Over 90 per cent population of the state and about 70 per population of the country lives in rural areas, therefore, it was not even possible to think of development of the state or country without development of the rural areas. This was stated by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while presiding over the state level function celebrated on the occasion of National Panchayat Day at Mandi to commemorate thePanchayati Raj Diwas, today. Over 3500 elected representatives of 3226 panchayats and other municipalities participated in this function.The speech of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi from Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh was telecasted live on the occasion.Shri Jai Ram Thakur said that it was on this day that our Constitution endowed the village Panchayats with the power to function as self-sustained units of self- government. He said that Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi envisioned a decentralized form of government in the form of Panchayats, where each village would be held accountable and work towards its own affairs, which according to him was the foundation of ‘Gram Swaraj’.
The Chief Minister said main focus of the state government was development of the rural areas for which best infrastructure in health, education and related field was being strengthened. He said the migration of the people from rural areas towards cities would not only create unnecessary burden on basic amenities but would also shatter our rural economy. Former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had launched Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana to ensure road connectivity in the rural areas and it proved to be a boon to the people of the country. Similarly, Shri Narinder Modi was also committed towards development of rural areas of the State.He said that the state government was promoting zero budget farming in the state for which a budget provision of Rs. 25 crore had been allocated in the current year. This would not only strengthen rural economy of the state but also encourage the youth to adopt natural farming. He urged the elected representatives of the PRIs to promote zero budget farming in their respective panchayats in a big way. He also exhorted them to work with dedication to come up to the expectations of the people of their respective panchayats. He said that efforts should be made for effective water harvesting measures and PRIs should come forward to contribute in this direction.
He said that provision of Rs 45 crore had been made for Zila Parishads and Panchayat Samities for carrying out developmental works. Himachal Pradesh was the second state after Manipur to be declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) in the country. He also stressed on promoting solar energy in the rural areas and better training of elected representatives of the PRI so as to improve their functioning.He announced to increase the honorarium of Panchayat Samiti Members to Rs. 4,000 per month and removing an anomaly in the honorarium of Members of Zila Parishad.The Chief Minister gave away prizes to the best panchayats of the state for their outstanding performances in effective implementation of various programmes. Thachadhar panchayat of Seraj Development Block in Mandi district was given first prize for covering maximum families for 100 days employment under MNREGA. The second prize was bagged by Rai panchayat of Pangi Development Block in Chamba district and third by Ghat panchayat of Seraj Development Block in Mandi district.In utilizing maximum funds under MNREGA, Khalwahan panchayat of Seraj Development Block in Mandi district got first prize, Kihard panchayat of Saluni Development Block of Chamba district got second and Jajwaiyan panchayat of Jhandutta Development Bock of Bilaspur district bagged third prize.Khalwahan panchayat of Seraj Development Block of Mandi district got first prize in creating maximum man days under MNERGA in the State followed by Sajjaopiplu panchayat of Dharampur Development Block in Mandi district and Thachadhar panchayat of Seraj Development Block in Mandi district respectively.
Similarly, in implementation of e-panchayat application (Priya Softs, Plan Plus, Area Profiler, National Accent Directory, Mobile Accent and Action Softs etc. on line applications) Mandi district bagged first prize and Una district stood second.While congratulating the panchayats for their outstanding performances, the Chief Minister said that other PRIs would be motivated to perform better.The Chief Minister also released various publications (booklets, magazines, folders and brochures) brought out by the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department on the occasion.Gram Rogzar Sewak Sangh Mandi presented a cheque of Rs 2 lakh, Block Primary Education staff presented a cheque of Rs 47,000 and Blue Cross Society Mandi presented a cheque of Rs 30,000 to the Chief Minister towards the Cheif Ministers Relief Fund.MPP and Power Minister Shri Anil Sharma said that the Panchayati Raj bodies would be further strengthened by providing greater financial powers to these grass root institutions of democracy. Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Virender Kanwar while addressing the gathering on the occasion said that the Panchayats were the base of our democracy and these were vital for development of the rural areas and thus efforts would be made to further strengthen these institutions. He said that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi was endeavouring to visualize the dream of Mahatma Gandhi of Gram Swaraj. The regular training and workshops would be held for officers and elected representatives of PRIs so as to make them more effective.
He said that at least one pound would be constructed in all the panchayats every year for water conservation.He thanked the CM for increasing honorarium of the PRI representatives.Member of Parliament Shri Ram Swaroop Sharma said that the centre government was committed to ensure development of rural areas of the country so as to check migration of people from the villages towards the cities. He said that Prime Minister had resolved to ensure ‘Gram Swaraj’ in real sense by empowering the Panchayati Raj Institutions.Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Dr R.N.Batta said that this was for the first time that the State level function of such magnitude was held in the State. He said that ‘Gram Swaraj Abhiyan’ was being held in the State from 14 April to 5 May, 2018 and various activities would be undertaken in different parts of the state to commemorate the occasion. He said that various activities such as scientific management of waste, cleaning of water bodies and sources, providing LED bulbs and stoves to the beneficiaries were being carried out during the campaign.Director, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Shri Rakesh Kanwar presented vote of thanks.MLAs Col. Inder Singh, Shri Hira Lal, Shri Vinod Kumar, Shri Rakesh Jamwal and Shri Inder Singh Gandhi, Chairperson, Zila Parishad Mandi Smt. Champa Thakur, Chairperson, Nagar Parishad Mandi Smt. Suman Thakur and senior officers of the state government were present on the occasion.