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‘Smartgram’ initiatives aimed to transform villages: Pranab Mukherjee

Former president Pranab Mukherjee said Sunday that the ‘Smartgram’ initiatives were aimed to transform villages into happy, harmonious and hi-tech places, by connecting the villagers with the initiative. These villages have been adopted by the Pranab Mukherjee Foundation.

The foundation named after the former president that will initiate, support and execute projects aimed at improving the quality of life of people, was launched earlier this year in Delhi. The ‘Smartgram‘ initiative was inaugurated with the adoption of five villages of Haryana –Tajnagar, Dhaula, Alipur, Harchandpur and Rojka Meo by Mukherjee, who was then the President, on July 2, 2016.

They are aimed to transform villages into happy, harmonious and hi-tech villages, by connecting the villagers with the initiative, Mukherjee said while addressing people of Harchandpur, Alipur and Nayagaon villages in this district.

Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurating Smartgram Mission with Shri Manohar Lal Khattar at Harchandpur, Haryana

On May 1 last year, it was approved that the initiative be extended to 100 villages in the vicinity of the initially-selected five villages of Haryana. Mukherjee, along with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday, inaugurated Harchandpur ‘Smartgram Gramalaya’ building, Smartgram Partner Processing Centre at village Harchandpur, Training and Innovation Warehouse at village Alipur and ‘Water ATM’ at village Nayagaon and laid the foundation stone of ‘Nayagaon Happiness Square’ at Nayagaon village, in Gurgaon.

On the occasion, Mukherjee and Khattar also honoured the new entrepreneurs of these villages by giving them an appreciation letter. The former president said that the aim of the ‘Pranab Mukherjee Foundation’ is to give pace to the development of villages by connecting its people, and in this, the support of various government departments, NGOs and corporate companies are also involved.

Speaking on the occasion, Khattar said that India resides in villages and our culture is identified through them. He said that even during the tenure of his presidency, he gave special emphasis on rural development.

For this, the Smart Gram Initiative was launched in five villages of Haryana on July 2, 2016. The chief minister said that in the last four years, many unique schemes were launched for rural development in Haryana which included Sansad Gram Yojana and Vidhayak Adarsh Gram Yojana. He said that the Adarsh Gram Yojana was launched for connecting well-to-do families with their villages to carry out development works.

Under this scheme, more than 50 villages have been adopted by them. Managing Director, the Pranab Mukherjee Foundation, Omita Paul said that 100 villages have been adopted by the foundation, out of which 64 villages are working in the field of education. Union Minister of State for Planning and Gurgaon MP, Rao Inderjit Singh and Haryana Public Works Minister, Rao Narbir Singh also spoke on the occasion.

(Article was published in Economic Times.)

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