President Patil promises better deal for rural India (Lead)

June 4th, 2009 - 4:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) With two-thirds of India’s billion-plus people living in villages, President Pratibha Patil Thursday outlined a five-year agenda for the new government that has added emphasis on rural development, with fresh targets in areas such as irrigation, potable water, electrification, roads and telecom.
If Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had promised a “new deal for rural India” when he took charge of the high office for the first time in 2004, Patil Thursday said the targets of all flagship programmes for rural development would be stepped up under his next United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

“My government launched Bharat Nirman five years ago as a time-bound business plan for rural infrastructure,” the president said in her address to the first joint session of parliament after the constitution of the 15th Lok Sabha.

“The government succeeded in reaching basic infrastructure of roads, electricity and telephone to a large number of villages. It has also achieved most of the targets of rural water supply, rural housing and has increased irrigation potential,” she added.

“The remaining tasks will be completed in the second phase of Bharat Nirman.”

The various initiatives for the new government covering rural India outlined by the president included:

- Twelve million new houses over next five years

- Successful conclusion of water supply programme by 2011

- Target of 40 percent telecom penetration by 2014

- Enhanced target for electricity, irrigation and roads

- New food security legislation for 25 kg of food grain per family per month

- More investments for agriculture, irrigation

- Expansion of national rural health mission

- Health insurance for all poor families by 2012

- Legislative amendments to prevent unfair displacement of farmers

- Training for village administration to man flagship programmes

- Quarterly reports on Bharat Nirman to be made public by ministers

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