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Navin chairs pre-budget meetings of Rural Development, Cooperative Deptts

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Calls for further streamlining MGNREGA to benefit rural populace

JAMMU, NOVEMBER 28: Principal Secretary Finance, Navin K Choudhary, today chaired two separate pre-budget meetings of Departments of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj (RDPR) and Cooperative and held detailed discussions with the officers on the budgetary requirements of these departments for the year 2019-20.

The Department of RDPR was represented by its Secretary, Sheetal Nanda, Director General RDD, Jammu, Rehana Batul and other concerned senior officers. The Department of Cooperative was represented by its Secretary, Abdul Majid Bhat and team of all allied departments. The team of officers from Finance Department comprising, Director Budget, Imtiyaz Ahmed Wani, Directors Expenditures, Shabir Ahmed Khan, Parvez Ahmed Kakroo and Joint Director Budget, Raman Kumar Gupta also attended the meetings.

Initiating the pre-budget discussions with the officers, Navin Choudhary described both these Departments as key to transforming the rural economy and its development scenario and directly connected with the grass-root system. He said the Government is committed to support these departments to mitigate the problems of rural populace, particularly the farming community. He called for proper utilization of funds meant for flagship programmes like MG NREGA which are aimed at to uplift the rural and poor population.

Navin called for formulating rural based projects to benefit the poor people. He gave thrust on further streamlining the MG NREGA, which is a game changer for the rural population so that maximum people can avail its benefits. He also suggested to link the MG NREGA with the education system to promote the literacy rate in the State. He said the department should evolve a mechanism to ensure that all the rural children are enrolled in schools and parents must be motivated to give education to their wards with the pretext that the MGNREGA benefits will only be available to them if they send their wards to schools. “Though it should not be a mandatory mechanism, but should be taken on missionary spirit to promote education in the rural areas to achieve the objective of education to all”, he added.

Principal Secretary also called for massive awareness for the newly elected Sarpanchs and Panchs to educate them about their role, responsibilities, area of operation and duties under the provisions of Panchayati Raj system so that they can deliver in a better way. He urged the Secretary Rural Development to organize State-wide awareness camps/workshops for the elected Panchayat functionaries after the conclusion of current Panchayat elections.

In order to give benefits of various schemes to the farmers, the Principal Secretary asked the officers of Cooperative Department to further promote the cooperative movement and cluster approach. He laid stress on promotion of agro-based projects like dairy farms, poultry farms and fishery farms etc with the cooperative concept. He asked for creating awareness amongst the farmers about the government schemes and their benefits so that they reap their benefits and contribute to the State’s economy.

Navin asked the Super Bazar and JAKFED to enthuse new energy to their functioning to make them self-sustainable and income generating units. He asked for evolving innovations to compete in the market and enhancing the consumer outreach. He said consumers want quality and genuine rates and the PSUs must evolve something new to attract the consumers if they have to sustain. He said the concept behind setting up these Government PSUs was to provide consumer products to the people, Government offices on cheaper rates than market and making them profit earning and self-sustaining units. The employees of these PSUs must understand the basic objective and work hard to be alive in the market without any Government support, Navin maintained.

Navin suggested several measures to make these PSUs as profit earning and asked the Super Bazar authorities to set up consumer sale outlets in the Secretariat premises, Mini Secretariats in the districts, Government colonies and other such potential areas, for which the Government will facilitate by providing them necessary spaces. This will not only enhance their income, but also facilitate to the Government offices with the availability of all consumer items at their doorstep on cheaper rates.

The concerned departments presented their next year’s budgetary requirements which were deliberated in detail. The Principal Secretary made it clear to both the departments to discourage the practice of engaging any kind of manpower without the concurrence of Finance Department, adding that the Finance Department shall not provide any kind of financial support to meet to clear the wage liabilities and the officers who will engage such manpower shall be personally responsible to pay them, he asserted.

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