Srinagar, Oct 02: In a significant move towards digitalisation and development in Jammu and Kashmir, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha inaugurated the 'Cashless Panchayats' initiative, promoting the adoption of BHIM-UPI mode of transactions in Gram Panchayats across the Union Territory. This momentous occasion took place during the Swachh Bharat Diwas Celebration event organized by the Department of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj at Raj Bhawan.
During the event, Lt. Governor Sinha handed over land allotment orders to 245 landless beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana - Gramin (PMAY-G), a program aimed at providing housing to those in need. This gesture was made possible on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.
Lt. Governor Sinha dedicated 13 Block Development Council buildings across Jammu and Kashmir to the Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) representatives, marking another milestone in the region's development.
In his address, Lt. Governor Sinha expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his role in shaping the destiny of Jammu and Kashmir. The region has achieved a historic milestone by becoming Open Defecation Free Plus ('ODF Plus') under the 'Model' category.
He extended his congratulations to the Rural Development Department, Panchayati Raj Institutions, and the citizens for achieving 100% cleanliness and Solid & Liquid Waste Management in all 6650 villages. The Lt. Governor highlighted the successful initiation of door-to-door waste collection, the establishment of segregation sheds, and the development of a financial model to ensure the sustainability of waste collection mechanisms.
Lt. Governor Sinha shared the administration's efforts to bring about socio-economic transformation in the lives of rural inhabitants, emphasizing that growth in rural areas is integral to the overall socio-economic development of Jammu and Kashmir. He noted the closer alignment of villages with cities in terms of facilities, connectivity, and infrastructure, attributing this progress to a participatory approach that strengthens social and environmental security while creating entrepreneurship opportunities at the grassroots level.
The Lt. Governor announced the on-boarding of 4274 Gram Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir onto Cashless Mode, part of the government's ongoing efforts to digitize and modernize these local governing bodies, making them more transparent, accountable, and effective.
He commended the Directorate of Rural Sanitation for its innovative 'Swachhata Bulletin' initiative, which monitors and shares daily updates on sanitation activities in the spirit of Jan-Bhagidari (community participation), encouraging community members to provide feedback and contribute to building a "Swachh and Swasth J&K" (clean and healthy Jammu and Kashmir).
Lt. Governor Sinha directed the Rural Development Department to ensure the new sanitation system in rural areas remains dynamic, that newly developed facilities are properly maintained, and that waste management systems are continuously monitored. He also stressed the importance of data analysis for day-to-day management of Swachh Gram and future requirements, leveraging technology such as Artificial Intelligence.
As a token of appreciation, the Lt. Governor felicitated Deputy Commissioners of Ganderbal, Ramban, Srinagar, Budgam, and Kulgam, along with Swachhata Champions, for their outstanding contributions to Swachhata campaigns and achieving ODF Plus Model status. Additionally, four booklets focusing on various aspects of sanitation were released, and Sarpanches of Cashless Panchayats were honored during the event.
The event was attended by several dignitaries, including Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta (Chief Secretary), Dr. Mandeep Kumar Bhandari (Principal Secretary to Lt. Governor), Ms. Mandeep Kaur (Commissioner/Secretary, Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj), Vijay Bidhuri (Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir), Deputy Commissioners, Heads of Departments, PRI members, senior officers, Swachhata Champions, and beneficiaries under PMAY-G, both in person and through virtual mode.