JAMMU, NOVEMBER 20: Principal Secretary Planning, Development & Monitoring and Information Department, Rohit Kansal Wednesday said that strengthening of grassroots democracy and participatory development is the principle aim of ‘Back to Village’ programme, adding that the outreach initiative will be a regular affair and will be held twice a year from now onwards.

Addressing an evening presser here, Principal Secretary said that the ‘Back to Village’ programme was launched as a unique project by the government in June 2019 for speeding up developmental tempo in rural areas and creating a genuine partnership between the administration and the people towards a brighter and prosperous future.

He said that the first phase of the outreach campaign drew an overwhelming response from the general public during which administration was able to analyze the critical gaps in each Panchayat to ensure that the basic amenities in each of them are available to people.

Elaborating on the second phase of the programme which will commence from November 25, Mr. Kansal said that more than 5000 gazetted officers will be deputed to Panchayats to receive the first-hand appraisal reports at the grassroots level about the developmental works.

He further said that B2V-phase II will be more intense than previous phase as current one will be based on four main objectives like follow up of B2V-1, empowerment of Panchayats, 100% coverage of beneficiary oriented schemes and doubling of farmers’ income by 2022.

He said Rs 1000 crore have already been released in favour of Panchayats while as Rs 700 crore more are in the pipeline for fast-tracking the development process. He informed that Rs. 5 crore each were released earlier to Deputy Commissioners for implementing the commitments made under the first phase of the ‘Back to Village’ programme.

One of the primary objectives of the B2V-2 will be to handhold the Panchayats and to assist them wherever they face any impediments in using the funds devolved for development based on local priorities, he added.

He added that empowerment and development of Panchayats has become the fundamental objective of the B2V programme which primarily is aimed at strengthening of grassroots democracy and participatory development, adding that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, mentioned about B2V in ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme and called it the festival of development.

The Principal Secretary stated that B2V-phase 1 has provided a blueprint to frame the future plans and policies for developing these Panchayats on requisite guidelines. He said that B2V is the phenomenon to institutionalize the Panchayats to implement programmes of 14th Finance Commission and other centrally sponsored schemes.

Secretary Rural Development, Sheetal Nanda, Secretary GAD, Farooq Ahmad Lone and Director Information and Public Relations, Dr. Syed Sehrish Asgar were also present during the press conference.