Pro-poor and pro-rural budget will transform rural India-Birendra Singh

The Union Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Chaudhary Birender Singh addressing the media about the big rural deal announced in the Budget, in New Delhi on March 01, 2016. The Minister of State for Rural Development, Shri Sudarshan Bhagat, the Minister of State for Drinking Water & Sanitation, Shri Ram Kripal Yadav and the Minister of State for Panchayati Raj, Shri Nihalchand are also seen.

Pro-poor and pro-rural budget will transform rural India-Birendra Singh

All rural schemes get enhanced allocation of funds

Union Minister for Rural Development, Drinking Water and Sanitation and Panchayati Raj Shri Birender Singh today lauded the general budget for its pro-farmer and pro-village thrust and said that it will transform the rural India by economically empowering the poor people. Addressing a press conference here, the Minister said, for the first time more than one lakh crore has been earmarked for the three Ministries with the Rural Development Ministry alone getting the lion’s share of more than Rs 87, 000 crore.

Shri Singh said that this government has given a new impetus to MGNREGA as it has increased the allocation by over Rs 3,800 crore in 2016-17 at Rs 38,500 crore, while it was Rs 34,699 crore in the last fiscal. He said, if the total amount is spent, it will be the highest budget spend on MGNREGA and added that there will be no dearth of fund for the rural job scheme as it is a demand driven programme. He said, MGNREGA is not only about job creation, but also about quality asset creation and for this every panchayat has started keeping a record. The Minister said that steps are being taken to address the problems like leakages and delay in payments by linking the payment through DBT and simplification of procedures. He said that from 1st of January 2016, all payments under MGNREGA in Kerala is done through Direct Benefit Transfer by its linkage with Aadhaar and by the end of this year 10 more states will implement the DBT scheme.

Terming the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) as the most successful scheme of the Rural Development Ministry, Shri Singh said that for the first time Rs.19,000 crore was allocated in the 2016-17 budget, which is more than double the annual allocation of 2013-14. He said, the allocation of PMGSY in 2012-13 and 2013-14 were substantially reduced by the then UPA Government at Rs.8,885 crore and Rs. 9,806 crore respectively. He said, through a network of 4,66,044 kms of rural roads, PMGSY has successfully connected 64% (1,14,540) of the eligible habitations (1,78,184) so far and all rural road works will be completed by 31st March, 2019, three years ahead of targeted year of 2022. He said, while in the UPA, 67 kilometers of rural road was constructed per day, it is 100 kilometers now and that too by using new and advanced technology.

On the issue of rural housing, the Minister informed that soon a new scheme called Housing for All will be announced to construct 2 crore 95 lakh houses and the Ministry has proposed to double the amount from the existing Rs 70, 000 for plain areas and Rs 75,000 in hilly and difficult areas to construct each dwelling unit. In this year’s budget Rs 15,000 crore was allocated for Indira Aawas Yojana, which is the highest ever allocation for the scheme. Shri Singh said, the BPL-APL differentiation will also be done away with in the new housing scheme and money will be given to beneficiaries based on new SECC data.

Speaking about the Swachh Bharat Mission, the Minister said that since the launch of the programme on 2nd October, 2014 more than 156.73 lakh toilets have already been constructed (including 9.51 lakh under MGNREGS) as on 29.02.2016. He said, for the year 2016-17, Rs. 9000 crore has been allocated for Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), which is 291% increase against the allocation of Rs. 2300 crore of 2013-14. The Minister said that so far 9 districts, 158 blocks and 48,804 villages have declared themselves as Open Defecation Free (ODF) (as on 29.2.2016), while Sikkim is the first ODF state in the country. Similarly, coverage of rural drinking water supply in terms of habitations has gone up from 73.7% to 76.3% during the period between 01.04.2014 to 01.03.2016. Whereas there was a decline in coverage from 73.9% (as on 1.4.2012) to 73.7% (as on 31.3.2014).

Shri Birender Singh said through convergence of different schemes and through watershed scheme of the Ministry of Rural Development more than 4 lakh hectares of arid land will be brought under irrigation this year which will considerably boost the farm income.

The Minister also informed that the Prime Minister has recently launched the Rurban Mission to develop 300 village clusters by creating basic infrastructure in them and Rs 5,000 crore was allocated for this purpose. He said, through a range of programmes in rural development, government is making efforts to address the multi-dimensionality of poverty.

Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan calls for a zeal for knowledge to restore the glory of the country

Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Department of Science & Technology, Dr. Harsh Vardhan calls for a creating a zeal for knowledge to restore the past glory of the country. He called for a scientific India where science will be a part of everybody’s life. The Minister was speaking after giving awards for outstanding contribution in the field for communication of science and technology and promoting science for nation Building for the year 2015 on the occasion of the . He said our scientists should endeavor to find solutions to various unresolved problems still being faced by the country. The Minister recalled the stark conditions in which the Nobel laureate Bharat Ratna Sir Chandrasekara Venkata Raman and Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose had worked to bring glory to the country.


Speaking on the occasion the Secretary Department of Science & Technology Prof. Ashutosh Sharma said the budgetary allocation to the Science & Technology for promoting innovation in the Union Budget has been raised by over 500% indicating the importance that the government is giving to the sector. He said that the theme for this year National Science Day also indicates our seriousness to address the challenges being faced by the country through Science

Today’s event was organized to mark celebrations of the National Science Day (NSD) by the National Council for Science & Technology Communication Division (NCSTC) of the Department of Science & Technology. The theme of NSD-2016 is “Make in India: S&T driven Innovations’’.


National Science Day is celebrated every year on 28th February to commemorate the    discovery of the ‘Raman Effect’, a Nobel Prize winning discovery by Sir C.V. Raman.

The Minister presented national awards instituted in 1987 by the NCSTC to stimulate, encourage and recognize outstanding efforts in the area of science popularization and communication for promoting scientific temper in the country. The awardees for 2015 are: Pushpa Gujral Science City, Kapurthala and Dr. Kuldeep Chander Sharma, Udhampur for Outstanding Efforts in Science & Technology Communication. The award consists of Rs. 2,00,000/- (Rupees two lakh), a memento and a citation. Prof. Shashanka Mohan Bose, Chandigarh,  Dr. G. Ganesan, Rajapalayam and Shri R. Sivaraman, Chennai were given the National Award for Outstanding Efforts in Science & Technology Communication through Print Media including Books and Magazines. The award consists of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees one lakh), a memento and a citation. Dr. V. Rajendran, Tiruchengode, Vasundhara Public Charitable Trust, Sindhudurg, Shri Gurmeet Singh, Kapurthala, got the National Award for Outstanding Efforts in Science & Technology Popularization among Children. The award consists of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees one lakh), a memento and a citation. Science& Tech Siri Voluntary Organisation, Warangal got the National Award for Outstanding Efforts in Science& Technology Communication through Innovative and Traditional methods. The award consists of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees one lakh), a memento and a citation. Shri Pallava Bagla, Delhi was given the National Award for Outstanding Efforts in Science & Technology Communication in the Electronic Medium. The award consists of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees one lakh), a memento and a citation.

He also gave awards to 12 scientists who were elected as fellows of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). Dr. Harsha Vardhan said he is very glad that about one third of all scientists who were elected as fellows of TWAS are from India. He complimented them all for making great contributions in their fields..

NCSTC acts as a nodal agency to support, catalyze and coordinate celebration of the National Science Day throughout the country in scientific institutions and research laboratories.  NCSTC has supports  various programmes through grants-in-aid  to  State S&T Councils & Departments for organization of lectures, quizzes, open houses, etc.

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