Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Giriraj Singh Saturday said the holistic and sustainable development of the nation is possible only if rural areas are developed at the grass root level.
He said the present government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is "very keen" to develop rural areas by empowering regional and local institutions.
The Minister made these remarks at a function organised by Jammu Kashmir Rural Livelihood Mission - UMEED at Singhpora Pattan of Baramulla district.
The Minister visited the area as part of the Central Government's special public outreach programme, which is aimed to get the first hand appraisal of public feedback at the ground level.
Paying rich tributes to Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri on their birth anniversaries, Singh recalled their contribution for rural development by means of Gram Swaraj and Gram development.
He said women have a leading role in socio-economic development and there is a need to provide them with appropriate platforms where they can showcase their talent.
Terming the PRIs as the real agents of rural development, the minister emphasised on them to play a positive and productive role so as to ensure holistic and inclusive development at grass root levels.
He assured that full support and cooperation would be provided to them by the Centre. He further said that J&K is the first region where 73rd constitutional amendment has been effectively implemented.
Singh also enlisted various initiatives taken to create viable and sustainable livelihood opportunities in rural areas and said that efforts were being taken to ensure financial inclusion at gram panchayat level.
The Minister also interacted with several Self Help Groups (SHG's) and assured that SHG products will be linked with India Expo for wider marketing and sales.
Earlier, the Minister e-inaugurated several community assets worth Rs 664.72 lakh.
These community assets have been developed by the Rural Development Department under MGNREGA and other sponsored programmes.
Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Steel and Rural Development Faggan Singh Kulaste Saturday completed his visit to Kupwara district as part of the outreach programme.
He said Kupwara being the frontier district has special attention of the Union Government to build its infrastructure and economy under aspirational District status.
The Minister inaugurated a 4 km Magam-Ucher road, constructed at a cost of Rs 3.96 crore under the PMGSY project and also carried out inspection of under construction 500 bedded Associated Hospital for Government Medical College Handwara.
He said the sole aim of the public outreach programme is to assess the developmental scenario of Jammu and Kashmir and reiterated that the government is committed to the overall development of the union territory.
Later, the minister convened a detailed meeting with DDCs, BDCs, PRIs and public delegations at Environment Hall, Handwara.
The public representatives deliberated on projected issues including development of tourist resort Bangus, speedy construction of Baramulla-Kupwara four lanes Highway and extension of railways to the Kupwara district.
Responding to the demands of the public representatives and other delegations, Kulaste said he would take up the matter with the concerned departments at the Centre as well as with UT administration and assured that these demands would be fulfilled on priority basis.
Commenting on the demand of augmentation of water supply in the district, the minister said that every household will get tap water connection by the end of 2022 as per the ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission of Central Government.
The Union Minister also took a pledge and participated in a cleanliness drive at Dak Banglow Kupwara as a part of the Gandhi Jayanti celebrations. Remembering the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, the minister said that the best tribute to him is to uphold the slogan and symbol of 'Swactch Bharat Abiyan'.
Kulaste said the Swachhta programme was initiated by the Prime Minister that has opened its vistas across the length and breadth of the country.