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Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh addressing the newly elected Pradhans and Up-Pradhans at Mandi
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh addressing the newly elected Pradhans and Up-Pradhans at Mandi 

Shimla, January 15, 2016 (News Team): Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today administered the oath of office to the newly elected Pradhans and Up-Pradhans of Mandi, Hamirpur, Bilaspur and Kullu districts in an impressive oath taking ceremony organized at Paddal ground in Mandi. 

While addressing 2090 newly elected gram panchayat representatives of these districts, the Chief Minister congratulated them and said that Rs. 195.39 crore would be released to the panchayats as per the recommendation of the 14thFinance Commission during this financial year and first installment of  Rs. 97.70 crore had  already been released. The State government would provide a special development grant of Rs. 10 lakh to each Panchayat who had been elected unanimously. A sum of  Rs. 11.40 crore would be spent for this purpose, which would accelerate the pace of development at grass root level.  He expressed happiness that 114 Panchayats were elected unanimously.

The Chief Minister said that Rs. 4.5 crore would be spent on training of the newly elected representatives for which a detailed schedule had been prepared so that they discharge their duties efficiently. In the first phase, training would be given to all the representatives up to July during this year. The State government had provided Rs. 8 crore for the construction of 7 seven district level resource centres and 25 block level resource centres to impart training to all the representatives in an effective manner.

Virbhadra Singh said that PRIs were playing an important role in ensuring overall development and welfare of the people at village level. He said that State government had empowered these institutions by delegating various powers so that the purpose of the development could be achieved in a real sense. He said that with the decentralization of the powers to the PRIs, the grass root level units of democracy were emerging most powerful and they needed to act judiciously and treat every member of their panchayat uniformly by rising above all consideration.

The Chief Minister said that MNREGA, Indira Awas Yojna, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan etc. were major programmes being executed through PRIs, where the panchayat representatives needed to work committedly to achieve the set targets in a time bound manner. He expressed hope that the women and youth who got maximum representation in PRIs would ensure overall and speedy development in their respective areas in a true spirit.  He said that small State like Himachal Pradesh had emerged as a role model of development for rest of the hilly States of the Country the credit for which goes to the successive Congress governments, which ruled the State for maximum time.

Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Minister Anil Sharma thanked the Chief Minister for administering oath to the representatives of PRIs. He said that State government considers these institutions as a strong unit of local governance and they had emerged as an important institution for implementation of various developmental programmes. He stressed that the representatives of PRIs should have proper knowledge of Panchayati Raj Act, Rules and various schemes besides understanding the basic principles of engineering so that they could share the responsibility in an efficient manner.

He hoped that the team of young and energetic office bearers would work vigorously to serve the people with commitment. He urged them to lend their supportive hand in achieving targets of various schemes being implemented for the development of the Panchayats within the stipulated time. He underlined that the MNREGA targets should be achieved in a time bound manner for which collective efforts were required.

Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Onkar Sharma proposed the vote of thanks.

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