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Grassroots democracy has strengthened in J&K: Birla

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LS Speaker reaches Srinagar, will inaugurate 'Parliamentary Outreach Programme for Panchayati Raj Institutions' on 31 August

Srinagar: Grassroots democracy has strengthened in Jammu and Kashmir and people positively participated in local body elections, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said as he began his four-day visit to the union territory on Sunday.

The visit is part of a ‘Parliamentary Outreach Programme for Panchayati Raj Institutions’.

Addressing the media on his visit to the Kashmir Valley, Birla said this is a beautiful place and people here are known for their politeness and hospitality.

Replying to a question on the democratic processes in the union territory, he said, “Democracy at the grassroots level has strengthened in the valley and the entire UT.”

“People of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir have positively participated in the local body elections. More people have voted this time,” he said.

The Speaker further said the higher percentage of voting in local body elections this time shows that the people have faith in democratic process and institutions.

Birla reached Srinagar on Sunday after concluding his three-day outreach exercise in Leh, where he visited Pangong Tso and interacted with panchayat leaders there.

He is scheduled to address panchayat leaders from Jammu and Kashmir on August 31.

The Parliamentary Outreach Programme for the Empowerment of Panchayati Raj Institutions is a unique initiative of the Lok Sabha Speaker, an official communiqué issued here said, adding, it is intended to strengthen the institution of governance and planning at the grass-root level.

The first such Outreach Programme was organized at Dehradun, in the State of Uttarakhand on 08th January, 2021. The second was organized at Shillong; third such programme in the series was recently organized for the grass root level institutions of the Union Territory of Ladakh on 27 August, 2021, said the official communiqué.

It further said that fourth such programme is scheduled to be organized for the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir on 31 August, 2021 at Srinagar. The theme of the programme is “Parliamentary Outreach Programme for the Empowerment of the Panchayati Raj Institutions”.

The broad objectives of the programme are – Creating mass awareness/mass participation; creating self confidence/self respect for the ground level leaders; creating of sense of ownership of the assets; fuelling the ambitions for grass root political leaders for democratic values; creating awareness about the various schemes and the doorstep delivery – opportunities for development work and; providing opportunities to develop a network and push the aspirational level of the ground level leadership.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Sunday called on Lok Sabha Speaker.

“Today, met Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha Shri Om Birla ji @ombirlakota at Raj Bhavan. I, on behalf of people of Jammu & Kashmir, welcome Hon’ble Speaker, who is on his visit to the UT as part of the Parliamentary Outreach Programme to Strengthen Panchayati Raj Institutions,” the LG said on Twitter.

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