`NC-Cong trying to end differences on panchayat empowerment`

Last Updated: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 18:37

Budgam: Resolution of differences between the coalition partners National Conference and Congress in Jammu and Kashmir over empowerment of panchayats "will take some time", Rahul Gandhi said on Thursday.

"One thing that has to be understood is that these things take time, these are processes that take time," he told reporters when asked if any headway has been made in ironing out differences between the two allies over empowerment of panchayats.

The Congress vice-president, however, said both the parties were determined to resolve the issue.

"We had a chat some days back in Delhi. We are going to try and solve this problem. There are some issues. There is a strong intention on the part of both the sides to resolve this and we will make sure that the third tier of the government gets the power that it deserves," he said.

Rahul said empowerment of women, job creation for youths and transfer of power to Panchayati Raj institutions will remain the thrust areas in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Congress leader, who is taking interest in implementation of `Umeed Scheme` launched by Union Rural Development Ministry for women in the state, said he would continue to work in these three areas.

"We want to bring in as many women under banking system as possible so that we can pull them out of poverty. Second is the job programme being run by (Union Rural Development Minister) Jairam Ramesh`s Ministry and we have been very successful. We have got almost 16,000 jobs for youngsters in Jammu and Kashmir.

"The third thing that (Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister) Omar (Abdullah) and me are discussing is the Panchayati Raj. These are the three things we are trying to push," he said.

Earlier, interacting with the members of women self help groups formed under `Umeed` (Hope) Scheme, Rahul urged women to take active part in politics for ensuring their empowerment and participation in decision making.

"I want you to grow in self-confidence. I want you to contest the panchayat elections, the MLA (assembly) elections as well as the MP (Parliament) elections," he said, drawing applause from 500-odd women members present.

The Congress leader said just clapping will not suffice and they will have to join politics for the development of the country.

"You don`t only have to run the self-help groups but the state as well. You will have to come into politics. That will be the awareness," Rahul said.

He asked the self-help groups not to stop with their own welfare but also lend a helping hand to other women in the state in overcoming their inhibitions.

"In UP, I tell the women (who are members of the self help groups) that you have achieved your goals of economic prosperity. Now, it is your job to help those who lack self confidence and are afraid to go out of their homes," he said.

The Congress vice-president assured the members of the self help group that he was willing to visit any block of the state where the scheme is implemented.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah urged women to ensure the success of Umeed Scheme to the extent that men of the state seek a similar scheme for themselves.

"The true women empowerment will be when you are able to occupy the positions in the Panchayats and other bodies without reservations. I want that a day should come when the women are so powerful that men come to me and ask for Umeed Scheme," he said.

Omar said no progress in the country will be complete without progress of women as they form half of the population.

"Our first learning takes place at home. We learn from our mothers, grandmothers and sisters. It is imperative that we strengthen their voice to ensure that the state and the country march towards its goals," he said.


First Published: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 18:37

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