Kovind cites COP26 goals, Har Ghar Jal scheme at Governors’ meet

New Delhi: Exhorting the Governors to play the role of a “friend, philosopher and guide” in states of their posting, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said that they had a very important role in creating awareness among the people about the national goals and ensuring public participation.

“You must spend as much time as possible in the state and maintain connection with the people to fulfil this commitment,” he said while inaugurating the 51st conference of Governors, Lt Governors and Administrators at Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

The one-day conference was also attended by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and moderated by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, a communique from the Rashtrapati Bhavan said.

The Conference of Governors was taking place in person after a gap of two years on account of the pandemic. The first Conference of Governors was held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in 1949, and was presided over by C. Rajagopalachari, the then Governor General of India.

Referring to the ongoing 26th annual summit of the climate change conference (COP26) in the UK’s Glasgow, the President said that India has shown its commitment and capability in front of the world community on a number of global issues and emerged as the only major economy that has made tangible progress on the ‘Paris Commitment’.

He particularly referred to ‘Har Ghar, Nal Se Jal’ as an incredibly successful programme which changed the lives of people and urged Governors to help ensure active participation of educational institutions, government organisations as well as NGOs.

Drawing attention to the areas dominated by the Scheduled Tribes, the President said that Governors have a special constitutional role in the development of these areas. By contributing to the progress of these tribal people, they can play their part in the inclusive development of the country, he said.

The day-long conference was marked by a session of reporting by all participants who spoke about the progress made in their respective states. Most of the states discussed the effective manner in which they had tackled the pandemic with the help of the Centre.

Five states – Gujarat, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Telangana – and the Union Territory of Ladakh made separate presentations on their best governance practices. Gujarat’s emphasis on organic farming and Uttar Pradesh’s special efforts for upscaling education and eradicating tuberculosis found mention in these reports, the release said.

After these sessions, the Vice President urged the Governors to play a proactive role in monitoring the various Central government projects and schemes and ensure that the money intended for people’s welfare is spent for the right purpose. He reminded them to maintain high standards and win over people’s confidence in taking up issues like climate change.

The Prime Minister said that the institution of the Governor is a critical connection between the Centre and the state, as he urged them to travel to remotest villages of the state and interact with neighbouring Governors regularly to know about people’s problems.

In a particular reference to the states that share international borders or are coastal states, he requested Governors to travel to villages along the borders or the seacoast and spend time with people. At the same time, he urged them to hold regular interactions with Central government officials working in their states.

In his welcome speech, the Union Home Minister said that the Governors and Raj Bhavans can play an important role in enhancing public participation in the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

In his closing remarks, the President said: “Earlier in this forum, we had discussed ‘cooperative federalism’ and ‘competitive federalism’. Cooperation and competition have a prominent place in social life. This gives a momentum to life. But this era is of collaboration. If people are benefited by a new experiment in one state, that experiment should be adopted in other states too.”

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