Updated: April 25, 2016 2:54:19 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday exhorted women panchayat representatives to take the lead and ensure that their villages were free of open defecation and that pregnant women were taken care of.
He asked them to be vigilant and check false reporting and misappropriation of money from government schemes, besides urging them to be active to avail the benefits of government programmes.
In his address, beamed across 2.5 lakh panchayats across the nation through live television, on the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day, Modi said: “The average strength of women representatives in panchayat bodies is around 40 per cent. This is my humble request to you: can you take the lead in ensuring that you will get toilets constructed in all houses? Can you resolve to ensure that pregnant women, who are below the poverty line, in villages are taken care of till delivery? Can you keep an eye on the manner in which the midday meal scheme is implemented?”
He asked, “Do you understand how painful it is for such women? They are barely 25 years old. But (due to lack of care), either they die or the child. Or both die. Do you realise the mental condition of the man who loses his wife and child? Do you realise what such a family goes through?”
Modi further stressed that women representatives should not feel restricted thinking about their education. “The way you take care of your family is enough. That experience is enough. Don’t get bogged down by whether or not you are educated,” he said.
Pointing out that lack of funds, programmes or intent of the government was no longer an issue, Modi said: “If you sit together and plan properly, the change you have been waiting for all your lives can be brought into your village within five years.”
On the other hand, the PM said, active panchayats get maximum benefit from government programmes, besides getting funds. “Officers, too, like to visit such villages as they get their targets completed,” he said.
Modi urged the panchayat representatives to take up ‘asset creation’ through MGNREGA.
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