'India can't become $5 tn economy if villages ignored'

'India can't become $5 tn economy if villages ignored'

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar speaks in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament. LSTV/PTI

The dream of India becoming a 5 trillion dollar economy cannot be achieved if the villages in the country are ignored, Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said here on Thursday.

Speaking at National Awards Distribution function to honour outstanding work in the rural development schemes across the country, Tomar said every village needs to have all the basic facilities equipped with modern technology, just like the cities.

"Our country is agriculture and farmer based economy. The country has to be taken on the path of success and become a five trillion dollar economy, but all this cannot be achieved by ignoring villages. That is why when making the country progress is our priority, our effort should also be to end the imbalance and disparity between the villages and cities.

"We should make farming attractive and increase the produce with the use of technology to only provide for the country but the world," Tomar said.

Talking about the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and other welfare schemes, the minister said, the budget of MGNREGA has been increased by the government from Rs 38,000 crore in 2014 to Rs 60,000 crore in the last five years.

He said, under the third phase of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY), the government has set a target of completing road stretch of 1.25 lakh km by 2024-25 in the country with a budget of nearly Rs 80,250 crore.

"The government is very much committed to its completion," he said.

He said in PMGSY's second phase, the proposal was to build 50,000 km stretch of roads, and the ministry has already granted its approval to 49,000 km road.

"I am happy that 30,000 km road stretch out of this has already been completed. I am sure the rest of the target will also be achieved," Tomar said.

He said PMGSY was brought to initiate connectivity for villages in the country but states must work on the maintenance.

"If maintenance is not taken care of, officials of the state government will be directly held accountable," he said while urging the states to be serious about the maintenance of roads.

Around 266 awards were given to individuals, institutions, and Panchayats for their exemplary contribution in the rural development.

Tamil Nadu bagged the Golden award for running a maximum number of developmental programmes at the village level. 

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