Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said sons have to be made more responsible for a safe environment for daughters and asserted that the promulgation of an ordinance on rape showed the Centre acted on people’s outrage on sexual crimes against minors. Days after the government approved the ordinance allowing courts to award the death penalty to those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years, Modi also called for a social movement to ensure the safety of girls. “Shivraj ji (Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan) just referred to the capital punishment provided in the ordinance for rape against minors and I could see that it (the remark) received cheers from everyone present here,” Modi said while addressing a rally here. “There is a government in Delhi which listens to your voice and takes decisions. So, the Centre has made a provision for capital punishment to the monstrous intent,” he said.
The Union Cabinet had on April 21 okayed the ordinance amid a nation-wide uproar over the rape and murder of minors in Kathua and Surat and the rape of a teenager in Unnao. “Those who commit such ghastly crimes will hang,” the prime minister said. Modi, while addressing the National Panchayati Raj Sammelan at Ramnagar in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandla district, also pitched for creating an atmosphere for daughters’ safety within the family. “Families will have to enhance the honour and respect of daughters. Families should also make their sons more responsible. “In this way, the safety of daughters would not be a difficult task. We have to launch a social movement in this direction,” Modi said. He also mentioned measures taken by the government for the welfare of tribals and farmers and asked the elected representatives of panchayats to ensure that these steps were implemented. “Earlier, bamboo was considered a tree and it was hard for the villagers to use bamboo (wood). Now the government has categorised it as grass. Farmers can grow bamboo on the boundaries of their farmland and have an additional income,” Modi said. The country imports bamboos worth Rs 12,000-15,000 crores every year, he said.
The prime minister also urged panchayat representatives to spend NREGA funds during the summer months of April, May and June only on works related to water conservation. “We should work for saving rain water. Panchayats should spend NREGA funds on water conservation during April, May and June. Every drop of rain should be conserved. This would not only save our money but also save villages from water shortages and help in agriculture,” he said. In his speech at the rally in the tribal-dominated district, Modi also referred to the role of members of tribal communities and others in India’s freedom struggle, and said it was unfortunate that only the contribution of a few families was mentioned in its history. “To highlight the contribution of those people who have played a major role in the freedom struggle since 1857, a museum will be set up in every state to remember those who sacrificed their lives for the country’s independence so that new generations will come to know about their sacrifice,” he said.
On the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day, Modi also urged people in rural areas to focus on “Jan Dhan, Van Dhan and Gou Dhan” (human wealth, forest resources and the bounty of cows) to develop villages as envisaged by the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. “By 2022, when the country celebrates the 75th anniversary of its independence, we should strive to make villages as envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi. It can be done by using villages’ manpower for developing villages, Van Dhan by collecting neem seeds for coating urea and Gou Dhan by using cow dung for producing electricity, bio-gas and manure for becoming self-reliant,” Modi said. He also called upon them to opt for bamboo farming and honey cultivation to raise their earnings. During his visit here, the prime minister also laid the foundation stone for an LPG bottling plant at Maneri in the district.
The Rs 120-crore plant will supply LPG cylinders to all neighboring districts including Balaghat, Singrauli, Rewa, Shahdol and Jabalpur. He called upon the public representatives to ensure that people in their respective panchayats were fully covered under the Jan-Dhan programme and the Prime Minister’s Insurance Scheme which only needed a premium of 90 paise. Even the poor, who could be smoking a beedi which cost more than that every day, could afford 90 paise, he said. Modi also handed over a cheque of Rs 2 lakh to a woman who lost her husband as a beneficiary of the insurance scheme.
“There is no problem of a budget. But there is a problem of priorities and transparent implementation of the developmental schemes. Public representatives can play a major role in it,” he added. Earlier, Modi launched a scheme that seeks to strengthen the country’s Panchayati Raj system and address the critical gaps that hinder its success. The Central government’s Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan aims at making rural local bodies self-sustaining, financially stable and more efficient. Modi also unveiled a roadmap for the development of tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh over the next five years. Under the plan, Rs 2 lakh crore will be spent for the development of areas under tribal panchayats.