Chief Secretary makes strong pitch for strengthening democracy at the grassroots level

Jammu, Feb 19: The Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta today made a strong pitch for strengthening democracy at the grassroots level as he urged for the proactive role of gram panchayats in developmental activities and doubling down on the developmental initiatives, taking advantage of the immense resources  under various schemes of the central government.

While laying thrust on progress of rural areas, with particular focus on farmers, women-folk and unemployed youth, Dr Mehta said J&K should move towards becoming best performing UT amongst all the states/UTs in the country as it improves governance through enhanced transparency and efficient service delivery.

The Chief Secretary was speaking in a meeting held to approve the annual action plans of various schemes of the rural development department for the year 2022-23. The meeting was attended by various senior secretaries including administrative secretary RDD and joint secretary land resources in the rural development ministry in the central government.

Dr Mehta laid emphasis on convergent actions amongst various departments for maximizing the impact of MGNREGA and asked the department to work in convergence with the departments like jalshakti, forest, school education, industries & commerce, agriculture/horticulture etc. so that the twin aims of resource optimization and accelerated development are achieved.

The Chief Secretary said there is an abiding need for the department to look to do high value and high impact works with tangible outcomes under MGNREGA

Earlier, administrative secretary, RDD while making a presentation on the annual action plans for the next fiscal year informed that 54000 houses are proposed to be constructed under PMAY(G) in the year 2022-23.The financial outlay for this initiative is proposed to be Rs 1303.10 cr.

It was further informed that the department proposes to generate an aggregate of 426 lakhs person days at an outlay of Rs. 1610.56 cr under MGNREGA in the next fiscal year.

RDD Secretary said that under NRLM, out of 21194 SHGs proposed to be set up, 18000 SHGs will be linked with banks during the next financial year. The department also proposes to set up 1644 VOs.

The department has set a financial target of Rs. 111.88 cr for this purpose.

The department proposes to provide revolving fund and community investment fund facility to 2000 SHGs in 2022-23 at an outlay of Rs. 116.67 cr.

Under Rurban, the department proposes to complete 207 works while further saying that it expects to train 50000 youth for employment in the private sector under HIMAYAT in the next financial year.

The Committee approved the annual action plans of the department for submission to the empowered committee scheduled to meet on 25th of this month in the rural development ministry for considering these plans.
Saying that the generation of economic activity should be the aim of the various initiatives of the department, Dr Mehta said the the department needs to ensure that the target of setting up 15000 SHGs in the current year is met.

He also emphasized on conducting evaluation of the functionality of these groups to ensure that their continued existence on sustained basis is guaranteed.

The Chief Secretary asked the department to ensure that at least 2 lakh MGNREGA works are completed by the end of this fiscal year while further adding that spill over of these works in the succeeding years should be completely avoided.

Dr Mehta asked the department to ensure that all eligible beneficiaries under PMAY(G) are given the pending instalments for construction of houses by March 15 of the current financial year.

Laying emphasis on cleanliness, he said that the implementation of on running campaign ‘Mera Gaon Swach Gaon’ has to be given further push by implementing village action plans in real earnest.

The Chief Secretary asked the department to complete the pending 82 projects under IWMP by the end of the current fiscal year while directing the department to ensure that assistance available under IWMP1.0 from the Ministry is fully availed to address the issues of water stress in J&K.

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