Pitching for a larger role of the elected village representatives or panchayat to alleviate poverty and promote education, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday called for ending “Sarpanch-pati”, a culture in panchayat where the husbands of women sarpanch exercising undue influence.
Recalling a political event in which someone told him that he was a SP (sarpanch-pati), PM Modi said, “This business of SP is going on. Law has empowered women. When law has given them the rights, they should also get an opportunity. Bring to an end this SP culture. They (women) should be given the opportunity. They should be promoted.”
While addressing the National Panchayati Raj Day function in New Delhi, the Prime Minister also expressed concern over school dropouts and felt that panchayats can play a role in cutting it down.
Recalling Mahatma Gandhi, the Prime Minister said,” India lives in the villages. We need to think of how to develop our villages. Even in the remotest village, the dreams of the people are big. Think about what you can achieve in the next 5 years for your village.”
Referring his visit to all-women Gram Panchayat in Gujarat when he was the Chief Minister, PM Modi said that the sarpanch told him there that her motto was to ensure that no one remains poor in the village.
PM Narendra Modi said issues such as education of children in the villages and their vaccination should be given special attention by panchayat members.
The Prime Minister suggested that the sarpanch should take a lead in organizing meetings of all working and retired government employees belonging to a particular village once in a while and ensure community participation to bring about a turnaround in a village in all respects.
Noting that all these works are not linked with constraints of budgets, he said, “We will not be able to develop our villages as long as we do not have a feeling of respect and pride towards them…we have to motivate people, provide leadership.”
He also urged Panchayat members to work with a five-year vision with concrete development plans to bring about positive changes in their villages.
About reservation for women in Panchayati Raj Institutions, PM said this does not exist in many countries and they get surprised to know that it already exists in India.
Union Minister for Panchayati Raj, Chaudhary Birender Singh said seats for panchayat representatives belonging to women, SC and ST should be reserved for two terms (10 years) instead of the current one term of five years.