Vijayawada: The NDA government is concentrating on improving rural economy and the overall condition of poor people, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today as he termed 'gram swarajya', or village self-rule, as the ultimate goal of the Narendra Modi-led dispensation.
"Empowerment of villages as well as the poor in the country is the primary objective of the NDA government.
"Seventy-five per cent of our population is still residing in villages and unless we strengthen these people economically, the overall growth of the national economy cannot be achieved as expected. The ultimate goal of the NDA government is to achieve 'gram swarajya'," Singh said addressing a function at Atkur village near here.
Singh inaugurated the Vijayawada chapter of 'Swarna Bharat Trust' (SBT) which is run by Deepa Venkat, daughter of Union minister and senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu. The first chapter of SBT is at Venkatachalam in Nellore district.
On the occasion, Singh listed out various welfare schemes launched by the Modi government for the development of villages and upliftment of the poor.
"Though many developed countries faced recession (in 2008), India withstood it only due to strong economic base of our villages," he said.
Like now, the NDA government in its previous rule had underscored the importance of rural economy and had introduced many schemes, the minister said.
He said the best scheme launched by the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government was the 'Pradhana Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana', which envisaged to connect villages by all-weather roads. "Widening of national highways into four lanes has improved the connectivity to rural areas," he added.
Singh said the PM's ambitious 'Jan Dhan Yojana' has allowed the poor to open bank accounts with zero balance and with an overdraft facility.
"Deposits to the tune of Rs 26,891 crore came into the banking system due to 'Jan Dhan Yojana'. The account-holders now directly receive their subsidies which eliminates the middlemen," Singh said.
He said the poor are getting their LPG subsidy through banks thanks to the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme.
Rajnath said the villagers who did not have electricity connection so far are now getting it under the 'Deendayal Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana'.
He said the poor and budding entrepreneurs are getting loan without any collateral under MUDRA scheme. "So far around 66 lakh small businessmen are benefited with total Rs 46,000 crore under the scheme," the minister said.
"The historical nationalisation of banks in 1969 was praised by many, but we did not achieve its primary objective of eradicating poverty and upliftment of the poor," he added.
He said the NDA government was planning to transform 300 selected villages as "smart villages" by providing all amenities and infrastructure on a pilot basis and later some more villages would be taken up.
He said dreams of Mahatma Gandhi can be fulfilled only with the development of villages. Rajnath also appealed to other social organisations and Trusts to take up the activities on the lines of SBT to serve the villages and the poor.
Naidu said the Trust has no political affiliation. "It only serves people by providing them quality education and youths the training on skills development. It also runs health camps," he said.
The function was attended by many politicians.