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President Murmu Presented National Panchayat Awards & Inaugurated National Conference on Incentivization of Panchayats

Droupadi Murmu, the President of India, gave the National Panchayat Awards on April 17, 2023, and she also launched the National Conference on Incentivization of Panchayats in New Delhi.

Shruti Kandwal
The President stressed the importance of women's participation for the holistic development of any society.
The President stressed the importance of women's participation for the holistic development of any society.

On April 17, 2023, the National Panchayat Awards were presented by the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, who also inaugurated the National Conference on Incentivization of Panchayats in New Delhi.

The President emphasized that, despite rapid urbanization, the majority of the population still lives in villages, and developing them can lead to the overall progress of the country. Panchayats, therefore, should not only be a means of implementing government programs, but also a place to encourage new leaders, planners, policy-makers, and innovators. Adopting best practices from one Panchayat to another can help develop and make villages prosperous quickly.

The President also stressed the importance of women's participation for the holistic development of any society. She noted that of over 31.5 lakh elected representatives of local rural bodies, 46 percent are women, and urged women to participate actively in Gram Panchayat work. She appealed to their families to support them in these efforts.

Union Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Giriraj Singh, called for the remaining states to provide reservations for women beyond the 33% Constitutional provision in the Panchayats. He also emphasized the need for a development model that takes the Panchayats towards the saturation of schemes based on the nine themes laid out under the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

Furthermore, Giriraj Singh stated that the Modi Government firmly believes that Panchayats have to be the focal point of development. He highlighted that, previously, the Government allocated only Rs.54 per person for development under the Finance Commission, but now, it has been increased to Rs.700.

The Government is providing numerous schemes for the welfare of the country's citizens, including the distribution of foodgrains under the Garib Kalyan package, which would not have been possible without the involvement of the Panchayats, according to the Minister.

He said that in the 75th year of Independence, and 30 years after the 73rd Constitutional Amendment related to Panchayati Raj, it is time for the States to give legal rights to the Panchayati Raj Institutions.

Giriraj Singh called for saturation of schemes in the Panchayats by the line Ministries of the Centre and the States, saying that 31 lakh elected representatives have been trained towards sustainable villages under the Gram Swaraj Abhiyaan.

He noted that the parameters for determining the vibrant Panchayats have changed to include Carbon Neutrality, Water Sufficiency, Literacy, and Employment Generation. Previously, only about 10-20% of Panchayats participated, but now more than 90% have vied for the Awards.

Giriraj Singh highlighted the commendable efforts made by the youngest Panchayats in Jammu & Kashmir UT towards achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2030. He also mentioned that drone flights have been completed in over 2.5 lakh villages, property cards have been issued in over 64,000 villages, and over 57,000 rural residents have been given property cards.

He emphasized the potential of the Bhu-Aadhaar and SVAMITVA Schemes to transform rural India and benefit the rural populace. He stated that under the SVAMITVA Scheme, drone surveys have been completed in more than 2.35 lakh villages, while 95% of the 6.62 lakh villages have been provided with Bhu-Aadhaar under the Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) project.

Later, at the National Conference on Incentivization of Panchayats, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Union Minister of State for Rural Development and Steel, extended best wishes to all well-performing Panchayats.

Kapil Moreshwar Patil, MoS for Panchayati Raj, praised the awardee Panchayats for their outstanding achievements and said that the national award is an endorsement of the exemplary work done by Panchayats. He also called for the replication of Best Practices by other Panchayats. Patil stressed that the country cannot develop without the development of its villages and that the Central Government provides adequate financial support to the States for infrastructure development in rural areas. He called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to localize the SDGs and realize thematic goals in Gram Panchayats.

During the National Conference, Giriraj Singh launched the GS NIRNAY mobile application, a National Initiative for Rural India to Navigate, InnovAte and Resolve PanchaYat decisions, which aims to empower rural communities and aligns with the Prime Minister’s vision of maximizing digital technology for social benefit.

Giriraj Singh stressed the importance of enhancing rural governance through the adoption of digital tools and technology, which would increase the reach, scope, and outcome of government actions in the course of development. He highlighted the need to enhance the administrative capacity and effectiveness of regional and local governments by providing technological tools and resources to enable them to play a meaningful role in development. 

The GS NIRNAY mobile app will provide rural communities with easy access to critical information discussed during a Gram Sabha and act as a means of verification of facts where necessary or in case of queries that may arise regarding the resolutions undertaken during the Gram Sabha, bringing in more transparency and increasing efficiency in the functioning of Panchayats, which play a vital role in decentralized participatory democracy.

The Awardee Panchayats under various categories of National Panchayat Awards-2023, namely, (i) Deen Dayal Upadhyay Panchayat Satat Vikas Puraskar (DDUPSVP) for the performance under individual LSDG themes, (ii) Nanaji Deshmukh Sarvottam Panchayat Satat Vikas Puraskar (NDSPSVP) for the aggregate performance under all 9 LSDG themes and green initiative related Special Categories, (iii) Gram Urja Swaraj Vishesh Panchayat Puraskar, and (iv) Carbon Neutral Vishesh Panchayat Puraskar, were felicitated by the dignitaries, and the award money was transferred digitally to the Awardee Panchayats.

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