SRINAGAR: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Monday addressed the inaugural session of the 3-day National Workshop on ‘Panchayat with Good Governance’.

Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Giriraj Singh, joined the conference virtually.

On this occasion, the “Meri Panchayat App,” an integrated and unified m-governance platform, was launched.

Union Minister Giriraj Singh commended the UT Administration for its efforts in strengthening the three-tier Panchayati Raj System in Jammu & Kashmir. He mentioned that initiatives like the “Meri Panchayat” App represent a new form of good governance and digital empowerment for rural India.

In his address, Sinha welcomed representatives of Panchayats, stakeholders, and domain experts from across the country to Jammu and Kashmir. He emphasised that the discussions over the next three days, focusing on exemplary strategies, convergent actions, and best practices aligned with the Localisation of Sustainable Development Goals, will enhance governance at the Panchayat level, making it more effective and efficient.

“Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji has given us a vision of ‘Gram Uday se Bharat Uday,’ and it should be our sincere endeavor to realize the limitless potential and possibilities of rural areas, thus changing the destiny of the country,” stated Sinha.

He also shared the efforts of the UT Government over the past three years to ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory, and representative decision-making at all levels.

“Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved through the transformation of villages, making them Aatma-Nirbhar (self-reliant). It is our firm resolve to empower PRIs (Panchayati Raj Institutions), making them stronger, and ensuring their increased participation in development initiatives,” Lt Governor affirmed.

Sinha highlighted ongoing efforts to transform Panchayats into centers of economic activity and prosperity. Development projects are being undertaken based on the needs of the people and completed at an accelerated pace. Infrastructure development is narrowing the gap between rural and urban areas in Jammu & Kashmir, with timely project completion indicating prosperity and inclusive, sustainable growth for rural society.

Lt Governor appealed to people and all stakeholder departments to collaborate on Panchayat Level indicators for good governance. He underscored that the government is committed to providing necessary resources and entrusting Panchayats with implementation responsibilities to strengthen the foundation of inclusive development.

Furthermore, the Lt Governor reiterated the UT Administration’s commitment to improving the standard of living for rural populations and addressing the needs of the underprivileged.

“We are working collectively to facilitate effective and seamless public service delivery, ensuring that government schemes and programs benefit all villages and fulfill their aspirations,” he added.

Sinha also emphasised the potential of self-employment schemes and Self-Help Groups, particularly those founded and operated by rural women, in making rural society self-reliant and boosting household incomes through increased employment and self-employment opportunities at the grassroots level.

He highlighted a concrete initiative to provide land to landless individuals and ensure pucca houses to meet the housing needs of the poor.

Union Minister of State for Panchayati Raj, Kapil Moreshwar Patil, stressed the importance of collective efforts from all stakeholders in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The occasion also marked the release of Operating Guidelines for the National Capability Building Framework for PRIs, along with Service Level Benchmarks and Model Contracts for Gram Panchayats focusing on Water Supply and Sanitation.

Present at the event were DDC Chairpersons, Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Advisor to Lt Governor, Sunil Kumar, Union Secretary of Panchayati Raj, Mandeep Kaur, Commissioner/Secretary of the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, as well as PRI members from Jammu & Kashmir and across the country.

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