24 April, Jamshedpur
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday asked the women elected representatives of the Panchayati Raj bodies to take a pledge to make their village free from open defection and malnutrition.
Addressing the concluding programme as part of the ‘Gram Uday Se Bharat Uday’ campaign at the Tata Sports Stadium here, Mr Modi said people of the world are surprised to see that out of 30 lakh elected panchayat representatives, 40 per cent are women.
“Jharkhand has given 50 per cent reservation to women in panchayati raj bodies while some other states have given 33 per cent reservation. On this occasion, I urge you with folded hands that the people of the village have bestowed their trust on you for the next five years and being a mother and woman you can bring changes in the village by taking leadership in the panchayats,” he said.
Mr Modi said 40 per cent of the women who participate in decision making, decide that no girl, daughter or mother have to go out in open for toilet. He urged the women representatives to take advantage of schemes launched by the government under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan and make sure that toilets were constructed in their villages.
The Prime Minister said it was a matter of shame that women have to go out in open for toilet and said if even an old woman in the village takes pledge, then toilets would be constructed in the villages.
He added the government sanctions funds for the mid-day-meal scheme which is being implemented in the government schools. He urged them to keep a watch to make sure that every single penny was spent on preparing good quality of food for the children.
“As a woman representative, you should never tolerate a malnourished child in your village,” he said, adding that it is the responsibility of 1/3rd Mahila Pradhans of the country to make sure that there is not a single case of malnourishment in their areas.
Mr Modi said in every village, every year 5-10 women belonging to the BPL categories give birth. He urged the women representatives to create awareness in the villages so that the would-be mothers get good quality food during the nine months of pregnancy.
“It can not be tolerated that in the 21st century in India, a women loses her life while giving birth or an infant dies just after being born,” he said, adding that if a young woman aged 25-27 dies while giving birth then her entire family is devastated.”
He asked the women representatives to make sure that the pregnant women in their villages meet Asha workers regularly and institutional delivery takes place as chances of survival are more if the delivery of the child takes place in the hospital. He said for serving such needs, higher education was not a major criteria. Treat other families in the village as your own, he said.
Among those present on the occasion included Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu, Chief Minister Raghubar Das, Union Minister Chowdhary Birender Singh, Sudarshan Bhagat, BJP MPs Vidyut Baran Mahto and Laxman Gilua. Also present were state’s cabinet ministers Saryu Rai, Neelkanth Singh Munda and Randhir Singh.