The Centre would spend Rs 2 lakh crore through panchayats for village development over the next four years, Union minister for rural development and panchayati Raj Birender Singh said on Saturday Karnal.
The minister, who was at a function to commemorate the 116th birth anniversary of Shaheed Udham Singh, said the plan for the villages included empowering unemployed youth in the country’s 2.43 lakh panchayats. “No panchayat will be short of funds and each will get at least Rs 16 lakh a year. The plan includes capacity building, so that any work they took up was of good quality,” the minister told reporters. He said educated youth would be trained to undertake development projects and maybe given an honorarium or salary.
‘No vendetta against Hooda’
Birender Singh, who had switched to the Bharatiya Janata Party from the Congress before the last parliamentary elections, supported the investigation ordered into all cases of land acquisition and change of land use from the previous 10-year regime of Bhupinder Singh Hooda in Haryana.
“When Hooda himself has declared that he is open to any inquiry to clear his name, how can the Congress leadership dub it political vendetta. Anyone who does wrong deserves legal action, and the BJP government is following the judicious path,” he said.
On Modi’s visit to Pakistan
The Union minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Pakistan on Friday had proved his mettle as a statesman.
“It was astute diplomacy hinting at resolving our issues with Pakistan. Even the Kashmiri hardliners have welcomed the gesture. The visit will have a deep impact on peace and development in South East Asia in the long run,” he said.
On qualification for MPs, MLAs
Agreeing that a minimum educational qualification was must for members of panchayati raj institution (PRIs), the union panchayat minister said the same was not true in the case of the members of Parliament or legislative assemblies.
He said that there were numerous examples where elected representatives with poor academic background had led lawmakers with acumen and natural intellect.
“Panchayat is the only Indian democratic institution in which the elected representatives have executive functions. It is a hard fact that our panchayats are run by village secretaries, as scores of PRI members are uneducated; whereas, the role of legislators is limited to law-making within the Indian structure of democracy,” he said.