Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address members of more than two lakh panchayats this month — much like his interaction with students on Teacher’s Day in 2014 — in a rural outreach that will begin on April 14, the birth anniversary of Dalit icon BR Ambedkar.
The address to villages on April 24, the national Panchayati Raj Day, from Jamshedpur in Jharkhand will mark the end of the 11-day long ‘Gram Uday se Bharat Uday’.
The objective is to generate nationwide efforts to increase “social harmony” across villages and strengthen panchayati raj, said rural development minister Birender Singh. The PM’s interaction will help members of gram panchayats share ideas to help improve government schemes meant for them, he said.
The PM will kick off the campaign on April 14 from the Dalit icon’s birthplace, Mhow, in Madhya Pradesh. The campaign has been divided into three phases.
The first phase will include a ‘social harmony programme’ from April 14 to 16 under which villagers will pay tribute to Ambedkar and resolve to strengthen social harmony. In its second phase farmer’s assemblies will be organised from April 17-20 in order to familiarise farmers with the governments’ schemes related to agriculture. In the last leg of the campaign, gram sabhas will be organised across the country from April 21 to 24.
The PM’s outreach comes amid a sustained campaign by the opposition to project the NDA government as “anti-Dalit”, “anti-poor” and “anti-farmer”.
The government has been seeking to counter the opposition’s onslaught with farmer-centric measures, including an emphasis on irrigation and farming in the last Union Budget.
Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh, who also addressed the media, said the farmers will be provided with information on schemes such as Fasal Bima Yojana and Soil Health Card scheme.
The campaign will see massive mobilisation of central and state government officials who will be directed to be present in the gram sabha meetings. Central government ministers and MPs too will travel to their constituencies to interact with people.
The five states including West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry, where assembly elections are on, will not participate in the campaign.