Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday exhorted rural management graduates to contribute towards development of villages, but advised them to stay away from government and government officials to do “meaningful work”.
Gadkari, who was the chief guest at the 35th annual convocation of Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA), told the audience that both bureaucrats and “the system in Delhi are far removed from problems in rural areas”, and voices from villages “do not reach the national capital”. The Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping also rued poor road connectivity between villages and cities.
Addressing students, academicians and members of IRMA in Hindi, the minister said there was a need for “vision” in governance. “One can donate eyes, but cannot donate vision. The lack of appropriate vision for development is our biggest problem,” he said. The Union minister, however, noted that the budget for this fiscal year has several provisions for the rural India and agriculture.
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Gadkari also underlined the lack of proper healthcare and education in rural areas. “The harsh reality is that in villages, there are schools, but no teachers. In some villages, there are teachers, but no school building… in some villages, both schools and teachers are there, but there is no student. In the health sector, similarly, there are hospitals in some villages without sufficient number of doctors, while some have hospitals and even doctors, but medicines are not available there. Who will go there to die?,” he said.
The minister said the farm sector was “in a very bad condition”, and stressed on public private partnership (PPP) model for rural development, and also entrepreneurship and research in the farm sector.
With IRMA chairman Nand Kumar on the dais, Gadkari asked students of post graduate diploma to be job givers and not job seekers. But as a word of caution, Gadkari said, “Keep distance from government and government officials for meaningful work towards growth and development… They some how manage to stall developmental work… Build capital on your strength and work for the society. Innovation, technology, entrepreneurship and research are keys for transformation in agriculture and rural India.”
Stressing on the need for agricultural development and irrigation, Gadkari said, “Agriculture and irrigation development should be the top most priority. I notice that the biggest problem is of irrigation management. States like Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat that worked in the area of water conservation have changed the agricultural scenario. Their farm growth is around 14 per cent.”
Gadkari credited the Narmada canal system for making water available to the farmers in Kutch despite “many people creating hurdles in this project”. He said that it was the need of the hour to conserve “70 per cent of the rain water that flows into the sea”.