Birla and other parliamentarians on an outreach campaign to panchayat representatives in Leh-Ladakh, J&K regions | India News

LEH-LADAKH: While exercise is on to restore the legislative bodies in the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Leh-Ladakh region, the government has launched a large-scale parliamentary outreach programme for empowerment of panchayati raj institutions in the two regions.
Speaker Om Birla and several other senior leaders including union ministers and parliamentary committee chairmen and members have already reached Leh-Ladakh where they are holding interactions with panchayat raj representatives, whom the centre has identified as one who could be encouraged to assume bigger responsibilities after serving people at grassroots level.
One huge program has been planned on Friday when Birla will hold interaction with over 195 representatives of panchayati raj institutions hailing from Leh Ladakh region. Next day, the visiting dignitaries will also hold interactions with panchayat representatives from Pangong and Nubra valley, which are strategically important being at the Chinese border. Later they will proceed to the valley for similar interactions at Pahalgam and Gulmarg.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in his Independence Day speech reasserted restoration of the legislative process in Jammu and Kashmir.
In the past two months, more than 12 parliamentary committees have visited the Leh-Ladakh and Jammu-Kashmir regions sharing details of recent legislations and welfare initiatives of the government.
“Mahatma Gandhi was a strong advocate of self governance and had suggested that decentralisation strengthens democracy. We are here to take direct feedback from the people, mainly from marginalised regions, to understand their experience and problems they have been facing in governance,” Birla told TOI at Leh, where he was accorded a grand welcome on his arrival in presence of local MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal.
The Lok Sabha speaker admitted the significance of the region bordering China, saying that strengthening democratic institutions in regions of strategic importance becomes more important as people must be empowered with resources as well as confidence levels. “People of Ladakh are peace-loving and tourist friendly. A record number of tourists are coming to the region. People here have been a great support to our security personnel, who have been defending the borders under adverse circumstances and against hostile neighbours,” Birla said.
Away from a few kilometres from Galwan where Indian soldiers had a tough fight with Chinese army last year, Birla said India has been a peace-loving nation but certain countries’ (China and Pakistan) expansionist agenda and encouraging terrorism have caused tension on borders. “India is capable of safeguarding its borders and people. And the country is against expansionism and cross border terrorism,” he added
Asked about the recent political crisis in Afghanistan, Birla said India favours that democratic system flourishes in all countries.”We have full faith on our armed forces that they wouldn’t let political turmoil in any other country (Afghanistan) affect India,” Birla said.
As per officials the broad objective of the parliamentary outreach programme for the Empowerment of Panchayati Raj Institutions is to create mass awareness/mass participation, self confidence/self respect for the ground level leaders, creation of sense of ownership of the assets that have been created, fuelling the ambitions for grass root political leaders for democratic values, awareness about the various schemes and the doorstep delivery.

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