Underlining the importance of panchayats in the development of villages, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said it was not merely budgetary allocations but also “leadership” and the “spirit of doing something” for villages that would drive such development.
“Mahatma Gandhi always used to say India lives in the villages. We need to think of how to develop our villages. Even in the remotest village, the dreams of the people are big. Think about what you can achieve in the next 5 years for your village… We will not be able to develop our villages as long as we do not have a feeling of respect and pride towards them… we have to motivate people, provide leadership,” Modi said while addressing the National Panchayati Raj Day. He added that a leadership role for elected village representatives will help alleviate poverty and promote education. “Then you will see how the combination of budget and leadership brings about the turnaround,” he said.
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The PM also called for ending the “sarpanch-pati” culture, referring to a situation where the husbands of women sarpanch exercise undue influence. “Law has empowered women… Bring this sarpanch-pati culture to an end. They (women) should be given the opportunity. They should be promoted,” he said.
Recalling his meeting with an all-women gram panchayat in Gujarat when he was CM, Modi said that the sarpanch told him her motto was to ensure that no one remains poor in the village. “Have panchayats in our country ever thought that there should be no poor left in our country? If one village brings out at least five families out of poverty in a year, what a big change will be ushered in,” he said.
Meanwhile, Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Chaudhary Birender Singh said seats for panchayat representatives belonging to women, SC and ST should be reserved for two terms (10 years) instead of the current one term of five years.