Rural Development & Panchayati Raj Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Campaign will launch in the State to create awareness amongst the masses about Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGA) so that they could derive maximum benefits out of it. The campaign will lay special emphasis on educating and motivating people for undertaking individual works under the scheme.

He was presiding over the inaugural ceremony of two day annual function of the Development officers of the H.P Rural Development Department, being organized at Himachal Pradesh Institute of Public Administration (HIPA). He said the IEC programme will be launched before the Gram Sabha meetings to make people aware about the works they could take under the scheme. He added that the participation of women under MNREGA in Sirmaur district will be given special attention. He said that during this year, areas will be identified in all the districts for removal of lantana.

Thakur said that Himachal Pradesh is implementing MNREGA successfully and more than 10 lakh rural families has been given job cards under the scheme so far. During the year 2010-11, more than four lakh rural families were provided employment and 2.19 crore work days were created. The State was leading in the North India in implementation of this programme and emphasis was being laid on removing discrepancies by proper monitoring. It was being ensured that besides utilizing the funds, work quality was maintained and all the works were completed in stipulated time frame so that rural people could be benefited out of it.

The Minister said that Watershed programme is playing important role in development of rural areas. The State Government has submitted Rs 4688 crore Integrated Watershed Management Programme to the Government of India for approval while 80 projects had been sanctioned during last two years amounting to Rs. 661 crore. He said that State had excelled in the implementation of Total Sanitation Programme and out of 3243 total Gram Panchayats in the State,3202 had been made ODF free and they had been allotted Rs. 10.15 crore under Nirmal Puraskar scheme of the State Government. Moreover, 28,234 toilets had been constructed in schools, 9053 in Anganbari Kendra and Sanitation complexes which was a major achievement.

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