy with this effort of bringing the administration to the doorstep of rural masses.
Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Sheetal Nanda in her opening remarks informed that a lot of important schemes like MGNRAGA, ICDS, Mid Day Meal Scheme, PMAY (G), SBM etc are being transferred to the Panchayats and that several departments like Agriculture, Horticulture, Social Welfare, PDD, Forest department, School Education Department in addition to Department Rural Development and Panchayati Raj have issued orders/instructions for devolution of funds, functions and functionaries to the Panchayats. She informed that 14th Finance Commission awards amounting to Rs 2000 Crores approx. shall be devolved to the Panchayats within this year.
On the occasion, Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam informed that the process for Block Development Council elections is targeted to be completed by the end of August 2019.
While addressing the Sarpanches, the Union Home Minister urged them to be the agencies of inclusive growth and development in the Rural areas, while assuring the Sarpanches that the Government would address all their issues and provide all kinds of administrative and financial support to them. He impressed upon them to ensure that all Central Government Schemes are implemented at the grass root level in their true spirit. He asked them to work in an honest, fair and just manner so that public reposes faith in them and they become the true representatives of people.
Amit Shah emphasized that while they are being provided with all rights and authorities, they should always keep in mind their responsibilities and makes every effort to serve people selflessly. He said that only legislation and Government orders cannot strengthen Panchayats till the time the Sarpanches and Panches take upon themselves the responsibility of bringing development and benefits of all Government Schemes to every rural household.
The interaction was attended by Advisors to Governor, K Vijay Kumar, K Sikandan; Union Home Secretary, Rajiv Guba; Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu and other senior officers of State and Central Government.