February 7, 2015 12:19:16 pm
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has cleared 165-point Uttar Pradesh Development Agenda for the year 2015-16 with focus on governance in rural areas through use of technology. The government has planned to give hand-held Tablet PCs to about 43,000 grassroots level village officers across the state.
As per the agenda, which is yet to be formally announced, these village-level employees include 27,000 Lekhpals (revenue clerks), about 8,000 village development officers (VDOs) and equal number of gram panchayat officers both of whom work as secretaries to about 50,000 gram panchayats in the state. The provision for the same is being made in the state’s annual budget, which will be placed before the state Assembly on February 24.
Significantly, not long ago, Akhilesh government had dropped its plan to give Tablet PCs to students clearing Class 10 and had made only token provision for it in its last budget even though it was part of the Samajwadi Party’s election manifesto.
Though the idea is to ensure that land record process reaches to the villagers, lekhpals doubt the feasibility of the idea as they are required to handle large amount of data base.
“If it is the decision of the state government, we would have to adjust to it but the fact remains that over 80 per cent of the Lekhpals in the state are above 40-45 years of age and would find it extremely difficult to adjust to a Tablet. Secondly, we deal with heavy data, including maps, and accessing them on a Tablet would not be feasible,” said Ramendra Nath Tripathi, president of the Uttar Pradesh Lekhpal Association. He said that extensive training would be required to make proper use of the device.
He said that he would raise the issue with the government once it is made official.
Government has also decided to start third-party evaluation of its schemes by involving public and stakeholders. Planning Department of the state has been given the task to evolve the formula in this regard.
In yet another step, government, after having failed to provide even 10 hours of electricity in rural areas during peak season, has decided to introduce solar-powered piped drinking water in the rural areas of the state. It has also decided to provide subsidised solar packs to poor people through which they can operate one fan and a bulb. The provision has been made in the upcoming state budget.
Moreover, it has kept its target of 22-hour electricity supply in district headquarters and 16 hours in rural areas along with 72-hour deadline to change damaged transformers in the rural areas intact.
The SP government has also decided to revive two schemes, which had been kept on the back-burner last year. These are Kanya Vidya Dhan Yojana and providing battery-operated rickshaws. Kanya Vidya Dhan Yojana would not be in its previous form and monetary assistance would be given to meritorious girl students.
Other 165-point agenda for the financial year 2015-16 include centralised mega call centre to collect independent feedback from beneficiaries, cycle tracks in six districts including Chief Minister’s native village Saifai, launching state’s clean and green mission, Agriculture University in Azamgarh and Lakhimpur Kheri, and 5 lakh litre dairy plant in Lucknow, Etawah and Varanasi and 10 lakh litre capacity in Kanpur.
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